9 Steps to Take Before an Outdoor Location Shoot

Published on in Advice / Tips & Tricks

There are different types of videos you can create for your client. There are also plenty of factors and costs involved in corporate video production. The success of a video project will greatly depend on the time and effort you have allocated toward properly planning the project. If you don’t have an outstanding idea and solid plan in place, no amount of production expertise can save your project.

Pre-production is the most crucial phase of video production. Also, this is the hardest to cost-justify. It is somewhat easy to cost-out equipment, crew and editing time, but how much will an idea cost? Well, in truth - quite a lot. If you want your project to be a successful and valuable investment, then there are crucial tasks that you must accomplish before an outdoor location shoot.

A Step-By-Step Guide to Efficient Pre-Production Planning

1. Determine the video’s objectives

It is very important for you to determine the purpose of the video you want to produce for your client. Is it to raise awareness or to clearly differentiate your client from their competitors? Regardless of what the purpose may be, every business objective must have a matching outcome that is measurable. You will only be wasting your time, effort and money if you cannot clearly articulate your client’s objective. Most videos fail because of lack of clear focus. As such, it is crucial for you to know what happens next after the target audience watched the video.

2. Know the target audience

Marketing is all about communicating how valuable a product or service is to the target audience. If the video has narrower focus, then there is a higher chance of success. So you need to know your client’s customers and prospects by researching what they care about.

3. Develop the message

Developing the message means knowing what the themes, ideas or topics that must be communicated are. Ideally, there is one principal message, but if your client has a broader purpose in mind, the video can have two to three important messages. Refrain from adding more than three messages since this will make the audience unable to remember and understand any of them

4. Determine how the video will be distributed or promoted

It is very important for you to understand how your client will distribute the video before creating it. This will help you determine the next steps in video production. Remember that a broadcast audience is far different from someone viewing the video on mobile devices, video apps or on professional business portals. The video has no value if the target audience can’t view it.

5. Create a storyboard

A storyboard is an outline of the different sections of the video. It takes your idea and considers important things, such as using animation, setting a tone, and using a voice-over to support what’s being shown. This is the step where you must determine the flow, style, structure and length of the video. Even when you do not plan on creating a detailed storyboard, it is still crucial for you to write down the visions with your client and other people involved in video production. This allows you to understand the video in an organized way.

6. Set pre-production meetings

The scope and size of the job determines how many people and meetings will be involved in the video production process. For smaller projects, a simple video production brief might be enough to start the planning process, most especially if you have a cooperative client. For bigger projects, there is a need for story planning meetings with those associated with the project to make sure that all relevant perspectives regarding the project are obtained.

7. Determine shoot location

Decide where the shoot will take place. As you set out to evaluate, for example, several possible Dubai shooting locations, you will most likely face various possibilities – distinctive buildings, natural areas, urban landscapes, historic sites, or waterfront settings. Ideally, you must choose a location that lends itself to the story that your client wants to produce. But locations can change, so it is a wise move to check your chosen spot a week or hours before your shooting day. Factors like automobile noise, bad weather, and tourists can create huge changes on the suitability of a location. Also, check lighting levels so you’ll know if you need to bring appropriate lights with.

8. Decide where to set up

Ensure that there is an adequate space for you to set up all of your gear. A small shed might be the perfect location for a shoot until you realize that there is no room for your gear. On the other hand, you might have plenty of room in a wide space but can’t roam freely.

9. Obtain permits

There are some locations that require you to secure permits and other legal permissions. It is better to get permission ahead of time than to have a video shoot interrupted by authorities. Video shoots are very challenging. There are plenty of moving parts in video production, which means there can be any number of things that could go wrong. Pre-production planning will help minimize the risks associated with your project, and the above-mentioned steps will help make an outdoor location shoot successful. Still, it is always important for you to be open-minded and flexible because there will always be unexpected challenges that could arise while you are shooting.

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About the Author

Ammar Alkhrisat
Ammar Alkhrisat, Chief Operating Officer, began the idea of Alkatraz. He has worked with big industry brands, including Lamborghini, Sony, and Red Bull. He has also worked with various government bodies and agencies in the United Arab Emirates. Ammar is currently the only GCC representative in the Locations Guild of America. He is a renowned speaker in coveted events
and other festivals in the film industry.

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