Learning video pre-production

Video Making – Pre-Production, Scripting and Story-boarding

So you’ve chosen your camera and you know what settings to use to get a film-like footage. Now, before we start shooting the footage, we need to look into the pre-production of the video and do some planning, so that the shoot doesn’t fall apart.

Why Pre-Production?

Pre-production part of video making is  like defining a video, before it’s even shot. It helps you figure out exactly what you want in your video – all characters, every prop and how the scene or footage executes. Every aspect and topic that pre-production covers, ensures that:

  • The shooting is hassle free
  • Everything goes as streamlined as possible
  • You save time and money

Imagine getting to the shoot location after hours of driving only to realize that you forgot the batteries. It will just ruin your day and you’ll fall behind schedule. So trust me – having a checklist before heading out to the shoot location helps a lot. Make an equipment checklist and other lists and check them twice. Make sure to have enough batteries, tapes and other recording media to last for the whole shoot.

Script writing is generally the first part of the pre-production, because if you don’t have a story to shoot than how you’re gonna start shooting?

Script Writing

You can say script writing is the pre-production of the pre-production. There isn’t much to do in this other than making up something and think that this might result in a very cool video.

How to script a video?

After you know what you’re gonna do in your video and having selected your title break down your video into 4 parts:

  •  The Hook
  • Introduction
  • Body of the video
  • Closing action

The hook is the part where you tell or show the audience what your video is about. You’ll want your video (hook) to be short and catchy. You have only 5-15 seconds to grab the viewers attention so make it as interesting as possible. This is the part where the audience decide if they’ll stick around through the video.

The introduction is a bit longer than the hook, here you tell who are you and what is this video for?

The body of the video contains the contents of the video. The content for which audience is actually watching the video.

A closing action is where you conclude the video. Here is the time you guide your viewers for doing something – like buying a product, if it was an advertisement or subscribing to your channel.

How to write a script?

Writing a script starts with noting down every idea and thought you have or even brainstorming ain’t a bad option. Just pen it down on a notepad. And when ideation is over, revise your script and write it in a more concise manner. In starting it can look like:

Intial video script

Which after many revisions would look like:

Revised Version of a video script

You can go for the two column method with details about video in one column and details about the audio in the other. Here is an example.

Pre-production description of video and audio

So basically here you’d want to write everything down before you execute it. Script mostly tells you about what’s being said and not how a scene would look. Sometimes a script may turn out to be tough and difficult to understand then it comes the concept of storyboarding.


Every successful video, even a thirty-second commercial has a lot of pre-planning and a detailed vision behind it. Storyboarding is the visual representation or drawing and illustrations to represent the flow of the video. You make a storyboard before you start filming. It’s your map to film. You don’t need to have masters in arts to make a storyboard, it should be clear enough to understand the concept of who and what is going to be on camera. Your storyboard will undergo a lot of changes before actually filming it. Well, it’s much better to trash out all the crappy ideas before you film it, than after your film it.

How to make a storyboard?

They can just be like a comic book. Just three easy steps to follow:

  • Get a storyboard thumbnail sheet – This simple structure will help you put your ideas on the paper. You can easily download one from the Internet.
  • Create a short list – Here you think about the location, camera angles, framing and movement for each shot.
  • Create drawing of the shots – Draw it on the sheet, this will help you to see how your video will look like when shot.

Here is an example of storyboard thumbnail sheet:

Example of story boarding template


We learned about the importance of pre-production, how to write a script and making a storyboard. Now everything is planned and we are ready to head out to the location for filming our shoot!

Our next post in this series will be about the 5 C’s of cinematography and we’ll learn about camera angles. Till then happy story-boarding!

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