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!
This past December, I posted an article titled, “Independent Contractor vs Employee,” actually a re-release from August, in which I pointed out the advantages of hiring a contractor to do your video instead of using employees to do it. This continues to be an excellent strategy, as pointed out by a number of clients that have become repeat customers. You can see the article here.
Angela Wolf Quaintance wrote an outstanding article in May that appeared on LinkedIn and offers 5 reasons why hiring a professional is better than doing it yourself. You can read her full story here. It is very well outlined, and I would only add a couple of my own thoughts:
Regarding equipment, just as important as having invested five-figures’ worth on professional cameras, microphones, lights, audio and related gear (I have!), is having the skills necessary to use it properly. I’ve studied both still photography and video production, and asking a marketing person to take on this task (video production often falls under a marketing department/budget) may be beyond their skill set.
And before you ask that colleague’s spouse, son or daughter (or any family member, for that matter) to let the camera roll, you might consider whether (or not) that person has business insurance. AFTER an unfortunate incident is the WRONG TIME to be thinking about that. When I arrive at your location, you can feel confident that I am fully insured for any eventuality!
I like Angela’s take on ‘unbiased perspective.’ I believe that despite the passion that you have for your product or service, an independent set of eyes, ears and perceptions can likely see things that you may be too close to see, which can result in a finished product that hits all objectives!
Good luck on your next video project–whoever you select to do it!
I’ve been pretty busy the last month or so with projects, so I haven’t had much chance to author an original post. That being said, Mary Lister wrote a killer article that speaks to the compelling reasons why if you aren’t doing video, you should be!
Enjoy reading http://bit.ly/2n1Tz24
OK…that was probably an overly dramatic subject line, but if it got your attention, good! The truth is, everyone knows that video continues to gain in importance, marketing-wise, regardless whether we’re talking about a national or global brand, or a small “mom & pop” business–or anything in between. And while implementing video into your marketing mix may not be life-threatening, if your competition is doing it and you’re not, it could be!
Here is, arguably, the first infographic of the year, entitled, “2017: The year of video marketing.” It continues the theme I’ve shared throughout 2016 about the growing relevance of video. Props to UK based HighQ for its compilation.
In my May 21st blog, last year (“Can you give me a ‘ballpark’ quote?”), I broke down the elements of a video production to illustrate what goes into a bid for a project. In that article, I mentioned that post-production is a subject that should have its own story, so here it comes today!
To review, the components that play into how a job is priced includes:
So let’s unpack that last one: Post production. A simplistic definition would describe it as everything that happens after production wraps, leading up to the delivery of the finished video product. It’s only when we drill down further that we find out what that really means…
- Editing. The art of taking the raw footage—with its audio—and turning it into something useful. I believe too many on the “client side” have limited understanding of what goes into good editing, especially the time it takes to do it right. And there is NO correlation between the aggregate time of the source footage and a finished sequence. Even if the desired time for a video is one minute, it could take hours (or even days) to whittle a lot of raw footage into that really special promo/talking head/commercial piece! A good shooter will capture footage with editing in mind (especially if it’s the same person doing both tasks), but editing is still the process that can take the most time*.
- Audio. This subject actually has two definitions. The first pertains to adjustments that are often necessary to “sweeten” the audio captured with the source footage. Depending on the quality of that sound, it may not require much work—but it can! A good editor typically has an audio application just as robust as the editing program and I’m pleased to have the Adobe suite that includes Audition, in my workflow arsenal. Nothing can undermine a video like bad audio, so major attention needs to be paid to this crucial element. The second context pertains to the music bed that sometimes rides under the video. This sound track should complement the tone of the visuals and NEVER compete with it. We’ve all seen videos with the audio track WAY TOO LOUD (yes, I’m yelling!), and even with volume controls, an audio track should never overwhelm any spoken word in the video.
- Titles, Graphics & Effects. Call this the “glue” that brings everything together, “TG&E” make for a nice opening and closing to your video. Effects should never be so dramatic that they become a distraction; they should be an enhancement to your presentation.
I hope this addresses the point that creating a video is comprised of many moving parts. Make sure your video production company understands them all and can pull the “pieces of the puzzle” together into a cohesive, compelling video!
Happy New Year!
* I am often asked how long it takes to edit a project. And while there is no specific answer (no dodge here!), reputable sources (plural) say that it can take from 1 to 5 hours to produce 1 minute of finished video. The range represents the complexity of the edit; the more elements (footage, graphics, titles, music, effects, rendering, color correction and others) the longer it will take. In the context of the “ballpark quote” article, post production can easily be equal to—or even higher than—the cost of production itself.
As we close out the crazy year known as 2016, I would be remiss if I didn’t say a sincere THANK YOU to all the clients I served. And as we head into 2017, there is only one question: GOT VIDEO?
Let’s do something together in this next year and you can see what other clients have learned: Great video does NOT have to break the bank!
First, my sincere thanks to all my clients who entrusted their video work to First Impressions Video! Whether a direct production or as a freelance contributor, 2016 was a very special year, and I am truly grateful! And as we head into 2017, just remember this important axiom: Rule #1…don’t sweat the small stuff. Rule #2…it’s ALL small stuff!
May we all be wildly successful in our respective endeavors in the coming year!
A blog entry I wrote earlier in the year was picked up on Twitter. In it was one of several infographics I’ve posted and commented about over the course of the year. These visual pictures tell great stories and are applicable to producers of video, as well as consumers of video. I thanked the Tweeter for providing a great idea on how I could share a few of these infographics, which I have compiled here. Thanks to L. Scott Harrell ( @lscottharrell ) for the motivation to do this!
That last one was from 2015, but a few folks had asked me about it, so I figured, what the heck, and threw it in. And while the amplifying content around the infographics is likely mine, source credit for all of them goes to the respective creators.
Let me end the year with this one. Although intended to be humorous, all facets of video/film production require perseverance and resourcefulness. But for those with both, this can be a fascinating and gratifying endeavor. Just ask me!
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays & Happy New Year
This summer has been crazy busy for me between shooting, editing and free-lancing. As a result, I haven’t been as active writing original pieces for my blog. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a treasure trove of production-based content out there, so I thought I’d curate (compile) a few articles here that, hopefully, will be of interest to you!
As you peruse these articles, just remember a line I’ve used since starting the business: Great video doesn’t have to break the bank! Feel free to give a call to discuss your next project…consultations are free!
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 example 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 right about the center: around a hundred 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.