How to Make Powerful Videos – Pre production

There are stories unfolding around us all the time.

Stories about our lives, our loved ones and our work. How do you capture them and turn them into something meaningful to share on social media, with your clients, your friends or even just for yourself? The only thing standing between you and telling a story through video is the knowledge to get there.

So what are the ingredients? What goes into making a great short video? Let us break down the technical and creative choices that go into crafting short, shareable videos.

The pre-production steps you need to take involve a whole layer of questioning, decisions, and permissions. You need to make decisions about:

Your Purpose

Video making is not just storytelling, it is storytelling with a purpose. So you need to define your purpose / desired impact. This could be to raise awareness about an issue or your work, inspire engagement, bring people together or sell a product. 

Camera Gear

What are you going to shoot with? Your iPhone, tablet device or DSLR Camera?

Showing all the variety of gear you might choose from when filming a video
All the camera gear you will need to film a great video, from tablet devices, zooms, microphones etc.

Choosing the right camera for you is a fundamental step before the creation of any video. 

If you have never used a DSLR Camera, do not panic, as today many 4K smartphones and tablet can give you great quality without the monetary or training investment.

Check out our article on how to create quality videos with mobile devices to know more.


What are you going to record audio with?

No one ever notices good sound, except when it is recorded poorly.

You can decide to invest in a Lavalier mic (also known as a clip mic or lapel mic) to help you capture audio from close to the source, so your viewers will hear a strong, clear voice with presence.

Prices varies for different types of mics, starting with the lesser known brands costing £40 – which deliver acceptable quality for spoken word audio capture, and the more high end branded products costing up to £200 – which is ideal for music with its richer tones.

The advantage of a lapel mic is that it can fit in a bag or a purse. If you’re filming outside your place of work, or  interviewing guests on the streets, they easily become your best friends!

Make sure to check out our article dedicated to sound here.


What is your source of light? Are you going to use the natural light available to you at the moment of the shooting  or are you going to use an artificial light?

Showing how a professional set up of artificial lights looks like in a studio
Professional set up of Soft Box lights at a video studio to light up the scene

Finding an answer to this well before filming is fundamental, because if you decide to forgo artificial lights you will have to be careful when you choose the location and the time of the day in which your video will have to be recorded. 

Artificial lights can sort this problem, but they can be heavy to carry. Using them in your place of work is  advisable.

You can also check out our in-depth article on the use of light and shadows in videos here.


Who is going to be in your video? Do you think they’d be comfortable on camera? How available are they? How do you approach them to be in your project? 

These are all great questions but their answers might not be as immediate as it seems. 
Being in front of a camera is not for everybody, as it can be intimidating and stressful. The same goes for finding people who can communicate your message on camera in the most immediate and powerful way. 

One you have decided who is going to be present in your video, and you’ve confirmed their presence, you’ll have to make their script available to them as soon as possible, as it could take from a few minutes to many hours to get your people ready for being filmed. 

Remember that it’s always better to have too much video footage than not enough, , as if you realise video footage is missing or inappropriate, the editing process could become a real nightmare! 

If you’re going to be in front of the camera yourself and it’s your first time, don’t worry there are many ways you can practice and improve. The first thing you can do is check out our Pro Tips  video series “The Perfect Pitch” entirely dedicated to presenting in front of a camera. 


If you are filming in a private location  belonging to an external party, you must get permission in advance. Public places usually have different guidelines; mobile filming is permitted (but you must not use cables or equipment which may create a safety hazard), while commercial filming would have to go through a formal process.

Whatever you do, don’t leave it to chance, check what is permissible. You want your shoot to go as smoothly as possible, and you want to be able to use the content afterwards.

All of the above are the nuts and bolts of pre-planning that will enable your shoot to go smoothly. 

To find out more about the production and post-production stages click here!

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