This essay gives a detailed description of the various types of procedures that may be encountered in making film and television productions. The processes involved with these procedures are also explained, as well as the equipment used to do such task.
The different film and television production methods can be divided into four general areas: 1) Preproduction, or planning; 2) Production, or shooting; 3) Post-production, or editing; 4) Distribution, or exhibition.
Although there are many variations in the preproduction, production, post-production and distribution phases of film and television making, most conform to one of these basic methods. The following information relates to general procedures within each method.
The preproduction phase of a film or television production usually begins with an idea. The idea may come from a story, play, novel, report, song or other source. It may also derive from a producer’s desire for either an original or adapted theme that would fit into one of the various categories (e.g., Westerns and comedies), or that would satisfy a current need (e.g., to make an environmental film, for which there is currently public interest along with financial backing). The preproduction phase may also begin when producers approve the use of scripts developed by either in-house writers or outside professional screenwriters.
Once there is agreement on what will be done, the next step is to prepare a list of required personnel. This list includes the names and titles of those who will be directly involved with film production, as well as those who may be called upon from time to time for assistance. A breakdown by category of each person’s expected contribution should also be prepared at this point, both in general terms and in terms of the discrete task which will be required for each person.
At this stage, a plan is also developed to assemble all the necessary equipment and facilities to complete the production successfully. While it is possible to begin shooting without much in the way of preparation, this shortcut will probably add time and cost later when additional equipment and/or personnel become necessary.
Production or shooting phase is the actual filming of a program, film or video project. This phase involves all those who will be responsible for actually shooting the production. Typical categories of personnel include: camera operators, assistant directors, location manager(s), key grip, gaffer and electricians. In addition to having at least one person from each category, it is often necessary to include a coordinator or production manager. This person acts as a traffic cop of sorts and helps ensure that everyone is doing what they are supposed to be doing at the proper time.
Post-production, also known as editing, is where all the various pieces of film or television footage are selected and joined together into a cohesive sequence. This step is essential to the finished product, and all editors must consider each shot’s content, lighting, continuity and organization. In addition to the editor(s), technicians might also be required for various tasks such as editing sound effects or putting together a soundtrack.
Distribution phase of film or video production involves making copies of the finished product and disseminating these copies to the public. Included here are those who will be responsible for duplicating or transferring a show to another format, as well as all those who will be involved in advertising and marketing the finished product. Personnel categories might include: duplication technicians; video transfer technicians; graphics people; advertising agency personnel; marketing staff; bindery staff; and those involved in shipping, warehousing and retail.
In addition to using the above categories as a guide for assembling a production team, individuals might also be required from other areas such as: insurance, construction safety (for set safety), building and safety (for equipment safety and hazard assessment), property management (to make sure items can be located and returned), as well as outside consultants for legal purposes.