January 10, 2023

Best Practices for Video Production

scenic road showing video production examples

Video production is like juggling cats. There are a lot of different factors to consider in order to ensure everyone lands on their feet in a successful outcome. As a creative director or marketing professional, it’s important that you have a solid understanding of all the best practices for video production. In this blog post, we’ll dive into some of the key considerations for making sure your video project is a success. From pre-production planning to managing the shoot itself, follow these tips and you’ll be on your way to creating great video content.

Define your purpose and audience for the video

If you’re hoping to create the best video possible, one of the best practices for video production is to begin by defining your purpose and audience. This has the potential to significantly impact your entire production process and final product.

Knowing who you’re speaking to, and for what purpose, can allow you to craft a message that resonates with the biggest impact. It can also inform decisions about what type of content works best for both the story you want to tell and your audience’s interests.

By getting clear on your purpose and audience in advance, you are creating a roadmap which will lead to best results not only during production but in post-production when it comes time to share your work.

Choose the right format – animation, live action, or a mix of both

Knowing best practices for video production can help you select the best format when creating a video. Animation provides a whimsical, high-energy approach that captures viewers’ attention and creates long-lasting impressions. Live-action videos can be highly engaging and should be considered if there are real people or physical places in the story so the audience feels connected to what’s happening on screen.

Using a mix of both holds high engagement value and brings increased dynamism to the piece.

Ultimately, when choosing the right format for your video production, it’s best to consider your content, target audience, and any budgetary or interactive restrictions you may have in order to create an experience that best captures your story.

Write a script (or create a story) that is clear and concise

Crafting a script that is clear and concise can be complicated, so it’s important to keep best practices for video production in mind. This will help you to capture your key points in the best way possible. If you’re planning a commercial spot, every line has to have both meaning and a plan for the visuals you’ll shoot to represent that line. Developing every element of the shoot can help ensure better creative control and save time and energy during the editing process – not to mention post-production costs!

When creating documentary-style work, it’s literally unscripted. You don’t have people recite lines, because real people are not actors. Still, you subtly direct the story where you want it to go by the questions you ask. When creating these questions, make sure you have answers that will serve as all parts of a story. Everyone includes the nuts and bolts key messaging, but often miss the story beginnings and endings. How will you bring people in and how will you leave them with a story finale that inspires action?

Either way, whether scripted or unscripted, creating methods for organization and success in your story plan can go a long way.

Find the right location for shooting your video

When you’re shooting a video, it can be easy to overlook how critical choosing the right location is. After all, best practices for video production involve more than the content: they extend to setting and atmosphere. If your surroundings don’t match the feeling of your video, it will pull viewers out of the experience, weakening your impact. Taking the time to scout a location in advance of filming is always advantageous when budget allows. Sometimes, it can make or break your project — so consider details like sound and light levels, access to electric resources, and privacy factors when deciding on a spot. By finding a place appropriate to your video, you’ll be poised for success.

Set up your camera to get the best possible shot

Setting up your camera properly is one of the best practices when it comes to video production. It can ensure that the shots you take are clear, vivid, and capture exactly what you’re trying to portray. Start by figuring out the overall look you want for your video. What kind of angles do you want to see? What kind of color do you want to infuse? What is the best angle for each shot, considering each shot as part of the video as a whole? The best angles establish perspective and make sure that everything which is important in the frame is visible. Next, focus on getting the best exposure possible – look at using manual settings or AE Lock functions. Most cameras offer a wide range of adjustable aperture settings and shutter speeds, so experiment with them to get just the right look for each shot. Last but not least, consider how sound will be captured – this includes both ambient noise from the scene and sound coming from your subjects. Sound is often given lesser priority, but without sound you have no story and no emotion.

Use the right lighting

Having the right lighting when shooting video is an essential best practice of professional video production. Done poorly, lighting can make even the best performance flat and uninspiring, costing you time and money. Done properly, it can take your project to the next level by creating atmosphere and making talent look their best — all without having to rely on post-production to fix it. (And despite the phrase, ‘we’ll fix it in post’, truly not everything can be.) Lighting is difficult to do properly on your own, but these tips will help.

We recommend standard 3-point lighting (Paramount or Loop setups). You want to aim for no “light-sandwiches” on the faces (more on that below) and nothing super-dramatic, unless specifically mandated by the creative.

Sometimes it’s tricky to maintain focus on a shifting interview subject when the iris is wide open, so we suggest sufficient lighting to enable you to stop down a bit and broaden the focal range.

When in doubt, please check periodically to maintain focus on the subject’s eyes. Do not adjust the iris at any time during an interview. If you’re shooting multiple interviews at a single setup, try to avoid adjusting the iris between interviews. We understand sometimes there’s light coming in through a window and the light changes as the day moves on, so do whatever you need to expose the subject correctly.  Just be aware that adjusting on the fly makes it less fun for post production later.

Your camera should live at about eye-level of your interview subject, and your interviewer should be positioned off-camera so that the subject doesn’t have to look up or down at them.

When framing a seated interview subject from about the waist up, a good rule of thumb for headroom is to give your subject a space above the top of their head that is about the height of the person’s forehead.



a light sandwich example in video production

This is a light sandwich. Please avoid it.

video production example b

Example A video production example A

Example B

video production example C

Example C

Video Production Example D

Example D


  • Examples A, B and C are all lit and framed pretty well.
  • Examples A and C could be a little wider.
  • Example B could use a little stronger key.
  • Example C could open up a stop or two.
  • Key light for examples A, B, and C looks like it’s set at about face height or just above, which seems a bit low. We’d like to see a little shade under the eyebrows, nose, and chin.
  • Example D could be a little wider.
  • Key light (probably mostly the sun) cuts his face in half. Except in the case of a specific request, for a more dramatic look, he should be angled more toward his right.

If you follow these steps, you will be well on your way to creating a high-quality video that effectively gets your message across to your target audience. Of course, the process of actually producing the video can be time-consuming and complex. That’s where Scenic Road comes in. We are a full-service video production company that can handle every aspect of your project from start to finish.

So if you’re ready to get started on your next video, contact us today. We’ll be happy to answer any questions you have and help you get your production off the ground.