Keeping a video production flowing takes a hard-working, collaborative team.
If you’re planning a production, there are a few documents that are absolutely essential for keeping the process organized and on track. We’ve heard plenty of horror stories from crew about shoots with video production companies that have a lax approach to documentation — call sheets not being sent out until 2am the night before a 6am call time, shot lists that were created on a whim at the last minute, missing contact info for unit producers and other film crew, and a lot more.
We were surprised when various crew and cast members complimented us on how organized and structured our documents and productions were compared to some others they’d been on. No one should really be impressed by that. It honestly should be standard. Communication is essential to smooth video production, and effective communication is enabled by structured and consistent production documents.
Key Production Documents
There are hundreds of call sheet templates available, so there’s no excuse not to have a call sheet in your video production document arsenal. It’s probably the most important document since it lists nearly all of the information for the production from call times, locations, contacts, parking information and much more.
Without a shot list, you’re basically just winging it. Planning your core in advance will keep your production on schedule and make the shoot flow more smoothly. The crew will be on the same page and can plan ahead for what will be happening next. If you’re inspired to grab some pickup shots in extra time, that will just be a bonus!
There are several benefits to storyboarding. During pre-production, storyboards enable creative collaboration between the video production company and the client. They also help the director and DP plan out shot angles, mood, and lighting. On set, storyboards are complimentary to shot lists and help make sure that you not only get all the shots you set out to get, but that the creative vision remains intact.
This might seem like a given, but even if your video production is a documentary or event, the script is at the heart of the story you’re telling – so just write it down! It’s so helpful when you’re on set, bolting from one thing to the next, and can take a quick glance at your script to make sure you’re capturing the full story.
There are many other docs that are needed and helpful on a production, but these are really the essential ones. Overall, these documents don’t need to be anything fancy. They just need to be functional and convey information in a way that’s clear and easy to follow! We’ve created our production documents based on what is necessary for our productions, but there are several great templates StudioBinder created that you can use.
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