Year in preview

This past year has been awesome for Real Video. We had the opportunity to collaborate with some amazing people, brands, schools, nonprofit organizations and businesses. One of the best things about working with a wide range of clients is getting to pull back the curtain and really educate ourselves in industries we don’t really think about in everyday circumstances.

It got us thinking, we should pull back our curtain a bit on timelines for quality video productions. This might get current and potential clients' wheels spinning on what they have coming down the line. So we looked back at all the projects we worked on this past year, who we worked with, and analyzed successes with the project as well as sticking points.

One thing was clear on making a production run smooth, clear communication and realistic timelines. At Real Video we work on a wide variety of videos. Everything from social media content to longer form educational videos. One thing we noticed as we looked back was that the average timeline for a larger production could be up to three months from the initial phone call from the client to a final deliverable. It was because of that, that we decided to look at the year in four quarters and offer suggestions as to what you should be thinking about if quality video content is something you’re looking to do.

One thing was clear on making a production run smooth, clear communication and realistic timelines.

Photo: James Richards

Q1: January, February and March

If you’re in the midwest this is the time when the weather is garbage. In Chicagoland, everything is frozen and dead. Visually, this is not the best time to shoot outside. The unpredictable weather also can make it really difficult for planning and scheduling. The good news is that it doesn’t last! So in industries where outdoor footage plays a major role in your video concept (eg. construction or landscaping) now is the perfect time to start planning and scheduling your project. That way as soon as spring has sprung, we’re out shooting the project, not talking about it.

We also work with a lot of churches and religious organizations. Next to Christmas, Easter is a very important holiday. This time of reflection on the death and resurrection of Christ lends itself to testimonies of life change and celebration. Q1 is the time to start working on elements for your church services because unfortunately you can’t push back the deadline of Easter.

Speaking of testimonies, even if you are not a church, this can be a great way to spread the word about your products or services you provide. Case studies on why your offerings make a difference is a great way to boost awareness for your company. And the great thing is they can be shot inside away from the cold depressing tundra we call home.

We also find ourselves collaborating with HR departments. Q1 seems to be a great time to work on those training and educational videos. The start of a new year is a great time to pump up morale, update protocols, and inform employees about new happenings in the organization.

Q2: April, May and June

There is nothing quite like that first sunny 55 degree day after a long gray winter. Sleeves rolled up, windows rolled down and your favorite classic rock album cranked to eleven. If you’re from the midwest you know exactly what I’m talking about. It’s this feeling that triggers action within the world of marketing and promotion.

If you work in the education field, especially marketing and recruitment. This is your season to dive into the production of your material. Why? You have a nice chunk of time to gather creative content that showcases your beautiful campus while having students involved. In fact, we advise capturing more than you think during this time so you have enough content to get you through summer when the campus is a ghost town.

Photo: David Leep

Municipalities tend to ramp up during this time as well. Memorial Day seems to be the official end of hibernation and suddenly your community comes back to life with pools opening, the smell of grills and the start of a lot of events. We suggest making a list of all the things you want to highlight and get it in the schedule.

One thing to take note of is that once June hits and school lets out, a ton of people head out on vacation. This is great for your mental health but sucks for communication. So many people drop off the face of the earth for a week at a time. If you’re in the preproduction stage of your project in June this can make lining things up a nightmare. Just something to think about and plan for.

Q3: July, August and September

Ahhh, summertime. Make sure that if your project requires outdoor shots you’re getting them now. We highly recommend getting them “in the can” by mid September. In our experience, mid September is when the weather begins to get unpredictable and can really start to mess with outdoor production schedules.

Do you work for a nonprofit? Fundraising season is right around the corner. Q3 is the time to capture compelling stories from your organization to share with potential donors in the fall.

For those of you who are in retail and have a product to sell, fall is the time to have your marketing material ready to go. Q3 is the time you should be building all your creative assets so you are ready to push it out by Thanksgiving to capitalize on holiday shopping.

Trade shows have also become a great place to showcase a video highlighting your company and can lead to a lot of awareness to a very focused audience. This is a great season to be working on unique videos that capture the attention of those passing by your booth.

Q4: October, November and December

And just like that, the warmth slowly slips away. Although sad, there is something about rediscovering your favorite hoodie in the back of your closet and the smell of falling leaves. We see a trend of two scenarios play out in this season. One, a mad rush to accomplish all the creative elements we have on our list for the year. Two, regret that it wasn’t in the budget we put together last year for all the creative elements we needed for this year.

We see the “mad rush” scenario mainly in two industries, churches and retail.

For churches, Christmas time is huge. Lots of churches go big with creative elements, music videos, promotions and testimonies. Typically these elements tend to be needed right after Thanksgiving. This is also primetime for marketing pushes for retail. In our experience, if you’re not shooting this stuff by October, you should be sweating.

Maybe you’re feeling more like the second scenario and you wish you would have budgeted a little better for what you needed to accomplish throughout the year.

Talking about the budget isn’t the most exciting part of the process, but still is something that is important. We mentioned it before, but we work with a wide variety of clients. With that, we work with a wide variety of budgets. Our goal is to do the best work we can with what we are given. So don’t hesitate in reaching out to kick around a few ideas and get a plan together as you slide into next year.

In conclusion, we hope this blog got you thinking about your future video and photo content needs. We would love to collaborate with you, so feel free to reach out and lets make some magic!