Lights, Camera, Action: A Guide To Video Production

You have your lights and your camera, therefore you’re ready to make a video right? I mean that is how the saying goes. Wrong. There are many different steps and things to consider that all go into the production of videos. This weeks readings highlighted those key elements that are crucial to high quality video production. The making of a video can be broken down into three broad categories: pre-production, production, and post production. We will look at the meaning of each of those categories as well as the components that make up each one.


Pre-production is the very beginning process of creating a video. This is where you need to gather all of your ideas and come up with a plan for your video. Every video needs to have a purpose. You need to be able to consider why you are making this video and what you are wanting your audience to gain or takeaway from seeing it.

Things to Consider:

  • Documentaries- These are meant to convey the truth, but there are 6 popular modes of documentary style that you can consider
    • Poetic
    • Expository
    • participatory
    • observational
    • reflexive
    • performative
  • Interviews- Are you interviewing people from your video and how formal do you want your interview to be? There are 3 main different types of interviews
    • Sit downs
    • Walk and Talks
    • Streeters or street interviews
  • B-Roll- B-Roll is the shots that help to connect the story together even if they aren’t the main focus. These are your cut-away shots. Adding variety will help to make your video more engaging and entertaining.

Once you consider these things and the mode of how you want to tell your story, this is where you would then storyboard your ideas.

Histoire d'imprimante 3DThe readings as well as our class discussions have explained story boarding as a mapped out plan of specific shots in order that you want to go into your video. This will help keep you organized when you have finished the filming process. Finally, check your equipment and you are ready to start shooting!



This is the part of the film making process where you are actually collecting your footage. In other words this is where you pull out the camera and film your shots. Since you already planned and story boarded you should no exactly the types of shots that you need to get. camera-man

Common Shots:

  • Extremely Wide Shot- Often used for establishing shots this gives you a full view of something to set the scene
  • Wide Shot- Encompasses the whole subject and some of their surrounding environment
  • Mid Shot- Closer to the subject so you can better see and and understand body language
  • Medium Close ups- Give slightly more detail on the subject than the mid shot
  • Close ups- Frame is filled almost entirely with subjects face. This is to get a detailed read on facial expressions and emotions
  • Cut ins- Shows part of the subject normally with a specific and important prop

Deciding which shots to use will help you decide how you want to tell the story and what elements of that story you want to focus on. While shooting you also want to make sure that most outside noise in under control and that you are shooting in the best possible conditions.  It is important to remember that everything in your shot is important as is the stuff just outside of the shot that doesn’t get included. You want the viewer to be able to understand why you shot something the way you did. Each shot should add to the video in some way that will only be amplified in the editing process.

Post Production

Post production is key to a good video. You could have great shots, but if they are edited and put together poorly then you will only have a mediocre video at best. The point of good editing is to make it seem as if no editing took place. Most of the edits that you make should look natural and go unnoticed by your audience.


Things to Consider:

  • Transitions- how the video changes from scene to scene or shot to shot. Can be a cut on dialogue, a cut on action, or a cut on the beat.
    • Jump cuts- This is an edit in which you pair to clips together let them go straight from one to the other. They lack continuity, but can still be extremely effective
    • Fade- black or another solid color that the video goes into before continuing to a new shot.
  • Continuity- Does the video flow together? Does it seem to tell a story in the most easy and effective way possible? Are there any part missing?
  • A Montage- Grouping unrelated images in hopes of producing a new meaning. This is often done with multiple pictures or videos set to music.
  • Music- Can help to move your story along while adding a level of emotion or tension. Choosing the right music is extremely important.

The post production phase is an intense one, but it is extremely important and rewarding. You want to make sure that each edit that you make serves a purpose for the most complete and professional looking final product.

Happy Producing!

Featured Images all from creative commons!



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