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What is Pre-Production?



Pre-production refers to the planning and research phase of video production. In this phase, you conceptualize your video beginning with the topic or theme, which, in most cases, will reflect your lesson plan. Choose a lesson or unit to videotape that incorporates what you feel are excellent motivational strategies for teaching an information skill or skills to your students.


OK, let's say you've decided on your topic or theme for the video and what strategies you will highlight. Next, you will decide what elements to include in your video. These may include the actual lesson while you are instructing students (what we refer to as the "in-action" segment). It should also include a medium or close-up segment of you (after the lesson in a quiet section of the library or your office) de-briefing the lesson, its objectives, procedures, your motivational strategies, student response, and so on for the benefit of your viewers. Finally, your video may also include shots of the materials that you used to teach the lesson such as handouts, textbooks, Web pages, props, etc. There is a special tip sheet you can access at the end of this section that provides easy-to-follow guidelines for what shots you will need.


How do you keep everything straight? The best way is to develop a pre-production plan. It will list the shots you plan, equipment you need to remember, and date of your video. We have created a template for you to use that you can also access at the end of this section. Filling it out won't take long and it will give you peace of mind that you have thought out the details of your video.


Another aspect of pre-production is considering the equipment that you will need. If you plan on shooting the video and having S.O.S. edit it for you, you will need to use a digital camcorder so that you can send us your digital videotapes. If you do not have one at your disposal, check to see if you can borrow one. Some districts may have a technology coordinator who can assist you with this and may even be able to do the videotaping, as well. Good audio is important. If at all possible, have your technology person arrange for you to wear a microphone, especially for the on-camera de-briefing after the lesson. And make certain you have enough videotape on hand to cover your entire lesson, your debriefing segment, and any supplemental shots of materials you plan to include. Discuss your pre-production plan with your technology person or videographer and make a copy of it to give her/him a good sense of how you envision your overall video.


Handy Resources to Help Get You Started


Here are two resources you will find helpful in planning your video production. Print them out and keep them handy!


  1. More tips on planning shots for your "in-action" and de-briefing segments
  2. A pre-production plan template ready for you to use in PDF format. You will need Acrobat Reader to open it which you can download for free if you do not already have it on your computer. (This template is VERY helpful!)

Once you have reviewed the resources listed above, you will have completed Section I of the video production module! This was really the most intense phase. Once you have done your pre-production research and planning, you have set the stage for a smooth production.






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