Building an Outline

The first step of building an outline is beginning with a series of headings that cover the main theme. For instance, if you are planning on shooting an instructional video about building a table, the topics that you would need to cover may include how to find the right wood, tools needed and the different methods of  construction. Some of these topics can be covered in a few seconds while others may require contribution that is more detailed. Each of the topic headings is likely to have subheadings. For instance, under the heading tools, each of the tools required will be listed. Breaking it down in this format will give the director a better idea of what is required.

Aspects of TV ProductionResearch

In situations where a drama, documentary, interview, or news piece is being shot, fact checking will need to be done to verify the program content. This may require contacting industry experts, visiting the library or conducting research online. Depending on the subject, travelling may be necessary. Research can be time consuming and expensive, so attention mustbe given to how that task is handled.

Studio Formats

Over the years, several studio formats have grown to become industry standards. Panel discussions, interviews and newscasts all have unique styles, which allow the studio production crew to get the most out of the visual and audio feedback. Creatively angled shots are used sparingly and only at the request of the director. Actual production is largely comprised of coordinating the different elements in play—ensuring that clips are available as needed,  the graphics and titles are already prepared and organizing any additional material that may be used.

Complex Productions

Complex productions require a greater degree of preparation than smaller shows. Unlike smaller programs which can be planned within days of the production, complex productions are planned weeks and sometimes months in advance of the actual shoot. Crucial details such as the cost, production crew, safety, and union agreements will need to be worked out.

Many shows have predetermined formats that the program follows. For example, with talk shows, the talent works onto the stage, sits at particular chair, and remains there for the duration of the interview. The predetermined path and approach of the  program means that the director does not have to work too hard in setting up the shots and position of the lighting. Tiny changes, such as the alteration of the camera angle to fit with the talent’s height can be done during rehearsals.

Complicated productions  require a lot more detail in the planning process, however. Directors go about this by analyzing the script and then going on to create the fitting set and layout for each scene.

The director takes into consideration details such as the kind of mood that scene needs to create, the motion of the talent and their interactions with the camera. Is the shot going to be focused on only the talent or will it take into consideration other people on the screen? The director has to take into consideration everything that might happen and provide contingencies for each. Every aspect of the shot, right down to the height and type of  chair being used is predetermined.

With complex productions, the director will decide which type of shots will best fit the scene. Should the camera zoom on the subject or will the audience prefer a fill view? Some scenes flow better with the use of multiple shots, illuminating the different perspectives and reactions of the characters

Working with Storyboards

A storyboard is exactly that—a serialized visualized rendition of a story. Directors use storyboards to organize the approach of a camera as well as guide the talent. Storyboards serve as visual maps outlining the director’s vision of the video sequence. Working with a storyboard improves the efficiency of the production team and reduces the risk of miscommunication. Storyboards do not dwell too long on the specificity of each scene, but they do affect the camera treatment of the production.

Production Aspects

When planning a stage, several aspects will need to be considered long before actual production can begin. There are different approaches to planning the stage, but the core decisions that will need to be made include the following:

  • Decide on the shoot location. The shoot location of the production needs to be chosen. It may be located in a studio or some other property.
  • Camera locations: Once the shoot location has been decided, the camera locations and angle will need to be mapped. The shoot location will also determine the type of camera equipment used.
  • Select and hire the talent: Contracts should be awarded to the selected acting crew. This includes the actors, narrators and anyone else critical to the production that will be appearing in front of the camera.
  • Select and hire the crew: Hire the right production and engineering team for the job.

The Production Meeting

All the major representatives of the production department including the production manager and personnel should be present at the production meeting. The production meeting provides a forum that allows the different members of production to interact and ask questions. Production meetings play an important role in the production process, permitting different representatives to work out any issues they might have.

After the meeting, each representative follows up the separate issues that were raised and discussed. Production meetings enhance teamwork; being able to discuss the different needs and issues affecting each department ensures that the whole team remains on the same page and pace.

Location Survey

Production can be done under any two types of shooting conditions—on location or at the base. The base is the term used to describe where shooting normally takes place. This may be in the studio or theater room. The base is where most of the equipment and facilities needed for production are set up and readily available.

The location, on the other hand, is anywhere outside of your base of production. It may be a site located miles away from the base or a building down the street. The main factor is that the location is not situated within the normal base and as such cannot be used at will.

To get the best results with the location, a remote survey of the site will need to be done before a decision is made. Some of the details that will need to be decided during the remote survey include:

  • The best routes to the site
  • Optimal camera positions around the location
  • Choosing the right kind of audio equipment for the location
  • Choosing the right lighting
  • Determining the power source
  • Security
  • Communication

Setting up Production Equipment

All the equipment needed for production must be set up long before production begins. This will give the technical crew enough time to verify that the equipment is working efficiently. Setting up the lights, cables and microphones several hours before rehearsals will also make the task a lot easier.


Rehearsals give the producer and director an effective method of seeing how the whole production flows together. Rehearsals can be used to determine where changes are needed and which equipment works best for each scene. For this reason, most directors will require at least one rehearsal before production begins.