24 August 2019 Pre-production

Researching in Pre-Production: Tips & Best Practices

Discover tips and best practices for pre-production research, from understanding your audience to budget analysis, ensuring your content resonates and captivates.

When embarking on a video project, pre-production research is as pivotal as setting up your camera. It's the backbone of your project, ensuring your narrative is compelling, relevant, and underpinned by facts.

A deep dive into research can be the difference between a mediocre video and a captivating masterpiece. Here's a detailed guide on researching effectively in video pre-production, with some tips and best practices.

1. Understand Your Audience

Before anything else, pinpoint who you're making the video for. Are they tech-savvy youngsters, seasoned professionals, or perhaps retirees looking for a hobby?

  • Surveys & Feedback: Conducting surveys can give insights into what your audience wants. Websites like SurveyMonkey make this easier than ever.

  • Demographic Data: Utilise platforms like Google Analytics to understand the age, location, and preferences of your audience.

2. Dive into the Subject

A shallow understanding can lead to a lacklustre video. Delve deep into the topic you're covering.

  • Documentary-Style Research: If it’s a documentary, interviews and firsthand accounts can provide authenticity. Consider reading books or scholarly articles to bolster your facts. The British Library is an invaluable resource.

  • Scripted Content: For fictional narratives, ensure that settings, characters, and dialogues are grounded in reality. Sites like JSTOR can provide historical and cultural context.

3. Analyse the Competition

Understanding what’s already out there can help you create content that stands out.

  • Platform Searches: Platforms like YouTube or Vimeo can offer insights into similar content. Look at what works and what doesn’t.

  • Feedback Reviews: Dive into the comment sections. It's often where you’ll find unfiltered feedback about what viewers liked or disliked.

4. Location RECCES

Your video's setting plays a silent yet crucial role. Research potential locations thoroughly.

  • Virtual Tours: With tools like Google Earth, you can get a feel for a place without even stepping foot there.

  • On-Site Visits: Whenever possible, physically visiting a location is unbeatable. You'll understand its vibe, lighting conditions, and any potential logistical challenges. This guide on location scouting can prove invaluable.

5. Trends & Tech

Stay updated with the latest in video production trends and technology.

  • Forums & Blogs: Websites like No Film School or Raindance can keep you informed about the latest gear and techniques.

  • Workshops: Consider attending workshops or webinars. They not only provide knowledge but also offer networking opportunities.

6. Legalities & Permissions

The last thing you want is a lawsuit on your hands.

  • Copyright Research: Ensure any music, stock footage, or images you use are either royalty-free or properly licensed.

  • Shooting Permissions: If you’re filming in public areas or private properties, always get the necessary permissions. This avoids legal complications down the line.

7. Budget Analysis

Money matters. Ensure your ambitions align with your budget.

  • Competitor Budgets: If possible, find out what similar projects cost. This gives you a ballpark figure to work with.

  • Cost-Benefit Analysis: Weigh the financial cost against the potential value or return. For example, is renting that high-end drone for a single shot really worth it?

Making Research Your Secret Weapon

Research in video pre-production isn’t just a step in the process; it’s the foundation upon which your entire project stands. With the tools and best practices at hand, you're set to craft content that resonates, informs, and captivates. Dive deep, be thorough, and watch your video content shine brighter than ever.

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Emily Malone

Written by Emily Malone Marketing Manager for Skeleton — a full-service video production agency that specialises in producing creative videos & campaigns that get real results.

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