Week One Pre-Production

You are not currently logged in. To access this course page, log in via the link that was emailed to you when you registered for the course.

  • Further clarification of minute 13:00 & 15:00 of the second video: we’re not “casting” or looking for only fit, attractive people to feature in our films – not at all, we’re finding out what we’re working with and then creatively game planning as necessary. ie. if for any of the reasons mentioned in the video, if the speech or physical appearance of the main person will be distracting or in conflict with the subject matter, we can come up with creative solutions to lesson the distraction to the audience – via the way we light or compose our frame of the person during the interview, or maybe we plan to include additional interviews with other people in the story to lessen the on screen, speaking time of the main person, or we plan extra B-Roll shoots so we have more footage to cover the interview portions, etc. Whatever will honor the person the best and remove any hurdles the audience may have with connecting to their story.

  • John Cranman

    Thanks Chris, I know exactly what you mean about telling the same story twice. But I’m also a one man show so I’m glad you mentioned that towards the end lol. The last testimony that I did, the gentleman was the opposite. It completely threw him off when I asked him questions I didn’t send to him before hand lol. He had to get up and pace for a bit to process what I just asked him. For the most part he did really well with the questions he already had. But I think he was a special case haha. Good tips though!

    • Yea it’s always a mixed bag when dealing with people. Just when we think we have seen everything, we meet a person unlike anyone we’ve ever interviewed before. This is one of those situations where during a pre-interview the person doing the pre-interview might have been able to pick up on his inability to answer things on the fly and made a note of it. If I get the vibe that someone is going to be like this, I’ll make an exception and give them more information about what I’ll be asking them than I normally would to someone else. Also, this could be a yellow flag letting me know that I might need to start working on setting up an interview with a 2nd person incase his interview doesn’t go well – someone that shoulder some of the storytelling responsibilities incase he’s not the best on camera.

  • John Cranman

    I also tend to set up separate b-roll shoots on different days so it gives me time to ponder what they say in their interview in order to come up with ideas of what to shoot. I find that I have ZERO idea of what to shoot on the day of the interview, and I hate having to be confined to whatever is on the set at that moment, i.e.: a boring living room lol. Sometimes I like going to different locales from where the interview is to get better footage to help tell the story. I know many people may not have the time to set up different shoot days though. Do you personally try to get all your B-roll on the same day as the interview? If so, how do you know what to shoot?

    • The majority of the time I don’t shoot B-Roll on the same day as the interview (unless schedule or availability forces the issue). In those cases, this is where exploring those possibilities of B-Roll during the pre-interview comes in handy – so you can already have a list of potential things to capture, because it can definitely be hard to think on the fly immediately after you film the main interview – especially when you’re not sure what will make it into the final edit.

      I’d be curious to hear what everyone else does. Do you guys shoot your B-Roll on the same day as your interview?

      • Miranda Morey

        I am very new to the film making process, been almost a year now so all of my B-Roll have been on the same days as the film making. I also have a very small crew its usually me and the camera man. So I’ll admit I have done like you said before that I let my mind wander about upcoming edits and shots that I want captured while the interview is filming which has made me miss some details in the filming that I catch in the edit. But with this pre -interview pre- filming check list I think I will be more successful in paying attention to what is going on since I will have a better game plan set on what I want captured. These video lessons have been so helpful and has really got me thinking about my filming process!!

        • Awesome, so glad to hear Miranda. To truly make a great film where the process itself was also a great experience, it’s so important to just do one thing at a time so we can stay completely present in the moment. That’s why having others help us out & doing our diligence during pre-production is so important.

  • james cheek

    Very helpful! Thank you! I’d be interested to hear how some of you in the class go about ‘finding’ stories in your church. We love doing testimonials, but it always seems a common hang up when finding the story to pursue. There is plenty of us hearing a person in the church
    who has a great story and then pursuing it based off of that, but I’m always in search of a more proactive process. Every time I sit down and think through some stories when none have come to me in awhile I always feel like I’m grasping at straws at first.

  • Jessie Wilemon

    Hi my name is Jessie, my official title is graphic designer. Totally had to self teach myself the video aspect of my job 2 years ago when the new pastor wanted videos more than graphics. Luckily I had done some high school video editing before (2 of my kids have graduated high school now) and had created videos for fun with graphics and websites and presentations. So I had some idea to start with. I now know most of propresenter, and after effects now.

    We almost always use green screen for all of them. (The new Pastor loves green screens) I would love to be able to do more off site things but the church is just now getting used to doing video testimonies, meaning the congregation. Therefore I struggle with preproduction because the more people think about the big screen the more they chicken out. So I usually set up a day to come in as soon as I get the request for the video.

    I am the one man band. I use 2 church cameras and my personal close up camera set on site with tripods. (For youth I sometimes record with my phone as well to shake it up a bit.

    All of mine are 1 day productions. Ugh! This makes editing a nightmare sometimes if something was not right.

    People come into my green screen room and immediately get overwhelmed. So I do the pre interview by setting up cameras and turning them on before they notice I have turned them on. Then I discuss a bit about their testimony and what they want to discuss while I am taping. Then I ask them to talk to me a bit about themselves to lighten the mood. They don’t even notice that I specifically stop talking while they are talking so I can grab content. Then I do the official start by doing my audio tests without hitting stop and go on my cameras. I hate to be sneaky and so I usually tell them that the pre interview was recorded when I get done with the shoot. I have not had one complain about that yet.

    I really struggle with B-roll. As a matter of fact I had to look it up. So now I know what my weakness is. Obviously I am not a professional here. Would love some more input on B-roll and what all you do for that kind of content.

    • Hey Jessie, thanks for joining! Typically for B-Roll if I can, I try to schedule the B-Roll shoot on another day after I do the interview – or even better yet after I’ve done a rough cut of their interview. This helps me know what types of scenes would be helpful to shoot (ie. in the interview they talk about watching a sermon online & if that part makes it into the edit, I know I can go back and capture footage of them watching a sermon online and it will cut nicely into that section of their testimony).

      I know some people put a ton of time and production into B-Roll for their films, but for me I mostly react to what they talk about in their interview – and more specifically what makes it into the edited down film. Also, because interviews are usually sitting or standing (i.e. there’s no motion) I’ve found that often times it makes the edit feel way better if there is motion in the B-Roll to help make things visually interesting to the audience. Motion could either be with the camera (pans, tilts, dollies, etc.) or it could be with the subject material (the person walking, driving, doing “action verbs”, basically anything besides sitting still – cause they’re already doing that in your interview).

      Also, when it comes to B-Roll, often times, the “before” and “after” are usually more interesting. Going back to my previous example, if someone watched a sermon online and that’s an important part of their story, getting footage of them actually watching a sermon online while the voice over from their interview is talking about watching a sermon online is going to be pretty boring, but some how if you instead show them walking through their house with their laptop, sitting down, opening it up, typing into their web browser, etc. while their interview talks about watching a sermon online, it suddenly becomes more interesting to the viewer. It’s kind of like how I describe how narrative information helps make introspective information more interesting – it’s really doing the same thing, just visually.