Unit 1- Pre-Production

For my Final Major Project I am making a promotional video for Guide Dogs for The Blind. They are a charity that helps to provide mobility and freedom to blind and partially sighted people, this independence is usually through giving the blind or visually impaired person a dog who helps to guide them, although they also offer human guides to people who can’t or don’t want to work with a Guide Dog. They also campaign for the rights of people with visual impairment, educate the public about eye care and fund eye disease research.

They would like me to create a 5 to 7 minute promotional video with 5-7 one minute sections in it, covering every part of their company from the volunteers to the dogs.
The general tone of the video will be uplifting, but I need the audience to get attached to the people and the dogs. There needs to be facts in there, interviews and narrative voice overs. The audience is primarily Birmingham and the three counties’ public, businesses, schools, social groups and service users. This means that the video needs to be very vocal so that people who are visually impaired can listen to the video and understand it just as much as someone would be able to with full sight. There needs to be no timeframe on it, so they can use it in the future. The overall goal of the video is to show others what Guide Dogs are all about (to educate and inform).

Pre-production benefits a production as it helps for the production to be organised, if there was no such thing as pre-production then there wouldn’t be any films ever, all productions require some sort of research and preproduction even if it isn’t written out, the continuity of films would be appalling, people would turn up without the correct equipment and the film would just fail.

All crew members benefit from all areas of pre-production, for example Camera Operators need storyboards to work out the framing of a certain shot.
Before now, when I worked backstage at download festival it was a very last minute thing and realistically I should’ve have an external microphone with me as there was a lot of background noise going on, however, I recently shot a wedding video which I had two days to prepare for and although it wasn’t an ideal amount of time to have to plan, it was more than the download video. I took two ext. microphones and the sound is a lot clearer and more crisp and the background noise from the disco on the night was significantly reduced when I was asking people to leave a message for the bride and groom. I also took noise cancelling headphones so I could monitor the sound levels, which helped too.

Finance and Budget

Budgeting in film refers to the process by which a filmmaker, unit production manager, or line producer prepares a budget for a production. This document, which can be up to or over 150 pages long! It is used to secure financing for the pre-production, production and post production of the film. This also applies to TV Productions.
Some things included in a film or tv programme budget are;
-Equipment Hire including: lighting, cameras, audio equipment, camera lighting and audio support equipment (e.g. shoulder rigs, boom polesetc.)
-Location Hire
-Studio Hire
– Crew

Films nowadays either have a massive budget or a really small one, some have no budget and rely solely on crowdfunding via websites such as indiegogo.
Budgets help to organise how much money goes to each section of a production, if there wasn’t a budget then a film is possible but it wouldn’t be amazing quality as not many people that are amazing at what they do will work for free.

The different sources of finance I could use for my project are:
 Crowd Sourcing – this means raising funds/obtaining equipment online through social media. For example, I could create a campaign on indiegogo, or kickstarter.
 Product Placement – this is when you recieve funding from your client/similar companies when you place their products into your video.
 Executive Producers – this means approaching businesses with a conceptual video and pitch in order to gain funding.

The different elements that require funding at each stage of my production are the following:
Transport and materials, they should be funded by either myself or Guide Dogs as I am making the video for them for free. Clearances will be made through Guide Dogs too.

I am using my own equipment, the interviewees and talent we are using will be volunteers, workers and service users, the crew will be made up of me, occasionally Alex Bushell and if needs be then Robert Sealey, I won’t need to hire any facilities as we will be using either guide dogs facilities, service users houses or public areas.

My budget is £100, covers all areas of back up for each time I go out to shoot, from forgotten lunches to broken SD Cards.


Casting is the selection of people to play various acting roles in a production. Sometimes a part is written with a particular actor in mind, but usually not. A casting director can play a significant role in the eventual success or failure of the movie or TV show.
When casting, the casting crew will put a call out for specific looking actors, the actors will then come in and be auditioned, once auditioned the crew will order the auditionees into who best fits the character.

Casting is a major benefit to your production, although it can take a long time once you’ve found the person who exactly fits the description that you are looking for and they have the skills to act how you want them to it can really help to pull of your production. You have to remember that the audience aren’t watching the camera angles, they’re watching the actors.

Casting will benefit my FMP because I need to look for someone who can portray emotion well. For example in an interview about becoming blind or visually impaired wouldn’t be useful for my project if the person just sat there saying it in a monotonous voice, they need to show the emotion they felt when it happened.

Hiring Crew

Employing the right people in any job is important, but with the size of budgets at stake here it’s all the more vital that those you find will use their talents to the full to make your production a success.

The Knowledge is a great source – whether you’re looking for a camera operator, an art director or the entire film crew.

Here’s a rundown of the different departments and individuals in a film crew and what they do.

Production: This is the role played by the varied producers, managers, assistants, directors and co-ordinators. They are there to ensure the production runs smoothly and that the key elements fit into place and occur when they are supposed to. They control the whole film crew and they are the administrative support that drives the project forwards.
Location manager, aided by scouts and assistants. They ensure the locations are found and secured, the relevant parties are compensated and kept happy and that all the equipment and personnel are where they should be when they should be.
If something has to be designed or made, built or landscaped then it’s the art department’s responsibility. In feature films, the art department can number into the hundreds. The production designer controls the creative look of the film and is at the top of the ranking, underneath there are many different varieties of departments for the different bits of art; sets, props, construction, scenic, greens and special effects, all with their specific areas of artistic creativity. With those directing, doing and supporting the work in each of these different sub-departments it’s no surprise that art department members are often the largest group in the film crew.
A Director of Photography (DoP, or cinematographer) manages all of the camera-related members of the film crew, converting the director’s instructions into footage. The team often consists of a focus puller, who keeps the shot in focus, an assistant who operates the camera and a clapper loader who inserts the film. Lately, with the use of HD filming, new roles in film crews have emerged, such as the digital imaging technician who looks after the camera and processes the digital footage at the end of the shoot. 
-Hair and Make-Up:
Professional make-up artists and hairdressers, along with their assistants, are needed to ensure that the exact looks are achieved for each character in each shot under the certain types of lighting. Make-up artistry often crosses the divide between enhancement and special effects.
-Costume: The Costume department are responsible for everything that’s worn on stem it’s made up of the costume designers, the costume makers and the costume buyers. In feature films they sometimes have people to maintain the costumes and also some people who distress the costumes (costume special effects)
-Production Sound:
The production sound mixer manages the department, the utility sound technician ensures all the equipment is where it should be and the boom operator who positions the microphones to receive the best reception. They are tasked with ensuring that everything to do with noise and voices are recorded exactly as they are supposed to be.
The Grips are people trained in lighting and they are the rigging technicians led by the “key grip”. They set up and move the lighting and heavy equipment around the set.
These are members of the film crew that are responsible for planning the electrics of a shoot including the lighting. The chief here is called the gaffer, and his assistant is called the best boy (although this role is non-gender specific).
Members of the post production film crew, film editors and their assistants cut the film into the motion picture. They also have colourists that ensure that there is a visual consistency across all the different shots.
-Visual Effects: 
The Visual Effects crew add the ‘wizardry’ of CGI, or they manipulate images to create effects that weren’t there when the film was originally shot, (for example in the shot below, this effect was created afterwards, it wasn’t fireworks attached to their wands.)

Film productions are large-scale affairs and finding the right film crew for your production can be a difficult and tedious task, however; when you’ve got the right knowledge, it can put you in touch with the right crew members that can get the job done and it really does pull the whole thing off.

For my FMP I am not hiring in people, I am doing a massive chunk of the jobs and I have a few people helping me when possible but they are volunteers.

Location Scouting and Location Reconnaissance

Location Recces benefit production as you can work out the practicality of filming where you’ve had a look at, by working with the crew you can work out how accessible and practical it is to film in one place. Most people start with a location in mind, others are open to locations that offer more practicality for filming that for looks.
Location costs will also be considered in the location recce, some locations are free, others have a cost be it small or large, other places may just ask for you to make a charity donation.
Locations have to be negotiated carefully as, if the locations is (for example) a road, you have to also consider road closures etc.
All members of the crew with large vans and a lot of equipment benefit from location scouting as they can work out the most appropriate equipment to take on set.
Crew that would benefit from the Location Recce:
-1st/ 2nd/ 3rd Assistant Director
-Executive Producer
-Designer and Art Department
-Director of Photography + camera department, they would benefit from a location recce as they could be wanting to take a lot of heavy equipment but if the location was a non-vehicle accessible area then they would adapt to suit but if they didn’t know that then they would’ve had to carry all the equipment.
-Gaffer and electrician
-Line Producer/ Production Co-ordinator/ Production Secretary
-Sound Department
-Hair and Make-up
-Costume and Wardrobe would benefit as they can adapt the costumes, for example if it is somewhere really cold they can try to change the costumes a bit to make them feel warmer but still look how they are supposed to.

Risk Assessment

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A Risk Assessment is a document which has to be done before any filming occurs.  This measure is in place to ensure the safety of everyone who is on set when making a film. It shows that the person responsible, when on location, has considered the safety of everyone involved in the filming from the contributor and the crew, to the general public.  To create a Risk Assessment you have to work out the filming day and location and then consider what the potential hazards are whilst there, you take into account all parts from wires being trip hazards to the weather causing, for example, heatstroke, you note down what injuries could result from all hazards and how the risk can be reduced or avoided. You have to be practical and you have to be realistic, the majority of injuries on a film set tend to come from trip hazards and from manual handling kind of jobs.

The Risk Assessment document has to be signed by the person responsible on location, it then has to be circulated to everyone who will be on location BEFORE any filming starts, this means that everyone is aware of the hazards that may be around and they should be more cautious around the outlined hazards.
This signed risk assessment should be with you at all times while filming.
If any plans change on the day then the risk assessment has to be updated after a thorough evaluation of the changes have been undertaken and notated. It all sounds very official, however if there is an accident and you get taken to court because someone has been injured then this kind of documentation and procedure is what the court will be looking at when they make the decision as to if it is your fault or the worker’s fault.  Moreover, you have a moral obligation to ensure the safety of everyone who is working for you.

In my FMP I will have to cover a lot more than a normal risk assessment as in more than one case I will be working with blind or visually impaired people that cannot see hazards. I will also be working with dogs which you can’t tell them if there’s a problem if they do something. I will also be going into an environment where extra safety precautions have to be taken to ensure the health and safety of some dogs as I will be visiting the breeding centre to film.
The risk assessments will help me to ensure the safety of myself and others with me on set.


Inception (2010)
Director: Christopher Nolan
Storyboard Artist: Gabriel Hardman

Spiderman 2 (2004)
Director: Sam Raimi
Storyboard Artist: Chris Buchinsky
Jaws (1975)
Director: Steven Spielberg
Storyboard Artist: Joe Alves

Storyboarding is important in all parts of a production. Storyboards are graphic organizers in the form of illustrations or images displayed in sequence for the purpose of pre-visualizing a motion picture, animation, motion graphic or interactive media sequence.
It’s a way of pre-visualising a production before it’s produced, it can help with pre-production elements as for example- you can look at the storyboard then start to find similar looking locations, props and outfits. It can help during production with regards to camera and lighting and where they are to be positioned, also with how a scene is framed.
In post production the editor can use it to work out which shots are supposed to be edited where.
The storyboarding process can be very time-consuming and intricate even in this day and age, however many large budget silent films were storyboarded. Sadly most of this material was lost during the reduction of the studio archives in the 1970s.

A film storyboard is essentially a large comic of the film or some section of the film produced beforehand to help film directors, cinematographers and television commercial advertising clients visualize the scenes and find potential problems before they occur. Besides this storyboards also help estimate the cost of the overall production and saves time. Often storyboards include arrows or instructions that indicate movement.

One advantage of using storyboards is that it allows (in film and business) the user to experiment with changes in the storyline to evoke stronger reaction or interest. Flashbacks, for instance, are often the result of sorting storyboards out of chronological order to help build suspense and interest.

In my FMP I will be making some very basic storyboards as they will help me to keep track of my shots and to develop the original ideas I had for shots before I get to shooting them.

Legal and Ethical Requirements

We have to keep to the regulations of legal and ethical bodies when making a production as this helps to prevent legal issues and lawsuits from cropping up. In example; If I used a popular artists music without the permission from the company that they work for then me using the music would be an infringement of copyright. This means that there is a large possibility that I could be taken to court due to the infringement of copyright.
To avoid a situation like this I would make sure that I have asked permission outlining the use of the music, what it’s for etc.
If it was for my FMP, I would state that I am making a promotional video for the charity Guide Dogs and explain that I would be using the music for cutaways in my school project, although it may also be being used buy Guide Dogs to promote themselves if it is good enough.
I would only then use the music if permission has been sought and granted.
Companies or artists may ask for a sum of money to use the music, if they do you can make the decision to either pay it or find a different artist. Never use people’s work without their permission, you wouldn’t like it if someone else stole your work for their own promotion without your permission being sought, so don’t put others in that upsetting situation.

The regulatory bodies that I will have to stick by would be codes from the following: CAP, BCAP and ASA, to name just a few.
One particular code I will have to stick to and keep in consideration throughout the duration of my FMP would be the ASA’s code regarding working with charities as Guide Dogs for the Blind is a charity.
This code outlines that I ensure that who the charity represents, in the production, are not disrespected.



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