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CECS 5111: Digital Video. Planning and Pre-production for Classroom Video. Written and produced by: Dr. Terry Holcomb May, 2002. Topics. Early Planning Team and audience analysis, equipment etc Defining the problem and solution Planning tips Pre-production Research Treatment

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CECS 5111: Digital Video

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Cecs 5111 digital video

CECS 5111:Digital Video

Planning and Pre-productionfor Classroom Video

Written and produced by: Dr. Terry Holcomb

May, 2002



  • Early Planning

    • Team and audience analysis, equipment etc

    • Defining the problem and solution

    • Planning tips

  • Pre-production

    • Research

    • Treatment

    • Storyboard

    • Scripting

    • Formative evaluation

Planning is key

Planning is Key

  • A well developed plan is crucial to the success of your final project.

  • A well planned project is easier to:

    • Film

    • Edit

    • Distribute

    • Enjoy!

Know yourself

Know Yourself!

  • Know your limitations as teacher

  • Know limitations of students

  • Analyze the intended audience

    • reading level

    • interest/motivation

    • cultural differences

    • etc.

Define the problem

Define the Problem

  • Determine the topic based on interest and need (why produce a tape on the school when another one already exists).

  • What is the solution? If video is the answer… do you have the tools (both equipment and skills ) and budget?

Define the problem1

Define the Problem

  • Outline the topic or problem, and the solution.

  • Outline the objective/goal of production.

Tips from research

Tips from Research

  • Make this project interdisciplinary

    • researching,

    • reading,

    • writing,

    • thinking,

    • co-operation

  • Teach formative and summative evaluation skills

Tips from research1

Tips from Research

  • Ensure that planning includes ‘purposes’ so students can inform future viewers.

  • Overproduction can kill the module:

    • KISS

    • When in doubt, throw it out

  • Use extra visualization and subtitles.

  • Minimize distractions (sounds,background)

Organize the team

Organize the Team

  • Determine

    • the size of the team

    • basic skills

    • learning styles of students

  • Form Teams

    • research team

    • production team

    • talent team

    • evaluation and promotion

Organize team leadership

Organize Team Leadership



  • As a group work out

    • the day a task begins

    • the day a task needs to be complete

    • which tasks feed into other tasks

  • Post the timeline as a reference for everyone

Research team

Research Team

  • Determine key content by meeting with full team.

  • Search:

    • WWW

    • Library

    • photo archives

    • interviews

Be clear and keep the

group focused!!

Research team1

Research Team

  • Organize content

    • cards

    • word webs

  • Treatments

    • historical?

    • flashbacks/forward?

Be clear and keep the

group focused!!

Research team2

Research Team

  • Script and storyboard feeds back to production team.

Be clear and keep the

group focused!!

Production team

Production Team

  • Camcorder and assistant

    • read instructions

    • practice with camera

    • Check wires and batteries

  • Sound Crew

    • test & set up microphones

    • “Quiet on the set!”

  • Location Crew

    • arrange location

    • track extra equipment

Oil Change

Scene #3a

Production team1

Production Team

  • Review Script and Storyboard

    • add ideas,

    • check abilities of cast and crew,

    • equipment,

    • etc.

Oil Change

Scene #3a

Talent team

Talent Team

  • Help research team to create script

  • Learn the terms of the production team

    • ready, action, cut, etc

  • Practice your lines and moves… visit the locations

  • Be on time! And be quiet when you are not on camera

Evaluation promotion

Evaluation & Promotion

  • Provide formative and summative feedback.

  • Attend meetings of other teams and check for quality and focus.

    • are teams on time

    • ready to go

Evaluation promotion1

Evaluation & Promotion

  • Promotion (marketing)

    • determine who needs to see the final product (who’s your audience?)

    • provide recommendations on audience needs and skills

    • contact potential viewers

      • handbills

      • school intercom…

Organization tips

Organization Tips

  • Besides the meetings of all the teams and sub-teams, there should also be an executive committee that meets with and reports to the Executive Director (teacher)

    • Executive Director (teacher)

    • All Associate Directors (Suzy, Jaime, Keisha)

Now to Pre-Production:

Pre production


  • Research

  • Treatment

  • Storyboard

  • Script

  • Formative Evaluation

Research finding linking

Research: Finding & Linking

  • Determines scope and authenticity of content

  • Reads, evaluates, selects best resources

  • Gathers all content for script:

    • Includes topics/questions to ask in interviews

    • Begins writing script

  • Works with production team and storyboard creator, team will suggest visualizations

Research finding linking1

Research: Finding & Linking

  • Keeps in contact with other teams

  • Ensures that the research is used

  • Suggests ideas for treatment

The treatment

Video Treatment Handout

The Treatment

Video Treatment Handout

  • Between the organization of research and the creation of the script the team leaders must agree on how they will ‘treat’ the material. Style, pacing, narration, etc.

Chicken or the egg

Chicken or the Egg

  • All writing teams are different. Some prefer to storyboard first, and then write the script. Others argue they must have the words (script) before the visuals (storyboard combo).

  • In truth, you almost always redo both of them at least once, and often, many times. Either way is ok… just keep them in synch!




Production Storyboard Checklist

There is a storyboard for each page, screen, or frame. Each storyboard is numbered. All relevant details (color, graphics, sound, font, interactivity, visuals, etc.) are indicated. All text or narration is included and cross referenced with its corresponding storyboard number.




Cecs 5111 digital video

Storyboard Example

Card # Producer/Director Project Time:


Ms. Jones change battery



Mechanic: Be sure to have

the right tool when you

check the battery.

[add anything of value

when you edit]

[photo’s/stick figures/cutouts - all ok if “readable”]


slow zoom from long to MCU

cut to CU of battery & hands.


use interview questions

Mr. Smith interview

Storyboard online resources

Storyboard Online Resources

Pause the video and research the links in Resources.

Scriptwriting overview

Scriptwriting: Overview

  • This is the TEXT plan document. It will be the guide for all that will be said, shown and performed in your production.

  • One standard format is a two-column page with visuals (and camera movements) on the left and audio (and audio actions such as “dissolve to street noise”) on the right.

Scriptwriting two approaches

Scriptwriting: Two approaches

  • Subjective

    • Storytelling- where the video establishes the location. Often attempts to elicit an emotional reaction from the audience.

  • Objective

    • Based on need of audience, often is very goal oriented. Exists to fill a need of the viewer.

P.S. Do not confuse with subjective and objective camera

views that are discussed in books and lessons.

Sample script feed the dog


(Mike walks in and dog grabs the cuff of his pants)

[camera widens to show both Mom and Mike (with dog)]

(Cut to MS of dog. After he barks, dog follows Mike out of room)


MIKE: Brownie, why are you doing that?

MOM: He is hungry Mike, feed him and water him.

DOG: bark, bark, pant, pant, slobber

Sample Script:Feed the Dog

[All students should receive copies of the script]

Talent team tips

Talent Team Tips

  • The talent team might be the actors or participate in choosing people to be actors (teacher may prefer to do this).

  • Arrange practice sessions with feedback for all talent BEFORE real shooting.

  • Find information, props, clothing, etc. for actors.

  • Talent permissions: Check school policy for students who will perform. Use standard ‘talent release form’ for all other performers.

  • See Sample on Next Slide:

Cecs 5111 digital video

Sample Talent Release Form

Talent Name: ____________________ Project Title: ___________________________

I hereby consent, without further consideration or compensation, to allow the use

(full or in part) of all videotapes taken of me and/or recordings made of my voice and/or

written extraction, in whole or in part, of such recordings or musical performance for

the purposes of illustration, broadcast, or distribution in any manner for this school

production _________________________________________________________ (Title)

at __________________________ on _______________________________

        (Recording Location)                             (Month) (Day) (Year)

by ______________________________ for ______________________________

       ( Student Producer)                                             (Grade and Teacher)

Talent's signature__________________________________________________

Address ________________________________ City _____________________

State ____________________ Zip code _____________

Date: ____/____/____


If the subject is a minor under the laws of the state where modeling,

acting, or performing is done:

Legal guardian __________________________________________________ (sign/date)

Address _____________________________ City ________________________

State ______________________ Zip Code ___________

Date: ____/____/____

Evaluation during after

Evaluation:During & After

  • Formative Evaluation:

    • Steps taken AS you create the script and do the production (is the light correct, is the script at the right reading level, etc.).

  • Summative Evaluation:

    • Reviews completed project

    • Does it hold interest… can students identify with it… do viewers seem to have skills needed and information (schemata)?

    • Appropriate levels of content…with good examples

    • Is the information current?

    • Is the cost in time and money “worth it?”

Final comments on pre production for video

Final Comments on Pre-Production for Video

  • Pre-production is important and challenging.

  • KISS is THE principle.

  • Humor and animation are not NEEDED to make a good module. Only use them if they significantly add to the learning, etc.

REMEMBER: learning is taking place during the production as well as during the showing of the module!



  • Using Technology in the Classroom, Gary Bitter & Melissa Pierson, Allen and Bacon, 2002

  • Digital Video for Dummies, Martin Doucette, IDG Books, 1999

  • Creating Video’s for School Use, William Valmont, Allen and Bacon, 1995

  • Other resources including web links are available through the Resource link below.

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