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1. What is the purpose of the video? 

Example: We want to produce a video that communicates our organization’s values and lends a sense of credibility to the work that we do.

2. Who is your target audience?

We create buyer personas – those are fictional, generalized representations of ideal customers – before we ever begin the video production process for our clients.

  • What are the watcher’s pain points?

  • Is my buyer persona a decision-maker, influencer, or neither? 

  • What is my persona’s motivation for watching this video?

These types of questions will help you better understand what type of video to create and how to craft your message in a way that resonates with your target audience.

3. What are your key messages?

In order to ask the right questions during video interviews for testimonial films, it’s essential to start with some research and understanding of what you’re trying to communicate.

We’ve found the easiest way to avoid information overload is to come up with 3 key messages that you want to communicate in your video.

We’ll make sure these key messages are clear, concise and conducive to educating, inspiring, or influencing your audience.

4. What is your ideal timeline?

We have a standard timeline for video turnaround. However, if you need your video done sooner, there are ways to accomplish that goal. By simplifying the scope of the project we can get a faster turnaround time. Conversely, if you have a really complex and in-depth vision in mind, it might take some time to make that vision come to life.

5. What’s your project budget?

Just like the video timeline, the simplicity or complexity of your video project will affect the final budget. If you have a specific budget in mind, be sure to communicate that with us ASAP.

The important thing to remember is time, people, and gear tend to drive the cost of video production.

Ultimately, the cost of your video directly reflects the number of professionals that are needed to help execute the vision.

The cost really depends on the project.

6. Is your video part of a strategy or campaign?

If you are planning this video as part of a bigger initiative or strategy, make sure to communicate that with us ASAP.

With a solid understanding of the larger vision, we can help you maximize your efforts for efficiency.

7. How will you measure results and ROI?

Are you looking to drive video views? Product demos? Sales? Donations? Each metric requires a different video strategy.

Identifying how you will measure the effectiveness of your video can help better shape the vision of the video to match your bottom line goals.

As with so many of our marketing efforts, we need ROI and analytics to help defend and enforce the tools we’re using to drive business and awareness. Get your whole team to think through what it would take to make the video a success. Maybe the metric is leads generated, views on YouTube, or money donated.

The success of a video can be measured in a number of ways. If your organization is looking simply for more exposure, views or social media shares might be what you’re after. If you want more leads, you may want to add a call-to-action button at the end of your video that leads to a page where the viewer can fill out a form in exchange for more content or a preliminary service (an eBook, a free consultation/assessment, etc.). 

We recommend using SMART goals, which are goals that are: 

  • Specific

  • Measurable

  • Achievable

  • Results-focused

  • Time-bound

8. What emotion are you trying to evoke?

Once you’ve determined who the audience is, the next step is to decide what you want the audience to feel after they’re done watching. The reason people engage with content is that it makes them feel something, which is the job of the person creating the video and its messaging. 

When that specific audience is watching your video on your website, through an email campaign, or at an event, what do you want their action to be after the video fades to black?

Whether you want someone digging into their pockets for a tissue and checkbook or feeling motivated to click the “buy now” button, that overriding feeling you want to create needs to be reflected in the messaging, the visuals, and the overall tone.

According to a study by OkDork (a popular marketing blog) which looked at the 10,000 most shared pieces of online content, the most common emotions evoked were:

  • Awe (25%)

  • Laughter (17%)

  • Amusement (15%) 

  • Joy (14%)

  • Anger (6%)

  • Empathy (6%) 

  • Surprise (2%)

  • Sadness (1%)

  • Other (15%)

Having your video shared online won’t necessarily be your ultimate goal, but the study does illustrate that different kinds of emotions resonate with people on different levels. 

9. What specific visuals should be captured?

Though identifying specific shots and visuals to capture comes a bit later in the pre-production process, it’s important to consider any key events, scenarios, or people that would need to be scheduled during the video shoot.

For instance, if one of your departments is the busiest right before the holidays, it may be wise to schedule the video shoot during that time to show the breadth of your work.

Likewise, if your video has a hard deadline, we make sure to plan MORE TIME than we think is needed. Remember, producing a video often comes with more planning, logistics, time budgeting, and reviewing than anticipated.

10. Who will speak on behalf of the organization / Who will we cast?

It’s the tendency of many companies to automatically turn to the C-suite when characters and spokespeople are needed for a company video. Not only is this not always best – we actually recommend you look elsewhere. A CEO speaking into the lens can really feel stuffy, as they often get caught up in trying to communicate too much for the amount of time your video runs.

You want to capture the heart and soul of your organization, which can usually be better communicated by those who are “in the trenches” and can speak to witnessing the ways in which your organization’s offerings have actually helped improve someone’s life.

Your CEO may give the audience the “wow factor,” but if you’re in the business of generating revenue, the “trust factor” is really what you’re after.

Remember that your speaker doesn’t necessarily need to be from your company. Often times a well-spoken client or paid on-camera talent might be the best choice for your video content.

11. What questions should we ask the interview subjects for the testimonials / who will create the script?

An important part of the video production process is creating your interview questions. We usually work with you at creating the questions/script.

When planning the questions/script sure to avoid closed-ended questions and listen for opportunities to ask follow-up questions. In fact, some of the best answers may come from the follow-up questions.

15. Who needs to approve the final video?

If your company has lots of layers of approval, it might be helpful to add a few extra days to your project timeline to make sure we don’t get behind.

If possible, try to elect a primary point person who will be responsible for all the edits. Streamlining this process can help minimize confusion about which revisions are most important.

16. Where will the video be shot?

Shoot locations often depend on the story you are telling. Many of our shoots are on location, from company headquarters to households or beautiful outdoor scenes. 

On the other hand, your shoot may require studio space where things like a green screen or white backgrounds can be used.

Many organizations have limited options of where the video can be shot – especially if the goal is to communicate company culture. 

But with that said, keep a few things in mind as you decide where to shoot your video: 

  • Be careful with noise. Even something as subtle as the buzz of a fan can be picked up and can ruin a sound bite. 

  • When it comes to backgrounds – keep it simple. A busy background is more of a distraction, and your characters should be the focus of the story anyway.

  • Err on the side of more space than less. Most video shoots require a video producer, a shooter, multiple characters, a camera, lights and audio equipment. All of these things can crowd a room quicker than you may think – so avoid tight-quartered conference rooms and offices.

The overarching advice we give to clients is, to choose a location that represents your organization most accurately, but try to keep it simple!

17. How will the final video be hosted, distributed, and repackaged?

How your video will eventually be used should be in the back of your mind during the planning process. 

Are you going to host it on YouTube and want to link it to another video at the completion of the piece?

You’ll want to tell the audience that either through the audio or graphics within the piece if:

  • Your video is specifically for an event

  • You are planning to launch on social media, your GOAL is to capture and pique the interest of your audience. Try producing and publishing a shorter, high-energy “teaser” of the full video on social media to link to the full video on your website.

  • If you are creating a video for an email campaign, you’ll have to use a hosting platform that allows for embed codes to be seamlessly copied and pasted into your organization’s emails.

Take full advantage of the video and whatever platform you are using, but make sure you’re ready to think through the strategy of how they’ll be produced and edited differently.

What you don’t want is for your video investment to be partly wasted because you didn’t plan how it was going to be used ahead of time.  

“How long should we make the video?”

You don’t want to bore your audience with a 20-minute video about your culture, and you want more than an 8-second micro-video if the goal is to communicate why it is your organization’s work is important. But setting a specific runtime for your video ahead of time is not the right approach. 

Let the content of the video drive the length of the video. The bottom line is, if your content is good, people will stick around and watch. If it’s not, they won’t!


Every video project is different. But these universal video production questions should give you a framework for both what you want your video to look like and what you want it to achieve. 

By taking these steps before hiring Peter Lane Cinematography, you’re sure to save time, decrease confusion, and create a video you and your team can be proud of.

If you have more questions or you are not sure how to get started, consult with us at Peter Lane Cinematography to help think through these strategies, come up with key takeaways, and set plans to produce your video.

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