You’ve got a great idea, but how do you actually make it into a world-class video? By understanding the most important thing to get right during every phase of the video production process. This is your checklist for how to produce “go viral” video content, with advice from professional video production pros.
Get an idea, hit record, throw some captions and a filter on and upload. Ba-da-bing, right? Not quite.
Say no to haphazard video production that doesn’t fuel long-term growth or get you the views or video marketing results you want. Instead, treat video production like any other part of your marketing strategy: As its own dedicated, repeatable and scalable process.
Here’s how to set up a proper video production process so you can film more, and better, content—starting today.
Video production is how you turn video ideas into reality. Essentially, it’s the process of creating video content.
Video production is much more than simply picking up a camera and hitting the record button. For consistent, high-quality video marketing, you have to plan out ideas, write scripts, arrange talent and/or locations, film the content and edit your footage to tell your story in an engaging way.
In general, the video production process consists of the following steps:
Like a football coach making a game plan and huddling their team before a big matchup, your pre-production process sets your video up for the best chance of success.
Before you make a video, you need to understand why you’re making it. What purpose does it serve? Or, in business terms, which goal is it connected to?
If you’re among the one in five marketers who say they don’t currently have a video strategy, don’t sweat.
Your strategy doesn’t need to be a huge document. Start by answering four key questions:
It’s tempting to jump into video to catch up to your competition on social media, but having a clear strategy from the beginning will help keep your content consistent—and consistently producing results for you.
Video is the heart of the brand living on the outside of the company.
Your strategy sets the tone, expectations and plan for how that video lives outside your company, so don’t neglect having one.
Need help with yours? Check our best video marketing strategy tips.
Depending on the type of video you’re creating, your script may need to be written out word-for-word, or simply include a list of talking points. Long-form videos, like YouTube features, tend to require more of an outline with talking points to keep you on topic. Most creators end up speaking from their experience in their own words.
However, if you’re filming an ad, brand video or hiring a host to deliver a video script for you, you’ll want to write out a detailed script so your host knows exactly what to say, and how to say it.
The concepting and scripting phase takes a video from a mere idea into the first stage of production by getting it ready to film. While some video formats break these rules, most video scripts contain:
There’s no wrong way to write a script, as long as it works with your video production process and vision. However, Thompson recommends ensuring you’re hooking viewers early on, “within the first five seconds, every time.”
Before it’s time to shoot your video, you need to have a production plan.
A good production plan includes:
Having an understanding of what goes into shooting a video and having a detailed plan is golden. That way you have the right people doing the right things at the right time, so everything moves faster with less hiccups on shooting day.
At minimum, include these basics in your production plan:
For your shot list, detail each shot being filmed that day and when break times start and finish. Your video doesn’t need to be shot in a linear way. Some shots that appear later in the video may be shot first for logistics or staffing reasons. Order your shot list in the sequence they’ll be filmed, not necessarily how they’ll appear in the video.
This is sometimes called a “call sheet” in the film industry and serves as a daily schedule document to keep production running smoothly.
You made it to shooting day! With your thoughtful prep work and planning, the day may still feel hectic, but will go off without a hitch.
Obviously, shooting advice isn’t one-size-fits-all, as every video production is different. It also changes drastically whether you plan to shoot your own video or hire a professional video production team, like Superside.
If you’re DIY-ing production, here are a few top tips:
Besides creating a well-lit, comfortable set with good audio and steady camera equipment, Thompson’s best advice on shooting day is to follow the “10 second rule:”
Record 10 seconds of video before you say “Action!” and 10 seconds after the host stops speaking. It’s easy for an editor to cut out, but if you miss a line, no one can add it back in.
Unlike most things in life, more really is better when it comes to video production. It’s better to have too much footage and be selective with editing versus not having enough to work with.
If you’ve never edited a video before, you may be surprised how much time and effort goes into video editing to maximize audience engagement and action. It’s… a lot.
If you want to edit your own videos, there are many top-quality options available nowadays, including Adobe Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro, DaVinci Resolve and even iMovie or other free software. If you’re creating short TikToks or Reels, you can use mobile-specific editing apps like InShot, Splice or CapCut.
Editing is its own complex topic. Video editing can be as simple as cutting together sequential clips, or as complex as multi-track editing with animation, motion graphics, audio mixing and more.
The biggest tip to make the most of your editing time? “Shoot for the platform first,” says Thompson.
Look at the platform you’re creating for first. Follow the best practices for that platform first, then create the best video you can for that platform.
Sure, you can change a lot in editing, but for the fastest workflow and the highest quality video, shoot for the platform it’s going on first.
That means if you’re filming a tutorial video destined for YouTube, ensure you’re filming in landscape mode in 4K (or at least 1080p), and stick to well-performing YouTube customs, like ensuring your face is filling most of the frame and using additional clips (also called B-roll) to add visual interest.
However, if you’re creating Shorts or other short-form social media video, ensure you’re filming in portrait orientation (9:16). And so on. Think “platform first,” always.
Besides the channel your video was made for, distributing and promoting it across all your marketing channels is essential for long-term growth.
There are three main distribution strategies:
Ideally, you want to use a mixture of channels in each of these three categories. But not to worry if you don’t currently have a paid advertising budget—you can still grow by optimizing your owned media channels.
If you’re not meeting the audience where they are, it becomes really forgettable content versus content that the audience wants to sit a while with—which is what you want.
Measuring your video’s success is less about answering exactly how many sales it led to and more about using analytics information to form an opinion about how your video is performing, and to generate new video ideas to test out.
Someone may not go ahead and make a purchase after watching one of your videos, but what if they watch another of your videos? Subscribe to your newsletter? Follow you on Instagram? Those are all still valuable brand interactions, and ones that can lead to sales, too.
Good video takes time. Create thorough briefs, stick to the project milestones and plan out your content strategy in advance. Gather feedback and iterate from there.
Now that you know all the steps involved in video production, there are three main ways to get rolling:
Creating an in-house video team is the route many companies go and for good reason. With an internal team, you have ultimate creative control over all your content, develop deep brand knowledge and can communicate efficiently.
But, the drawbacks include capacity being limited by how many employees you have, expensive salaries and hiring costs and all the HR and management tasks that come with in-house staff.
In-house could be right for you if:
Many brands think of outsourcing as hiring a marketing agency. But outsourcing can also involve hiring freelancers or a Creative-as-a-Service (CaaS) company, like Superside, for flexible creative help when you need it.
While any of these options can work for companies of all sizes, the most affordable way to begin experimenting with video is often hiring a freelancer. However, if you’re looking for a long-term strategic partner, going with a video marketing agency or CaaS service can pay off in the long run.
Lastly, if scaling up your video content is the utmost concern, CaaS is the way to go. The often rigid processes and project-based workflow of traditional agencies can be too slow for scaling up. But the flexible plans and dedicated brand teams of a CaaS partner like Superside gives you all the benefits of outsourcing without slowing you down.
Outsourcing could be right for you if:
Still not sure? Hear more about the benefits of in-house vs. outsourcing in this video:
Want to hire a few employees to really own your video marketing channels, but not a full team? Or, build an internal content team to develop ideas but outsource the actual video production?
Or, simply expand your current in-house team’s capacity for a big launch or event?
Whether you need a little extra help with your day-to-day video production, or want to try out an entirely new type of content, working with a CaaS provider can relieve time and budget pressures while ensuring you get the best results.
A hybrid solution could be right for you if:
Whether you choose to handle everything in-house, outsource to Superside's team of creative geniuses or something in between, let this be the one golden rule you remember about video production:
Platform-specific rules and best practices only get you so far. At the end of the day, it’s more important to only follow the rules that will get your audience engaged, and forget the rest.
Michelle is a SaaS expert who loves digging into the technical side of creativity. She’s worn many hats during her decade in agencies, from project manager to brand strategist, copywriter and social media strategist, and worked across a wide variety of clients (though tech is her jam!). She loves to put the sass into SaaS content… and now CaaS. Connect with her on LinkedIn and send her a pic of your dog (really, she’ll love it).
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