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How to Outline a Video Production Plan

Beginning a project of any substantial size requires a considerable amount of planning. Writing a book, a screenplay, or even a sports play requires a sort of outline. An idea of where you’re starting, and where you want to end, and then everything you need to do to get to where you need to be, helps to give you the direction needed to be successful.

My video outlines usually start out as bullet points, and then as I fill it in,  end up having paragraphs attached to them. Here, this video will explain what I mean.

Having a solid outline is even more important if you are creating an interactive video using Camtasia’s hotspots, or another software that allows your user to click through the course. Any sort of “choose your own adventure” course requires considerable planning.

Aside from bullet points, another useful trick is to use a color code. In the outline shown in the video I used red to indicate hotspots and their links. Another way to do it would be to color code the hotspot with the section heading that it linked to. I decided not to take that route though because too many colors get involved and it just gets confusing.

Thanks to my video production plan, I am now aware of some issues I’m going to have with the “choose your own adventure” format. My original idea had my character walking around the office, but if the viewer doesn’t select the order that I planned and shot for, then it will appear as though my character is teleporting around the office. So instead I’ll have her start and end each segment in the same central location so that the transitions are fluid. I wouldn’t have thought of that if I had not outlined my production.

How have outlines been helpful to you? What sort of projects have you created that you were glad you outlined, or that you wished you outlined?

This blog is the first in a series documenting the production process of a company video for eLearning Brothers. The series will cover several items from pre-production, to production, to post-production.

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