Video Production Process – what, when & how long?
September 17th, 2013
So you’ve just requested a quote from Ceres Productions for some videography work. What happens next? What is the video production process?
A lot of that depends on the nature of the video production service you are quoting for: whether it is for a corporate video, event filming, short film or music video, or documentary. It also depends on your budget as to how much of the work you would rather do in-house versus pay the production company to do on your be-half (please refer to our article on ‘Corporate Video Production – what’s its cost and value?’ for useful information on the cost structure of a quote and how to manage it within a tight budget).
Getting to you our Quote:
1. Our first step would be to get in touch with you, to check through the information that you provided and clarify anything that may have not been included in your brief that might impinge on a production of the nature you’ve requested.
2. We will provide an itemized quote, giving you a complete breakdown for the services rendered. Any areas of cost that are unclear, such as our sourcing an undisclosed location, we would list separately and ask you to provide us with a maximum budget to cover the cost of renting such a space. The two costs would then be added together to give you a final quote.
3. Should you accept the quote, we would then send you a written contract to sign, stating that you have agreed to services rendered, as expressed in the initial query, and requesting a 15% non-refundable deposit, which will also count as a late cancellation fee. One proviso we would wish to make clear is that any aspect of production for which you have set the budget, such as sourcing a location, we would endeavor to meet, if not bring in below your maximum budget. However, should we be unable to do so, we would get back to you with our best price offer and you will have the option to agree to it or not.
4. We would agree upon a set date for filming, as well as a completion date should your request cover post-production services.
On receipt of your deposit, we would commence with pre-production, should this be part of the agreed package you have signed up to. As stated before, there are a number of elements here that can be achieved in-house, should you wish. Also some aspects of pre-production will not be necessary to all forms of video production.
1. Depending on the nature and scope of the production, we would be happy to clarify all aspects of pre-production over the phone prior to the scheduled date or make ourselves available for a face-to-face meeting, whichever you deem to be most appropriate and convenient to you.
2. Elements of pre-production to be covered either in-house by you or by us would include:
* script (narrative, if required, or at least a list of the various elements to be covered)
* storyboard (or at the very least a shot-list of visual elements that need to be covered)
* clarification of goals of video, its target audience, where it will be viewed
* sorting of actors/presenters/props/location/extra equipment
* it is recommended that all other elements for post-production – graphics, stills, power-point presentations, etc, be collated at this point, prior to production, to ensure a smooth and speedy transition from production to post-production.
(Special note for scripting and storyboarding: it is highly advisable that, if there is to be a voice-over narration to accompany the video, that visual components of what are being said be storyboarded in line with what is being said in the narration. Both audio and the visual components should complement and reinforce one another if your video is to be successful.)
3. Regarding event filming: if you have already hired an AV company to sort your lighting and sound for you then your arrangement in that respect is strictly with them. (We have a good working relationship with a number of extremely professional AV companies in and around London. Should you be in need of their services, please don’t hesitate to get in touch and we would be happy to refer you to one of them.) If, however, you have sourced your own venue then please be cognizant of lighting and sound requirements for filming and what may be available in situ. Please get in touch and we would be happy to advise you further. Projecting your image to a screen and vision mixing between camera set-ups are both feasible but require collaboration with any hired-in AV or in-house AV and may be dependent on the quality of their set-up.
4. Do you want existing clients or customers to provide you with a great video testimonial? Do you wish to get employees involved? Are you thinking about presenting in the video yourself? If so, now is the time to ensure your clients are free on the production date, your employees have signed on to your expectations of them, and for you to begin rehearsing your presentation!
So the big day has arrived. And whatever your role has been in pre-production versus ours, all that is required of you is to relax and enjoy it. Regardless of whether you decided to take on much of the pre-production or not, we will have been in touch to ensure the lead-up was all running smoothly. This is the time for you to get your money’s worth and let us do our job. But for your edification, these are just some of the things that we ensure will get done:
1. Filming with maximum coverage as per the storyboard or shot list as provided by us or you. Any non-scripted or un-storyboarded shoot invariably requires more coverage to be garnered to ensure there is sufficient footage for unforeseen eventualities, but whatever the case you should consider yourself covered.
2. Getting what is termed in the trade as a ‘wild-track’ for every area shot in. This is the room-tone or the ambient sounds associated with a particular area. It helps to mask any cuts that are made in an audio track during an edit and helps the audio of your finished video sound professional.
3. When interviewing people, having clarified whether you want the interviewer’s voice in the finished product or not, we will ensure that only full answers are given to any question. This means that the context of your question will be preserved in the final edit while you have the luxury of excising the question being asked and make your finished edit that much more tighter and professional. It’s also helpful to ensure that any client testimonial that is filmed come across as being in their words as opposed to being prompted by you.
4. Regarding interviewing people, we will ensure that they have a fixed eye-line, be they looking directly into the camera or just off-camera. This can be easily achieved by removing distractions from around the camera if they are to be looking down the lens, or by providing someone to act as an eye-line and for the experienced camera operator to know to look for any telltale signs of eye flicker if they’re to be looking off-camera.
5. We will ensure we have the correct lights, be it for indoor or outdoor filming. Outdoor lighting and indoor lighting have different colour temperatures and call for different kinds of lights. There are gels that are available to calibrate a light correctly to either temperature but they do have the consequence of knocking out an amount of stops from a light, making them less powerful. At Ceres Productions we ensure that you have the correct lighting set-up to match your requirements.
6. Whether you require an auto-cue or a green screen, or some other bespoke piece of film equipment, let us know and we will ensure it will be there on the day. We also have the technical skills and know-how to ensure that work done with that bespoke piece of kit is done properly. Feel free to visit our ‘Green Screen Filming’ and ‘Top Tips for Presenting to Camera’ articles for more information.
7. As long as the narration script has been sufficiently prepared, the narrator is available, and the venue has the requisite level of quiet, we would be able to record the voice-over for the finished product at the same time as the rest of the video.
When it comes to post-production, as we stated at the pre-production phase, it’s best to have all your ducks in a row. That means all the elements that you wish to see in your finished video – audio, video, graphic, etc – should be all present before editing begins.
1. If there is any text element to be included, when it comes to names and titles it is vital that these be double-checked. Some production companies might simply copy and paste these elements from an email and not bother to check that they are correct. Be absolutely sure that all spelling and titles are signed off before sending in any written form.
2. When it comes to completing an edit, depending on the kind of video production you are considering as noted above, it can take up to a week to complete, and longer if you require advanced motion graphics. It is highly recommended that, should you require advanced motion graphics, you agree to a two-stage sign off: one for purely the video component and one for the graphic element. While with some production companies this might entail a slightly higher fee at the initial quote stage, without such a sign-off, it may lead to longer delays and potentially greater fees further down the road. This is owing to the two-stage approach that is commonly taken in video editing and motion graphic design, and the turn-around time if the first stage has not been signed off on and the second, motion graphic, stage has already begun. Ceres Productions won’t charge a higher fee for a two-stage sign off involving advanced motion graphics editing.
3. Music is a vital component of any edit. It helps to tie the various elements together. Having said that, at Ceres Productions we recently had a client that specifically requested no music be laid over their video, preferring to simply have the background of their pizzeria play through their video as the element that tied the visuals together. It was absolutely the right move and worked perfectly for what they wanted. But generally speaking music is the way to go. Read our article on ‘Corporate Video Production – what’s its cost and value?’ for further information as to how to budget for and find the music that will best suit your needs.
4. The reason why we generally estimate a week to two weeks for a particular edit, depending on the complexity and amount of graphics going into it, as well as recommend the two-stage sign-off for advanced motion graphic editing, is because the processing time to get your video out in a format of your choice can take up quite a bit of time. This is also why we urge our clients to come up with one comprehensive list of changes rather than requesting various changes over a period of time: a minor tweak in one part of a video might take seconds to action, but days to re-process and export. It is therefore always best to take your time when checking over your video’s rough cut, ensuring everyone who needs to have a say has had an opportunity to do so before putting into writing the changes you would like to see happen. And it is also a good reason to be absolutely clear at the beginning how many formats or versions of your video you would like to have – to be played on a DVD player and/or on YouTube, versus on the iPhone or iPad?
5. Finally, we highly recommend you provide a suitable hard drive to obtain a copy of all material pertaining to your video: that is all video content as well as project files. After all, this is your corporate video and corporate content. You paid for it! And so you should claim ownership of it. Who knows, perhaps a little later you would like to grab a still from the video shoot to use as a graphic element on your website or as part of an ad campaign. By claiming ownership over the material, you will always be in a position to return to us with that hard drive to get further work done, or approach another company, if you so chose.