Pre-Viz | The Battle of Collecting Your Thoughts
With every new production comes a new nugget of knowledge.
It never seems to fail! In all of my time as a filmmaker I have always come away from a shoot wishing that I would have shot an extra insert shot featuring some close up or wishing that I had planned an important transtitional shot that better tells the story.
After years it finally dawned on me that I could shoot my commercial even before I shot my commercial. And why not? People perform various drafts on their scripts before finalizing them don't they? I learned a long time ago that if you don't love your story on paper you'll never love it on film. So why not take that concept to the next level? If you don't love your concept on film you probably won't love it on film. No, I didn't make a mistake in writing that last part.
I'll be shooting a huge rock climbing commercial in a few weeks where we've hired a professional with GoPro to perform a B.A.S.E. jump at the end of the video. That being said it was defintely in my best interest to take a few friends out for a pre-visualisation session. I got four very cool and attractive people to allow me to direct them for a few hours one morning where I was able to iron out a lot of the kinks on film before the actual day of the shoot.
I was amazed at the difference it made! One can't prepare enough for the day of the shoot. Always practice before your shoot, not during. Even though I had prepared my own shot list and storyboards I was surprised at how much ground I hadn't prepared for...and this was just the practice shoot. I've found that a good Pre-Viz Session helps with three major things:
3 MAJOR PRE-VIZ BENEFITS
1) Locations | When I had performed my location scout a week prior to my practice shoot I believed that I had a number of places that would work for various scenes. It wasn't until I was required to block out people and place the camera that I realized that some locations were less ideal than others (which would save me a lot of time on the day of the shoot).
2) Better Communication as a Director | As I practiced Directing my friends I quickly learned the best phrasing to use to help my actors quickly understand the gist of the character I was trying to create. The Pre-Viz session allowed me to see what I did and did not want to see from my actors the day of the real shoot.
3) Inserts and Transitions | For me this was one of the biggest takeaways. There is nothing worse than arriving in the editing room and realizing that a few major inserts or transitional shots are missing. There is nothing worse than having to say, "it would have been so cool if we would have got that insert shot" or "how did we not think to get that transitional piece?! It was so crucial!"
So again, I re-iterate: DON"T PRACTICE MAKING YOUR VIDEO THE DAY YOUR SHOOTING IT! Grab a camera, some buddies and head out to your location for a quick pre-viz session. It will provide you an immense amount of clarity for your shoot and allow you to see whether or not your about to love the video you're making. Good luck and feel free to call me if you ever have any questions.