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Not every video team is the most productive, efficient and focus driven in the world when they first set out.
Not every video team is built the same in different companies or different industries.
But there are many, many overlapping processes and workflows that mean you could be working smarter not harder to get what you want.
So, as the lead of a video team, as a member of a video team striving for more structure and efficiency this is your guide to a better video production workflow for your video team.
Let’s jump into what you need and how to use it right now.
How do I Know What I’m Talking About?
I’ve been involved in digital video production for 8 years now and other forms of production for 5 more.
Over that time I’ve seen many different video department setups and every time there are teething issues getting your team to be working together cohesively and efficiently with each other but also with other departments in your company and potentially with clients too.
I’ve developed a workflow and pipeline for digital video production that looks to solve issues with resourcing and efficiency. We’re going to look at what that involves in this article.
At the end of it you should have takeaways for how to improve your team’s productivity, communication and results going forward.
What’s the Aim?
The aim of any video team is to fulfil a brief to their best of their ability that gets results time and time again.
To produce video to new creative heights, utilising the best that the technology can give them.
To ensure a smooth operating department that meets deadlines and has the ability to schedule resources ahead of time and forecast where production timelines might be tight.
What’s the Problem(s)?
So what might be putting that at stake? Why isn’t this happening the way it should for you and your team?
There could be a hundred reasons but from my experience in the industry it usually boils down to a few.
Other individuals or departments that are now starting to have input or even demands on your team’s resources.
Expanding faster than you know how to optimise for.
Budget constriction on either personnel, hardware, software or all of the above.
And the best one of all is jobs being awarded or accepted with a lack of critical information to make it happen as the client would like.
I’ve been there pro tippers, believe me, I have been there.
The consequences of all of this are fairly evident and you’re probably living through some of them right now. In fact, that’s most likely why you’re here in the first place.
I feel the pain, I’ve experienced it myself.
Never agreed to deadlines from other departments with constructed resources and inadequate equipment leads to poor results, wasted time and you better believe some frustration is added in there too. Whether that’s yours, a colleague’s or a client’s frustration is another matter.
Essentially it comes down to time management and organisation set from the pre-production phase.
Getting the necessary information at the start that will inform the production, post-production and also publishing of the deliverables is paramount.
Communication at all stages is also a vital requirement for high-quality results that satisfy every party involved.
So, how do we avoid all of the pitfalls and reap all of the rewards?
Let’s start with the information.
Get ALL the info
We need to gather as much as possible to make the most informed decisions we can.
To do that I like to have a list of questions ready to hand that can be answered by the people with the relevant information. You could even make this an online form to automate the process slightly.
Which information you need will slightly depend on the industry you are in and the company you work for but for most, things such as:
- start date
- shoot date or dates
- number of people to be filmed
- script needed or storyboard or both
- static or moving
- indoor or outdoor
- audio or silent
- whether you can or need to recce the location
- travel time
- time allowed on set
- duration of edit
- graphics involved
- deadline for edit
- sound design
- colour grade
- and probably the most important is the budget to make all this happen.
Follow the Process, Follow the Workflow
Once you have all the information you deem necessary for your specific team/company then you need to slot all this into your workflow and assess whether you have the crew, kit and time to pull it all off. If not, you need to address why and what can be done about it.
The next stage is the pipeline and this is where communication comes in to play.
You now need to work through every stage in the video production process and include the relevant people at the right stages to ensure that you have the consistent up to date information from all parties involved at every stage.
The workflow moves from brief stage, into pre-production and logistics, production, postproduction and into delivery/publishing.
At every stage identify who are the key people within your company or outside of your company that need to be involved.
For instance, in the beginning at briefing and pre-production stages the publishing/ social/ marketing team need to be involved to help shape where the content will end up, this may influence shooting requirements for aspect ratios and potential script copy too. Also at this stage having the postproduction team involved for a heads up on graphics and edit considerations. You will also need sign off from any clients involved but also potentially account managers or sales directors that got the job in.
As you move into production the members involved will slim down as it may just need to your team and the clients and/or account managers on the shoot itself.
As you move into post move people become involved again and with delivery/publishing then everyone probably gets a say for sign off of the final version for delivery.
Throughout all of this you need to be constantly communicating.
This is how that information you gathered before helps you stay on top of things, how the production progresses in the way you would like it to and how you control the overall outcome without it becoming messy.
The results speak for themselves
By setting up a workflow that you and others in the company can follow you will ultimately set yourself and your team up for success.
You’ll be able to schedule, utilise the equipment you do have in the right way, identify gaps where other resources or equipment may be needed and ultimately you’ll get better results from your team’s work and therefore please clients or bosses for repeat business.
Improving video results
Now, let’s talk about some techniques for improving your video results too. The first place to start is with your lens choices.
Don’t know which your team needs?
Check out the three best lenses for any set-up right here: