The production process


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The production process

  1. 1. The Production Process4 The Production Process Page 345 Production Project Page 386 Factual Production Page 48When completing the units that form your diploma or certificate courseyou will be required to make or contribute to the making of mediaproducts. When a media product is produced, just as in any otherindustry, a procedure must be followed. You can’t simply take a videocamera or audio recorder out into a location and shoot whatever you wantin the hope that the result will come together as a product. The firstchapter in this section looks at the procedure for making media products,so this is essential reading. The next two chapters cover the units onfactual programme making and media projects. Neither of these units iscompulsory so you may be studying both, either one, or none. Thecontent of Chapters 5 and 6, however, will inform your knowledge of theproduction process and provide you with a method of working that willhelp to keep your project on time, if you follow it. This will give you aclear idea of how the media industry creates products.
  2. 2. 4TheProduction ProcessIntroducing the production processThe production of any media artefact must beplanned – whether you are making a televisionprogramme, promotional or training video, radioprogramme, film, magazine, newspaper, website orcomputer game. The process is generally the samewhatever the product. First the idea for the productis developed and its viability considered. Thecommissioning editor (or commissioner – the personwho would pay you to make the product) has to beconvinced that it’s a good product idea and that youhave the resources and skills to make it. Havingsecured the commission, you then have to plan theproduction in great detail, to make sure you completeevery stage at the right time in the schedule anddeliver the completed artefact to the client on timeand within budget.
  3. 3. 35.THEPRODUCTIONPROCESSTHEPRODUCTIONPROCESS35.Securing a commissionIf the demand to make a media product comes from a media sectorcompany, a commissioner will ‘call for expressions of interest’ by sendinga brief to a number of different production companies. If a non-mediasector company wants a media product made – a training video, forexample – they become the client and will contact an independentproduction company and discuss their needs. Alternatively, a companycould invite anyone to apply for the commission, rather than selecting agroup of particular companies.The four stages of the productionprocessIn most industries (the car industry, for example) a product is madeaccording to a production process. The media industry is no exception, soto produce media artefacts you must follow a logical production process.Making a product is a linear time-based process, which means that thevarious stages take place one after another, in succession.There may be slight variations in this process according to the sector, thetype of product being made and the in-house procedures of each mediacompany, but the general media production process has four stages:InitiationPlanningProductionCompletion
  4. 4. 36. BTEC First in Media: A Practical HandbookInitiationWhen you first think of the idea, you check its feasibility, using a SWOTanalysis, and then turn it into a finished proposal. You pitch (present) this toyour commissioning editor or client (tutor) in, for example, a PowerPointpresentation, in order to be commissioned (get agreement) to make theproduct. The initiation stage finishes when you get approval to make yourproduct.PlanningHaving been given the approval to make the product, you have to completeall the detailed planning needed to get the product made. It will includepreparing a treatment: getting clearances for acquisition and copyright,getting permissions for use of locations, planning how much time will beneeded in the production and completion stages, gathering productionpersonnel, and preparing production schedules and budgets. Theschedule should show an estimate of how you are going to use your timeefficiently.ProductionThis stage happens in three parts: pre-production, production (sometimesreferred to as content acquisition) and post-production.• Pre-production involves scriptwriting, having pre-interview meetingswith contributors, preparing to record, shoot and photograph theimages for the production, and creating shot lists and recording lists.• The production/content acquisition part of the stage may involveshooting footage on location for a television programme, recordingsound for a radio programme, writing copy for newspapers, magazinesand advertisements, inputting data for websites, drawing animationframes or creating graphic images.• Post-production is the editing part of the stage, where all the materialthat has been gathered in the production part is put together in the rightorder to make the finished product. In many cases it will take placeonscreen, on an edit workstation, but there are products that requirevisual craft skills to edit, so this work will take place in a design studio.An important part of post-production is reviewing material. This may bewith a client or an audience. The review will confirm whether or not thefinished product is appropriate and changes can be made as a result ofthe review.See pages 39 and 53 to findout more about SWOTanalyses.
  5. 5. 37.THEPRODUCTIONPROCESSTHEPRODUCTIONPROCESSCompletionYour product will probably have been created using an industry standardcomputer application (program) that isn’t available generally to the targetaudience or consumer. During the completion stage the product is turnedinto a format that is compatible with the means of distribution. In the caseof a TV programme it is copied onto Digital Betacam tape. A programmefor BBC radio needs to be sent as a BWAV or Broadcast WAV data file(they used to accept CDDA discs for programmes). Newspapers andmagazines have to be printed and bound to make them available to theirreaders. An interactive CD must be bulk-copied and put into a case withappropriate inlay cards and instructions. A website must be in a form thatcan be accessed by users with a basic PC, and a computer game must becapable of being played on a basic computer or on a games console.When deciding how much time to allocate to the different stages of theproduction process, you should bear in mind that the initiation and planningstages are probably going to take far longer than the production andcompletion stages. Within the production stage, it will take longer to write ascript than to shoot it, and the content acquisition part (filming, recording,etc.) will take less time than the editing part. In addition, you have to includethe amount of time that may be lost by equipment not working properly,people being late, and bad organisation.SummaryThis chapter will be a very valuable reference toolto come back to when you make your products.It represents a general view of the process thatmust be applied to every product you make.