Making an informational video, what to prepare for?

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    • #47473

      Hi everyone,

      I have done lots of weddings and web-videos (talking heads), so I’m not new to video production, but I have recently been asked to help put together an informational video for a school. We’re doing this at a very low cost for them so I would like to be as prepared as I can be in pre-prodcution so I can deliver a great product with minimal production/editing time.

      It will only be a 3 minute video with a few talking heads and some action b-roll shots. It’s basically going to be used on their website to quickly bring some of the school’s highlights to the viewer’s attention. The point is to sell this school as a great place to send your kids.

      I understand this may be an “everyone does it differently” answered question, but because I’ve never done this I would some insight into pre-production workflows.

      Are there pre-production documents that I could use to assist my working with the client in piecing this together? Anything you’ve learned the hard-way (even contract-wise) which I could learn from you?

      Thanks for any advise!


    • #195621


      Primarily you need to be familiar with the material as possible. Next, you should have someone who’s an expert on the topic from the school to write the outline of what is to be taught. Once written, it will fall upon you to ‘clean up’ the outline and turn it into narration or an on-camera script. Make simple storyboards (stick figures are fine if that’s the best you can do) in order give your client a working look at the concepts. Doing so will allow you to streamline your shot list and build client confidence in what to expect.

      Contract wise, that’s a pretty big question but at it’s basic level put in only what you are capable of doing at the price you propose. Schools like churches have a nasty habit of pushing for far more than they pay for. Don’t get in too deep just because you want to help. It will lead you to trouble. Keep it simple and put everything in writing is the safest bet.

      Lastly, use as much of the local assets as possible (i.e. staff, teachers, students) to cut down on the cost of talent. The school will need parental consent forms for the students to appear in the video. That will apply to any students you use directly as onscreen talent. They should already have a blanket release covering students in crowds as they no doubt film their sports competitions, etc. Confirm all that stuff before you shoot a frame of video.

      Lastly, the hardest part will be getting paid. Unless it’s a privately funded school, it will most likely come down to you submitting a proposal and bid. You may end up having to wait for the school to go through the open bidding process. If someone comes up with a lower bid, you may lose the gig altogether. Should you get the gig, you may have to wait a considerable amount of time just to get paid. You can put in the terms of your proposal a payment schedule, but you’ll probably have to sign one of their contracts and go off their payment schedule whenever that may be.

      You can do deals with public/government organizations, but often it will be on their terms and schedules. Best to get all that out in the open and negotiated before you get too involved in the project.

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