In this month’s continuation of the our 3 part series, Blueprint for Video Success, we’ll discuss some important tips for the video shoot itself and how you can be well-prepared for the big day.

But first, let’s do a quick recap of last month’s post, Part 1: Blueprint for Video Production Success, in which we give you some helpful tips on how to get the ball rolling on your video project. The key takeaways from Part 1 are:

  • Know your audience. Target your video to a specific demographic of customers.
  • Know your message. What are the key points that you want your audience to take away from the video?
  • Know your objective. What do you want your audience to do after they watch your video?

If you’ve followed these three points and some of our advice from Part 1, then hopefully you’ve selected your video vendor and are now preparing for the second stage, Production. And lucky you, you’ve already finished the most important step in preparing for Production…

1. Start with a Good Plan

Blueprint_smallA good plan will set you up for a low-stress, fun and creative shoot.  You’ll be making the best use of your time and capturing the best video possible.   A good plan is built on the three W’s – Where are we filming? When are we filming? What are we filming? Pretty simple – huh?  But it will make all the difference in the world for a smooth and successful shoot.

To create a good plan follow the steps below.

2. Pre-Shoot Meeting

Businessmen and businesswomen talking during a meetingOne of the most important steps you can take to prepare for a good plan and successful shoot is to have a pre-shoot meeting with your video production vendor before the shoot date.  This meeting can be in person or over the phone.  It will allow everyone to get on the same page in preparation for the shoot.  Make sure everyone has a copy of the script.  Talk about your ideas and vision of what you’d like to see as you go over the script.  Request everyone to voice their thoughts and concerns about the upcoming shoot day. By now, your video vendor may have created a Shot List of essential shots for the script.  Review the Shot List to make sure everything is covered.   This will be essential for creating a Shoot Schedule.

3. Location Scout

 This is commonly done during the Pre-Shoot meeting.  You may have one or multiple locations, so make sure you visit all of them.  If possible, arrange for your video vendor to scout these locations with you.   Their eyes and ears are tuned to potential problems and solutions.


One of the most often overlooked components of a shoot location is the sound. Is it loud? Are there any annoying sounds or constant buzzing from nearby equipment? You may want to ask around if there are any construction or maintenance projects planned nearby the day of the shoot.


 Another thing to consider are the lighting conditions at your shoot location. What type of lighting is in the room? Are there large windows that get direct sunlight (that changes during the day)? These are critical facts your video vendor needs to know to provide the highest quality production experience.

If your video vendor can not do the location scout with you, use  your smartphone to take pictures and/or video clips of the location. Send those to your video vendor so they can gain valuable insight about the locations.

4. Shoot Schedule (The Plan)

Next, you’ll want to create a Shoot Schedule for your program (remember the three W’s?). This is an important document, as it will tell you: where you need to be, when you need to be there, and what you will need in terms of product, props, materials, and people at each location throughout the day.  This will ensure the day goes smoothly and you capture everything you need. Remember, every location during the shoot requires setup, shooting, and then take down of equipment, so provide ample time in the schedule for each location.  Work with your video vendor to determine the “When” for timing of the Shoot Schedule.

5. Shoot

The day has finally arrived, and you and your team have arrived to the shoot fresh and ready to roll. Your first steps should be to grab the script and shoot schedule and huddle up with your video vendor. They will also have the shot list handy. In a short 15 minute huddle, go over the shoot schedule, script, and the shot list with your vendor.

The Shot List is critical for the shoot – it not only tells you which shots you absolutely must capture, but also lets you know how much footage you need to capture. It may even affect how you capture a certain shot; does this shot need to cover 8 seconds of script, or only 3? It may seem counter-intuitive, but a Shot List and schedule actually give you more freedom for creativity by focusing efforts on the critical shots early. More often than not, this means you’ll be using your time very efficiently which will allow extra time to play around with cool shots and ideas.

In the same vein, remember that a video project is a collaborative team effort. Speak up if you have an idea for a shot that you’d really like to see. As well, if you see something that you don’t like, let your video vendor know. We are good at what we do, but we are not infallible; even we miss things sometimes. Aesthetics are relative, and you may see something in a shot that is very distracting to you that we may never have noticed. Speak up!

If you or your colleagues are going to be on camera, show up dressed for video(Dressing for a Video Shoot) and ready to deliver your lines. Remember, nobody nails it the first time, so be prepared for multiple takes and have fun with it. If you need a break, let your vendor know. If you need a teleprompter or queue cards, make sure those are standing by.

Finally, and most importantly, BE FLEXIBLE and HAVE FUN!  You have a great Plan!  You have a Shoot Schedule and Shot List in hand.  With a good plan in hand, you’ll know where you are going and how to get there.


Now you’re ready to have a smooth, fun, productive shoot. Go have fun with it, and come back next month for Part 3, where we will talk about successfully navigating post-production with your vendor and how to most effectively utilize your new video. Until next time!

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