Plan Your Video Production

You know, I think the whole concept of digital video is really more complicated than it is. If you're starting out in digital video, it can be perplexing to browse through so much equipment, techniques and information on video.

I remember when I first started out experimenting with digital video - I was doing everything adhoc!

There was no method or structure in my video productions at all. And my videos ended up looking really amateurish.

Fortunately, over time, I started to realize there are common steps you need to take in every video production.

Regardless of whatever video production you're shooting, there are always five simple steps you should follow.

Learn these steps by heart. Once you learn them , the knowledge stays with you. It's like riding a bicycle, you never really forget once you learn it.

Ok, here are the five steps required in any digital video production:

  • Plan Your Video Production
  • Get Your Equipment
  • Shoot Your Video
  • Edit Your Video
  • Share Your Video

1. Plan Your Video Production

Some video professionals have told me that planning your video is the toughest part of the production process. I don't disagree. Very often, what hampers us in going out to shoot good movies is simply the initial inertia.

It's important to plan your video production

The planning step involves quite a number of things - from storyboarding, to assembling your cast (if any) and setting up the required scenes.

Of course, if you're out shooting movies on a vacation, you can afford to be more adhoc and need not plan so much in advance. But if you're shooting a short film, a documentary, a sport event or an interview, then it's a different story.

Planning your video in these scenarios often makes the difference between a good or poor quality shoot.

Ok, let's talk about the 3 aspects of planning a video.

First, there's the storyboarding. Storyboarding is simply sketching out each scene and imaging how your story in the video will unfold. There are some good tools to help you do this, if you're not comfortable with a good ol' drawing pad.

The next aspect is assembling your cast. If you have an interview to shoot, you need your interviewee (obviously). If you have a short film, then you need your actors and actresses. You got to plan out the script, how to get them to act, etc.

Assemble your cast beforehand

The third aspect of planning your video is the scene itself. What kind of props do you need? Do you need lighting? What kind of background scene are you using? Is it indoor or outdoor?

Thinking these things through before the actual shoot begins helps to save a lot of time. For me, I also like to carry a paper notebook around everywhere I go, so that I can jot down video ideas on the go.

2. Get Equipment

The second step in planning your video is to get the equipment you need. Here's what you need to create your own video production:

  • A camcorder
  • A video editing computer
  • A video editing software package
  • An online video sharing account

Make sure you procure the above equipment and get familiar with them beforehand. A camcorder obviously is needed to shoot your video.

A video editing computer (preferably a fast, powerful one with DVD and Blu-ray burning capabilities) helps you edit your video and output it to a format that's suitable for sharing.

A good video editing computer is essential

You also need a video editing software package to clean up, add titles, transitions, special effects and music to your video.

Finally, an online video sharing account at YouTube or Vimeo is important these days for sharing videos on the web.

I've written a guide on buying video equipment that'll help you out.

3. Shoot Video

The next step in planning your video is to learn to shoot the video itself. Shooting good quality videos does not happen by luck - you need some instruction on the basics.

Hone your video shooting skills

When I started out shooting videos, I simply took my clunky camcorder and went all over the place, shooting adhoc shots. Boy, did they turn out terrible!

I went on to read lots of books on shooting videos and also tap on the expertise of some professionals.

Slowly but surely, I began to appreciate some hidden tips on shooting good videos. I share with you some of these tips here.

4. Edit Video

Ok, the next bit is to edit your video. First, transfer the video from your camcorder into your computer using the different techniques illustrated here.

You can then freely edit the video and add effects to your liking using video editing software programs.

Invest in a good video editing package

Remember, video editing packages can be very simple or complex. I suggest you start with some basic packages like Adobe Premiere Elements or Corel VideoStudio to warm up. When you're more familiar, then proceed to more advanced tools.

When I first started out in digital video, I went to spurlge on a copy of Adobe Premiere, which was very expensive. I ended up using only 20% of its capabilities!

In fact, when you're starting out in digital video, any editor that allows you to load the video onto a timeline, add transitions, titles, music and some effects will be good enough. When you're more experienced, then consider upgrading to something more powerful.

A simple guide to video editing can be found here.

5. Share Video

The final aspect of video production plan is to share the video. The traditional technique is to burn your nicely edited video onto DVDs or Blu-ray discs, then ship them out to your client, friends or family.

That's clearly changing these days. These days, most people upload their videos to the web. Into the likes of YouTube and Vimeo. YouTube is more well known to the general public, while Vimeo attracts a more artistic and creative crowd.

Either way, I'd encourage you to learn how to get your videos online. Not just for the convenience of viewing them easily, but also because you have an opportunity to market your videos online.

Many videographers (e.g. wedding videographers) I know have managed to post their sample videos online and got a decent bit of referral business from the web.

Wrapping Up ...

Ok! I hope the above has helped you understand more about creating your own digital video. Make sure you understand the 5 steps above and take some time to plan out your video before you shoot it.

If you do so, you'll save quite a bit of time and produce a more professional looking video that'll amaze your friends and family. Until next time, good luck and have fun with your video projects!

Edit Digital Videos With Ease

If you've been looking for a good video editing program, you may want to check out Corel VideoStudio ProThis software allows you to quickly create and share a movie using built-in templates, special effects, titles and transitions. You can apply unique effects such as stop-motion animation, time-lapse and chroma key to create brilliant digital videos.