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Lights! Camera! Action! Is Not the Whole Picture

June 28, 2010

Have you ever wondered how a video or film comes to be?

Whether it’s a film the magnitude of ‘Avatar’ or a quick video prepared for a relative’s anniversary, all productions go through the same basic stages. And, certain roles need to be filled in order to bring the production from concept through to completion. Depending on the scope of the project, either an army of people fills the roles or one person can wear all the hats.  As an example, here’s how we in Media and TV Production at the UBC Media Group typically move through the process.

Video production can be broken down into three main phases: 1) Pre-production, 2) Production and 3) Post-production. Our role as the Producer is to co-ordinate and manage the production of the video from the conceptual stage through to post-production.


The Client and Producer first meet to discuss and determine the audience for the video, what the ‘story’ is and how it is to be told. The Client introduces the Team or Liaison Person with whom the Producer communicates throughout the making of the video. The Client provides the Producer with as much background content information as they can in the form of an outline or rough script along with any pertinent research material. If it applies, the Producer works with the Client to formulate the questions that will elicit the desired information from the participants appearing in the video. From this information and the rough script, the Producer has the Writer fashion the first script draft.

The Producer and Client Liaison review the first script draft and the Client suggests changes and corrections. The script revisions are incorporated and then go back to the Client for approval. If more corrections and modifications are necessary, script revisions are done until the Client approves a final script. In the meantime, the Producer, in preparation for the shoot, organizes the Talent, Crew, locations and various other shoot requirements. Once the final script draft is approved, the shoot can proceed.

Production: The Video Shoot

The Producer provides a Director, a Crew, which provides visuals and sound, and equipment for the shoot. The Client and Producer usually collaborate in choosing the Talent. There may be an initial shoot where video interviews are collected to provide material with which to shape the script. Subsequent shoots are directed according to the final script.  The Client Liaison is present at the shoots to ensure that the content is correctly presented and interpreted.

Post Production: Video Editing

The Producer, in collaboration with the Video Editor, provides a rough edit of the program using the final script as a guide. If needed, the Producer arranges for a voice-over Narrator, chooses music and co-ordinates a Graphic Designer and Animator to produce graphics and animation. The Editor expertly melds together all these elements. The Client views the rough edit to ensure that there is no content misinterpretation or to make suggestions regarding the presentation of the material.  The Editor makes any necessary changes and then the Producer delivers to the Client a final finished edit of the program.

“To be prepared is half the victory”  Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

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