What is a recce in film and video production?

We are often asked ‘what is a recce’ in terms of film and video production? Like most creative industries, ours has its own jargon. There are certain words and phrases which are commonplace in the office, but which probably sound like complete nonsense to anyone who doesn’t spend their day editing videos and eating large quantities of biscuits (or other snacks which you are, of course, welcome to send us).

One of those words is ‘recce’. For example, we might say ‘let’s do a recce’ before shooting a video, or ‘recce’ a filming location. This does actually serve a function – we’re not just trying to sound like spies. Honest…

So, what does a recce actually mean, apart from mooching about a bit?

Essentially, a recce is important for us to plan how to execute an effective video. This means we don’t want to just turn up on the day of filming and hope for the best. 

We want to look at lighting, space, angles, the physical geography, etc. in order to fully understand and realise the client’s requirements for the video in question.

We’ll make notes, plan out which shots will work and eliminate those which won’t, and devise a practical and pragmatic method of filming.

Important note – not every video needs a recce! We’ll recce when we film at a site we haven’t visited before, and/or for videos such as “fly throughs” where we’re showcasing a location.

Why bother with a recce? Can’t you just edit all that stuff later?

If you can get it right without the need for heavy editing you’re onto a winner. Recce’s allow us to plan and think about achieving the brief, so the days of filming are merely just the execution of it and not discovery. Another key point is time. If we save time for ourselves, we also save time for the client. And, as we all know, time means money. 

We could spend unnecessary hours correcting imperfections which a recce would have avoided, but that isn’t efficient for anyone involved.

Clients want minimum disruption to their business, so we do a recce to help make the day of filming as smooth as possible.

A recce is quite important, then?

It certainly is!

Think of it this way – you would be reluctant to commission a building job at your house if the constructor had never been to survey the property, or offer work to a decorator who hadn’t seen the condition of your plasterwork.

Well, for us videomakers (technical term) the humble recce is our equivalent to those preparatory steps listed above. After all, a detailed plan enables a detailed delivery!

So, that’s a recce and why we carry them out! Simples!

Are you interested in a video project? Why not get in touch to see if we can help you and your organisation! In the meantime check out some of our helpful blogs below!

1) Why Should You Use Custom Thumbnails?

2) Video Marketing Stats to Blow Your Mind!

3) Our Different Types of Storyboard!

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