In video production, we design an audience experience for the duration of the film. It could for example be a 30 second Facebook clip or a three minute mini-documentary. In all projects, we are telling a story in a fixed amount of time. Time restricts us, but it also forces us to be more creative. Below is an overview of the “timeline” method we use to create video from scratch.
So when we start with a new project, the first thing we do is draw a timeline of the length of the video. This is the baseline of the entire video. There are fixed points in time. And for us, they are the beginning and the end of a video.
The next step is the actual concept. What is our story, our message? That is a completely different process but the end result will be the “storyline” for the video. On the timeline, we’ll add a block with narrative summary. Just in a few keywords, we describe the content and goal of the video. This might be the most important step to create video.
Every story has a beginning, a middle section and an end. If we add these ‘chapters’ to the timeline, we’ll get a better sense of the way the video will look at the end. These segments help to create video and communicate the key message. You could consider each of these blocks as a separate timeline if you really want to go into detail.
From this point on, we can start to think of scenes that would fit the key message at the right moment in time in the video. We might need some establishing scenes at the beginning to introduce main characters or concepts. There might be some key elements that need clarification or we would need define a context for the audience to understand.
Once the scenes are defined, we add a final layer of perfect shots. These shots are all based on the underlying layers and are a detailed description of the video. As such, they act as a guide for the actual script and storyboard. With this in mind, your could continue to add layers for different music tracks or sound effects. Perhaps even a layer for motion graphics or other visual effects.
From idea to edit
A trained eye might realise that this approach looks similar to the editing window in many of the video edit software packages. By starting the pre-production process in this way, we’re saving valuable time in the editing process. All shots are predefined, we’re not just filming and dropping shots to create video.
Since we have had a meticulous pre-production process, we can just select the the right shots for the final edit. Basically, we’re doing the edit before we actually start to film, that sounds quite like time travel without a flux-capacitor.