10 weeks to countdown: The ideal production timeline

December 20, 2023
Oliver Clubb

So, you’ve been asked to create a video that needs to be launched on a set date. The production world is fast-moving, requiring teams to be flexible and react quickly. It’s also all about problem-solving and finding solutions –the best chance to make your project count is to give yourself the most time possible.

Proper planning to project success hinges on giving yourself enough runway to plan and execute everything you need to do before and after the shoot date to account for edit time. So here is a rundown of a suggested 10-week plan for your video production.

10 WEEKS TO LAUNCH: Scoping and briefing

We start with two weeks for the conceptualisation, scoping and briefing phase. During these two weeks, we work on setting the project's scope and defining its parameters. Essential questions to ask during this phase include: what is the overall creative concept? How long do we want our final video to be? Does this idea effectively communicate what we are trying to say?

Determining where your final film will be going is also vitally important. So often, people make a project but give very little thought to the strategy that follows it up. There are so many incredible films out there created by talented creative and filmmaking professionals that have views in the dozens, purely because no thought was given to the strategy.

Where will the film go? Will it live solely online, or is it for an event? Is the film designed for a website or YouTube, where it might get a more dedicated audience willing to watch a longer video? Or is it for paid social or organic channels, which will need to be shorter?

On top of this, consider whether you'll have shorter social cutdowns, turning a film from a widescreen 16x9 orientation to a portrait 9x16 for phones.

Once you have all of this information ready, you can create a briefing document with all of this information prepared to act upon.

One last thing on this period - it's okay not to have all the answers. A creative production agency like Sunday Treat can take the bare bones of any idea you may have and help you flesh out these details. Speaking to your creative partner at the earliest point is always beneficial.

8 WEEKS TO LAUNCH: Green light and pre-production

Once the budget has been agreed and the production is greenlit, the next two weeks should be where the pre-production process begins. If possible, it's always a good idea to front-load the pre-production process as much as possible to give yourself the time to get everything you need before the shoot date.

That said, the shoot date is the best starting point for the pre-production phase. Sometimes, choosing a shoot date will be down to the availability of a location or the contributors who will be in your film - but if you don't have any restrictions on this, consider just picking a date you can aim for. Deadlines help people push onward and give a team something to rally around.

During this pre-production phase, you'll need to settle on several essential factors, such as location: where will we shoot? Who is going to be in the film? It could be trained actors, so you'll need to start a casting process. Are they members of your team or company? Make sure they're available for the whole day!

When it comes to the creative, you'll want to produce a complete shot list ahead of the shoot to ensure you get all of the content you need during the shoot.

You'll also need to ensure you have an entire camera team ready for the production day. Consider the weather - is the shoot outside? If so, what's the weather contingency if it rains all day?

5 WEEKS TO LAUNCH: The shoot

The shoot is what all of this pre-production time has been leading up to, so hopefully, you should be ready! Sticking to a proper schedule for the day is very important, so make sure you create a plan ahead of the shoot and, most importantly - stick to it!

Build in buffer time on your shoot day in case you struggle with timings on the day - that way, you can catch up on lost time where needed.

4 WEEKS TO LAUNCH: Assembly edit

It's time to get stuck into the edit, with the shoot finally over. It's good to set mini-deadlines across these two weeks for a first, initial draft and multiple other versions. An excellent way to do that is to consider a weekly deadline to get whole new versions completed to help keep you on track. Having a deadline to work from will ensure the entire team is aligned and driving towards one date.

When it comes to feedback, giving a time window for feedback to be delivered promptly is crucial. Ideally, set a timeframe, such as 2-3 days, in which you'd like to collect feedback from all of your stakeholders. Setting a timeline will push the project forward and ensure time isn't lost waiting for people to give feedback.

2 WEEKS TO LAUNCH: Social cutdowns

Consider if you want shorter social cutdowns once the final hero edit has been completed and signed off. You can spend the last week or so putting these together. If they are simple cutdowns, they should be relatively straightforward to produce, meaning a week should be fine. If they are more bespoke and have content different from the main film, you might want to consider giving more time to this process.

Ensure you give feedback windows so late feedback doesn't hold up the process.

1 WEEK TO LAUNCH: Slippage and final delivery

Even the best-laid plans can go to waste - it's always a good idea to build a week in at the end of your schedule just in case you need extra time.

So there we have it - a rough guide on how to build a production timeline from start to finish. If you want to work with our video agency, contact us today.

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