Creative Workflow – Planning Before & After

I’m a big fan of planning when it comes to video. I like storyboards. I do not draw. Sometimes those two ideals are in conflict. I generally just make lots of stick people to show framing. Truthfully though, most of what I’m shooting these days are events or just impromptu things with family. That means there isn’t a lot of planning, it’s pretty much just run & gun filming.

Sometimes though you get lucky. This last project I worked on was good because it had a full script. Scripts make planning a lot easier. That meant it was possible to sketch out some ideas and brainstorm some creative shots.

So what do I do when I’m out and about? Primarily I just shoot. It’s more fun that way and my wife doesn’t get mad at there being “production” involved in family life. I shoot a mix of stills and video. If I’m feeling ambitious I use Movie Slate just to keep some record of what I’m shooting, settings, etc. I’ve never done a slate for family stuff, but for other impromptu things I have. For events I almost always put together some sort of slate through the day. I also sometimes jot notes on my iPhone, iPad or a scrap of paper.

After the fact though, I’m a planner. I log every shot. I make notes. I curate clips into nice folders with descriptive names. I tag clips with notes. The one place my process really falls down is with audio – I never remember to make notes of what audio lines up with what video. Thankfully timecode usually saves me on this one.

Organizational tools really matter. For stills I use a combination of iPhoto and Lightroom. Video often gets initially sucked straight into iPhoto as well. I’m lazy and it’s easy to import the whole card. Other times video goes from the card to folders for organization. For really quick projects I’ve edited right off the card (more about this later)