Pre-production is the first (and some would argue most important) step in the video creation process.
Plan ahead and start early. Have a focused message. Keep the audience in mind. Think about what you need to record, where you need to record it, and the types of footage you need to get.
Create a storyboard of your project, which is like a graphic outline, with text and/or images. You'll save countless hours if you do (and get the exact shots you'll need, instead of having to go back after the fact and try to recreate particular scenes-- trust us on this one).
If you're creating a dramatic storyline with actors and props, write the first draft of your script. Otherwise, going in without one is like trying to navigate a boat without a clear sense of where you're going.
Likewise, if you're conducting an interview, jot down a list of questions to ask. You'll feel more prepared if you do, and catch yourself if your mind goes blank (sometimes people get interview fright too!).
Here are some helpful resources to help you make informed decisions when purchasing multimedia equipment: