Creatively Corporate

Breaking Down the Video Pre-Production Phase: What You Need to Know

Breaking Down the Video Pre-Production Phase: What You Need to Know

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If you’re like most communicators, you’ve got the writing chops, but video is somewhat alien to you. Even if you’ve started your own video program, you don’t have the knowledge that comes with formal training in the craft.

That’s why I’m breaking down the three phases of production – pre-production, production, and post-production – in a series of posts to provide a basic education in video. For the first in this series, let’s start at the beginning – pre-production, when you’ll lay the ground work for your shooting and editing.

What Basic Equipment Do You Need?

Pre-production is the time you use to gather and prepare what you need to help ensure a smooth shooting process during the production phase.


  • The type of camera you use depends on your needs. For most communicators, a simple handheld camcorder will do.
  • Make sure the camera is HD. Most camcorders made today are, but just be sure.
  • Choose a camera with an external microphone jack.


  • Some people think they have a steady hand; they’re wrong. Invest in a basic tripod and you won’t regret it.


  • You need an external microphone to avoid the echo-like effect produced by a built-in camera microphone.
  • Types: Lavaliere, directional, and handheld.

Lighting (optional)

  • For simple, basic videos, this probably isn’t a necessity.


  • Do you have who you need to be in the video?
  • If it’s an interview, your subject(s) should be determined by now.
  • If it’s a conceptual video, begin recruiting as early as possible and ensure your ‘actors’ can be where they need to be when they need to be there.


  • If it’s an interview, have questions ready.
  • If it’s a conceptual video, make a list of the shots you want to take. Consider any voiceover audio you want to include as part of the video and what footage you will shoot for that.
  • How long do you want your video to be? As a general rule, corporate videos should be kept to a few minutes in length. Any longer and people tend to lose interest.


  • Go to the place where you’ll shoot.
  • Is the lighting good? Is it an aesthetically pleasing environment? Are there potential noises that could mess up your audio? Do you need to find an alternative location?

Other Prep Work

  • Send your questions in advance to your interviewee if he/she needs to think about the answers.
  • Check your batteries – Camera and mic.
  • Test your camera and mic. Listen for crackling or other noises from your mic.
  • Do you need cue cards?

I hope this gives you a good primer on the first phase of video production. Is there anything else you want to know about this part of the process? Let me know in the Comment section below.

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