Creating episodic video content can entail some of the most difficult video production challenges. This is especially so if you’re presenting fictional stories for the purpose of entertainment which have a continuous storyline. Even if your content is not fiction, the requirements of continuity and serialistic editing will place some unique pressures on you and your crew.
The type of cameras and sound gear you’ll need will largely depend on the types of shooting you will be doing. Naturally, if your material is fictive in nature, this can be quite unpredictable. Whatever the nature of your programming, good quality sound equipment should be ever-present in order to render quality recordings of dialogue.
To create compelling stories and engaging dialogue, you need consistently high-quality writing. Writing episodic scripts can be a full-time job by itself and can dictate every other aspect of production. In recent years in film and TV, improvisation- particularly by comedic actors- has been used to create fresh interactions between characters. When the talent is there, you can save time with the writing process. But one or both of these two components must fill the whole job of generating compelling stories.
For episodic presentations, having a wide range of original music is very important to set the mood for different types of scenes and to lend power to transitional scenarios. Introductory and exit art will need to be original, as will much of any artistic images that appear in your work. This is especially true if it is a monetized production- everything that appears in your work will have to be things to which you own the rights.
Even in the simplest storylines with ordinary settings must be arranged to suit the needs of your narrative. You may think you’re shooting in an ordinary living room that does not need to be specially arranged, but once you’ve shot a scene- it becomes an immutable part of the story and any future changes have to be explainable. When you shoot in public, this important consideration becomes even more challenging.
Your post production phase is a huge part of your direction. Timing, music, and transitions all work together to set the mood and can either make or break your series. Remember, with the right direction and editing, anyone can appear to be a kung fu master, or an award winning actor.
Even big films are full of continuity errors. But the more there are, and the more obvious they are- the more difficult it is to believe your story. One good trick is to keep still photos of the beginning, middle and end of every scene. These will help you spot continuity errors. Continuity errors related to the narrative and plot take more diligence to spot, and the best advice for that is to be dedicated to watching every detail of your production very carefully.
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