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2019 was a great ride, and now it’s time to “drive” right into 2020! Need a Videographer, Director of Photography, Director/TD, Cinematographer, or just a good ol’ Camera Operator? Give me a call!
To all of my clients, freelance colleagues and friends, my sincere thanks and a tip of the hat you you all!
Back in the “old days” which, for today’s post I’m defining as pre-2004, people seldom worried about using music in conjunction with videos which they knew would receive limited viewing. Whether a wedding video distributed among family members or one produced for a company that would only be viewed internally, little thought was given to the consequence of using music without paying royalties to the artists or producers of that music. That has all changed. With the popularity of social networking, the emergence of YouTube, Vimeo and other media hosting/sharing sites, Instagram and other web portals created to present videos, everyone should be aware of the potential consequences arising from the use of copyrighted music without permission from the artist(s).
Music labels and producers (and the lawyers that represent them) are no longer taking this lightly and are suing the pants off folks who use their intellectual property without proper attribution AND royalties paid. Aside from the expense of a lawsuit—which could easily put a videographer out of business (epic fail!), finding the right person to pay the royalties to can be quite the hassle, in and of itself! YouTube and Vimeo are blocking the audio from any posted videos with suspect music playing in the background, and they have comprehensive recognition algorithms to detect the misuse of music on their sites.
Rather than engage in a time consuming and expensive battle with artists, producers and attorneys, I have chosen to use legally licensed music. And although I don’t have that latest tune, I can get very close to most contemporary songs and still have a clear conscience.
Ron Dawson is a friend and an incredible filmmaker who has been doing this for two decades. Ron knows many of the top indy content creators across the country and he recently shared a story about another filmmaker, Joe Simon, in his blog post, “The Music Licensing Chickens Have Come Home to Roost in Wedding and Event Videography.” Ron gave me permission to link to his story; I encourage you to take a peek as it unpacks this subject in far greater detail. Joe’s story was published in 2011, but it’s just as relevant today — if not more so — than when it was released.
First Impressions Video has a library of royalty-free or royalty-paid music that we use which—we believe—fits our clients’ tastes, their story and the emotion of the event, and it often can mimic current music. Notwithstanding music considered to be in the public domain or picked up in the course of recording a reception or other activity, we will endeavor to use only music and recorded special effects for which proper licensing has been obtained. It is our desire and intent to stay on the right side of this legal issue; we trust you’ll respect this decision.
I hear that question a lot. Unfortunately, there are a number of elements that affect the price of a video. No, that’s not a dodge, it’s the truth. What would you say if someone asked you this question:
How much does an airplane cost?
In thinking about the variables in play to answer this question, you begin to get the idea there are a lot of things to consider! I know my way around aircraft and there are easily thousands of questions, like, “are we talking about fixed wing or rotary wing (helicopter)?” So let’s dump the airplane metaphor and get back to video. Let’s start by posing a few questions that should be addressed before we answer “that other question.”
- Rate. Often described as hourly, half-day and day rate. Many videographers don’t price by the hour and some only price on a full day-rate basis. Hourly averages range between $25 an hour from that film school grad you know to $250 an hour for a top-flight video veteran. My hourly average hits just under the center: around eighty-five bucks an hour. Which lends me to…
- Equipment. Sure you could whip out your smartphone and shoot away, but is that really the look you’re going for? If so, stop reading! Otherwise, continue. There are $20,000 cameras out there (don’t forget lenses!), $2,000 microphones, and lights that weigh as much as a Volkswagen, but is that really necessary? Is there a line item charge in the project budget for equipment? I have professional level gear that you may not see Spielberg using, but it will produce corporate video that will resonate with your audience and you won’t need stockholder approval to shoot! Oh, and my rate includes the aforementioned pro-level gear! Cameras, mics, lights, sliders, tripods, gimbals…oh my! Only if I have to create a specific effect might extra equipment fees enter the equation. I don’t have a drone, though I have access to one through an industry colleague, and this is considered specialized equipment.
- Personnel. I started my business as a single person crew (“SPC”) to be able to deliver quality work at an affordable rate. That doesn’t mean that there won’t be multiple cameras, mics and lights…it does mean that I know how to be efficient in the deployment of this hardware (including setup and take down) by myself. And in those instances where it just makes sense to have a grip, 2nd camera op or sound person along, I have a rolodex full of these folks that can be called in. Also in the category of personnel: talent. Does the project require professional acting talent or will we be shooting personnel from the company being filmed?
- Time. How comprehensive is the project? Can we do it in a day? A few hours? What will be required to edit the acquired footage? When is the project due? And by the way, just because the finished deliverable is “only” 5 minutes long doesn’t mean that hours, and sometimes days of production didn’t go into what is ultimately seen on screen.
- Post-production. Because this is a future article all by itself, I’ll be brief here. Post-production includes the components that help make the video “pop.” Editing, music selection, titles, graphics, animations, voice-overs, special effects. A word of caution here: less is often more.
So there you have just a few of the key elements of a video. Truthfully, anyone who would just throw out a “ballpark” quote without reasonable consideration of the variables I’ve shared here is asking for trouble. I would much rather take a modest amount of time to talk about those elements so I could provide a quote that would be meaningful for all parties involved. I may miss out on a few jobs taking this approach but I’m as professional in my business methodology as I presume you are in yours. Consultations are free, and the result will be a production that achieves its desired results at a rate everyone finds acceptable.
When people know what you do and why you do it, they’ll understand and trust your brand more. Video reinforces your brand identity and values by showing people your mission, not just explaining what you sell.
Training is expensive and it never stops. Whether it’s new hires or keeping your team up to date on the latest advances in your field, video is a cost-effective way to better manage training costs down and keep teams happier.
Recruit Ideal Candidates
You can’t build a great team unless you have qualified candidates to choose from. Video can increase the number of applications you receive from new recruits and give you more qualified applicants to choose from.
Stand Out At Events
Ever been to a noisy event filled with competing companies vying for prospects using any means necessary? Of course you have! Video cuts through the noise and helps you stand out. Make it a key part of your next event to see the difference it can make with gathering new leads.
Educate Your Customers
When you want to educate consumers, there’s no other form of communication that conveys as much as video. Try it, and you’ll move customers through the funnel in record time.
Boost SEO Performance
More than 76% of marketers say that video has helped them increase traffic to their site. Video is great for increasing dwell time and bounce rate while improving time on site. All important SEO factors.
– So says Wyzowl! (source: wyzowl.com)
Takeaway? Call First Impressions Video for your next corporate video! 714-979-3850, or request a quote here.
So the last few months have been a blur, but I’ve been crazy busy. And that’s a good thing! Questions that do continually come up have to do with how to go about hiring a video production company (now we’re being called “content creators”!). So I am sending this out again as it’s never a bad idea to have these questions answered. And if these comments are of any help, please give me a call. Remember: Great video doesn’t have to break the bank!
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So you wanna make a video… but where do you start? Well, one of the first things you’ll likely do is hire a video production company or videographer, and that can be a mind-bending task. How do you know who to hire? What can you expect to pay? To get you started, here are a few things to consider.
1. When preparing your job description, please be specific.
The sky is the limit when it comes to producing a video. There are so many variables that the possibilities are endless. Understanding your vision and what you’re trying to achieve will be critical in requesting a quote. Provide as much detail as you can about the services you need. Some of those questions would include:
- How long should the video be?
- Do I need more than one cut? (60 second, 30 second, 15 second)
- Do I need more than one video? (i.e. Think “episodic” TV)
- Where will the video(s) be used? (website, on-air, social, etc.)
- Is there a specific date this needs to be shot? What is the final deadline?
- Other than shooting, what production elements need to be considered? (editing, scripting, voice-over, location, casting, etc.)?
Answering these questions will help me to fully understand what you want and can, therefore, provide a more accurate quote. When possible, it’s a good idea to provide a few reference videos that illustrate the type of video you’re looking for. This is an easy way to set expectations and provide a target result. Explain what you like about them and why.
2. When reviewing portfolios, find someone who has produced work at the level you want for your own video.
A person’s portfolio and work samples will give you the best indication of what your video will look like. If you want something you don’t see, refer to point #1 and be specific what you want. First Impressions Video has shot a wide array of projects, so there should be no problem meeting and exceeding your objectives.
3. In general, you’ll get what you pay for.
As you start to get quotes back for your project, you may be tempted to go with the cheapest option. After all, everybody likes to save money, right? My advice is to take an honest assessment of the project and ask yourself what is the result you want for your video. If you’re happy with the look and feel of the cheapest option, great! But what you’ll generally see, is that the more money you’re willing to spend, the better the end result. Pick an option that satisfies both your budget constraints and your expectation for quality. The last thing you want, is to pay for the cheapest option, then not be satisfied with the result and have to do the whole thing over again with someone who can produce at a higher level.
Unfortunately, too many times—especially with first-timers, I’ve observed something like this:
What the client has in mind…
but what the budget says is this…
As I have shared, there is a lot more that goes in to making a quality video than meets the eye. What First Impressions Video will do is offer options so that you can determine which are best for you, given your budget and time constraints.
Whether it’s your first venture into video or you’ve done a few, the process of finding and hiring the right video pro can be a bit tricky. The goal of this essay is to provide solid insights, so that businesses small and big can feel like video is for everyone—not just those with big budgets and lots of experience! And if you have a question, First Impressions Video is but a phone call or email away!
714-979-3850 – Office
714-608-4495 – Mobile
On many of my earlier blog posts, I’ve talked about the importance of video for any business, service or non-profit. Video continues to grow in importance and as represented by the second frame of the following infographic, by next year, EIGHTY PERCENT of online content will be video! If you’re not doing video, you are missing opportunities on an unimaginable level, if you’re doing videos and want to tap into a professional with decades in the genre, give me a call.
With thanks to WebpageFX for the creation of a terrific infographic!
I’ve shot a lot of weddings since starting First Impressions Video. They are gratifying, for sure, but a challenge because of the emotion associated with them–and the desire to get it right. As it is in most event videography, there are no “second takes.” Between bride and groom prep, through the ceremony and reception, there are many aspects to capture and as a result, several places where things can go sideways–especially during the ceremony.
The still photographer has a pivotal role in a wedding and I’ve worked with many outstanding ones. A crucial element that constitutes an “outstanding” photographer is an inherent sense to “share the space” with videographers. This is extremely vital as both photographer and videographer have key “money shots” that are essential components of the photographer’s album and the videographer’s DVD (or other delivery medium). In a wedding I recently recorded for a very special family, I found myself working with one of the most difficult and selfish photographers I’ve ever encountered. Not only that, he brought his son as a 2nd camera, and together, they seemed to go out of their way to crowd me out of all the aforementioned “money shots.” I was able to get them, despite their obliviousness to my presence, as if I wasn’t entitled to the same space they occupied. As we reached the “I now pronounce you” moment, I actually had to physically move one of them so that I could capture “you may now kiss your bride!” The guy seemed stunned that I pulled him out of the way and I can assure you that as a 240-pound former Marine, I was no longer in the mood for these antics, as this had gone on throughout the ceremony.
This behavior wasn’t missed by the family who were equally displeased, and said so to me. The disappointing part is that I go out of my way to befriend not only the photographers assigned to a wedding, but all of the vendors. I’m also pleased to say, that this is a rare occurrence. We all have important jobs to do to make the day super special for the bride and groom, and their families and friends. In order for that to happen and for us to do our jobs in ways that exceed expectations, we have to…wait for it…share the space!
It’s been said before, but bears repeating: Every video should tell a story! Even 15 second commercials do this, so it stands to reason that anything longer should be a no-brainer, but it often isn’t.
So, let me point out that the nucleus of any story should have three main points:
Yeah, I know it’s simplistic, but this is the cornerstone of any story “arc.” Having spent 30 years in marketing, there is another way to look at it:
If you do this right, there’s one last three-point metaphor:
Note: for those interested in delving into the full complexity of story development, there are hundreds of books, blogs and videos that will expand your horizons. I just wanted to keep it short and simple today…lots of projects in the workflow !
Yesterday was August 1st. On that day in 1981, Music Television, or MTV, was launched. It was a somewhat shaky start with cable television still trying to catch traction. Fast forward to today and there are hundreds of cable outlets, with dozens of other streaming and online options for viewing content. But along with music videos, MTV also launched something else: the creation of the “logo bug” that now appears (usually) in the lower right corner of most of the programming we see today! Even video producers like this writer “bug” their videos, which I chronicled in a post back in 2015! http://wp.me/p2YaU5-8Y
If you want to place a lasting impression on your productions, be sure to “bug” them! Thanks, MTV, for an iconic idea!