November 16, 2011
Video Production is an extremely scalable enterprise. With the wide variety of cameras and crew skills/experience levels, it’s not easy to tell clients how much a video shoot costs unless you can get into specifics, which many times, a client won’t be privy to. To help you plan for a video shoot with a tight budget, but where quality is still important, I wanted to go through a real world scenario of what the options are, what the costs are and what the drawbacks may be for a corporate video style setup.
For this example….
Lets say you have an upcoming presentation that your management will be giving at an event and you want to get it recorded and shared on You Tube, your company’s website and via social media channels. Many of my clients actually want to shoot events like this to share online, but don’t know too much about the environment it will happen in. They may not know what size room it will be in, how far away from the speaker the camera can be, if there will be microphones and a sound technician running an audio mixing board, etc. For this type of scenario, here’s a few options:
Hire a crew: if you don’t know what the situation is and you can afford it, the best thing to probably do (to cover yourself) might be to hire a video crew ( a camera operator with a sound tech who can supply the microphones and monitor the audio levels, ensuring both high quality and eliminating possible errors that can be made by a busy camera man who is distracted by also recording production sound.Maye also a gaffer to set up lights or a production assistant to speed things up, a producer to wrangle everyone and maybe ask interview questions of attendees at an event.
Cost: Approx $2,000-$5,000 – for labor and equipment (depending on equipment and location)
Hire a ‘One man band’: This method can be tricky, one person can only do so much, so fast. If you have a camera person who is also setting up lights, microphones, listening and adjusting audio recording levels, managing the camera media data and maybe even asking interview questions, it’s usually only a matter of time until a mistake gets made. Maybe they are so busy asking interview questions that they forget to focus the lens, or the audio gets to high and distorted. They also probably don’t have the ability to react quickly, there’s just too much to do. If you are at a busy event, this really is asking for trouble. If you only have an interview or two to do in a couple hours, you can frequently pull it off.
Cost: Approx $500-2,000 – for labor and equipment (depending on equipment and location)
Shoot the video yourself: If you have the ‘early adopter gene’, the inclination, and the time involved and the final quality isn’t that important, you may be able to just record a presentation using one of your mobile devices like an iPhone or iPad. It will probably end up looking and sounding like you did, but if that’s all you and budget can handle- and the topic is interesting, informative and/or important to your audience – and the destination for the video is Facebook or You Tube, then may that will be enough. Just make sure you are sure you know how to handle the whole process because if you really need to get the video shot, and you hit a hurdle, what happens if you don’t know what to do? Ask yourself: “Do I know, what to shoot, how to shoot it, how to get the video off my phone, how to convert, edit, upload, optimize for SEO and store the data?”
Cost: Free! (if you have the mobile device, the skills, experience and the time to make it be what you want it to be.
In my experience, no video shoot goes as planned. That’s one of the biggest reasons to get a crew, because everyone has a job, they can focus on that job and make sure they can deal with anything that pops up. Some of the things that pop up:
Boring interviews: Most people aren’t used to being on camera and their responses in an interview can go on for minutes. It’s much better for interviews to speak in sound bites. A good producer can help coach an interviewee to shorten their responses, while still making their points…but someone has to be listening, paying attention and know how to rephrase.
Bad lighting: An experienced Director of Photography ( camera operator) knows how to make people and places look good, how to make shots look good. It matters, even if you don’t realize it, when shots look good, it feel premium and then so does your brand. Bad video=a brand that either doesn’t care, or can’t pull off quality.
Loud background noises on a shoot: Loud people, elevators, lawn equipment, planes, cars,etc. A sound tech can help identify when it’s actually causing a problem in the recording and then help deal with it. Microphone placement can make a big different too, if it’s rubbing on the shirt, it can make scratching noises in the recording, which cant be removed.
Well I hope that gives you a taste of what the trade offs are for a video production shoot. Again, the costs vary widely based on equipment used and the talent and experience involved.
Please let us know if you have any questions or want to discuss a project.