Brand film

At this point, you’ve already done your market research, analysed your competitors, established your USP and identified your brand personality. You have also come up with your marketing plan and established the right KPIs to measure the effectiveness of your strategy. The next step is the actual production of your video. 

Shooting a brand film is broken down into three phases: pre-production, production, and post-production. Keep in mind that videos can be time and resource-heavy to produce, so it’s best that you have everything in order before proceeding to prevent any delays.

Pre-production

Plan your production

During pre-production, focus on getting the logistics down pat. If you have an in-house team, this phase may require little to no intervention from you, but if you’re working with a video agency, you will want to work closely with them to make sure they are going in the right direction. 

Pre-production is all about logistics. Whether you’ve got an in-house team or are working with a video production company, you’ll want oversight of where the budget is going and what is happening when. For larger more complex shoots, this will be the job of the producer or production manager (who will basically act as project manager). 

Animated brand video will have different requirements but all the same considerations. You won’t need to find locations for animated videos but you need to consider the world in which they exist. The actual animating is the expensive part of the process so you need to think about script, characters, set, lighting, texture, movement, mood/colour etc. in much the same way as you do for live action – well ahead of time – before you start the actual animation process.

The pre-production phase includes these stages:

  • Storyboarding and scriptwriting — These will help give you (and everyone in your team) a better idea of how the video will be shot at every scene, as well as the storyline to be followed. Storyboards resemble comic book panels, only this time, it also details the transitions, visual effects, background music, framing, and colour gradient.
  • Scouting locations or sets — Pick the right location, but make sure it fits your budget. If you’re working with a limited budget, you can opt to shoot at your office, your home, or somewhere nearby.
  • Legalities — Permits, health and safety regulations, licences, and all the legalities involved also need to be sorted out. This goes for location shoots, as well as securing the licenses for any songs or music you’ll use.
  • Hiring talents, actors, crew — Scouting for talents, actors, or extras would take time, as you may need to hold auditions. Depending on your video scope, you’d also need makeup artists and additional crew members to handle the entire production.
  • Production management — If you’re shooting a live film, you will need props, wardrobe, and equipment. Have a dedicated production manager to handle all these.
  • Creating content assets — This is especially important for animated videos, as you need to know beforehand any graphics that you need to create, so you can factor in the time needed to create all of them. 
  • Scheduling — Whether you’re shooting on one site, or in multiple locations, plan the schedules wisely, so you’ll have a realistic timeframe. Coordinate with everyone involved, so they can block off their own schedules. 
  • Directors prep & shot list – every shot on a film shoot is planned, considered and sometimes blocked and rehearsed ahead of time. Production is the most expensive part of the process, once you have the camera’s out you can’t afford to run over or miss getting the shots you need by not being prepared. 

As you can probably tell by now, shooting a brand film is a complicated affair and working with a video production agency will mean things like sourcing talent and sorting filming permissions is dealt with.

Note: Always have a Plan B (and C and D) in place, as there are things that can happen that are out of your control like weather disturbances, illnesses, scheduling conflicts, etc.

Production

The camera crew take the reins

You may want to be present on set but you should leave the process of filming to the director and the crew. After all, they are the experts. You also have the script and storyboard to refer to, so you can be assured that everyone will stay on track. However, do expect the director to ask you questions while filming is in process.

Various roles in the production process include:

  • Directing — The director is ultimately responsible for the content shot. They will get all the footage that’s needed to execute the storyboard and script. Most of the time, they will have the final say when it comes to creative decisions. He/she works closely with the DOP (director of photography) and/or camera operators to ensure that he captures the shots needed. He will be supported on larger shoots by the 1st/2nd/3rd AD (assistant director’s) who will liaise with the production team, crew and talent to ensure everybody is where they need to be, when they need to be there.
  • Art direction — Often working hand-in-hand with the director, the art director will be in charge of the props, styling, wardrobe, and all the details needed to make the video look the way it’s intended to look.
  • Production management — Someone should be in charge of making sure everyone—from the crew to the actors—show up at the same time and in the right location. If needed, they will secure accommodations and travel details for everyone involved. 
  • Photography — Take behind-the-scenes photos, as these can be more content that you can share on your site and/or your social channels.
  • Lighting and sound — Lighting and sound systems can make or break the entire aesthetic of the video, which is why video crews will usually include lighting and/or sound engineers.

Post production

The final steps

It’s said that you get to craft a film 3 times, firstly when you write the script and storyboards, then in production when you shoot each scene, and finally when you pull it all together in the edit. 

In post production, the video team will look at all the shots and footage that were taken during the production phase, and edit it all together to create a story that follows your vision. It is the job of the director to make sure that there is enough footage for the editor to do his or her job.

The post production phase includes these stages:

  • Editing — The editor will be at the helm of stitching together all the footage that they have gathered. You can also get involved in this stage to check each sequence and if you want to make any changes.
  • VFX — Whether you’re working with an animated or a live video, visual effects can enhance the look and feel of the final product. At this stage, the editor can add different techniques like typography, logo animation, edit backgrounds, add props, and many more.
  • Sound and music — Background music and other sound effects that were picked during pre-production phase will now be edited into the final output to set the pace of the entire video. Sound and music are enormously powerful in elevating the quality of a piece and providing an extra level of emotional involvement. Investing in a good sound mix/design and great music can make the world of difference to the final output.
  • Voiceover — If needed, the voice over will be added once the video is at its final editing phase.

Colour grading — A specialist will pick the right colour grading that would fit the video’s story and make sure it remains consistent for the entire film. If you aren’t applying any color grading to either your photographs or motion work, you are potentially missing a vital part of the process of finalizing your video. Color grading can have the most impactful influence on work once it’s been shot. It has the potential to elevate a good image to great, or a great image to outstanding.

QUICK CHAPTER SUMMARY

  • The process of shooting a brand film is composed of three phases: pre-production, production, and post production.
  • Pre-production involves storyboarding, scriptwriting, scouting for locations/sets, securing permits and licences, hiring actors and filming crew, managing props/wardrobe, planning out all graphics that need to be created, and coming up with a realistic timeframe.
  • Production phase includes directing the entire video, art direction to make the set/location come alive, managing staff and actors, photography, as well as light and sound.
  • Post production phase involves editing all the footage into coherent sequences, adding visual effects, editing background music, adding voice overs, and colour grading.