Making a video: Getting the best value

IF you’re thinking of making a video but need to shave the cost down a bit, here are some tips on what to cut and what not to cut.

Making videos is expensive. Making good videos even more so. It’s expensive because it’s time consuming, and depends on a plethora of skilled professionals. Even a very small production can involve a number of people, contracted to the producer for the job, and each charging rates that are established norms in the industry. It’s also dependent on a lot of expensive equipment and software. Cameras, lights, Lenses, microphones, powerful computers and editing software are among the more obvious, and there’s other gear you might never have heard of: time-base correctors, ND filters, wide and tele conversions lenses, offboard recorders, director’s viewfinders, and jibs, sliders and dollies (not the barbie kind).

So if you’re making a video and need to cut out anything unnecessary, here’s a guide on what to cut and what to leave in to get the most out of your video.

1) Keep it short. The longer the video the longer it takes to edit. And the more money the editor will want. Shorter videos are better anyway. 5 minutes is not a long time in driving home from work terms, but in watching a video terms, it is perceptually much longer. A 5 minute video feels like at least 15 -20 minutes of browsing or reading. for an animated video, 30 seconds is great. Most TV commercials are 15 seconds long.

2) Consider the target audience and purpose. The question “what resolution do you want it to be?” should not simply be answered with “the best”. Unless you are making a feature film, and even then, you can’t have the best of everything without breaking the bank. When you have a video project you make it your baby and all parents naturally want the best for their babies. But you need to consider what is best for your baby, not just for you. If you ask a good camera operator which camera is the best, you’ll get an answer like, “it depends on what it’s for”. It’s senseless to chew up 80% of your budget on an aerial shoot for 3 seconds out of a 2 minute video. It’s senseless to try to do something yourself because you spend too much on a top end lens for an indoor corporate interview. Telling your producer about what the video’s purpose is will equip them to make the right choices on gear and crew – and save you money. Ask for 2 quotations – one for how the producer would want to film it ideally, one for the bare bones, then negotiate between them.

3) Don’t skimp on sound. Paying a pro voice over artist is money well spent. The quality of the sound in a video carries a lot of the undertones about credibility of your brand. Something called ‘sound design’ is not an optional extra either. The swooshes and bumps and pings in animated videos are what keep the pace flowing and make it believable. A note on music here – you owning it on iTunes does not mean you can put it in your video. That’s explained in the terms and conditions you didn’t read before clicking “Agree- I have read the terms and conditions”.

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