How Do I Create a Production Planning Pipeline?
Before “Lights, Camera, Action”, there is a critical step in the production process known as pre-production. In the production business, pre-production can mean many different things, in this case I am covering a live broadcast where every second counts and nothing can be left to chance.
In the moments before you go live, knowing that all of the planning has been done to create a shoot that will go as flawless as possible helps calm the nerves and focus on the moment.
Easy Steps to Remember in Production Planning:
- Understand your budget – This is the very first step in obtaining a job. Breaking down the numbers is never a fun task and frankly math isn’t everyone’s thing. If you do not do this and just throw out a number that you think may work, it will come back to bite you in the end. Make sure you budget a fair price for operators as well as equipment. This does not come cheap but having the right tool for the job is the best policy. Factor in food, travel, rental, and office costs into the budget phase. Live productions can be multiple days so hotel rooms and transportation may also be something to consider.
- Gather your equipment – Locate the equipment necessary to complete the shoot. I swear by “having the right tool for the job” and you should too. Do not go cheap on equipment; it is not worth the stress. Make sure you have a good switcher, reliable cameras, a solid communication system, and all of the cables.
- Know your crew – This is the lifeline of the production. Having a solid crew that is familiar with the way you run production is critical to making a good product. There are always times when you need to pull more people into a job and that is where referrals from trusted operators come in handy. Be fair with your crew, pay them what they are worth and you will have a much smoother shoot and a much more productive crew.
- Visit the site – Visiting the event site ahead of the shoot is always beneficial. This gives you an opportunity to locate camera positions, speaker placement, lighting scenarios, and control room options. An early visit also will provide a chance to make sure that there is a clean local power drop as well as an opportunity to test the Local internet speeds and access if you are live streaming. If there are issues, rent a generator and consult with the internet provider on the local service.
- Paper trails – Creating call sheets, invoices, receipts, and other documents can eventually get cluttered. Keeping your documents organized is very important. Make sure your crew has all of the information they need prior to the shoot date.
The day before the shoot is crunch time.
Make a checklist of all equipment and parts needed.
Double check with all of your crew members and make sure everyone is on the same page.
Finally relax, try and get some sleep, and know that the production will run smooth thanks to your preparation.