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How to Schedule Your Next Video Production Timeline

9 Min Read

Creating a video for your company? It can be an overwhelming and difficult process, but here at Lemonlight, we work on simplifying the process so you don’t have to worry or stress.

A big part of that is helping you plan your video production calendar. Having a timeline from the very beginning can help ease the stress that comes with countless to-do’s, hectic schedules, unforeseen changes, and tons of touchpoints. Getting it all down on paper is crucial and should be one of the first steps you take when you creating your video strategy.  

Don’t know where to begin? Let’s take a look at four steps of the production process and how long you should prep for each. Keep this rough schedule in mind before beginning any video project. Whether you do it in-house or hire a team, this will come in handy, keeping your process organized and serving as a guide for anyone who needs to know.

1. Creative Planning

This is where the idea for your video is born.

Hopefully, before you decide you need a video, you have an idea of who your target audience is, you’ll research all the different types of videos that are out there, and you’ll think about how video can help you accomplish your marketing goals.

Once that’s done, you can start the creative process! You’ll want to talk to all the decision-makers you work with —  anyone who holds a stake in the success of this video — and brainstorm ideas. Should your video be a narrative or a mini-doc? Should it follow a hero character? Will there be voiceover or dialogue?

You don’t need to have all these answers. If you’re consulting with a video production agency or freelancers, they can help you figure all this out. But you should have an idea of the story you want to tell and how you’ll clearly communicate your brand’s message or mission. The more specifics you can give, the easier (and faster) the process will be.

Schedule at least two weeks for creative planning.

2. Pre-Production

Pre-production is the first concrete step in actually creating a tangible video. This is where your production calendar is created, where your script is written and edited, where your talent is hired, and where your location is scouted and booked.

Luckily, if you’ve hired a production team or agency, they should handle all these steps without too much work on your part. But it is a complex and sometimes cumbersome process, since things like adverse weather or cancellations can occur without warning. So, whether you work on pre-production yourself or you’ve hired a team, be generous and understanding with your timeline at this stage.

Schedule at least three weeks for pre-production.

3. Production

It’s film day! Realistically, production will only last a day or two, but you want to give yourself enough cushion time to not fall behind. Production includes filming shots, recording voiceover or dialogue, and getting any background footage or b-roll.

Longer and more in-depth videos will require more than a day or two on set. If you’ve got interviews to do, your filming schedule will depend on your interviewee’s availability. Extra days in the schedule also account for any possible issues with your location, licensing, or even a malfunctioning product.   

Save time by creating a checklist. Have everything you need on hand, including props, makeup, wardrobe changes, and any specific notes about lighting, camera shots, and more.

Schedule at least one week for production.

4. Post-Production

Now, you’ve got your footage and you’re ready to create your final video! Post-production includes everything from color-corrections to sound editing that helps create the overall feel and messaging of your video. Editing itself can take more than a few days, and depending on the workload of the agency you hire, can take even longer.

Once you get the first cut of your video, your team or agency should expect edits or notes from you. You may not think the music is right, or you may want to focus more on a particular character. Watch the video and show it to your entire team to gather feedback. Share your notes with the video team and they’ll make further edits.

This process can go on a few times over, so schedule plenty of time for back and forth and keep your video team’s other priorities in mind.

Schedule at least two weeks for post-production.

Bonus: Distribution

You may not need to schedule time for distribution, since you can distribute your video anytime once you have it, but if you want your video to reach the masses, planning out your distribution calendar is also a necessity.

This part of the timeline will depend on your goals. If you’re targeting social media distribution, a few days may be plenty. If you want to pitch your video to news outlets or PR firms, you may need longer. Give your web development, social media, and paid advertising teams plenty of time to schedule and execute your video content publication.

But, remember, don’t just distribute your video once and be done with it! Republish and repost your video periodically to keep your brand top of mind. That’s the beauty of video: It doesn’t get old as fast as other types of content. You’ll want heavy distribution on the outset and continued distribution well after your first post.

Schedule at least one week for initial distribution.

Total Time Required

So, how much time do you need total from ideation to distribution? If you’ve done the math, you know you should plan at least nine weeks (or just over two months) ahead of time for any major video project.

And this is the bare minimum. The longer you take planning out production details and getting everything in order, the better. Sound like a long time? It isn’t! The reality is, this time will fly by. If you (or someone in your department) is being rushed on a video job and the entire team is stressing, point them to this guide. This is a straightforward, realistic account of exactly how long you can expect video production to take. And chances are, we’re being a little generous!

On the other hand, if you need a video done right and done quickly, we’re here for you! We’ve created over 5,000 videos in just four years, so we’re experts at creative planning and production. We’ve streamlined the process from coast to coast and can get an affordable, high quality video in your hands in as little as six weeks.

Need something even faster? Talk to one of our creative producers and we may be able to put together a rush job, getting you a video in as little as four weeks — or just one month!

Don’t risk trying something in-house only to find that you can’t meet your budget or deadlines. See what we can do for you!

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