We take pride in designing video solutions that are cost-effective and make the most of any budget, high or low end. In this article I outline some of the more common risk points in a video production and show the flip side – how involving a production company at an early stage can add value.
Your starting point
Before you embark on your project there are fundamental questions to ask. Firstly, what type of video should you use to get your message across? This may not always be crystal clear and involving a production company from the very beginning ensures you get the advice you need when you need it most.
Is a role-play necessarily more cost-effective than a drama? With a role-play staff turnover can mean a short shelf life, and the potentially rambling performances make for less engaging video. A drama, although it costs a bit more per minute, might make better, shorter content for not a lot more money.
These questions can appear daunting at first. They are easier to answer if you are confident in the purpose behind your project. Do you know who your audience is? Are you sure of the underlining message you want to exchange and why? What do you want them to learn? How do you want to change behaviour as a result?
Strong project management
The fundamentals of managing a project are universal – get the design right and everything else will flow from that. But with video this effect is exaggerated because the filming part is by far the most expensive and complicated element.
At the upper budget range, you can have a location or studio, lots of technicians and actors all of which must be finely coordinated to ensure value from your investment. At the lower end – even if what you are planning to film are simple talking heads – it’s still possible to make expensive mistakes.
You need the precious time of your contributors and failure to do this efficiently can cost in money and goodwill. An experienced production company will not only plan the project from start to finish, they will manage the shoot and everything else in between.
Let’s look at some of the aspects of project managing a video production.
Writing and development
A basic idea needs development. You need to write a script to fit the budget. This is true of talking heads as well as drama. A talking heads film, or a set of short clips, has an objective – to communicate some learning points. By carefully designing how the content is structured we can hit above the weight of the format.
Here’s an example, I once had to give an overview of an organisation and its culture in a two-minute talking head video. We wrote the message and assigned its concepts to various interviewees who would symbolise different elements of the organisation. We knew exactly what we wanted them to say, but not how they would say it. By filming in their working environment, we created a tour of the organisation – the offices and its people. We fulfilled both elements of the brief in a simple and cost-effective way.
This insight and experience can ensure you meet your brief and get the most from your budget and time, on the shoot and in the final output.
For a drama you will certainly have to write a script. Drama-naïve writers tend to write scenes much too long and with far more characters than are needed. These are the two elements that have the biggest impact on the cost of filming. Sometimes we re-write other people’s scripts to shorten them. But we like it better when we can join at the development stage to input to the design and make the project a success.
Recce where you’re going to be filming. This is a key stage for any shoot. Get this wrong and the day is set to fail costing you time and money. Where can you control noise issues, with somewhere to store the spare equipment and costume? Where looks good on camera? What are the health and safety hazards and how can they be ameliorated? Have you timetabled your interviewees and locations, scenes, characters, lunch?
Are you prepared as an interviewer? Have you prepared your interviewees in the right way? Do you have enough questions? Do you know not to make a sound when they answer you? How to put an interviewee at their ease?
Not only can we give you some guidance, we can support this planning stage and bring our expertise to the table to ensure your shoot is a success.
People think filming is the hard bit, well, it is complicated, but, if everything else is done right in the lead-up – the idea, the planning and the development – your expert team is bound to get a good result. If any of these elements are below par you’ve compromised your investment. Again, bringing a production team onboard early on ensures you get the best bang for your buck.
Pros have an editing plan before they film anything (did I mention the planning is stage is important?) This proactive planning makes editing more efficient and avoids difficulties cropping up after the shoot. Editing is a creative process, but not that creative.
Have you thought of incorporating into the project plan the production of trailers and teasers to promote the project? Perhaps taking of stills when editing the video to internally market your project, or photographing the shoot to seed the video ahead of release?
A blogpost can provide excellent insight into a video production and how to best manage your project to get the most from your time and budget.
I’ve listed the key risks that can arise and provided real-life examples as to why involving a production company early on adds value. A blogpost isn’t a substitute for utilising our developed expertise, deep knowledge of video production and years of experience.
How can we add value to your next video production?
Drop us a line and let us know – we’d love to hear from you.