Having a great idea is one thing but getting it off the ground is another. A lot of times, once you’re moving you can get on a roll but you need some initial planning to get things started.
This is a quick method to start planning your videos, quickly and easily and then track your process from start to finish. It’s also a great way to trigger thoughts about what is in your video and prompt you to have more ideas as well as prioritising your shots.
The basic idea is the break your video down into parts so you plan each section, use columns for your A and B roll content, then break that down into columns for your time/locations/cameras, enabling you to plan when and how you’re going to shot each part.
Since you think about your video in a linear sense, write that down first in it’s most basic, high-level form. “Intent and obstacle” or “setup, conflict and resolution” or even just “start, middle and end”, whatever you prefer.
Then using that, think about each shot you need to get that content, write that out in each of the following columns for the camera/location/time. Then just keep following those thoughts and ideas until you’ve flushed out your whole video.
The perfect plan
Then the trick to getting the perfect plan is to leave it for a couple of hours, do something else then come back and re-read through the whole plan. Does it still make sense? Is anything missing?
Once you’re happy you’ve got everything covered, reasonably happy, you can prioritise.
Prioritising the shots
Once you have all your video blocks broken out into cameras, locations and time, you can then use that as a checklist to capture each shot. You also now have the opportunity to prioritise the shots you must get, versus the ones you want to get, so while you’re out shooting, if you run out of time, you’ve still got a video you can make.
Plan your kit
Before you head out and now that you’ve figured out all the shots you want to get, and you have a list of cameras, you can add another column for your kit. List out everything you will need to pack so that you don’t forget anything.
…you now have a blueprint to following in your editing.
Then once you come back from shooting, you now have a blueprint to follow in your editing. You’ve got a list of all your shots and you can arrange your content in your editing suite to match.
Review and re-editing
As a little added bonus, you can now also use the same method to review your video and track changes for editing. I’ve found it’s all too easy to get lost in your edit by reviewing and editing in the one step as you go.
I prefer to instead upload the video to my phone or iPad, watch it in a way that your audience would and then add a task to my Trello board for each thing I want to change, for example, “2:13 – Fix dodgy transition”. That way I can keep watching to keep the flow of the video going and then go back and make all the changes at once.
This is particularly good if you made a lot of changes late into the night, you can then watch it back the next day and write something like ‘1:15 – what on earth was I thinking!’. Also if you’re like me and doing this on the side, you can review during your lunch break when you don’t have your edit suite with you and then make the changes when you get home.
Because if you don’t write that idea down, it’s gone!
I use Trello for the board but you could use anything, even PostIt notes. I find Trello really easy and it’s free but the biggest advantage is that the mobile app is really good as well. That way you can edit your plan on the fly or if you have an idea while you’re out and about, you can write it down. Because if you don’t write that idea down, it’s gone!
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