What is a video producer? Video producers are among the first credited in video projects, though you never see them on stage collecting awards or making headlines. A video producer’s role is to manage the pre-production, production, and post-production process of a video or film. This means that they are responsible for the planning, the scheduling, and the editing of the production down to the delivery of the final video. The producer’s role varies whether it’s staffing a production crew, setting a budget, writing scripts, leading communication, aiding in creative direction, or guiding the editing process. Video production is a creative and interpersonal job necessary for every video project whether it’s corporate video or feature film.
It is “always unpredictable, challenging and fun,” says Miriam Naggar, NORTHBOUND.
Collaborations Are Key
At ASL, a boutique production company, we intimately involve our video producers in every aspect of each project. When working on one of our video productions, our producers connect with everyone from the production assistant to the creative agency.
A big part of the job is collaboration. It’s having a network of people with niche skills so you have people to call on in every scenario. “The biggest thing I have realized was that you have to choose your collaborators very carefully, and that not everybody can like you,” says Peter Capaldi. At ASL, we have a network of talented people at varying price points and industries so we can scale up or down to any project and have the right people with prior experience to call upon no matter what industry were tasked with creating content for.
Good video producers and great video producers alike can end up with an video as their final product. So if it’s not always the final product that sets them apart, what is it that makes a good video producer, great? Let us break it down for you.
A Video Producer’s Involvement
A good producer is like a baseball manager. They select their lineup, call the big shots, delegate tasks to other coaches and captains, and when the game is under way, they sit back until it’s time to scream at the ump. This laissez faire style works for a lot of good producers as well. They have confidence in their team and thrive when it’s time to make a big decision.
A great producer has more involvement in their video projects, however. Video productions are often unpredictable and require a steady hand guiding them in a smooth direction. Great producers have an omniscient presence on a project. Not only do they know what every crew member is doing at all times, but they also remind the director, camera operators, audio operator, and gaffers what they expect from them. A great video producer is involved in every step of the way.
Great Video Producers Meet Deadlines
Deadlines are serious business in any profession. In corporate video production, they’re a crucial part of the project in which every subsequent process relies upon the previous one. Video producers can’t do voiceovers without a script, just as they can’t make edits without any footage. The producer must make sure that deadlines are met promptly. if scripts and edits aren’t the producer’s direct task, their communication with those whose it is remains a prominent factor in meeting those deadlines. A good video producer is the communicative link between the client and the production team. They have a handle of the production schedule and meet the dates expected of them.
“If you compromise what you’re trying to do a little bit, you’ll end up compromising a little more the next day or the next week, and when you lift your head you’re suddenly really far away from where you’re trying to go,” says Spike Jonze
A great video producer has knowledge not only of the project, but of the individual tasks. For example, in post-production, they are constantly in touch with editors, aware of where they are at and what they should be doing. All the while, the producer is cognizant of the deadline at hand. Good video producers meet deadlines. Great video producers have great time management skills and motivate their team to meet or exceed deadlines. A good part of the producer’s game is defensive, so anticipating potential obstacles in order to meet deadlines is paramount to a great video producer’s job.
Video Production: Anticipating the Unknown
We can’t stress enough how important organization is in corporate video production. Working on tight schedules, with loads of equipment and shifting parts is part of being a producer. Staying organized is a major key to a successful video production. A good video producer stays organized. They make schedules, send emails, and generally ensure everything is in order from top down. Filling out forms, to location times, to parking and freight elevator information. An organized video producer maintains an organized crew, who know the gear needed, shots required, date, location, and call time of the shoot.
When it comes to great video producers, anticipation is the trait that sets them apart. Anyone can adhere to basic schedule and make the specified call time. A great video producer’s intuitive instinct comes from experience. And doesn’t wait ‘til shoot day to get things in order, no matter their experience level. A great producer is always five steps ahead knowing that there will unexpected road blocks. If you’re not ahead of the game, you’re behind.
What can possibly go wrong on a production? A lot. It’s the producer’s responsibility to mitigate risk and anticipate the unknown.
Video Production from Concept to Creation
In video production, anything that can be thought of, can be brought to life. We don’t expect to provide a costumed meatball or concoct slime , but it happens! Good video producers may supply what is asked of them, but great video producers are creative problem solvers and bring visions to life.
Working with content companies like Barstool Sports allow us to think on our feet, preparing to tackle anything thrown our way. We deal with pretty far out requests. From circus performers for a carnival to an entire game show set, a great video producer is willing to go the extra mile to make a client’s vision come to life. Other requests we’ve received have included finding a state-of-the-art kitchen for a Thermador social media campaign and sourcing a go-kart track in the heart of Chicago. Whatever it takes to make those ideas come to life, a great producer goes there.
Great Video Producers are Always Learning
Video production is not a static industry. Technologies and methods are ever-changing, and to grow complacent as a video producer is unacceptable. Good video producers keep up-to-date with technology, and are always learning new programs. For example, the industry standard in editing software shifted from FinalCut to Adobe Premiere in the last 5 years. A good producer is on the cusp of this movement and reading up on similar transitions.
A great video producer’s appetite for learning carries them to another level. Video producers are always learning new things. The best ones are questioning, reading and researching to set them ahead of the pack. Your producer should be engaging with different parts of the process and understanding the mechanics behind it all. If so, you’re more likely to experience a productive and fluid production.
Great Flexibility, Patience, and Stamina is What Great Video Productions are Made Of
Though some corporate videos may last just 2 or 3 minutes, productions aren’t always quick. At ASL, we work on projects that span an entire year, while others only take a week to go from concept to creation. Some things about this job can be learned. Others cannot. Being flexible and patient are inextricable traits great producers need. A great video producer is willing to find a client an audio op in a matter of hours. And a great video producer will find crew in a remote city so the client doesn’t have to worry about it on their end.
Essentially, as a manager of moving pieces, video producers must have the ability to work with different personalities and egos. Knowing how to navigate this environment is something that comes through experience. Finding a great video producer that will go the extra mile is rare, but when you do, you’ll know the difference.