We’ve been shooting video professionally since 2001. In 2008 Canon released the 5D Mark II, the first digital cinema camera. An absolute game changer that led to a career of video production. It’s amazing to see all the tech advancements since our passion for video was ignited. In doing video professionally for 20 years, we’ve learned a lot mostly by trial and error. In this blog I want to present our five stages of a video production and pull out a lesson learned from each stage. Here we go…
Almost every project starts with a discovery meeting. This is a time when the potential client tells us what they are looking to accomplish. In this stage of the process, listening is key. But an important thing to remember is that roughly 80% of communication is nonverbal. Pay attention to things like facial expressions, posture, gestures, eye contact, personal space, or tone of voice. You’ll be surprised at how paying attention to these things can reaffirm your feeling of entering into a beautiful working relationship or toss up red flags to what could be a nightmare client.
This stage of the process has a lot to do with gathering and organizing all the pieces to make sure the production day runs smoothly. It’s often under appreciated and minimized by clients. Over the years we have found that we have a tendency to take on these tasks at a lower rate or even for free just to land the chance to do the production. These things might include getting actors, sourcing props, building sets or nailing down locations. It’s not until we’re using personal time, material, money and personal relationships so that the client can save a couple bucks that we start kicking ourselves. Now if a client wants to save money on a production, we’ll task them to carry the load of pre production. Some clients will, others will see the time it takes and up the budget to get it professionally taken care of. This will always make the production smoother and more professional.
This is the time when everything comes together and the cameras roll. Being efficient with everyone’s time is key on production days. A hard lesson we’ve come to realize is that every minute that camera is rolling is another minute that has to be gone through in post production. If you keep your shots organized, your interviews focused, and your audio clean, post production will go much smoother, ultimately saving time and money.
I find myself constantly reminding clients that just because the video has been shot, the project is far from over. The editing of a project is usually the most time consuming. One thing we have found helpful is limiting the amount of revisions a client can request and putting a deadline on when revision requests are due. We also found that having one point person on the client side as a point of contact/revisions is very helpful. This eliminates having conflicting requests that need to be sorted out with you or the editor’s involvement. If your client can filter out any discrepancies before it hits your desk, you’ll save yourself a potential time suck.
You and your team just poured their heart and soul into this project and now you’re about to hand it off to the client. Do you know how the final product is going to be shown? This is a great discussion to have in the discovery meeting. Is there anything you can do to make sure that the video is delivered to the audience in a professional manner? Here a few real scenarios where we shed a tear:
• You create a video for a live production and it glitches because the person running the software or the equipment is inadequate.
• The client’s “marketing” person puts the video five pages deep on their website and they end up getting on you about ROI.
• The “call to action” in the video drives people to the clients website. But the website is hot garbage.
• You create a video for social media but the client didn’t allocate funds for a digital ad buy and then wonder why only their mom liked it on Facebook.
Whether you’re a current client, industry professional or potential client that’s checking us out, we hope the wisdom we have gained over our 20 years can assist you in the process of creating authentic and compelling video content.