It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for: Your dream client has hired you to produce their video!

The only problem is they want to get started right away, and you need a few days to pull a production together. Rather than lose the business because you don’t think you can meet their timeline, here are 10 tips to help you scale your video production faster, hire staff and make the filming process more efficient.

Create an Adaptable Production Space

If your dream client wants to get things going quickly, you can save time with a production space that is built to scale, as Maker Studios created when the multi-channel network began to really take off a few years ago, Ryan Lawler writes at TechCrunch.

A flexible production space will let you set up, film and edit videos in a short amount of time. Plus, your productions will be leaner, and you can dismantle sets in just a few hours, which will allow you to shot numerous productions in just a span of a few days.

Put a Heavy Emphasis on Pre-Production

Pre-production is the most important step to a successful film, says Pop Video Principal and Head of Strategy Ryan Key. When you put your focus on pre-production, you can set boundaries that will not only empower creativity, but also protect the integrity of your script, he says.

Some of the pre-production plans Key points out include:

  • Going through your script line by line and imagining about what it’ll take to film each scene
  • Reviewing your budget, then adding an extra 8 to 12 percent as a buffer

Bootstrap Your Filming Equipment

Don’t let expensive equipment keep you from getting the video production jobs you want. Caleb Ward offers up a few suggestions on how to replace expensive equipment with stuff you probably already have.

If you’re trying to do a follow shot but can’t afford the $500-plus on a follow focus, he says, you can craft a makeshift one by putting a zip tie and rubber band on around your focus ring.

Or if you need to keep your camera steady but a stabilizer isn’t in the budget, take your trusty tripod and use it to give your camera a little more weight, which should hold it in place. That’s often a better alternative than spending hundreds of dollars on a Steadicam rig.


Hire Staff Members Who Specialize in the Video’s Subject Matter

Spent more time shooting video and less time training your crew by putting together a team of subject matter experts.

An example, courtesy of ProductionHub: If you were shooting a travel video, you’d benefit greatly by hiring people with travel videography experience. Professionals with this background tend to make most out of the equipment available, and they know how to work in bad weather or tough lighting situations. If your client wants production done quickly, you can move the process along faster with an experienced team.

There are numerous online resources to find freelance crew members quickly, the Filmmaking Lifestyle blog notes. Freelance platforms such as Elance, Guru and Upwork let you check a candidate’s experience, references and how many hours they’ve worked. Those sites also have escrow systems that keep all parties involved honest once production is completed.

Decide What You Absolutely Need to Complete the Production

Ideally, you’d have a full production crew and all of the most cutting-edge equipment to shoot your client’s video. Most budgets won’t allow those luxuries, though.

When you have to work with limited resources, jot down a list of the your top priorities, what crew members you need, and what equipment is essential to the production, says Corey Pemberton at Screenlight.

On the crew side of things, here are the people he says to look for:

  • A videographer to shoot video and help choose the right lighting and camera angles.
  • A video producer who can do it all — direct, shoot, edit and upload videos. A producer can also help with studio setup and picking out equipment.
  • A writer/content developer to write the script.
  • A campaign manager or marketer to distribute videos, track performance and serve as a liaison between video production and marketing.

If your budget is too tight to have all four positions on staff, start with a video producer and someone to take care of marketing. It’s better to start small and scale up from there.

Steve’s Digicams highly recommends having a solid director of photography. A solid DP is crucial in determining how the finished product will look. If your DP has her own equipment, even better.

Carry Everything You Might Possibly Need

It’s better to have and not need than to need and not have.

With that in mind, when you’re on a shoot be a Boy Scout, Stephen Haskin at Learning Solutions says. That means bringing extras of everything — cords, cables, SD cards, you name it. Don’t forget release forms, either. Anyone in your video will need to sign one.


Clearly Establish Your Clients’ Needs Up Front

Companies such as Enterprise Screen take an individualized approach and will get an overview of each client’s requirements for the completed video and the process leading up to it. You can get a scale of your clients’ production ahead of time, too, with pre-production interviews to find out whether things such as special equipment, multiple cameras or extras are needed.

To get an idea of their clients’ budget, Ludlow Media will find out whether the clients have existing footage they could use, whether the video can leveraged in multiple ways, and what  new marketing or social media opportunities can be created with the new video.

Use Equipment to Make Up for Lack of Staff

If you lack the budget or time to find specific crew members, there are always workarounds.

For example, the One Man Crew Director camera is perfect if you’re in a position to run a video production solo and need to step out from behind the camera. The automated, sliding camera can be operated via remote control.

Map Out an Efficient Production Schedule

If you’re shooting multiple videos for your client, consider shooting them simultaneously to save time, Jimm Fox at One Market Media suggests. Another solid time-saver is to film your talent on the same green screen instead of setting up multiple sets for every shot. For large scale productions, you can ask your on-screen talent to record a little additional content that can be put in reserve for another time.

Remember, your client’s goal is to get the best video possible from the resources it has. It’s up to you to make sure the video is high quality.

Manage Your Clients’ Expectations

Your client is going to want your video as quickly as humanly possible, but you have to be realistic about when you can deliver. Don’t promise a deadline that you can’t hit just to win the job; it’ll only be worse if you miss it. Be as upfront about the timeline with your client as you can.

For instance, Premium Beat’s Rebecca Case suggests telling clients that for every hour shot on set it will about 10 hours to process it post-production. It may not take you that long in post-production, so just use your best judgment. The important thing here is to get the time needed to get the footage where it needs to be get that OK from your client.


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