Video content creation is the bane of some integrators’ existence. They know they should try to do it themselves — become a soup-to-nuts provider for their clients and earn more revenue — but they feel incapable of telling the client’s story in that medium. So they hire a video producer or video production company.
The most important thing that people forget is that just because a video producer can record images in a camera does not necessarily mean they can tell a real story. A video production company has to have the expertise to arrange hundreds of images, along with visual and sound effects, motion and narration, coordinated sound and musical perfection, in such a way that your audience has a compelling, predicable reaction.
This takes true talent and is remarkable when it happens! And it rarely happens. It is the distinction that separates the true video production professionals from the rest of pack. Here are 10 things you need to know BEFORE you begin any video content creation process — and some important items to consider if you’re hiring a video producer.
1. Get Focused
Realize that we live in a visual world. A picture is worth a thousand words, and a moving picture is worth a million. So once you’ve decided to explore the concept of a video, be as focused as possible as to what you want to accomplish with it. What’s missing that you feel a video will help resolve? Consider who will view this, and once they’ve seen it, what do you want them to think or do? If the video producer you are considering does not ask the above two questions, you have the wrong person. Look elsewhere!
2. Choosing a Video Production Company
So who do you get to help you with producing the video? We suggest someone with the following three credentials. First, someone with samples of videos that have the look and feel that you are expecting. Second, someone who’s personality is in sync with your own. They should be knowledgeable about the process but also be nice to work with. It’s a chemistry thing. After all, this is movie-making, the number one fun profession in our culture. And third, choose someone who has a proven track record of working within your time frame and budget by talking to their recent clients.
3. Budgeting for Video Content Creation
We suggest you are upfront with your video producer as to what you would like to spend. There are many “guerilla” ways to achieve the same basic result without spending a fortune. Having said that, be careful that, if you are expecting to put out the aura that you are a trusted, cutting edge, reliable company, then the video must convey that feeling, or you’re in trouble. It all comes down to shooting days and editing time. Our video content creation processes normally cost between $1,000 and $4,000 per running minute.
4. The Video Content Creation Process Itself
For those of you who have never made a real video, this is the daunting, yet exciting, part. Basically, it comes down to three steps: pre-production, production, and post-production. Pre-production is when you decide on concept, style, pacing, what will be included and who will be in it. It is where all brainstorming occurs and it is a good idea to have anyone involved in the final approval process allowed to give input at the very beginning. Also, you will need to address issues like on-camera narration or a just voice over. A great video producer will walk you through these and many other checklist options while keeping it exciting.
This is where you get to see everything and it really begins to feel like you are actually making a movie. Shooting locations are picked and the crew and director show up with all of the cool equipment. It’s always best to work with someone who has actual broadcast television experience as opposed to, for example, a wedding videographer. These experienced individuals will always have the best gear and the kind of sophistication that makes a day of technical decisions go smoothly and most importantly, will make your on-camera people feel at ease. They will get the right camera angles and exciting footage that will make for a show that people will WANT to watch.
6. Post Production
This is where the magic happens and, normally, you are not even there! The reason you are not there is two fold. First, the process of logging in and digitizing all of the footage into a computer software system is time consuming and boring. Second, if you’ve hired the right people…all great editors like to edit alone.
Why? Because the creative aspect of story telling is a personal one and is best done in a solo artistic environment. If the video producer you’ve chosen clearly understood your expectations and goals during the pre-production process, you need not worry. Rely on the fact that he or she will use this knowledge, coupled with a plethora of filmmaking techniques, to communicate your vision in a way that people will be informed, inspired and influenced.
7. Timing Issues
This varies greatly depending upon video production projects currently in the works. But generally speaking, pre-production, script writing, and production take about a week each. For post-production, allow two weeks. Then the approval process and further tweaking is entirely up to you. Make certain the Producer understands your timeline requirements and get in writing that these will be met. We send out V-Mails at specific steps in our unique process which keeps our clients fully informed along the way. We normally ask for payment in installments as the project progresses, with the final payment due upon satisfaction of the final approved show.
Once the show has been through what we call a rough edit, you will get to see it. At this point, we recommend you live with it for a couple of days, and show it to anyone whose opinions you value. Then, create a complete list of changes, suggestions and questions that you will then sit down with the editor and further craft the show to become the best it can be. From this point, we would put it in any format you wish and deliver a master to you as well as keep a master for any future improvements or versions. This saves time and money and we always check back with our clients in six months to see what the actual results were.
9. Video Content Creation Expectations
There’s just no substitute for on-the-job video production experience. You want a video producer who understands cameras and people, who’s able to perform under the worst conditions to get you beautifully framed, in-focus shots. These individuals always seem to have the right gadgets at their disposal, knowing many tricks of the trade that can only be learned through time.
A video production crew is expected to be fast and mobile, so a crew’s “lighting package” needs to be of the minimum size to still be effective. They will use light to achieve the correct depth of field focus and produce an attractive shot. After all, they paint with light to make certain that the mood or style you desire is achieved. A great cameraperson understands that they are just a link in the chain of the complete story telling process.
What’s the most overlooked aspect of hiring a video content creation crew? Sound.
Sound is just as important as picture. Horrible sound automatically means unusable video. You want to make certain the video production company brings someone proficient with this craft, not his neighbor or a production assistant who simply runs that task as they would an errand. Plus, a great video production crew will have the best microphones, because just like cameras, microphones come in all quality ranges. With microphones, redundancy rules the day, because you never know when one will stop performing.
A good video production team is the right combination of talented, business-like professionals with an artist’s sensitivity for great story telling. Couple this with the right attitude and everyone wins.