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Last time we talked about the importance of outlining and scripting your video before you ever pick up a camera.  Along those lines, it can be super-helpful to engage in some pre-visualization of your video.  Today we’re going to talk about the kinds of ‘pre-viz’ everyone should do, most people should do, and some people must do.

Video Graphics For Everyone!

In our sample script last week, we called for a “Full-Screen Graphic”. If your video is going to have any graphics, even the most simple, you’ll want to design and get approval for them before you put them into your finished video.  Choosing fonts, color palettes, and styles can be a long process, and expensive without proper planning.  This is not to say that graphics are a cost center – rather, they can add effectiveness by reinforcing aural learning, and enhance production values exponentially, making your video look more expensive!  To keep costs low, discuss inspiration, furnish vector artwork, and review sample still frames early among your team and with your producers to avoid disputes or disappointment later.

Storyboards for some!

If you’re capturing footage, either planned or spontaneous, you’ll do well (in terms of saving money and improving quality) to have an idea of how you want to frame the action in-camera and on-screen. To do this, you’ll make storyboards. Storyboards are like comic books, a series of illustrations freezing the action in key moments as you’ll plan to record it. Having storyboards means you can schedule your shoot down to the minute – you’ll know where every actor, light, and camera position will be so you can move quickly and confidently on set. Even if you’re working with unscripted material, you can storyboard for contingencies, like how to cover conversations, car rides, and table-flipping fights. You will never be sad you had storyboards guiding your shoot, especially if money is an issue.

Animatics for the few!

Animatics are storyboards’ big brother. They are 2-D or 3-D computer simulations of what a shot or sequence will look like using (relatively) inexpensive low(er)-resolution animation. For those who have ambitious shots in mind, animatics are ideal – either to enhance a pitch to win the budget to carry them out in real life, or to plan the shooting to anticipate hiccups before you start, say, detonating explosives. This will maximize your ability to make an impressive video without maximizing your spending.

Next Time

Now that you’ve locked your script, settled on your graphics, and visualized your shoot, we can begin to talk about putting together your team in part 4. If you have any questions about how to make a video without wasting time or money, let me know in the comments.