With the New Year underway, there’s a lot of buzz around new industry trends and technologies. Don’t get me wrong, I get excited about new things, too. But, before we jump on the next new learning and development (L&D) trend or spend half our annual budget in the first quarter on expensive new toys, we should analyze what we’re doing now and how we can improve our current processes. Let’s hone our craft and become training video masters! Then we can see if there’s room for something new.
Here are a few best practices you can implement in your current processes to increase productivity and effectiveness of your videos—without spending precious budget dollars on new technologies.
1. Set focused creative times. Our lives are full of distractions. Between the e-mails and Slack messages popping up onscreen, phone alerts about Aunt Barb posting a new cat photo on her wall, or Dale from accounting who insists he’s more productive when listening to Norwegian death metal at his desk without headphones, distractions disrupt rhythm and ruin the flow of the creative process.
That’s why it’s crucial to dedicate time specifically to focus on creative work. You can start by setting aside one hour each day to remove yourself from any distraction and focus only on one thing. I find this time is best used for writing scripts or story boarding my next video. Sometimes, I work from home an hour in the morning to focus on something creative. Since that may not be an option for everyone, try grabbing a small conference room or some place that’s quiet and away from distraction.
2. Dedicate more time to shoot. It takes a lot of time and resources to set up cameras, lights, and sound equipment. You can save time and energy by shooting multiple videos at one location while the production equipment is already set up and your talent is onsite.
It’s easier to have the talent change wardrobes than break down and set up the equipment at the same location the following week. This is especially useful if the location is harder to access. While this may not directly apply if you don’t have multiple scripts to shoot, use this approach when analyzing other creative processes. The goal is to identify opportunities to incorporate minor tweaks and changes to improve work flows and increase productivity.
3. Hold pre-production meetings. One key to a quality video product is a quality pre-production meeting. By meeting with the production team and talent before shooting, you can determine how to use the time and resources as efficiently as possible and ensure everyone knows what’s happening before the camera rolls. Reading through the script and discussing camera placements can prevent the need to reshoot scenes once you get to post-production.
There are many ways to improve your pre-production processes—long before you jump on the newest tech bandwagon. If you’re interested in more tips and best practices on this topic, check out my article, 4 Video Production Tips to Bolster Quality and Engagement, on http://www.trainingmag.com.
Matt Pierce is Learning & Video ambassador at TechSmith Corp., the go-to company for visual communication. TechSmith empowers people to create remarkable content to share knowledge and information. A graduate of Indiana University’s School of Education’s Department of Instructional Systems Technology, Pierce has more than 10 years of experience working in learning and development with a focus on visual instruction. He has directly managed the training, user assistance, video, and other teams for TechSmith.