What Does an Initial Video Production Plan Look Like?

Don’t be fooled by the word “initial” here. Depending on a variety of factors, you may only have one version of the production plan, although usually there will be at least minor adjustments along the way. The production plan, along with storyboarding is one of the crucial elements developed during the pre-production phase that ensures everyone is on the same page, and that there will be no surprises.

The Production Plan

The production plan lays out the basic timeline for producing, editing, and delivering your video, just as the storyboard lays out how your video will look. Video production companies will take some time creating the production plan to ensure they’ve covered every base. For example, if your video will involve animation or motion graphics the company will need to consult with the graphic artist to get a base timeline for completion. This doesn’t mean that a delay with this element will delay completion of the project indefinitely. In many cases, a graphic can easily be inserted into the video, so there’s no reason the rest of the editing process has to be delayed.

Scheduling

The production plan details everything that happens before and after your shoot

The production plan details everything that happens before and after your shoot

Scheduling is a complex process, and it can take some time to line up everyone who will be involved in the shoot. If you’re talking to a video company and they say: “Sure, we can shoot that next Wednesday!” it may be a red flag. If you’re doing a relatively simple video in your office, or the company has a studio with a green screen handy, as we do at Hencar, and you’ve already done a basic script yourself, then this might be doable. But if you need anything more complex, expect it to take some time to pull together.

An experienced video company might be able to give you a loose production plan during your first meeting, but it’s important to understand that some elements may change. For example, depending on prior commitments to other projects, the company may be able to give you a five-week guesstimate for completion of the shoot and edit (of course this will also depend on your schedule). But if outside players such as onscreen talent, an operator for aerial photography or the director aren’t available, the schedule may have to be adjusted.

Once The Shoot Is Over

The production plan is a little more solid at this point. A good production company should be able to give you a fairly firm estimate for how long it will take to edit the video. They will usually have an editor in mind, and if needed they will consult with that editor to get a good estimate of how long it will take to finish the project before giving you that information. Options such as delivery services will also be fairly easy to pin down, as this is a relatively straightforward, though not always simple, process.

How the company presents the production plan will vary, but usually it will be in a format that’s fairly simple for anyone to understand. This is because a lot of people, not just you, will have to look at it for reference. A thorough company will share the plan with all of the key players such as the director of photography, editor, and anyone involved in delivery to ensure they’re on board with plan and have no concerns about fulfilling their part of the project.

Here’s How an Initial Production Plan Might Look

Production Plan for Bob’s Big Gaskets

We’ve included some variables that may apply to the video you have in mind, such as casting and graphics. All of the variable factors are set off in parentheses. As you can see, it takes time to plan, shoot, and edit a good video, so you need to factor that in if you have a deadline for getting a video completed. In this example, we use red to show the elements that the production company is solely responsible for, and green to show areas that require client participation as well. While it may look like the production company isn’t doing much some days, remember they have other projects and clients, just as you do.

The Presentation Style Will Vary by Company

The most important thing is that all the relevant information is delivered in a way that’s easy to understand. Ideally this will be presented in a face-to-face meeting, so that the company can answer any questions you may have, but the company should be ready to make any clarifications needed at any point. Make sure you ask about the production plan early on when researching video production companies. Hencar and other reputable companies will be happy to give you one. If that doesn’t happen, you should consider finding another company for your project.