Academic Technology

Video Production Planning Primer

Video presentations have three phases:

Planning, Treatment, and Scripting

The first place to start is with our Production Planning Form, which you can download as a .pdf file. Please take the time to help us focus your program by providing us with the requested information. The most effective pieces have one primary intent and are targeted to a specific audience. Our goal at Video Services is for your program to accomplish exactly what you need for it to accomplish. With this information, we'll know for certain that we are on the same wavelength.

Creating a video presentation is not unlike writing a paper. Organization will effectively present your ideas to your audience. Even if you do not have a fully written script for shooting your video, it is vital to have at least an outline of the kinds of ideas and images you need to see in your project. With a good outline keeping the crew in focus during your production (shooting) phase, the finished product will be that much more clearly communicating your message to the viewer

And yet, creating a video is quite unlike writing a paper. Our scripts are really screenplays for a smaller screen. It is important to organize your ideas and images so that they complement each other when the finished product is on the screen. This is where a script is useful if it can be worked out before the camera is ever turned on. The staff in Video Services has extensive experience in creating pre-and post-production scripts and outlines to ensure that the project goes as as smoothly as possible. Video Services strongly recommends that you give as much attention as possible to scripting your production in advance.

If you are unsure of what will you need to provide as a script, or scripting information, please ask. This part of the pre-production process is what makes or breaks the production phase. With a good script in hand when shooting your production, we can concentrate on making each shot look its best instead of figuring out what might or might not come next...

Field Production

This is the part of the process where we finally roll tape, where "Lights, Camera, Action!" can actually be heard from the crew. The format used will be determined by the need of each production, but the process is generally the same. It is not possible to create an all-purpose How To Do Field Production guide to turn you into a Hollywood director just by reading tips on the web. When you work with Video Services, you are putting our talents and experience behind your production, so you don't have to figure out how to get that great shot. We already know.

By preparing Pre-Production notes and a Script, the actual field production should go smoothly. When shooting from a script, sometimes it can seem to take a long time, setting up each shot, adjusting the lighting, getting the sound right, and, when working with talent, getting the words right. But, as each scene is shot, you can mark it down on your script as done, and you will quickly see the progess on the marked script. Video Services staff are well trained in making this part of the project work for you, and helping you decide which format is appropriate for the production.

Post Production - Editing - Graphics

Now that your field production stage is done, it is time to sit down with the tapes and make sense of all the scenes, takes, and cover footage, plus graphics (remember those from the pre-production phase?), and mix it all together in the editing process. If you started production with a script, this process will go rather quickly; just line up the various bits and pieces in the order that the script calls for.

Sometimes it is necessary to shoot footage that is based upon an event that is happening, and the post production phase will begin with the "logging" process. You, the producer must sit and watch the footage, and make notes about what is on each tape. It is important to log the tapes as accurately as you need to be able to recall where a comment or a piece of footage is located so that it can be found quickly when editing. Once the tapes are logged, and you have a good idea of the pieces you can work with, the production is a puzzle waiting for you to put the pieces together. Sometimes, when creating a script this way, you will find that you need to go back and shoot a special piece of footage to go with what someone says in the video. That's why we emphasize thoughtful pre-production and scripting as much as possible before going into production.


UNH Video Services offers digital non-linear editing with our two AVID XPress edit rooms. Our computer-based editing has the ability to create time-code edit lists from Betacam, DVCam, and 3/4" U-Matic source tapes, allowing us to easily re-edit your project in the future. In this editing process, your original source material is digitized into our Mac-based systems, and the pieces are assembled in non-destructive manner that allows us to modify decisions without having to re-edit the rest of the project. Because the footage is digitized for this process, it can easily be used for multimedia projects, such as CD-Rom and Web presentations, to complement your video production.

In addition to the AVID Xpress systems, Video Services also uses Adobe Photoshop and After Effects to create graphics and animated sequences for your video project. 3D modeling and animation software is also available to create special effects. Mutimedia programming for CD-Rom and other presentations can also be handled at Video Services.

In order to edit on the AVID system, your source material must be on Betacam, DVCam, or 3/4" U-Matic format tapes with time code. While we can dub other formats directly into the AVID systems, they can not be used to create time-code edit lists, which means that once you are done, in order to re-edit your project, the editing proces would have to start at the very beginning.

A good rule of thumb to use when planning for post-production time is to allow for up to at least two hours of "post" time for each minute of finished video. That time goes up when you start adding special graphic effects, sound layering and editing, and multimedia programming. Of course, if you are simply taking large "chunks" from the original material and making simple cuts, that time can be drastically reduced. In planning your production, it is important to have a firm grasp on your editing needs (graphics, multimedia, special audio needs) to budget enough time to get all of the post work done in a timely manner.

Once you have finished your video, we can assist you with duplication and packaging

Content ©Copyright 1998, 2000, 2001 Eric J. Gleske