How to Get Your Video Production Started
GETTING YOUR VIDEO ROLLING
So what do you do if you want to make a video? How do you get started? Here are some ideas to get you going. Think of this as your video production cheat sheet.
1. Do you need a video? Many people think they want a video but they send in PowerPoints with so much detail we don’t stand a chance. The PowerPoints have reams of information but what clients don’t realize is that videos at their best (read the ones we might watch to completion) sell passion and emotion, they are NOT brain dumps. Video weaves images, sounds and music into a final product that is far more than the sum of its parts.
2. Who’s your audience? Consumers, wealthy traveling businessmen, salesmen or maybe female runners? Creating a video that targets specific audiences is much easier than doing a cattle call, because it forces us to tell too much story to the people who already know a lot…. and that makes them bail. People have quick fingers on the mouse these days, so we need to build productions to cater to specific target audiences.
3. Come up with a list of your major messages, and prioritize them. Believe it or not, most videos include 3 to 5 major messages. That’s it. If your list is pushing 10 or more, you are asking the video to do too much. Keep it simple. What do you want your audience to remember or do at the end of your video?
4. Understand the production process. How long does it take? Naturally, it depends on what you want to produce. A few short 60 second testimonials might take 7-10 days from concept to posting them on your web site, while an 8-10 minute New Product introduction using voices of people from across the U.S. might take two months to script, shoot and edit.
5. Here’s a question many of you are dying to ask… How much? Our costs are determined by how much time we invest in your production. If we need to script, you pay for our research and writing time. Same is true for casting if we need to use actors. When we travel, we pay our crews half their ‘day rate’ for travel days, so we try to keep travel to a minimum, if possible, and we try to use local cameramen (if possible) when we travel a long way. Original music, or music from a music library? Do we need to pay for a location to shoot your project, or can we shoot on site? All these little details factor into the final cost. But here’s a rough rule of thumb…. productions tend to cost roughly $2500 to $3500 per minute. Don’t rely on these numbers though, because as usual, it all depends.
6. What are the major steps in a production? Production can be broken into five major phases. Bidding, Pre-Production, Production, Post Production and Distribution. Bidding is just that… coming up with pricing parameters to estimate what it costs to produce your project. Warning, if you are bidding with more than one production company it’s VITAL that you use the same criteria for each company, or you will not get apples to apples bids. You can also ask request a formal proposal. Small projects usually tend to require less elaborate proposals than large projects (budgets of $40k and up). Also if you have limited time to produce a project, there may not be sufficient time to write a proper proposal. I prefer at least 7-10 business days depending on how busy we are. Make sure you meet the producer who will ‘Line Produce’ your project. It’s not unusual to have an executive producer sell you a whole bill of goods and then hand the project off to one of his underlings who you may have never met. That’s a major red flag.
OK, back to the production process. Once we agree on an estimate (and proposal) we sign a contract and start Pre-Production. In this phase we iron out the messaging, pick the voices, actors, locations, itineraries, and then comes the actual filming.
The actual production days are crucial because the film you get is the raw material for the final project. Getting it right in the field helps keep the project simpler in the edit room. Careful production planning and realistic planning with some wiggle room makes for less tension when things go ‘off script’. Much as we wish this doesn’t happen, it usually does. Someone is running late or sick, a fire alarm goes off, the leaf blowers are clearing the neighborhood… it’s Murphy’s Law. We get it done, but preparing for the unexpected is important.
Then we move on to Post Production when our editors do their magic. Depending on the size of the project and the amount of time we have to deliver the project you may see from 1-3 early versions of the film, aka rough cuts. These versions may not have the transitional images over each speaker (b-roll), they also may not have music or sound effects, or finely mixed sound. These early versions of the film help us lock in the major messaging so that we can move on to the finer details that combine to make film ‘magic’.
Finally, once we nail the project down, there is the distribution process. Whether it airs it on multiple web channels, it’s being distributed on DVDs to 15,000 Ferrari owners (it takes roughly 21 days from the date of delivery of the master DVD to the duplicator to your receipt of the DVD order) or the video is being shown at a major dinner for 5000 sponsors, we are there to help make the project look it’s best.
7. It’s not as bad as it seems. Sure there’s a lot of information, but that’s why you hire producers like us… to break it down and make it easier for you. Feel free to call us if we can help. We would love to learn more about your project and help you make it GREAT!
8. If you want to price out a project or send out an RFP create a spec sheet of what you want and send that same sheet out to all the production companies you are considering.
9. Naturally we would love to talk to you about a potential project. If you are not sure of what to do next we are glad to kick around some ideas, so give us a call, or shoot us an email. Call us at 978-451-4100 or email us your concept, idea, etc, to this em address: firstname.lastname@example.org