Cooking a video – Part 1: Planning

I love to cook. I love to edit. I love to connect things that I love and stretch metaphors to their very limit.

When it comes to making video, there are three primary phases. Just to be confusing, I suppose, film people long before my time started using the word “production” to mean both the overall act of making video and also the phase that revolves around gathering assets (typically video footage, but sometimes photos). Prior to the production phase there is the appropriately named planning phase called “pre-production” and at the end of the process, there’s the manipulation of assets into a cohesive piece, and yes, it’s called “post-production.” That’s probably not new to a lot of you, but have you ever considered how closely cooking parallels making videos?

Step 1: Planning
Pre-production is always kicked off with brainstorming, even if it’s you and a friend drinking coffee and one says to the other “someone needs to make a how-to video on risotto.” If this, or a similar situation occurs, then congratulations, you’ve officially entered pre-production.

A good meal (the overall experience, including people and atmosphere) requires a good menu (the actual food being served), and that, of course, takes planning. You need to ensure that every individual recipe you use is a good one, but don’t lose sight of the big picture. The entire meal needs to be both harmonious and thorough. Mashed potatoes and chutney are good on their own, but probably won’t mix into a harmonious whole (I dare you to prove me wrong). The best bread in the world alone won’t make for a very thorough meal.

The same principle applies to video. A dramatic change in lighting style, camera style, or format during the piece will hurt the harmony. The best interview in the world will not feel thorough without b-roll to cover the cuts and visually illustrate the topics.

Chefs meticulously pair the protein with the beverage, and a video professional needs to put this same amount of care into combining the myriad aspects of the video, like the style of their titles with themes of the video, for example. Pre-production tackles everything from the overall presentation of the meal, all the way down to the quantity and type of seasoning.

Take a lot of notes.

If you have any thoughts, I’d love to hear them.

On to part 2!!

Photo Credits: Please click the photos for more information. Info on thumbnail can be found here.