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Lifecycle of a Video Production

Connecting all phases of a video project.

GENERAL NOTE: People sometimes want kinetic type or other motion graphics overlaid with the video services, so make sure you're asking about those prior to the proposal build because those are separate assets that will need additional time and an expanded budget.

1. Discovery/Clerical

Important note: This phase happens before creatives get involved.

Timeline: One-two weeks, depending on the client.

What This Phase Includes:

  • You'll have an initial discovery meeting with a potential client to figure out what type of creative work they're looking for, the number and length of the animation(s), any pain points they're looking to minimize, and what budget you have to work with.

  • If the animation work aligns with our values and the budget is within reason, you will write out an estimate and have leadership discuss and review before sending it out to client. Taking good meeting notes during the discovery meeting is important, as little details can greatly impact a budget.

  • Collect any documents relating to the project from the client or through research.

  • Gather any assets you may need for the project, such as vector logos, branding elements, etc. from the client.

  • The associate creative director (ACD) will write a creative brief during this phase. You will add your Monday timeline to the bottom of the brief.

  • Create a project timeline in with milestones for when you'll check in with the client: for any necessary storyboarding, script, client revisions, etc.

  • Schedule an official kickoff meeting with the client to go over info in the creative brief, to cover the timeline you're looking at for each phase of the project, to let them know when you'll need their input, and to make sure everything's squared away to move into pre-production. Have an agenda ready for this meeting and be ready to lead it.

2. Pre-Production

Important note: This is the planning phase of a video lifecycle, and depends heavily on your organization and communication skills.

Timeline: Usually the longest phase of a production lifecycle. 2-3 weeks, but sometimes longer.

What This Phase Includes:

  • Internal Kickoff - You and the ACD will kick off the project internally, covering the finalized creative brief, sharing any research or assets you gathered in the discovery phase, going over the project timeline, and answering any questions from the team.

  • Scheduling - You as a PM are in charge of all things scheduling. From talent to studio members to contractors, you need to be in charge of reaching out to everyone to line up a shoot date(s) that'll work for the whole crew. Use your best judgment to determine what communication method would work best to handle this: sometimes email is fine, but you'll usually need to call or set up meetings to get everyone on the same page.

    1. Make sure you gather as much contact information as possible from the client immediately after the discovery phase.

    2. Send introductory emails to anyone involved to introduce yourself, to explain the project, etc.

  • Research + Key Messaging - The Studio's creative team can begin researching + deciding on key visual messaging features of the video (stylistic choices, specific shots, etc.). This information can be gathered via Milanote and will be led by the ACD and lead cinematographer.

  • Storyboarding (OPTIONAL) - If needed, the Studio will collaborate with the client to create timed and/or segmented storyboards for video (include further specifics to the project).

  • Script - If needed, the Studio will work in tandem with the client to generate interview questions or a script to nail the high-level messaging of the video. If no script is needed, scene messaging can be written to describe a general theme/goal of a scene.

    1. Third Party Music: If this service is needed, then the hours estimated to manage (finding the music and giving the client options) this service are included in the estimate; however, the actual cost of purchasing this third-party product is not included.

    2. Third Party VoiceOver: If this service is needed, then the hours estimated to manage this service are included in the estimate; however, the actual cost of purchasing this third-party product is not included. 

  • Shot Listing + Prop Listing/Collection - Creation of detailed production list outlining process of production and needed photos/video. Studio will also purchase or collect all needed set items or props for the video production. Make sure to communicate in the original estimate whether or not props are included in the budget. If not, agree upon a separate expense for these and invoice after production.

    1. As a PM, you will be responsible for creating the shot list.

    2. However, always check in with the lead cinematographer and ACD, as they will most likely want to work in specific creative details for the shoot.

  • Asset Design/Development (OPTIONAL) - Creation of any kinetic type or motion graphic assets (sketching + digitizing).

  • Pre-Production Kickoff Meeting - Prior to the production date(s), make sure to schedule a kickoff meeting with everyone who will be involved in production. Discuss any and all scheduling details, the shot list, logistics of props and equipment, etc. Make sure any and all questions are answered before the end of the meeting to eliminate any confusion on production day.

3. Production

Important note: This is where you step in as producer!

Timeline: Varies depending on number of locations or size of project, but generally 1 day.

What This Phase Includes:

  • Video Shoot - Production team executes video shoot.

  • Your Role - You will act as a producer for the shoot, making sure all crew knows where they need to be and making sure everyone has what they need.

4. Post-Production (Editing Lifecycle)

Timeline: 2-4 weeks, depending on how timely a client is with feedback.

What This Phase Includes:

  • Culling of Footage - Working through the unusable footage from the shoot and sorting the usable shots + outlining the best shots for the sequence of the video.

  • First Cut - Rough cut of the video. Minimal additional graphic assets and corrective edits will be applied. This first draft is an internal cut only.

  • Second Cut - Creation of a semi-complete video; more corrective edits applied; timing and transition shots should be completely fleshed out and ready for client feedback.

  • Final Cut - Completely finished product, minus any minor internal tweaks that will help smooth and polish the final project. Should be color corrected, include any necessary VO, music, SFX, etc. Client feedback should be minimal and focused on very small revisions, such as minor changes to a scene's coloring or shot timing.

    1. However, always check in with the lead cinematographer and ACD.

    2. The lead cinematographer and ACD will most likely want to work in specific creative details for the shoot.

  • Internal Polishing of Final Draft - Includes minor corrective adjustments (grain filters, refining small movements, etc.)

  • Final Deliverables - Packaging and delivering final files for Client use. Includes any necessary modulations.