The Stages of Production
Documents are created in order to communicate what
will happen in the production. The documents explain
the five W's and H of the video:
•What is being created?
•Who is creating it?
•When is it being created?
•Where is it being created?
•Why is it being created?
•How is it being created?
The documents include:
•An Outline of the Idea and the Story
The Outline of the Idea & the Story
This is the process of writing down on paper what the
video is about. Is your piece a comedy? A Drama? Are
you interviewing someone? Are you documenting an
The outline should identify the main purpose/idea of
your video. It can be as brief as a single sentence or
even a few pages long; depending on the length of your
The script is a blueprint for
producing a motion picture. The
major components of a script are
action and dialogue, with the
"action" being "what we see
happening" and "dialogue" being
"what the characters say". The
characters, when first introduced in
the script, may also be described
visually. As well the script identifies
and explains the location and
setting of each shot in the film.
Script a short scene or part of
a scene. Make sure to include:
Ideas: Playing a game(video/sports),
cooking something, Scene at a party etc.
Storyboarding is the process of producing sketches of
the shots from your script. The end result looks like
comic book of your film (without the speech bubbles).
Why do it?
It helps you think about how your film is going to
look. You can work faster on set, and as pictures
communicate better than words it will allow your
camera crew to move their camera and lights, the
producers to foresee problems, the art department
to know which parts of the location are going to be
in shot, and so on. Even the actors will get a feel of
what they are going to be shooting!
The following are some things you should always
include in your storyboards:
• Graphic description of what takes place in the shot
• The direction which the camera should pan or zoom (use arrows)
• A list (below the sketch) describing what props will be needed
5-10 minutes to draw a basic
storyboard of an event being
Included on the storyboard
can only be the drawing, the
directional arrows for panning
and zooming and a brief list of
he props for that scene.
The amount of documents you create will depend on
the production. In news, simple outlines and scripts
are used because the production needs to get done
before the 6 o'clock broadcast. Movies use all of the
documents in order to have the production go a
smooth as possible.
Once the script is written, it is used to prepare for the
production of the video. This process is called
Preproduction. The producer uses the script to set up all
the elements involved in shooting the video. These
elements may include the Budget and the Timeline.
Also, the producer conducts a Site Survey and lines up
the players, calls the interviewees, reservers the
location and makes sure all the Equipment is ready.
Lights, Camera, Action. The Production stage is where the
filming takes place.
Before You Start Shooting
Prior to taking your first shot you must address the
following issues in The Production stage:
Get to know your camera. Read the manual! Also, the best
way to set up for the shot is to get into a routine. Try to set
up the camera the same way every time.
Most home cameras have automatic settings so you can
start to shoot as soon as possible. Most operators like to
have complete control over the shot and so they turn off
the automatic settings. You need to make a choice on
what you want to control and what you want to leave to the
Before you start filming you should make sure all of the below issues
Is the lens cap off?
Are you on manual, auto or infinity?
Exposure; is there enough light?
Do you have tape in?
Is the camera on?
This sets the camera to record either indoor lighting (tungsten light) or
outdoor lighting (sunlight).
Gain or AE:
These will boost the image in the camera to help with shooting in low
Tip: Automatic Setting: Most cameras have a switch that turns all or
most of the controls over to the camera. Most videographers turn this
switch to manual so they have complete control over the camera.
However, you may want to use it when you first start shooting.
Before going out, remember to ask yourself
"Do I have batteries and tape?"
Below are a few common steps for video taping a scene.
Survey the room:
Before you begin unpacking, look around the room. Decide on the
location of the camera and subject. Find a power source for the camera
- or are you using batteries? Where are the natural lights or are you
using your own lights? Is there an echo in this location? Are there any
other noises such as refrigerators or fans? Are the phones unplugged?
Place camera and subject. Place the lights and prepare the mics. Turn
the lights on and have the mics in place. At the camera, make sure you
turn it on and consider the following: Is there tape? Have I White
balanced? Is my Exposure correct? Have I set the correct focus? Test
the mics and check the lights.
Usually the master scene or interview is shot first. Then the close ups
and cutaways are recorded. Sometimes the close ups and cutaways
are called "pickups" because these are shots that are picked up as
you are leaving.
After the shoot:
Make sure all the equipment is put away and stored back in its place.
If objects were rearranged to make room for the camera and
equipment, make sure they are put back in their proper place. And if
doing an interview, thank the subject for helping out in the production.
The Producers Survey:
At the end, do another survey of the location to make sure nothing
was left behind or forgotten.
This term refers to the way the shot looks. What
images are placed in front of the camera? Where are
the images placed? What lights and colors are used?
These questions all go into making up the composition.
The Director of Photography called the DP, decides
what images will be within the frame.
The difference between a still camera and a video camera is
movement. As you shoot footage, you are able to move the
camera. Below are definitions and examples of the different
ways you can move the camera.
Zoom In - The lens of the camera moves in such a way as to bring the
image closer to the camera.
Zoom Out - The lens of the camera moves in such a way as to move the
image away from the camera.
Pan Right - The camera swivels to the right, causing the image to move
from right to left across the screen.
Pan Left - The camera swivels to the left, causing the image to move
from left to right across the screen.
Action within the frame - The subject moves within the frame and the
camera DOES NOT move.
Follow the Action - The subject is moving yet stays within the frame
because the camera is MOVING with the subject.
Where is it coming from?
Train yourself to look for the light. When you enter the area of taping,
look around to see your light sources. Also, look at your subject(s) to
see if there are any contrasts (bright and dark colors). Remember that
the camera has a hard time with contrasts.
The light source should be behind
The two images on the right are of
the same room but shot at opposite
angles. The top one was shot into
the light and bottom one is shot with
the light behind the camera.
What are they wearing? In a family gathering, there is not much
you can do. But if this was a shoot, we would try to have the
clothes be less contrasting. We would replace the stark white
clothes with more pastels. This will create a softer, less contrasting,
Before the production, questions are asked and answered in regards
to the audio equipment. What sound do we need - Interview,
background, ambiance? What mic do we need to bring? There are
mics for each of these.
Lav is short for a lavalier microphone. This is a tiny mic that hooks to
the persons shirt or collar. The mic is very directional and is used for
Handhelds are mostly used for news. They are held in the hand and
can be used during interviews or for stand up comments by the
Boom or shotgun mics
These are very directional microphones used to pick up voices or
noises. They sit on top of the camera or are held by the audio
person. Some people do not like the look of the lav mic and so they
will use a boom mic to record interviews or sound bites.
Wireless or Hardwire
Each of the mics above can be Wireless or Hardwired. The wireless
mics use a VH or UVH signal to transmit the audio back to the
camera. Hardwires use an audio cable to send the signal back to the
camera. Wireless allows for freedom of movement but may have
crackles and the batteries may run down. The hardwire ties the
subject to the camera but is the safest and cleanest sound.
Below is a general list of items to consider for audio:
The Mic - What microphone to use?
Mic placement - Where to put or hold the mic?
Cable or wireless - Does the person on camera need to be mobile?
If so, we use a wireless set up. if not, we use a cable to go from
camera to mic.
Lav or shotgun - Do we use a lav or a shotgun mic?
Purpose - What is the sound going to be used for? How is it going
to help tell the story?
The editing is done and now it is time to show your movie. There are
several ways to show your movie. You can record it to a video, a
DVD, CD-Rom or put it on the web. But since you are using a
computer to edit the piece, you must decide on the digital size of
your file and that means compression.
If you are outputting to tape, then you will have very little
compression. If you are putting it on the web you will need to
compress the data.
Which medium do you want to use to show your video?