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Preparing for a video shoot

Like any marketing or business activity, investing time in the planning phase will help set you up for a great final product that delivers results.

There are many similarities between planning a video shoot and planning a photo shoot. You want to:

  • Define who you’re talking to (your target audience)
  • Have a clear goal in mind
  • Develop a detailed brief
  • Scout the right location(s)
Check out our Planning a Photo Shoot resource for our tips on each of these steps.
Video shoots can be a little more complex, so there are also some extra planning steps that will help make the final product shine.

Selecting the right video length

The right video length will be determined by the project type (advertising campaign, education resource, brand storytelling) and your chosen channel (website, social media, google ads, email).

Generally, the best length to aim for is:

Facebook: 2-3 minutes for a video post, 20 seconds for Facebook Stories
Instagram: Grid video: 60 seconds, IGTV: 1-5 minutes, IG Stories: 15 seconds

Website or internal communications: 3-5 minutes

If using multiple channels, you might want to opt for multiple edit lengths to optimise your content.

Ways to communicate your key messages

Sometimes, the footage does all the ‘talking’ you need, but when your message is more complex or your goal is to create a story around your brand,  there are additional tools that we can use to help communicate the key messages.

Interview style videos

For businesses who who want their customers to know more them, interview style videos are often the first option we explore. They are a great way to connect a human face to your brand or message and are often used for testimonials, staff or customer profiles, and recruitment activities.

Massey University’s Te Wiki o te Reo Māori video, which captured Vice Chancellor Jan Tomas’ journey learning te reo Māori, shows how effective first-hand storytelling can be.

If you think this approach might be right for your business, we’ve created a checklist for Preparing for an interview style video.

Jumping in front of the camera isn’t for everyone, or if you’re launching a new advertising campaign, then there are other communications tools we can explore…


A voiceover can be a compelling storytelling tool, letting you weave personality and emotion into your video. They are often used for educational or marketing campaign videos.
We love finding creative ways to express your brand’s personality, and can work with you to craft a script.

Graphic Overlays

Graphic overlays involve adding pop-up text or diagrams to your video. They can be an effective tool to use when:

  • Creating videos for social media, as most people view videos without sound
  • You want to reinforce key messages, like product features, pricing info or stats
  • You need to keep your audience engaged while communicating complex information
  • You have a lot to communicate in a short period of time – using both graphic overlays and a voice over can be a creative way around a tight timeframe

Creating a storyboard and/or shot list

Creating a storyboard and/or shot list will help us plan exactly what needs to be captured on the shoot.

A shot list is like a checklist for the video shoot. It will include:

  • A description of each piece of footage required
  • The location we’re filming each scene
  • The types of shots (eg. Close ups or wide angle shots)
  • A schedule for shooting– so that we know how much time we allocate to filming each scene

If your video includes people speaking to camera, the shot list will involve PTC (person to camera) and B-Roll footage. B-roll footage captures the scenic or action shots that we add into the video to keep it engaging and to help illustrate key messages.

For large projects, we might also develop a storyboard – a set of drawings that maps out each shot of your video. It’s a visual representation of what content will be captured, what camera angles will be used, the exact sequence for editing it all together.

A video can be a great opportunity to get creative in how you communicate with your target audience. We know all the ways for making it fun, straight forward and effective, and will work alongside you throughout the planning process. Call us to sit down and chat about how to share your brand’s story through video.