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The 4 stages of video production, and how it works in the commercial and corporate market.

The full video production process for brands can be quite complex. However, they can be easily broken down in order to comprehend the full process. As a content creator in UAE, we hope to guide you to understand the industry standard procedure. Leading from pre production, such as storyboarding and acquiring permits, to post production, such as delivering a finished cut to a client.

There are 4 Stages of the video production workflow

1. Pre-production

Video production planning stage

Pre-production (or the planning stage) is the most essential step to any great video. The actions carried out in this stage can help keep everyone on track and make it easier and clear for the production and post production team to work cohesively.

Key steps:

  • Creative brief. This is the foundation to any project, usually created before a project has the greenlight and is either handed over by the client or created by the production themselves. The project can only proceed forward once the brief has been accepted. A creative brief consists of the following:

    1. The goal. This answers the following two questions; What is the core objective? How does the content being created achieve this specific goal.

    2. Budget and Timeline. You may think to yourself that these two aspects are mutually exclusive but in matter of fact they go hand in hand. For example, if the client requires a tight deadline the cost may increase. The brief should clearly state how long the production house needs to deliver the project whilst clearly stating the budget required to execute the concept in the expected timeline.

    3. Requirements and Deliverables. It is important for these to be agreed on in the earliest stage of discussion as they can drastically affect the timeline, budget and workflow. The client should define how many assets will need to be delivered, in what formats they should be, and if there are any specific requirements for the assets. A request such as having the video in both vertical and horizontal aspects may seem like a small factor but they can have a big effect on the whole production as this requires for the video to be reframed. For the best results the DP and Director would need to take this into account during filming to account for both a vertical and horizontal composition.

  • Roles and responsibilities. Depending on the production, different jobs would need to be carried out, it is essential to organize a talented team to execute the creative concept. In this stage it is important for the producer to first source a director who would be the heart of the project. The director then guides the producer in hiring the correct crew such as; Cast , A Director of Photography, Camera Crew, Grips, Gaffers, Wardrobe etc.

  • Stakeholders. The chain of command needs to be established between the producers, directors, clients and team. Make sure it is clear to everyone, who are the stakeholders and clients.

  • Storyboard and Script. Now that a brief is more tangible, it is important to have the visual aspect of the concept on paper. This includes a script and storyboard. Usually a graphic designer or artist would work with the director in order to organize a script.

  • Budgeting. According to the creative brief and storyboard, the next step is to determine what is needed to make the project happen. And the cost. What are the costs of the crew, camera, lighting, power, location, and most importantly permits.

    1. Permits to film in the UAE are essential to any cohesive and complete video production, but, they are also costly. Plan the shoots around permits, be cautious during this step as missing out on a permit can cause for unnecessary expenditure and even a reshoot.

  • Production Schedule. A scene by scene breakdown of the storyboard, and time scheduling here is essential to keep everyone on the production shoot on par with each other. A detailed shot list and schedule entails the amount of time allocated per shot and when the production ends and how many days of shooting it will take.

  • Location Scout and Location Recce. A location scout will happen in the early stages of preproduction by the producer or location manager. They will find a location that fits criteria of the project and falls within the budget allocated. A location recce happens closer towards the production date. They differ from location scouts as they are carried out by a more technical crew which have a more in-depth understanding of the creative choices a film-maker employs.

2. Production

Production stage

In the production stage, the vision for the project can now come to light. Using the planning and constructs developed in stage 1, now the production team can practically execute the creative brief. It is essential to try and execute this stage right, in order to prevent expensive and time consuming reshoots.

What are the main processes of production in this industry?

  • Set up and lighting. Make sure to get to the production on time and earlier than expected. Things can always go wrong so it is important to check all equipment, lights, batteries and sound equipment, and now the production team can start executing the lighting plan.

  • Filming. This is where multiple teams in the production get together to create amazing content. Productions can have many teams including (not limited to): camera crew, wardrobe, makeup, gaffers, grips, sound engineers, directors, producers and the client.

  • Data Wrangling & Digital Imaging Technician (DIT). A Data Wranglers job is to offload the footage that is being shot throughout the day, multiple backups are created of the footage and safeguarded until the production day ends. In larger scale shoots a DIT's is needed. They encompass the role of a data wrangler whilst also working closely with the Director of Photography by monitoring light exposure of the footage through different monitors.

Monitoring light exposure

After the production stage, a debrief of the whole shoot should occur, discussing the shoot with the production and post production parties. The debrief can help push the project in the right direction in the edit and the production team can mention any issues with the shoot.

3. Post-production

Post production department work

Teams in post production will take all the footage and audio and work together with the director to execute the video idea. Similarly to production, post-production has specialized departments working together to execute the video production. The many teams can include, video editors, colourists, sound engineers, graphic designers and VFX specialists. It is important to have an efficient pipeline to coordinate how these teams work together.

Key steps:

  1. Backups and Organization. The correct storage needs to be allocated for the project. A good practice to follow is the rule of three. This means to store your footage in a minimum of three locations. Once the footage has been stored and backed up we can move on. Before the actual editing can occur the following organizational steps need to be taken;

    1. Footage and audio needs to be correctly labeled and synced.

    2. Selects need to be created to filter through false takes or unusable footage.

  2. Editing. Depending on the type of content being created different workflows need to be implemented with each type having a varying timeline.

  3. Iterative & Collaborative Review. Depending on the content being created different stages of drafts can be shown to clients. Here it is important for the client to be as informed as possible by the production house so they understand what exactly this draft has to show and their expectations can be managed. Post production teams may often find that Online proofing benefits collaborative feedback. Comments can be made on single or multiple frames, therefore there are no questions as to where changes must be made. This leads into:

    1. Version Comparison. In the editing process, it is important to compare and contrast multiple versions of the film/video and coordinate exactly where in the video project feedback applies in the video and to finally confirm that iterative changes were made. Many tools can be used side-by-side comparisons that align with a video’s playback timeline. Tools such as can be utilized to show clients or in-house managers the rough cuts.

  4. Final approval. Content review and approval often cause bottlenecks in the process. Reviewers can be slow to leave feedback or fail to do so in an efficient manner. This creates bottlenecks in post-production sign-off. Here, you’ll want to avoid these issues by establishing a system for sharing edits with the right stakeholders, collecting feedback, implementing changes, and approving the final version.

  5. Delivery. Once the final cut has been approved, it needs to be delivered to the right people in the right codecs. Online transfer applications or hard drives can be used. It is important to keep a backup of the footage and multiple versions of the final, draft, fine and rough cut.

4. Delivery

Distribution process

Finally, the distribution process can vary, more often than not, the clients are the party who wish to market the video. If the video production pipeline was followed correctly this stage should move forward smoothly. All requested assets from the project brief should be packaged and delivered the to the client. There are a few ways clients can request for the assets to be delivered.

  • Delivered by hard drive via courier

  • Hard drive picked up client

  • Transferred online through cloud storage

Backups of the project should always be kept until the project is publicly released by the client for multiple reasons.

  • The client loses the footage during delivery

  • Some assets are corrupt on arrival

  • The client requests extra cutdowns or edits after the delivery


As you can see it is important for requirements to be defined as early as possible and for the producer and client to be on the same page. This helps make sure the client gets what they desire and allows for the hired production company to have a more efficient video production.

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