Video Production Process: Everything You Need to Know

In today’s experience economy, video is everything, everywhere, all at once. Who among us hasn’t streamed a TV show about television on Apple TV while scrolling through our feed on TikTok during the commercial break for a YouTube video on our laptop?

We love being immersed in the content that helps us get through the day, so naturally, video is the ideal way to introduce new audiences to your brand through targeted advertisements.

If you don’t have video front and center in your digital marketing strategy, it’s not too late to catch up. You just need to know where to begin.

Let us help you get there fast with this birds-eye view of everything you’ve ever wanted to know about the video production process (but didn’t know you should ask.)

Need help making videos? See how our video production platform can help your business.

What is Video Production?

Video production is simply the process of making video content. 

In a narrow sense, “video production” can refer simply to the shooting part of the process. However, generally speaking, it comprises all five steps of the process. 

We’ll explore this in greater depth below, but the steps are:

  1. Planning & Development: The early stages of deciding what kind of content you’re making, what its purpose is, and what its scope will be
  2. Pre-Production: Can involve writing, storyboarding, location scouting, and other logistical elements that must precede production
  3. Production: The actual physical shoot, in which cameras capture footage to use later
  4. Post Production: Editing, scoring, mixing, and visual effects
  5. Marketing & Distribution: Putting the final product out into the world

The goal of this complex and lengthy process is to produce video content, which will likely be distributed via the web or social media.

Video Production vs. Film Production

Content is undoubtedly converging, and the differences between traditional “film” and “video” are blurring. But there’s still a difference between video production vs. film production. In the most literal sense, this is technical — film implies actual old-fashioned celluloid passing through a camera versus the use of a digital medium. 

More likely, though, “film production” these days refers to a feature-length movie. In contrast, “video production” refers to producing short video content for web distribution (“TV production” is still used to refer to Netflix and streaming-style shows, even though the medium of TV has changed substantially from the days when broadcast networks were dominant).

Video Production vs. Videography

  • Video Production: Refers to the entire process of making a piece of content
  • Videography: Refers more directly to the technical process of recording footage with a video camera

“Videographers” tend to be (for example) the personnel who shoot weddings, while “video production” covers a more professional process of planning, shooting, editing, and distributing video content. 

The term “cinematographer” or “director of photography” is still used to describe the craftsperson who oversees the filming process in video production. The cinematographer oversees lighting, camera movement, and a team of technicians who make sure the images being captured are right — that their color, focus, and other aesthetic and technical considerations support the message of the video production. 

By contrast, videographers tend to film what’s already there, using minimal lighting and probably no crew.

In-House Video Production vs. Outsourcing

With video becoming an essential part of web content, many large media conglomerates have turned their attention to in-house video production in recent years. Popular examples include all the cooking and recipe videos that populate the websites and Twitter accounts of cooking magazines like Bon Appetit. Video is perfectly suited for capturing the finer points of cooking techniques in a way that words and illustrations can only vaguely gesture.

Benefits of Video Content

Video is compelling — and it’s also shareable, a key plus in our digital era. With every site competing for attention, even legacy media companies have discovered that video is an important way to break out of the pack.

The New York Times and New Yorker magazine have introduced a good deal of varied video content into their web pages — both in their news and lighter entertainment sections. These sites, of course, find ways of incorporating video that fits with their brands: urbane, informative, and open-minded. Both the Times and the New Yorker use a mix of content produced in-house (mostly news-based and simple or funny interviews and games with celebrities) and licensed (such as short films, which it then promotes via its website). 

There are pros and cons to both kinds of video that apply to you and your brand.

Pros of In-House Video Production

In-house production allows for immediate responsiveness to the needs of your content production. For example, Bon Appetit‘s Test Kitchen has a simple set-up but can quickly and efficiently produce videos. Still, it only allows for one kind of video — and even the most ardent fan can quickly tire of the same type of content. Similarly, the New Yorker‘s in-house video tends to be simple content shot in one location with a gray background.

Pros of Outsourcing Video Production

By contrast, outsourcing production — that is, engaging the services of outside production companies — allows companies to use the broader skills and resources of other production creatives. Outsourcing allows companies to develop a wider range of content across different genres and styles. That makes for a more engaging experience for your viewers and potential customers. Outsourcing also means you don’t need to keep production staff on retainer, which can be beyond the means of most small and medium-sized businesses. 

Of course, when it comes to outsourcing, you need to find reliable partners. The good news is that now that production is mostly remote and truly globalized, you can find what you need anywhere. This gives you access to a tremendous range of production styles and resources.

Video Production Stages

As mentioned previously, there are five general stages of video production (some leave out the first and last stages mentioned here, but it’s important to include them, so you understand the big picture of the video production process). 

Phase 1: Planning & Development

For many, this can be the most exciting phase of production: video production planning. It’s the phase in which the big questions and topics driving a video content shoot are posed and answered.

These could include:

  • What is the overall aim of this video content?
  • Who is the target audience?
  • How can you best express the content’s aim and reach the audience?
  • What resources do you have?
  • What are the problems or hurdles you might face in creating the content?

Planning and development start with macro questions that get progressively more granular. 

Once you know the goal of a video, you can start considering how to best convey it. 

Questions of style will be discussed, like: 

  • Will it be live-action or animated?
  • Will the style feel polished or more in the vein of authentic-feeling User Generated Content (UGC)?
  • Is this video content going to live on Instagram? TikTok?
  • Will it be used across several platforms, albeit tweaked and refined?

Questions of budget and shoot length (which helps dictate budget) will also come up. Can the idea be achieved on the proposed budget, or does it need to be scaled down? 

Sometimes, video planning and development can involve an iterative process of trying ideas, testing them and retesting them. Still, this is the production phase that can be the most fun, as ideas get floated and tested before any video has been shot. Eventually, the process will end with a brief or outline, ready to go to a production team that can improve it with their ideas and ultimately execute it. 

Phase 2: Pre-Production

The questions surrounding “how will this get made?” start taking on a more practical edge in pre-production. So do questions about:

  • Hiring personnel and crew
  • Answering questions related to location
  • Budget
  • The duration of the shoot (which will directly impact the shoot’s budget)

It’s a great time to run an audit on your historical production budgets, see where you can cut fat, and ensure you’re keeping key performance indicators (KPIs) in mind.

Ideally, many problems get solved during video pre production. Productions often get scaled-down during this phase, as it comes clear that original plans are too costly. 

During pre-production, many teams rely on pre-visualization techniques like storyboards, shot listing, and software that allows 3D visualization of sets and lighting. By the time production starts, it’s all but a formality, and it’s relatively straightforward capturing the right footage. 

When it comes to video content production, sometimes the best tactic is to keep things simple. The important thing is the concept, which can likely be achieved more modestly than you realize with the right choices of props and location. 

Pre-production is the time to note exactly what deliverables you need by the end of the process, including:

  • Aspect ratios
  • File types
  • Video lengths

Phase 3: Production

Production involves the actual shoot. Production is usually highly controlled, as it involves talent and crew who are on the clock and who will be paid overtime if the shoot runs long. Despite the best-laid plans, there are often hurdles to deal with, whether these are logistical issues like weather or a location that’s somehow different than expected or a performance by an actor that isn’t quite jelling. 

It’s key to remember all the different end uses for your footage. That means (among other things) framing aspect ratios so footage can work for Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, and any other social media formats.

Learn More: Social Media Video Specs and CTV Ad Specs

Phase 4: Post-Production

Video post production involves everything required to make your video look and sound polished after the shoot. That includes:

  • Editing
  • Color correction
  • Visual FX
  • Sound design and mixing

Post production is usually a mixture of problem solving and creativity, like adding motion graphics and music. Post production can allow you to repurpose production content to work in several ways, effectively giving you an entire campaign from just a day or two’s shooting.

Phase 5: Marketing & Distribution

Marketing and distribution were once done purely on instinct or happenstance. Now they’re achieved with the help of data and targeting. You should have a good idea of where your audience lies and ensure content is crafted so that it connects with them. 

This phase can still involve creativity as you monitor the popularity of your campaign and keep testing and tweaking to make sure you’re hitting your KPIs.

Types of Video Production

Different genres of video production work better for certain kinds of products and audiences. Some common types of videos are:

Brand/Company Video

This is a video extolling the virtues and story of your brand and company. Brand/company videos create a narrative in which your brand is the hero. These could involve testimonials from customers or employees. 

Explainer Video

These videos explain how a product works, often through animated or graphic content. They’re especially suited to more abstract services and technologies, like apps. The best ones are both informative and friendly.

Industry-Specific Video

Industry-specific videos target audiences who work or are looking for a service in a particular sector, commonly including:

  • Real estate
  • Law
  • The medical industry

Product Video

Product videos center on an actual product and turn it into the hero of a narrative. Effective product videos could involve UGC-style content, featuring social media influencers or “regular users,” or case studies in which someone explains how a new product solved a problem for them.

Social Media Video

These should be designed with native video advertising in mind, keeping to the style of a particular platform the video appears on, like TikTok, Facebook, or Instagram. They’re designed to be easily consumed and also shared.

TV Commercial

This is the most polished, classic form of video content, typically featuring professional talent, graphics, testimonials, and beauty shots of your product.

Website Video

These are typically for audiences already interested in your product, so they can involve longer and more detailed narratives to encourage conversion.

How Much Does Video Production Cost?

With technological advances, costs are coming down — and video production costs less than you might think.

The video production process is being rapidly streamlined. And video ads aren’t just classic long (or elaborate) commercials — they’re the bite-sized but equally effective ads you see on Twitter and Reddit. Those can be made cheaply and don’t need to be broadcast-quality to pique consumers’ interest.

Sometimes rougher and more authentic can feel more convincing.

Consumers are likely to trust “real people” sharing their positive experiences with a product, with the UGC-style content shot on a phone or a simple animated “explainer” video. Finding one non-traditional location can be visually compelling and save money. Similarly, traditional animated or stop-motion ads can be produced relatively cheaply anywhere.

How QuickFrame Changes the Game

QuickFrame uses a nimble marketplace approach to connect advertisers with innovative video content producers worldwide. That can keep costs down while ensuring you get the types of video content you need.

QuickFrame keeps shots streamlined while getting maximum value out of your productions by repurposing content for different platforms and making sure it feels “native” to each platform. Additionally, its data tools allow for continuous tweaking of a campaign so you can focus on what’s working. 

Video Production Process: Final Thoughts

If you’re looking for the best guide through the video production process to get the most effective and compelling ads for your product, visit QuickFrame. They will help you create videos tailored to your needs in the most cost-effective and efficient way possible.

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