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  • Stefan Morrocco @morroccomedia

Distilling the Process


Mind maps and algorithms = great films (hopefully!).

As a sole trader in the video production industry, you have to have a handle on the whole production process, from concept development, through filming and editing, and, finally, to post-production marketing. As a sole trader I am sometimes too engrossed in the running of the business to sit back and really think about what it is that makes great video, or how to plan for success. Therefore, it was great to have some time to do that and think about what factors play an important role in the production of a great video, especially when you have limited time and budget. Identifying where most energy should be targeted will help make the most of that limited time and budget to ensure clients get the best value for money. It's also a useful reminder for every new project I have and provides a focus so that I can plan every aspect at the outset of the project, which will ultimately provide a better product.

I've been reading about how distilling processes down into algorithms can really help identify the most important aspects for success in any business project, so I thought I would give it a go to help with my own business, and I'm happy to share my thoughts with you. Amazingly, I've never written this process down before, although it's been milling around in my head for some time. It was quite interesting to see what I identified as being important, and the internal debates I had to arrive at the final algorithm. I have established what I see as a good model to use with future projects. The algorithm is weighted with the most important factors first and the subsequent ones having less importance (in my opinion) in the success or not of the video.

Great Video = audience + story/ concept + cinematography + sound design + editing + visual effects.

I had a lot of personal debate about whether sound design should come before cinematography, but I just edged the visuals ahead of the audio (without visuals you don't have a video, you have an audio track), although I think they are almost equal in importance to the success of a video. As you can see from the mind map above, these are the headlines, and there are many other factors beneath each headline. Film making is not a simple process!

I gave audience the highest weighting, because you have to understand your audience before you can think about what the video will be like. All audiences differ in what they like to view. Are you selling a product to a very specialist group of people or are you making a drama about love and deceit? These are two completely different audiences, and so the videos will be completely different. Understanding what your audience relates to is massively important. Get this wrong, and even if you have the most beautifully shot video, with the best sound design, it will fail.

Once you understand your audience, you can then move onto develop the story or concept, which ultimately shapes the whole video and provides the storyboard that is used to identify the shots (cinematography), the mood of the music and sounds, the style of editing and whether effects are required or not. The last 4 are where the technical skills are required, but the first two really define the success of the video. This is why I spend a lot of time with clients understanding their audience and then developing the concept and story. I think the other four factors are important, which is why I spend hours learning filming and editing skills, but without the first two factors done properly, you can't show off the skill of the other four factors!

What do you think?

#filmmaking #videoproduction #algorithms #mindmap #process #film #video #editing #cinematography

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