Every video is different. Short. Long. High definition. Standard def. On disc. Thumb drive. Web. Uproarious. Sober. Breathtaking. There are countless creative approaches. The production process, however, remains pretty much the same for every project. This page outlines what Bravo Zulu does to create a successful marketing or information video for a client.

For a more detailed look at what goes into the building of a video, go to our on-line primer THE BUSINESS OF BUSINESS VIDEO — what you should know before you make a corporate video.

Working With You
Production begins with a meeting including you, your colleagues and our initial project team. This includes the project leader (the producer-director) and usually the writer(s) and possibly other speciali000000sts.

We consider your group to be an integral part of the production process. To this end we begin by listening. We listen how you envision the video and the main teaching or information points you consider "mission critical." These ideas are discussed with our understanding of visual impact and other practicalities in mind.

If not volunteered, we ask for a list of all the points you expect to find in the video program. And we collect any resource information that will help us to understand your objectives. A tour of the premises, factory, lab, location or vessel is always part of our pre-production phase.

Our writer will begin the process of scriptwriting. Sometimes this involves a team, especially if much research is involved. The first script draft attempts to include all the visuals and teaching points as we understand them. The script is sent to you and you are free to mark them up or append any and all comments as you see fit. We respond with a second draft incorporating your comments. Or, if we see some problem or difficulty, we will be sure to discuss our concerns with you or your companyís specialists.

Subsequent script drafts will continue to incorporate both your and our own ideas until a shooting script is officially approved.

Meanwhile, the director has closely worked with the writer to bring some of his or her "vision" to the video and help ensure it will have visual impact . Some of these ideas will be worked out at the time of the initial tour. Other such ideas may be incorporated later, after a reconnaissance- as is sometimes required- by the director with the cameraperson to work out technical details.

The creation of an acceptable first draft begins a chain of production events. The director (or the production manager) will "breakdown" the script into production components. This will include lists of actors, props, special effects, special equipment, locations, etc. Shooting schedules will be created and production coordinators will obtain all necessary permissions.

The producer or production manager will arrange to hire any additional crew or specialized equipment required for the shoot.

The Shoot
A basic video shoot will often include, but is not limited to the director, cameraperson, camera assistant, soundperson, boomperson, lighting personnel, production assistants and sometimes grips (they move things), teleprompter operators, etc. The size of the crew can change depending upon the complexity of the shoot. Some shoots may only require a director and cameraperson. Usually the producer is seen at the shoot ensuring things are moving smoothly and listening or explaining the operation with the client.

Videos can be shot in either high definition or standard definition. The deciding factor can be a matter of budget or purpose. While boardroom Blu-ray presentations in hi-def are spectacular, convenience and versatility may dictate web or thumb drive access. Many clients still prefer a DVD release due to their low-tech ubiquity.

We always insist that your Subject Matter Expert is on the set and paying strict attention to the proceedings. BZ fully recognize that no one knows the business better than the client themselves. And while we make every effort to become "subject matter experts" ourselves, it is easy for details such as correct uniforms or operating procedures to be missed without their keen observance.

Assembly and Post Production
The process of post production is, to some extent, similar to the writing process. Much like first and subsequent drafts of a script, we create first and subsequent video edit "drafts" for approval and modification.

Our "rough cuts" can consist of lower resolution images generally assembled into picture-sequences following the script outline. There is no music, sound effects or professional narration at this point- only a scratch narration track recorded by a non-professional. The point of all this is to create a program that you will use to spot information errors. Content errors are most easily and economically fixed in the scripting stage and, failing that, at the rough cut stage.

The days of editing actual video tape are over. Camera footage is shot on RAM memory chips, hard drives or discs similar to Blu-rays while legacy tape is transferred onto edit hard drives. The beauty of the digital form, especially when uncompressed, is that layer-upon-layer of multi-generational video can be edited with zero loss of image quality. Sometimes an "offline" process is employed to initially allow more footage onto the hard drives through signal compression. The final selected program shots are later replaced with original camera-quality uncompressed or lightly-compressed images during the "online" stage. All subsequent effects and motion graphics are edited in the uncompressed realm. We choose to edit our programs fully uncompressed from the start if drive space and workload allow.

The early rough cut is often the most difficult stage for the client as it is not easy to envision the final high-quality product and it requires reassurance and explanation on our part.

The first program edit will be sent to you for inspection and comment. After a few subsequent program re-edits (usually about 3), all content errors and client input is realized and we "online" the project into its final high-quality resolution if not already so. Here, finally, we add the "production chili:" special effects, motion graphics, cool shot transitions, on-screen text effects, professional narration, sound effects and music.

Production Music
If the budget of a project will support, we take the project to the excellent digital sound design facilities of "The Sound Kitchen" for an original music track. Here, our good friend, Paul Airey of "Avenue Music" is our preferred choice for music composer. If the budget does not warrant original music, we at least try to have some made-to-order music to supplement or enhance the stock library music. But always in intent and in practice do we prefer an original music track. Such a music score is tailored to your specific images and, among other things, avoids viewers possibly hearing your music in someone elseís program... a competitorís, for example.

The Bravo Zulu Editing Systems
We offer our clients one of the most powerful non-linear editing systems ever built! High definition video editing is performed utilizing Adobe's Creative Cloud software. This package includes Premiere Pro CC, After Effects CC, Photoshop CC, Illustrator CC for a total of thirty-three major video, audio, photography, and graphic design-related software packages, tools and services. All of the Adobe software is kept current literally to the minute via Adobe's revolutionary online update sytem.

This advanced capability will allow us to create programs of the highest quality - quickly - and still remain within budget.

Masters & Copies
After production, you receive a program master in a format you specify or we recommend. Apple ProRes HQ is a popular mastering format while some clients still prefer video tape formats such as HDCAM. Disconcertingly, there are hundreds of possible digital file-based master and release options, with multiple sizes, resolutions, compressions, and frame rates, to choose from. How and where your video is viewed will help determine the ultimate output specification. Common internet-friendly formats include Apple QuickTime, Adobe's Flash, HTML5, and Windows Media.

Disc-based media such as DVD and Blu-Ray are still alive and well and have the advantages of quality, pervasiveness, user-comfort, plus menu interactivity. Besides discs, other physical media include USB thumb drives. Imagine your program attached to a keychain that you merely pop into a flat panel TV.

The last step is for our editor to archive all graphic and video elements, as well as editing data, onto its own hard drive.

Quality Control
One source of quality control is in the form of signed and dated Approval Sheets we employ with every program produced.

Approval stages can be complex or simple depending upon the production. For example, additional approvals would be incorporated into language versioning, closed captioning, subtitles, and interactivity. Generally speaking, we do not move forward to the next production step until you are completely satisfied with work to date and indicate such with your signed endorsement.

The End
For a more in depth look at corporate video production, including such topics as choosing a producer, budgets and contracts, scripting, scheduling and production, click on our on-line publication THE BUSINESS OF BUSINESS VIDEO.

We want you to know what it costs to make a marketing and information video; where your money goes; and what you get for your investment. We believe that the more you know about the video business, the more you will appreciate us.

If you have any questions regarding any of the points made or implied, please call or e-mail us at bravo@bravo-zulu.com.

There will be no charge or obligation.




With You



The Shoot

and Post


Bravo Zulu

& Copies


The End