Scene 1, Take 2!

From Idea to Video

Making a video is a fairly complex process, and while it can be fairly stressful and take a lot of effort, it is also incredibly rewarding.  First, there has to be a reason or thought that sparks the creators interest, something they want to explore or discover and then turn into a video.  They take this idea and work with it, think about it, experiment with it, to decide how exactly they want to produce their idea.  This can and should require a good bit of effort and thought, as in my experience, it is likely the most important aspect of making a video.  Thorough preparation of a video is what makes it look best, as editing can only do so much for a video.  Of course the actual recording of video is what makes up the actual content, but if you don’t properly prepare for this, then the video won’t look as good.  The best way to improve this, then, will be to plan out more shots, or new ones entirely, then go back and record them.  Once this is done, along with all the editing and post production, you have your own final video, and the feeling of accomplishment that comes with it.


Pre-production of a video mainly encompasses everything done before the recording actually happens.  All the planning and script-writing, thinking through shots, discussion with people to fine-tune and develop ideas, and just about everything else you do before getting the camera ready to shoot a video.  According to a blog series on Vimeo, there are four main parts to plan: People, Place, Plot, and Purpose.  People is fairly straightforward, as it is the characters you focus on in a video.  However characters is a wide ranging term, it can me actual people being interviewed in a documentary, or in the Vimeo post the main character of the example video is a Winnebago.  Place is also a basic part of the video, but it can take a video a long way.  Making sure the location is relevant to the video and also works well for recording can make the video much more effective without to much effort beyond planning.  The plot is simply put the story, but in order to make it interesting you have to plan to ensure the video will have some conflict or overcome tension.  Lastly, purpose is a little less direct, but is important to keep in mind.  The video needs to be something people will care about and want to watch.  Purpose is linked with plot, because knowing what you’re trying to accomplish is what makes the video worth making, and therefore watching.

The Production Process

The most straightforward part of making a video is the actual recording.  Once you’ve planned your video, going out and actually shooting it is the actual making of the video.  While editing is also part of making a video, it is more fine-tuning, and is the post-production.  Some important things to keep in mind when filming a video are to make sure you know your equipment, so that you know how to get the shots you want, and then experiment with it to actual get those shots.  You also want to stay relaxed.  Making a video should be fun, so don’t stress too much.  From a more technical perspective, The Vimeo Blog has a list of different types of shots to make your video look cleaner and more aesthetically impressive.  An “Extremely Wide Shot,” which it also calls establishing, for example, literally establishes the scene, showing your audience the setting.  You can also get some closer shots, like a “Close Up,” or “Extremely Close Up,” to show more details of the subject or even one specific part of the subject.  There are also some other types of shots, like a “Cut In,” which shows an object the subject is using, and effectively using a variety of shots is one simple thing you can do to make your video look more interesting.


Post-production is the process of gathering all the shots you took and editing them together to actually make the video.  This part of the process can take up a large amount of time, and can require a lot of minor fixes and changes to get the video exactly how you want.  To edit my video, I used Adobe Premiere Elements, and it offers a large assortment of tools to add effects, transitions, text, and many other general edits I used to make my final video.  As far as putting my video together, I would say that transitions are the most important part of editing.  While being able to add text and music to my video is a huge part of the project itself, what actually brings the video together is the transitions.  According to Ronald Osgood and Joseph Hinshaw in “The Aesthetics of Editing,” a transition is “the fundamental action that advances a story line from shot to shot and scene to scene.”  What transition is used matters entirely upon the context of the video and its intended look, but the use of a transition links your story together and keeps it going, and is what turns the shots and recordings into an actual video, and a story.  While editing, and many other parts of the video making process, can be quite tedious, as it can end up being hours of work writing, recording, or looking at a screen, it is also quite enjoyable, and there is a huge sense of relief and accomplishment once your video is finished and ready to watch.

“Old Siemens Camera” by Andreas. Feature image provided by Flickr.


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