If there’s one thing I know how to do well, it’s make coffee. And I can do it in my sleep, without thinking. Which, invariably, I do.
Every morning at a quarter to six, I shuffle down to the kitchen to brew a coffee for my wife and me. I fill the kettle, grind the beans, and pull out my coffee press to create this morning elixir.I make my coffee fast, like a well-oiled machine. First, I fill the kettle so I can grind the beans and get the coffee press ready, while the water is coming to the boil.
Doing it in this sequence is quicker than assembling everything and then boiling the water. As well as being quicker, this morning routine ensures my cup of joe is the same—just the way I like it—each morning.
My coffee brewing success comes down to the fact I have established an effective work flow. A work flow for routine tasks such as making coffee speeds things up and ensures consistent quality.
I meet a lot of trainers who find it challenging to consistently make high-quality video. Sure, some of their videos are really engaging. But they struggle to ensure that most of their videos are high quality.
One reason many struggle is they don’t have a production work flow. They approach the making of video in an ad hoc manner. Just as my simple coffee work flow speeds up coffee making, a production work flow can also prevent mistakes, ensure consistency, and free your mind from the routine tasks to focus on being creative.
Good production work flows are fine-tuned to save time by establishing an effective order in which to complete tasks. For example, when I brew coffee, I boil the water first. This gives me time to complete other tasks as it boils.
When it comes to video, completing tasks like paperwork before you go and film can save time in the long run, over doing paperwork two weeks later. And, just as I emphasize in my books, Rapid Media Development for Trainers and Rapid Video Development for Trainers, drawing a storyboard before writing a script can lead to better content. It’s an old trick I learned when I was at the BBC.
When you consistently follow a work flow, each step and the sequence you complete it in becomes a habit. You don’t waste time wondering what’s next—it’s automatic. This makes it fast, effective, and less stressful.
Work flows are especially important when working in a production team. When everyone follows the same sequence and approaches the same tasks in the same way, it becomes easier to work together, fill in for one another, and keep quality standards consistently high.
Until about five years ago, most of my work was providing media training and consulting to newspapers and broadcasters. The most effective media companies I worked with—ones that consistently turned out top-notch content—had well-defined work flows.
The media companies that struggled and did not meet these high standards generally had an ad hoc approach to production. Oh, and their coffee is usually poor, too. But that’s another story.
There’s no one work flow to follow for making video, but a number of general principles will ensure your work flow is effective. Many organizations will tailor a work flow to their culture and infrastructure. But work flows are not intuitive to everyone, especially for folks who are new to media.
Below is the eight-step process I teach in my rapid video workshops for trainers and learning professionals. I write about it in my books, and it’s a framework that you may find helpful. It’s a work flow that I’ve seen many clients use to speed up their video production and improve its quality.
Some people think that good training videos can happen at the snap of the fingers. Grab a camera and start filming. But when you take an ad hoc approach and forget important preparatory steps, you leave things to chance and spend more time correcting preventable mistakes.
One of the really neat things about a work flow is that once you learn it, you start following it automatically, like the way I make my coffee each morning. And it frees you up to be creative with the learning content.