Professional Videography: What’s it all about?

Professional videography and video production technology have improved tremendously in the last few years. Digital SLR cameras, Mirrorless cameras, iPhone videography, iMovie, and even Youtube Studio allow amateurs to create high-quality videos. But what all goes into professional video production on a commercial level?

Nick Wells is our staff videographer and he does a phenomenal job with the footage and commercials he has created for Dogwood and our clients. Nick has more than 20 years of experience in audio and video production and continues to advance his craft every day. He attended the Art Institute of Atlanta where he earned his degree in Audio Production. Nick also taught himself videography and lighting as well. Videography is a lot more work than you think! Let’s learn together!

Pre-Production

A professional video or commercial requires pre-planning. Before the camera is out of the bag, our Marketing Specialist will work directly with Nick to discover the client’s vision, budget, time allotment, and overall feel of the final product. What footage, if any, is provided by the client? Where will our video need to take place? Are there any recording restrictions in that location? The creation and fine-tuning of the script is an art in itself. 

Once the plan is made the video shoot preparations begin. If possible, Nick will scout the setting ahead of time. He’ll look for sun angles, shadows, background noise, and any other details that could be detrimental to the shoot and need to be accounted for. Finally, he will prep his gear. Charging batteries, bringing the right equipment, and printing a large, easily readable version of the script (or we can use a teleprompter) are all parts of pre-production. Before you ever set foot on location to record, hours of work are put into the planning of your shoot. Nick knows from experience that all of this planning and prepping is crucial to creating the best products for his clients.

Production

Once arriving on location, Nick will make sure you are in the best setting to create beautiful imagery. In the photography/videography world, lighting is everything. Multiple diffusers and/or reflectors, also called modifiers, might be set up to account for harsh sun or shadows. 

The composition plays another important role in creating quality videography. Nick pays special attention to getting the best composition in-camera before he ever hits record. 

Unlike still photography, videography requires the manipulation of sound also. Those birds you hear in the background, that car driving by or the air conditioner kicking on can all be picked up by the highly sensitive microphones if not accounted for. Because of his experience, Nick knows to pay attention to these things. 

The actual recording time may only add up to a couple of hours because Nick has done the prep work and has the experience to get it right in record time. Once the lighting and audio are right and the footage is captured, the Post-Production begins.

Post-Production

Once the shoot has been completed, the first step is to back up your files. The old motto is “If it doesn’t exist in three places it doesn’t exist!”  Nothing is more heartbreaking than hours of work being lost to file corruption or accidental deletion. Staying organized is also key! Here is Nick’s filing system for one shoot.

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Rough editing begins next. This is pulling the best takes from the footage and stitching together the rough narrative. Placeholder texts, titles, and motion graphics are added next. Once a rough edit is complete, it is sent to the client for preliminary approval. Please understand that even though the above paragraph may seem short, this in fact takes up a huge amount of time if done right!

If the client requests revisions from the rough edit those are completed and returned again. If approved the retouching and color correction magic happens. This is where a professional video editor really shines. Take a look at some of Nick’s before and afters from our shoot in The Shoals.

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Here Nick was going for a warmer overall look. The subject also stands out more from the background after his adjustments.

Color correction and grading can really make a difference with landscape shots also. Color correction is making sure the skin tones are natural and the colors are accurate. Color grading is about creating an overall feel or style with the color.

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He also took the fuzzy fibers off my black shirt! This is the retouching part of post-production.

If you would like to see the final video from our shoot in The Shoals, you can view that here.

As you can see there is a lot of hard work that goes into video production. We at Dogwood have produced many commercials and videos for our clients. We would love to help you too! Let’s get the conversation started!

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