MEDIA PRODUCTION TIPS, TRICKS, AND HACKS FROM A SEASONED PRO
I would like to start this post with a confession…
I am a media production junky.
I absolutely love what I do. Taking loose leaf creative concepts and turning them into visual reality is pure bliss. But, outside of this, there is literally nothing more enjoyable to me than browsing Youtube and Vimeo and finding a new release that is so impactful, that it will literally stay in my memory forever.
It’s this connection with a piece of media that drives something emotional in me, something primal. It is, at it’s deepest form, a catalyst for connection and social engagement. It’s something that we crave instinctively as human beings, and when we find it, we can’t help but share it with friends.
I’ve been searching for this formula for the past 8 years of my life. The formula to provoke this type of contagious interaction. I’ve wanted to find the formula for virality, and not just a formula to predict it, but a formula to create it.
Over these 8 years I have worked with over 60 companies, co-founded 2 successful media startups, and have continuously tried to enhance my knowledge and abilities in this ever-evolving field. I am sorry to say that I still have not found a concrete formula for vitality, but I have found a few tips that may help your next media production project flow like a well-oiled machine.
I’ve listed a few media production tips below in the hopes that they will help you create art that is impactful, effective, and free of organizational chaos.
3 Tips for Successful Media Production
Tip 1. Plan Your Production
Applying careful thought and consideration to every aspect of your production will greatly enhance your final result. This sounds like a no brainer, but I am shocked by how frequently I see a dramatic lack of planning from professionals who’s past work proves that they should know better. I still remember the first video camera that I purchased. It was a Canon 60D with a Canon 50mm f/1.4 lens and a RODE VideoMic. It sounded so incredibly professional to me at the time. I’m sure my friends we’re sick of me talking about it before the camera even arrived. Why? Because when it arrived, I stopped talking about it. In fact, I completely panicked. up to that point, I didn’t think about about any aspect of the project other than the equipment list. I felt doomed and over my head.
You don’t have to be shell shocked when it’s your time behind (or in front of) the camera. Instead, plan out the key details of the production before you ever get on site. Creating a storyboard, putting together a simple shot list, renting additional equipment, and reviewing all scripts with peers are a few simple ways to produce the best final product possible. These steps should be taken before you even think about rolling camera.
Another great time is to keep a production journal. This is where you write down important experiential information that can include how-to reminders and lessons learned firsthand. Remember, if you take the right amount of time to draw a clear vision for your production and equip your team with the blueprint to reach that goal, you will find it much easier to exceed your client’s expectations as well as your own.
2. Never Let a Budget Restrain Your Final Product
Great production concepts hardly ever originate based on the foundation of budget perimeters. So, once you have your mind-blowing video idea, don’t let yourself be discouraged by a lack of funding. Instead, try to figure out the most cost effective way to get the look that you want without spending the money.
There are limitations to this. If the motivation for your next creative breakthrough is based on something like bringing down the walls of Pixar Studios or making a GC flick that rivals Avatar, then I would encourage you to seek additional funding. If you want to keep your camera steady without spending $2,500 on a RedRock Micro shoulder rig, then I would encourage you to seek out the closet hardware store. PVC with a little creativity can make a very effective shoulder rig. Plus, replacement parts are much less that $60.00 a piece. There many of these money saving video hacks that can make a significant impact on your bottom line. There are quite a few resources available online to learn more about these tricks. A few of my go-to resources are nofilmschool.com and videomaker.com.
3. Share Your Work and Encourage Feedback
Congratulations, you made it. You have successfully transformed your creative vision into a shining example digital media wizardry. Your thorough planning has led to a seamlessly executed production.
Now what? Share it with the world.
It’s not enough to be open to receiving feedback and advice. I have learned that it’s actually something you have to ask for. The media production industry is saturated. This is by default. More than likely, you have a camera in your pocket right now that rivals my first DSLR. In the past 5 years we have seen a dramatic increase in the availability and popularity of “prosumer” HD cameras and the emergence of the "weekend warrior” videographer. While it is true that most tech-savvy individuals are carrying around an ad-hoc production studio on their backs, that doesn’t mean that they share your desire to acquire effective media production capabilities. Share your work with those who you know are more experienced than you. Share your work with those that are more talented than you. Receiving detailed feedback will benefit you much more in the long term than a few dozen likes to a Facebook post right now. But, remember. If your media is good enough, you won’t have to decide between the two.
What production tips do you use to get the most out of your work? Share with us in the comments below!