Rapid Video Production – Strategic Organized Chaos

By | August 20, 2015 at 8:38 am | No comments | Multimedia in Business | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

The creative process is often a chaotic one. An artist’s sketchbook is evidence of this chaos, filled with seemingly random images, ideas, and concepts. Rapid video production first allows this chaos to happen, then strategically funnels it through a highly organized pipeline, towards a specific goal. It’s sort of like throwing gasoline on a fire, then wielding it towards a desired destination. Having a creative idea, then forming a plan and executing it along a structured assembly line, allows for more efficient video production. The following is a simplified workflow for rapid video production.

Creative Chaos
Creativity is a fundamental building block of any video project. Most projects start with creative development. This is a brainstorming session where artists, directors, leads, and other stakeholders throw out ideas and debate the best solution for the project at hand. It is a very important step in a production. A particularly creative concept may allow the video to have more impact and more effectively deliver its message. This process involves a lot of push and pull, revisions, and often starting over from scratch. It is a stream of consciousness, spewing ideas onto the table without fully understanding how all the pieces might come together. It is effective chaos.

Creativity: A Time and Place
Personally, I hate revising a video after it’s nearly complete. Not necessarily because I believe the changes are unfounded. But rather because the change requests almost always come at the wrong time in the production process. This creates a waste of time, effort, and money, which could have been avoided. There is a time and place for creativity. Many change requests on a project are the result of creative ideas entering the project too late in the production. Had those concepts come up in the initial creative development, they might have been debated, revised, and evolved into a better solution for the entire video. These creative ideas arriving late to a project not only hinder efficiency but introduce a frustrating reality that the project as a whole might have been more successful had these ideas come to light at the start. Therefore, it is critical to exhaust the creative possibilities in the beginning of a project.

The Plan
Good creative development leads to a strong plan. Once all the ideas are out on paper and all stakeholders have weighed in, it’s time to compile those ideas into an organized script. We also develop a “visual outline”, which is a document detailing what visuals will accompany each piece of dialog. This could include direction to the technical team for how to accomplish the desired effect. Finally, a storyboard is a rough sketch of the entire video. It makes suggestions for layout or framing, camera moves, pacing, and details what characters, props, or environmental elements are present in each cut. The script, visual outline, and storyboard are critical to rapid video production. Each document should be reviewed by all stakeholders and revised or approved before production begins. This process allows for early problem solving, assures everyone is on the same page, and creates a blueprint for the overall production.

Asset Collection
After the plan is approved, the project manager should provide the client with a list of assets needed to accomplish the project. This list may include billable items that need to be created as a part of the scope of work. Or they may include items, such as logos, fonts, imagery, video clips, etc, that the client is responsible for providing to the production company. Collecting all the necessary assets prior to the start of production is key for efficient video production. This allows a producer to understand what tools they have to work with and if any alterations to the plan need to be made as a result. For example, the opening shot of an animation may call for a pan along a photo of the CEO standing in front of the office building, but no such photo exists. Therefore, the plan must be altered to have the photo taken, prior to creating that shot.

Technical Assembly Line
When you manufacture a chair, it goes through a lengthy creative process where it is designed and tested, long before it gets assembled in the factory. Highly trained technical workers then cut, weld, build, or assemble the various components along the assembly line. They exert their technical expertise to deliver the highest quality product. However at no point do they creatively change the concept or design of the chair midway through its production. An efficient video production pipeline works in a similar way. So creative development is complete, a script and storyboard have been approved, and all assets have been gathered. Now the video goes into production. At this stage, technical artists have the sole responsibility of advancing the production, through expert technical skills, to achieve the scripted result. At Rapid Eye, we have a proprietary pipeline, dictating how we pass the project from one artist of a specific skillset, to another. This pipeline is a thoroughly tested flow chart for how to most rapidly and efficiently move the project through its assembly.

Creative Problem Solving
The assembly process doesn’t completely ignore creativity. Artists must make creative decisions for how to technically achieve a particular concept or effect. A project may lead to unexpected problems, wherein it routes back through creative development to get around these roadblocks. The goal with rapid video production is to carefully orchestrate when a project moves between creative and technical development.

Rapid Workflow

It’s important not to confuse rapid video production with rushed video production. Appropriate time must be taken at each stage of production. My purpose is to advise on steps that can be taken to produce videos more efficiently. Over the years, I’ve had the pleasure of working with many clients large and small. Many came to me with challenging budgets and tight deadlines. I made it my goal to develop a more efficient pipeline for video production. One that maximized value by applying budget towards meaningful creative aspects, rather than wasting it on poorly orchestrated production. Through these techniques of rapid video production, we are able to deliver highly creative, more complex concepts, in the same amount of time and at the same cost as much simpler concepts.

Ben Young
Partner | Head of Production
Rapid Eye Digital




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