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Video Pre-Production

Class Notes: Video Production with Ben Henretig

Ben Henretig is a co-founder of Micro-Documentaries LLC, a young team of Stanford filmmakers that shoot 1-minute, actionable documentaries for mission-driven orgs and businesses to help them build support for their work. In 2008, Ben worked with BJ Fogg to develop and execute a highly effective video campaign for The Stanford Fund that increased donor participation 23%.  Ben continues research with Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab focusing on Persuasive Video, and has spoken to diverse audiences on topics ranging from best practices for video production to emerging trends in web video.


Notes from Ben Henretig’s talk in class on Feb 16, 2012 :


Development and Pre-Production : Planning your shoot and outlining your “script”.
You may or may not feel the need to write a script if you are producing a short film for the web. That’s no excuse for avoiding preparation. Ben has many tips on how to prepare to shoot a short film that proposes an effective call to action. Here are but a few:


Before you get started take time to plan your shoot on a few different levels. 

Start with the strategic vision.
Define your audience is, your goal, &  the target behavior you are hoping to achieve.

Cast your characters.
Who is best to convey your story. A team member, others. Whose story is it? Who is most charismatic?

Plan the shoot.
Scout the location. Make a list of potential B roll* details you’d like to cover.

Prep the Interview.
Consider the doing a pre-interview. Create a steam of questions that support the information you need around background, inspiration, & call to action.


Use a simple “3-beat” structure to outline your “script”. Let it guide the questions you ask, the shots you get, and the edits you make. 

1. Background
What does the audience need to know?

2. Intent / Inspiration
What can you show or say that will let the audience know why they should care?

3. Call to Action
What is do you want your audience to do? How can you make this ask?





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