Whether an advertising video, a product film or an explanatory video is worthwhile is already decided before the actual video production. There are a lot of things to keep in mind during pre-production. If you make any mistakes at this stage, you are risking your investment.
The request is sent by mail. The customer has planned a marketing event and would like to have three videos produced in a timely manner. The event will be filmed in its entirety: Arrival of the guests, opening, presentations, discussions. Numerous „impressions“ have to be captured. In addition, „statements“ are desired. That’s all the client informs us about in the briefing.
Value arises in the pre-production
Requests of this kind we constantly receive. In that case, we know right away that we’ll have to give better advice here. Otherwise, the customer would be poorly served. She would invest more than necessary, but the benefit would be quite vague.
Pre-production is often underestimated by non-professionals. All the attention is focused on production, i.e. shooting and directing, and post-production with editing, graphics, sound and color grading. In fact, the videos are actually created in advance. It’s like the construction plan for a house. The building can only be as good as the architectural design. Anything else would just be improvised additions.
The clear message
I ask the client, „What do you want the film to achieve?“ „To show the good mood and how interesting the event was,“ she replies. It barely pays to hire a film production and video marketing agency for that. The goal for the client should always be to get more than the investment in return.
In order to achieve this, we have to communicate with our customers what they really want to achieve with their videos. And what this is worth. Then we figure out how this goal can be achieved most effectively. It quickly gets clear that film production only makes sense in combination with an overall video marketing strategy.
„Messages are like tennis balls. Throw one to me and I’ll catch it. Throw me three, and I’ll catch none.“ Jean-Remy von Matt
At the beginning we have the film message. Here it often already shows how diffuse the ideas often still are at first. Sometimes it is even necessary to question the whole event again or to specify the goals here. The message is a simple short sentence, not a paragraph. Neither is it two or three messages. „Throw me a tennis ball and I’ll catch it. Throw me three tennis balls, and I don’t catch any,“ is how agency founder Jean-Remy van Matt sums it up.
The message is inseparable liked to the target group. Precision counts here, too. A target group female and male, between 18 and 48, generally interested – that’s not helpful. The key is to develop a persona. This target person is very concrete. She has an age, an educational background, a very specific job, and lives in a defined environment. She has certain values, hobbies, and preferences.
Signals to the unconscious
With the message and persona in place, we can consider how best to convey the message in the film. What format is most appropriate? What tonality do we choose? How does the video make the message convincing? Just now we do have the briefing data we need for the film concept.
Are we able to tell a story with each film? Storytelling is the most memorable delivery of the message. Here, the message is directed specifically at the subconscious and continues to have an effect there. Where telling a story is not possible, stringent argumentation comes in beneficial. Again, we consider which images plausibly support the statements already in the concept. Because we perceive 90 percent of our information visually.
Treatment or storyboard
The concept is our base. Only when the client is as satisfied as we are, does it become either a treatment which is open to situational specifics, or a storyboard for scripted productions.
The shooting schedule is another part of pre-production. The shooting is never performed chronologically. Logistics, availability of protagonists, time the day for exterior shots and sequence inside, all of that has to be shot effectively. So it’s not necessarily in the same order as later in the video. But that’s what the treatment or storyboard is there for.
Rich harvest instead of lean hunting trophy
Now it becomes clear why we do not go on a picture hunt, but rather collect pictures. Or to put it more aptly: We are planters and harvest at the event. Because scenes have to be prepared. Maybe we need a proof of credibility, for example an award for filming. We start thinking about that before the event.
Now we are no longer fatefully at the mercy of what happens by chance. And we no longer have to wait all day for the right subjects to come in front of our lenses. That saves expensive production time. But post-production is also much shorter, because we can work with planned images instead of having to sift through them endlessly.
The customers get tailor-made products instead of surprise boxes. Our structured briefing ensured this, as much as the creative concept, the exact treatment and the well planned organization of the shoot. After the seed comes the harvest. We are no longer hunters and gatherers.
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