1 in 2 Gen Zers and millennials admit they can’t imagine their lives without video. 96% of consumers agree the role of video content has increased since the pandemic outbreak. There’s no better moment to start with video production.

With that in mind, you’ve finally decided to create your first videos.

Where do you start? How do you make a quality video without spending a fortune? How do you avoid costly mistakes? Where do you get video production gear?

A decade ago, you’d need to turn to a team of professionals to help you to deliver a quality project. Today, the market is full of various resources and easy-to-use tools allowing everyone to become an expert in video production.

Ready to take your first step towards making good video content? Read on.

What’s video production?

Video production is a complex process involving planning, execution, and editing video content. Basically, it’s every action you take from coming up with an idea for a future video to making the final cut.

Video production process

Whether you’re working on a 1-hour video tutorial or a 60-second TikTok clip, the production process will be very similar. It always includes three stages: pre-production, production, and post-production.

Pre-production

The success of your project is determined long before you hit the ‘record’ button. The more attention you pay to each step of the pre-production process, the less time and money the subsequent video production stages will take.

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Research

When you get to the video production process, you most likely have an idea of what exactly you want to film.

It can be a customer story that will be displayed on your site, a DIY tutorial for YouTube, a comprehensive Udemy course, or anything else. Next, you need to identify your target audience and decide on your tone and mood.

Try to answer the following questions:

  • Who is this video for?
  • What’s your message?
  • How do you want it to be perceived?
  • Are you already on the same page with the audience?

The answers will form a strong basis for you to build the whole story on.

Creating a storyboard

A storyboard is a sketch of a video sequence. It helps you to outline the story, plan shots and transitions, and identify where B-roll footage should be included.

B-roll footage is any supplemental video or image that’s intercut with the main shot. It’s used to provide context to the story that’s being told by the main character.

Some professionals prefer to visualize their videos after preparing scripts, but we believe it’s impossible to create a detailed script before you have an idea of the planned shots and B-roll footage.

Pick visuals and digital graphics that you might refer to in the video, search for references in other videos, choose audio and sound effects – prepare everything that might fit in the story.

Preparing a script

Regardless of the length and the format of your video, you should script it.

This is the most important and complicated part of the pre-production process. You can spend a day writing a 2,000-word script to eventually discover it takes only 15 minutes to read it out loud.

Most importantly, your script isn’t just what you’re going to say in your video. It also includes the direction for the actions you’re going to perform, context for filming scenes, hints for the editing process, etc.

Mind that we don’t speak the way we write. It’s tempting to write long, complex sentences, and you’ll need to make an effort to keep things simple.

Read every sentence out loud. Does it sound natural? Make the necessary changes and read it again.

When you start working on your script, consider every cut you’re going to make. Are you going to layer any visual elements that will illustrate the point you’re making? Make sure that your script aligns with everything appearing on the screen.

Mapping out the timeline

When the final version of the script is ready, read it aloud for the last time with your storyboard and ideas for B-roll footage in front of you.

At what point does B-roll take place? Do you need to make any pauses? Do you want to record voice overs? Where should you include them?

If you’re making a lengthy video, you can’t expect to make no cuts. Keep that in mind during the pre-production process and break up your script accordingly. Mark sentences or paragraphs that should be delivered directly into the camera as well as the ones that could be read as voice overs.

Take notes on all the transitions that you need to adjust your acting to, and you won’t need to go through the reshooting process.

Checking on equipment

Finally, it’s time to prepare your gear.

In one of the further sections, we’ll cover the must-have equipment for every video producer in detail. Refer to that list when collecting your video production toolkit.

Besides the equipment needed during the production process, you’ll need to evaluate tools that will help you at the post-production stage. Based on your storyboard, you can figure out what functionality your editing software should offer for you to easily add layers and transitions.

Do the research before you move on to production so that you discover all the limitations of the tools that you can afford and consider them when producing the video.

Production

Now, you have a plan and understand how the story should unfold. Next comes the filming process.

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Building a video production setup

It’s best to have assistance before and during the shooting process – a crew that will help you to set up the lighting, prepare locations, and control the workflow.

When setting up the sound, video, and lighting equipment, don’t sacrifice the quality. Visit your location ahead of time and consider all its peculiarities. For instance, the natural light caused by beautiful sunshine won’t be there in a few hours, and it will affect your lighting significantly.

The natural light might cast unwanted shadows – adjust the position of your camera and lighting to prevent it. Make sure you have as much control over your setup as possible.

Creating a video

Shoot the same scenes several times from different angles. After the video is ready and you get down to the editing process, you’re sure to notice issues that can only be solved by making jump cuts. But you can hide them by switching to a side angle.

If you need to capture B-roll as well, do it on the same day to ensure similar lighting and quality of the content.

Create as many shots as you can to facilitate the upcoming process of video editing.

Double-checking the first version

The first shots will have a lot of flaws.

It can happen that the microphone isn’t set up properly, and the resulting sound is of poor quality. You might also notice that your voice is robotic or you’re touching your face too often.

There are plenty of tiny issues that you can identify and prevent by looking through the very first shots. Don’t miss this chance to save your time and money.

Post-production

You have tons of shots that should be edited and stitched together to form a quality video.

The moment of truth has come. At this stage, you’ll see the results of the pre-production and production processes.

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Editing the raw footage

Finally, you can pick the best takes, compile them, and upload them into your editing software. Since you should have chosen an editing tool at the pre-production stage, you’re already familiar with its features and limitations.

The first round of editing typically includes the following steps:

  1. Import and sort footage
  2. Watch and mark selected footage
  3. Cut clips
  4. Line up clips
  5. Align clips with audio

Sorting your footage before you put the best shots on your timeline is a tedious task. But it saves many hours that you might spend in the future trying to find a certain clip that’s not named properly.

The first cuts won’t make your video look perfect. The resulting clip is just a rough draft that’s almost ready to turn into the final product.

Adding visual elements and effects

It’s time to add transition effects, insert B-roll, and apply color corrections. This stage is also referred to as the final cut.

When the first version is mostly assembled, you clearly see where titles, transitions, and B-roll should be added.

After you’ve cut your video files and arranged all the graphics, you should also polish your audio.

Fine-tune audio

Fine-tuning audio is the trickiest part for people who have no experience with video production. While there are plenty of affordable tools for video editing, However, with a quality microphone, you won’t spend much time on sound improvements.

To ensure flawless audio quality, you can clean up noises and adjust the volume for free with iMovie (Mac) or Audacity (Mac, Windows, Linux).

Also, using background music is a good way to cover up any audio snips and set the feel and tone of the video.

Video production equipment checklist

What equipment do you need for a successful shooting process? Below are 6 tools every video producer needs.

Tip: To save time and money you might spend on purchasing ideal video production equipment, rent your gear through the UpSpot platform. Our partners offer a wide range of photo and video tools, including cameras, lenses, audio equipment, lighting setups, and tripods.

Camera

Obviously, you need a good camera to meet the expectations of your viewers.

Should you choose a high-quality cinema camera, a small camcorder, or an iPhone? The choice depends on your budget and goals.

The last generations of smartphones cope perfectly with recording quality videos for social media, testimonials, or vlogs. For interviews and comprehensive online courses, it’s better to choose DSLR or even a professional-level mirrorless camera.

Tripod

This is probably the best investment you can make in your video production setup.

Tripod allows you to stabilize the camera and keep it focused on the subject. Video shaking or wobbling looks unprofessional and hurts the quality of your content.

Teleprompter

If you’re making a video where someone speaks on camera, you can’t go without a teleprompter. The good news is you don’t have to buy it.

You can easily build a DIY teleprompter setup with your laptop and a chair (or a pile of books). Find a teleprompter app online, position your improvised setup right under the camera, and you’re all done.

Lighting

We’ve already said it, but here’s a reminder: avoid relying on the natural light.

Regardless of the tool you use for recording videos, lighting will help you to increase the quality of the final product.

Three-point lighting is the most common lighting method that includes three main light sources: key light, backlight, and fill light.

  • The key light is the primary light source that shines directly at the subject.
  • The fill light helps to balance the key light by filling in the shadows caused by the key light.
  • The backlight is the background light source.

Microphone

Cameras, camcorders, and phones record audio, but they’ll never deliver the same level of quality an external microphone will.

Even the cheapest solution – which is recording sound with your headphones connected to your smartphone – delivers more solid audio than any camera does.

The best mic option for beginners is a lavalier microphone, which is a small wired mic that clips to the subject’s collar or lapel. It’s useful for a variety of content types, including tutorials, interviews, presentations, etc.

Editing software

Editing software should also be included in your budget. There are free editing tools available on the market, but none of them allow you to develop and export professional-looking videos.

When choosing the right editing program, consider the following aspects:

  • Video quality. Can you export your videos in HD?
  • Audio. Can you edit and mix audio? Do they offer an audio library?
  • Layers. Can you add and adjust layers?
  • Visual elements. What are the options for adding texts, images, or graphic elements?
  • Interface. How intuitive is it?

How much does video production equipment cost?

There’s no upper limit to the cost of video production. When buying new equipment, it’s easy to break the bank.

Let’s do some calculations:

  • A tripod for a professional camera is priced between $150 and $3,000.
  • Prices for cheap 4K professional cameras vary from $1,000 to $3,000, but you might also need to pay an extra $500-$2,000 for a lens.
  • The average price for a studio lighting kit is $200.
  • A good microphone won’t cost less than $199.
  • Video editing software may cost between $20 and $299 per month.

You can invest thousands of dollars in your first video production setup to figure out it doesn’t meet your expectations. Moreover, production equipment costs easily add up when you’re not experienced enough.

Try renting your gear first. Save your money and get the gear that fits your needs. This way, you also have a chance to try out tools and understand what exactly you need before you buy a $10,000 package.