Insights

Planning your production - Part Four

Planning your production is a four-part series to help you better understand the video production process by breaking down each element involved in producing a video. By understanding the process, it's our hope you'll ultimately benefit from a better video by knowing what's going to happen and when.

Part One of this series can be found at: http://www.forrestermediablog.com/2015/05/planning-your-production-part-one.html

In part four of this four part series, we review the editing, also called post production, portion of your production.

Once the video has been shot, the work begins in assembling the many components, including the visuals, graphics, voice-over and music.

Prior to the first editing session, the footage will be logged and a database created for the location of specific shots, called selects, that we will use in the final video.

The selects will then be placed in order on a timeline according to the script. Your footage is a digital file from capture to final delivery.

A first draft of the video will be created to ensure the proper shots are in their proper place within the program, along with the voiceover track. This is done prior to the addition of graphics or music.

The first draft is then posted online on a password-protected page which allows you to share the link with other project stakeholders. Online reviews allow for faster feedback from our clients and help to keep the project on schedule.

Once the basic line-up of shots has been approved, additional footage (b-roll), graphics, voiceover narration and music will be added in subsequent sessions. We typically go through three to four rounds of revisions on each project.

After final approval, your video will be encoded for the web in a variety of possible formats including Windows Media, QuickTime. We also can finalize projects to DVD when requested. We can encode meta-data into your video to aid in search engines finding and offering your video to their search results.

Summary

Creating a video can appear to be a challenge, but with our experienced professionals, you’ll find it stress-free and perhaps even fun!

Take the time to communicate with us to ensure we know your vision for the production. At the same time, allow us to make suggestions to improve your vision. Seldom have we ever told a client that ‘the video should be longer.’ We almost always find that the message can be delivered more effectively in a shorter time span.

We’ve been producing videos for broadcasters and corporate America since 1990 and bring a level of expertise to your production that few companies can match.

From concept to completion, we deliver A Higher Definition of Video.

Please call us anytime at 800-201-8102 to discuss your project. We'll be happy to provide a free estimate.


Planning your production - Part Three

Planning your production is a four-part series to help you better understand the video production process by breaking down each element involved in producing a video. By understanding the process, it's our hope you'll ultimately benefit from a better video by knowing what's going to happen and when.

Part One of this series can be found at: http://www.forrestermediablog.com/2015/05/planning-your-production-part-one.html

In part three of this four part series, we exam the filming portion of your production.

This is the point where ideas become images.

Once scripting is complete and the location scout has been made, shooting days are scheduled. Since the shoot normally involves the scheduling of several people, including you or your representatives, considerations should be made to ensure everyone is available on the preferred shoot date prior to booking the date.

On the day of the shoot, the location should be ready for the crew. If the location include employees working their normal assignments, these employees should receive notification in advance that the production will be occurring. Appearance releases are needed from everyone identifiable and appearing on camera.

For those appearing on camera for an interview, we suggest they wear solid-colored clothing. Earth tones work best but by no means are required.

Filming almost always takes longer than clients expect it to take. We schedule what we believe will be sufficient time for setting up each shot, filming the scene or interview and moving on to the next setup. While we are aware of the impact filming can make on a busy location, trying to rush an interview or skip a meal break is generally not a good idea.

Appearing on camera can be stressful for those not accustomed to doing so. It's our job to help sooth nerves and make our guests comfortable. Having bottled water, snacks or lunch provided goes a long way in keeping them happy so they can focus on giving their best rather than worrying about a growling stomach. In all honesty, the same applies to the crew. A fed crew is a happy crew. If we are scheduled for a full-day shoot, we'll discuss options in advance so arrangements can be made.

The filming days are the most expensive days of the production in terms of labor. Therefore it is important that we have an accurate shot list and script so time is not wasted on determining what to shoot. The director should be able to work directly from the shot list and script. Adding or changing shots and scenes could create an overtime situation that may not be budgeted. Make good use of your pre-production time to iron out issues in the script to avoid problems on the day of filming.

Our gear is travel-ready, so we'll arrive with a cart of equipment (often more, occasionally less depending on the project) and get to work setting up the camera, lighting and microphones. Of course, every production is different, so some projects may take more time than others to prepare for our first interview, event or webcast.

We'll keep you informed throughout the day on our progress and alert you to any issues that require your attention.

It's our goal to have a safe and productive day of filming.

Next week, we'll discuss the editing of your video, also known as the post-production process and wrap up the post with a summary.

As always, we're here to answer your questions and provide a free estimate for your video. You can visit our website at Forrester Media or call us at 770-226-9250.

 


Planning your production - Part Two

Planning your production is a four-part series to help you better understand the video production process by breaking down each element involved in producing a video. By understanding the process, it's our hope you'll ultimately benefit from a better video by knowing what's going to happen and when.

Part One of this series can be found at: http://www.forrestermediablog.com/2015/05/planning-your-production-part-one.html

In part two of this four part series, we exam the planning portion of your production.

With more than 20 years experience in the broadcast and corporate video production arena, we can often generate estimates with just one phone call. We listen to our clients, their needs and follow up with questions allowing us to prepare an estimated cost for the production.

In estimating a cost, our goal is to maximize the production value for the budget. Some clients know how much they have budgeted for a production, others do not. I'll be honest and say it's much easier to know the price range so we can deliver a budget that's suitable.

You can compare it to purchasing a car. Cars basically do one thing: move you from point A to point B. How you move, though, is another matter. You can spend $15,000 or you can spend $50,000 (or more) to achieve the same goal. Video is similar. You can spend $4000 or $15,000 (or more), but instead of leather seating and satellite radio, we're determining days of shooting, narration options, graphics and editing - even camera options - that make the most of the budget available for the production.

I'm simplifying the budget process somewhat, but it's important to know that just like cars, not all videos are created equal. Your budget determines how much time we have to work on your project.

I should mention that I really like to deliver a realistic budget that won't change - unless you alter the scope of the project. Some companies provide a lower estimate with the idea of getting you in the door, then adding costs once the shoot is over, knowing it's too late for you to walk away. So let me say this again - unless you alter the scope of the project, the estimate we provide is the final cost of the video.

Budgeting and pre-production start the collaborative process on your production, so let's look at what we do during the first phase of the project.

Pre-production is your least expensive part of the project and what I believe to be the most important part of the production process. What you do during this phase can avoid problems later. Similarly - what you don't do during this phase can result in problems later.

If we were building a house, this would be the design phase. We haven't started building as we need a blueprint first. We need to know your objectives and desired results for the video. What do you want viewers to do after watching?

What interviews, locations or graphics need to be included in the production? Do we have access to all those people and places that will aid in making the video a success?

If applicable, we develop a script or outline to guide us through the video so we have a chance to make sure we've covered all the important elements.

We’ll ask questions and offer suggestions and tips to make the video more effective. Our years of experience in corporate and broadcast productions are put to use in each of our projects, regardless of size or budget.

A project kick-off meeting is a great time to determine the key elements and sort through the items mentioned above. Even if you have a completed script, it’s best to allow input from the producer so refinements and streamlining can be made.

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Taking time to refine the script and the accompanying shot list are two of the most important items in your production. These two items determine much of the production (shooting) schedule and post-production (editing) time.

We will also determine deadlines, including shooting dates and locations, personnel involved and other logistics relating to the production along with the delivery date.

Some clients like to rush through this section, but just like building a house, it's best to have a good plan and solid foundation before building

Don't get me wrong, I don't like paralysis by analysis, but working carefully and thoughtfully during this phase almost always results in a better production.

It's our job to guide you and make this a pleasant experience. No two productions are identical, but this overview covers the majority of our corporate marketing, promotional and training videos.

Next week, we'll discuss the filming of your video, also known as the production process.

As always, we're here to answer your questions and provide a free estimate for your video. You can visit our website at Forrester Media or call us at 770-226-9250.


Planning your production - Part One

Video is a powerful and effective tool in this age of rapid communication. Gone are the days of loading a VHS tape into a VCR or waiting ages for a file to download. Today, customers, clients and even employees want information quickly and effortlessly.

If you don’t include video as an integral part of your business, you are losing ground to your competition that is reaping the rewards of including video in advertising, communications and marketing.  Online video is more accessible and affordable than ever.

Rapidly changing technology benefits anyone desiring to produce a video —whether it be a training program, marketing or promotional video. For illustrative purposes, we’ll use a corporate video as the production you’re needing to create as we walk you through our production process.

We divide our projects into three segments:

1. Pre-production—this includes the creative and scripting process, decisions on budgeting and the hiring of the company that will create your production.

2. Production—the actual filming of the program. A trouble-free ’shoot’ is achieved through diligent planning during pre-production.

3. Post-production—during this phase the program is edited. Graphics, titles, logos, music and narration are all added. Drafts are provided for review and feedback. Once completed, the video is delivered as web-ready files. DVD's can be produced if 'hard copies' of the project are required.

It's our job to guide you through the production process so you can focus on your day-to-day tasks while we 'do the heavy lifting' in creating the video. It is a collaborative process, and a client that's engaged with us usually ends up with a better product, but it's our goal to make the production a pleasant experience that you'll want to repeat with us.

Over the coming weeks, we'll break down each portion mentioned above in more detail and offer tips and suggestions on how to have a stress-free project.

If you're considering a video for your business, give us a call. We'll be happy to listen to your needs and offer suggestions. We'll also provide a free quote for your project.

Be sure to check back next week for the next part of our blog series, "Planning your production."


Advice to freelancers seeking a job

Now that Atlanta has more film production than Hollywood, an influx of job seekers eager to get in on the production action - whether film, television or video industries - are arriving in Atlanta every day. Add graduates coming out of area universities and schools and the market has become saturated with talented individuals seeking work.

If you want to succeed, some time and effort on your part will go a long way in landing a job - perhaps your first ever, or your first one in Atlanta.

My first suggestion for everyone is to network. I seldom hire anyone that 1). I haven't personally met or 2). doesn't have a recommendation of someone I know. This is an industry of connections. The best place to make connections is at industry trade group meetings held by dozens of organizations and user groups each month.

But before you network, you need to have your resume in order. Let's take a look at what I think are the key elements in job searching in this industry:

What do you want to do? This is sometimes the most difficult decision if you're in college and wanting to intern or look for that first job. Some production possibilities include:
• Camera Operator
• Editor
• Producer
• Grip or gaffer
• Production Assistant

Pick the area most aligned with your education or experience. If uncertain, use interning as an opportunity to see if you like the requirements of a specific job.

Create a 30-second 'elevator speech' that you can memorize that succinctly and effectively tells a potential employer about your unique qualifications. 

I like to ask applicants why they want to work for my company. I follow up with the question: 'what does my company do?' Quite often the applicant has no idea of our niche in the market. My advice; take a few minutes to research the companies you are contacting. Visit their website, Facebook page or Twitter feed and make sure they are a good fit with your skill set. It also shows initiative on your part.

Create a resume
Once you've decided upon a craft, create a resume that reflects your area of interest. You may need to create a different resume for different jobs if you're still undecided in a career path. A resume is intended to get you an interview - not a job.

Generally you have 5-10 seconds for the reader to determine your specialty and qualifications before they either move on or look deeper. My suggestions in preparing your resume include:
• Focus on one area of expertise and directly-related fields
• Keep the resume to one page
• List only relevant education
• Include relevant experience, not every job you've ever held
• Include relevant associations of which you are a member
• Include a link to a demo reel if you have one available or if it is applicable 

Develop contacts
Success in this industry is accomplished in part through referrals. To get a referral, you have to impress someone enough to recommend using you. But first you must meet those in a position to refer you. That's called networking. You need to be visible for potential employers to know about you.
• Networking is a key element to successful freelancing and employment
• Join industry associations
• Volunteer at sponsored functions
• Always ask for business cards when networking
• Ask if you may follow-up with a call/resume 

Personalize your contact with potential employers
One of the quickest ways for your resume or inquiry to find the garbage can is to send "bulk" quantities out to your potential employers. If you don't have the time to personally address your inquires, don't expect any personal response.

Realize companies often receive dozens of resumes each day. Your resume needs to stand out from the crowd. Personalizing your resume and cover letter is one way to create interest - of course the content of the resume is also considered, but you need to make a good first impression. Bad first impressions are very difficult to overcome. Therefore:
• Create a cover letter specifically for your potential employer
• Never, ever send bulk e-mails with your resume
• Avoid writing “to whom it concerns”
• Always know who the letter needs to be addressed to and their title

Prepare for the interview (or phone call)
Following simple steps can improve your chances for being brought on board. Consider questions the employer may ask about your experience and work ethic.
• Be on time
• Dress appropriately (maybe a bit too nice)
• Why do you want to work for this company?
• What assets do you bring?
• Why should they hire you?

Stay prepared
Show through actions your commitment to being the right person for the job.
• Always arrive at the job on time, if not early
• Be ready with any tools that are appropriate
• Dress appropriately
• Be professional
• Be the last to leave

Independent contractors
As an independent contractor, you're running your own business.
• Have necessary tax ID forms
• Know payment terms
• Set up separate checking account
• Obtain appropriate licenses and insurance
• Keep accurate records
• If you need help, get advice on setting up business

Wrapping up
If what you're currently doing is not producing results - change what you're doing. Make sure you:
• Know your job
• Network on a regular basis
• Stay prepared
• Arrive on time
• Develop a reputation for excellent work
• Remember this is a business, not a hobby

Good luck on finding that perfect internship or job. Getting started is always the most difficult part. Remember: network, network, network. Be seen by potential employers. Be known by potential employers. The more people that know you the more likely you are to get a referral, recommendation or job.

Best Wishes - and remember to network!
Mike Forrester

This page also appears on the Forrester Media website at http://www.forrestermedia.com/freelancing.html