Monday, 11 January 2016

Why Is Pre-Production SO Important?

I think nearly everyone in the video or film business can agree that pre-production is one of, if not THE MOST, important phase of a project. It is where ideas are born, shaped, de-constructed and consequently fit into a script, a plan or a strategy that will guide and dictate the fate of the entire production.

But why is it so important? Pre-production can probably be summarized in one word: “planning”, which means thinking ahead about the tasks necessary to achieve a goal; organize them, structure them and schedule them accordingly. A good pre-production is not necessarily a long one, but one where we can plan in order to:

1. Create

Planning allows us to take care of the logistic tasks of a project in an effective way. For example: do extensive research, look for the best equipment available, schedule the best crew, scout locations thoroughly, in order to be PREPARED.

But it’s not all about the logistics. Successful planning and good prep give the team time to actually think and be more creative, brainstorm about possible shots and angles, come up with new ideas and implement the latest trends. When we have enough time to plan, we can focus more on the visuals and the aesthetics of a piece, instead of just putting all of our efforts in the operational portion of the project.

2. Avoid undesired surprises.
Shoots may present challenges, but they can be conquered if thorough pre-production is put into place. Now, weak pre-production can lead to not only many challenges, but also surprises and mishaps. Therefore, we should work very hard to avoid those.

How can you avoid surprises? Again, planning. For example, if we scout a specific location and realize it has no outlets, we would come prepared to the shoot with a solution (a long extension cord that can be connected to the room next door, or another power source). If we prepare a realistic schedule, we would have enough time to shoot everything we need. If we contact our usual crew ahead of time, we wouldn’t have to work with someone unreliable.

Basically, we not only need to plan in order to create, but we also need to plan in order to prevent. We should get to know our location so we can come prepared to the shoot; we should set up an organized and feasible schedule; confirm our crew and get the equipment needed ahead of time… All so we can do our job with a solid foundation and the confidence we need to accomplish our goals. If we leave it all to improvisation, it could lead us to many undesired surprises.

3. Let the post-production teamwork
As a production team, we also plan so we can give our post-production colleagues room to explore. So we plan in order to create, prevent and explore. Good combo.

Let’s take a step back for a second- say we didn’t put much effort in the planning, so we weren’t really creative with our script and our logistics were poorly accomplished. Therefore, we ran into a couple of mishaps during our shoot and we ended up with the typical, “let’s fix it in post,” phrase. If these words come out of our mouth, our future is doomed. Once a project with these characteristics falls into the post-production team’s lap, their dreams are crushed. And the fate of our project becomes unpredictable.

With a great pre-production, we can accomplish a great production. And when we hand a successful production project over to post, they don’t have to spend hours worrying about “fixing”. Instead, they can worry about “exploring”. They have time to create, come up with new editing ideas, play around with visuals, color, effects, audio, etc. They can work on complimenting and enhancing the piece, instead of just making it presentable.

4. Set and meet expectations.

When we plan ahead, we know what to expect. We establish a solid groundwork that allows us to create, prevent and explore (here comes the combo again).

When we set realistic expectations from the beginning, it’s more feasible to not only meet the expectations, but also exceed them. For example, we can meet expectations in production with a zero mishap shoot; or exceed them in post-production when our team has time to push the boundaries on the visuals effects while staying under budget.

When we plan, we know what our opportunities and challenges can be and we prepare for them. When we plan, we can boost and enhance our results.

So, there you have it! Pre-production is very important because it allows us to plan in order to create, prevent, explore and meet expectations.

Now tell us, why do you think pre-production is important? What challenges have you encountered during this phase? Share your thoughts in the comment section below or tweet @Swagger_Media! And if you need help with your production projects, our team is happy to assist you! Visit our website or give us call at 832-831-7592.

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