What are the fundamentals of video production? Good question. There’s a lot to it.

As video professionals, we think it’s important that you grasp what it is we actually do. To help you better understand all the facets of video production, we’re doing a brief blog series on some of its core tenets.

We hope this will enable you to (1) know what goes into video production and (2) communicate well with those who make videos. Keep in mind, however, that this is an overview. We’ll be skipping over many things – even entire roles that are crucial to the production process.

To start, we’ll discuss what goes into directing.


According to Merriam-Webster, the action of directing is defined as “regulating the activities” of people. It’s like organizing or supervising a group’s actions. In another sense, directing is plotting a course – pointing out the way an organization should go.

In the video world, directing is exactly that. Directors are the people who guide and lead the entire process, from the conception of the idea all the way to delivering the final edit. The director is the person who calls the shots and makes the overall decisions. They ensure that the core of the video comes through.

But they’re not just “the person in charge.”

What Does A Director Do?

It takes a wide variety of skills to direct with excellence. The director must comprehend each and every facet of production, such that he or she can communicate with and understand team members with different backgrounds and responsibilities. In practice, this means that the director must be able to communicate well with both the video editor and the actor, both of whom perform different functions.

Practically, directors understand what a cinematographer looks for in composing a shot. They also understand what will and won’t work when cutting footage together. They know what coloring and music means for an audience’s emotional experience. They grasp what a performer needs to correctly represent a character’s state of mind. They also have a good story sense, such that they know what is believable and what’s not in a video.

In short, directors do a lot!

What Makes A Good Director?

A bad director can make or break a video. Even if the story or content in the video is fantastic, an unskilled director will ultimately destabilize the video.

On the other hand, a good director can make a bad video look good – at least better than it otherwise would be – in the end. It may not look amazing, but it’d be better than if it were in anybody else’s hands. Like a refining fire, skilled directors can turn something horrible into something that’s at least “okay.”

A good director clearly communicates their shared, common goal to several different perspectives, providing what they need – in their language – at the right time. A good director also allows his or her team the freedom to use their skills to achieve that common goal.

Imagine a sandbox – the one you used to play with on the playground. This sandbox has clearly defined limits – i.e. it’s clear whether or not you are standing inside or outside of it. There’s also a lot of freedom here, however; you can choose to play with any toy in the box and can go wherever they please.

Good directors embrace this principle. In essence, they create a well-marked sandbox and then give their team freedom to use their skills however they want.

The Mind of a Director

Most of the time, when you’re working on a video, you’ll be communicating with a video director. You’ll need to keep in mind that they’re always going to be thinking in terms of the big picture. When they ask you questions, they’ll be seeking a clearer understanding of the end product.

To be sure you’re on the same page, keep apprised of your final vision. Do your best to inform the director of what needs to happen, but give him or her freedom of their own to direct. This requires trusting the person you’re working with, which can be scary. But in the end, it’s worth it.

Ultimately, directing is communicating and leading a team in a shared goal. To do this well, directors must be skilled in many areas of expertise and work well with several perspectives.
Without a director, it’s nearly impossible to pull off a successful video.