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Old January 6th, 2009, 05:03 PM   #1
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Advice on bidding/producing an exercise video?

I just got a call from someone who wants me to do a yoga video. The details are sketchy but it likely won't involve anything too elaborate - just a very basic, nice exercise video involving two classes. I'll probably have a part at the beginning where he explains the exercises in detail if he wants that, but he may not.

He's going to want these as a promotional piece or something he can sell individually, as far as I know. Come to think of it I'm not sure if he plans to sell nationally which would really affect the bid since they would have to be packaged in that case.

Does anyone have any advice on bidding and also on producing such a video? I have one camera, for starters so I may need to rent a second one for backup.

If we have a room with a lot of natural light, such as a wall of windows, not sure how that might be an exposure challenge, judging from my restaurant issue where I eventually shot at night. I'm not fortunate enough to live near a beautiful beach in Hawaii or somewhere exotic, and it's winter so things outside are brown (and it's cold). I'm not sure yet what his timeline is but if it's spring, maybe we could do it outside when the scenery is spring-y and a little greener. Just a thought. Or inside, in a studio with lots of natural light. Being yoga, the video would need to have that relaxing open feel.

How long should producing something like this take? How would you approach the bidding if it was your bid?
Thanks =)
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Old January 6th, 2009, 08:50 PM   #2
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Hi Kell,

I actually just finished an exercise video for seniors. I can give you a bit of my process, and some hints because of stuff I forgot, if that helps. It was a lot of fun, and the client was great.

She wanted a video about an hour long involving a warm up, about 10 exercises, and a stretch/cool down.

I quoted her for three days shooting, but she wanted most to be at magic hour (we shot outside in the fall), so they weren't full days. Two days would have done it if I didn't have time restrictions.

I quoted her for about 30-40 hours of edit time, including production of a simple DVD (just the disc, no packaging). Build in time for corrections. She happened to be great, but I could easily have seen a different client driving me nuts with changes. Put a limit in the number of uncharged revisions in your contract.

What worked well was to do a wide of the workout in sections, then repeat for a medium shot. Then I asked her to tell me what was important about each exercise, so I could get closeups of joint angles, back arching, posture hints, whatever.

I did all the wide on tripod, a mix of tripod and handheld for the medium and closeups. I consider myself to be very steady handheld, so this worked for me, and let me get a bit of camera movement in. I did a lot from a distance zoomed in to get some short depth of field, and it looked great (Sony Z1, by the way).

I tried to get random cutaways and establishing shots as we went, but wished I had got more.

I used a wireless mic, obviously. Try to get a transmitter that is very small, since exercise clothes are tight. Also, I begged her not to wear sythetics, because of noise on the mic, but she did anyway. This made rigging the lav harder. Make sure you are set up for rigging a lav under his/her shirt in a way to eliminate noise from movement. It took a lot of time for me to find a good position, and building tape triangles to isolate the mic, etc. I would have died to have a sound guy, but there was no budget.

Don't forget to record room tone. I remembered, and it was a god send.

Try to make sure they repeat things in the same order. She mixed it up a few times, and that made my editing harder.

If you end up shooting outside, try to scout the location. We went to check it out and I figured it was all set. Turned out that around supper time, though, the local flight school begins their training loops exactly where we were. It was a nightmare trying to shoot in 60sec snippets when they were farther away. I took a couple of shots of the planes to use as justifying shots for the noise.

Natural light could be great, but can be problematic if you are mixing with overhead tungsten or whatever. Also, not much fun when a cloud comes by during the shot and ruins your exposure. I had issues with that. Hopefully someone with lighting experience will chime in, cause I'm no expert, that's for sure.

Hope that helps. Have fun!
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Old January 6th, 2009, 09:03 PM   #3
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Hi Kell,

Here's my advice.

Qualify this client in advance. Not necessarily as to budget or ability to pay - tho those are certainly also important.

What I mean is to qualify the client as to the organizational skills required to produce THIS particular video.

Experience has shown me that EVERY SINGLE marshal arts, exercise, dance, or similar practitioner is convinced that producing their own video will cause the world to beat a path to their doorstep causing a huge influx of cash - if only they can make a really cool video for next to nothing FIRST.

In reality, without a star name, most of these projects end up as vanity projects selling modestly, ending up in the red or barely recouping their costs to produce.

I'd start by requiring the client to do their own DETAILED outline of every single minute of content. The lessons, the music to be used (with it's appropriate usage RIGHTS cleared), lists of who will appear, properly executed and signed releases from all of THEM, and a realistic breakdown of a marketing plan to turn the resultant product into cash such that everyone gets paid.

Almost always, simply asking people to be REAL about a project such as this, will expose whether they actually have the entrepreneurial skills necessary to have any hope of success.

In my experience 95% of these "hey, I want to make a (insert martial art or exercise here) videos" clients never make it past the idea stage.

Unless they can get someone like you to agree to donate all the production work in advance.

This is the PERFECT time to use the smartest video production rejoinder in the world. To wit... "Look, how about instead of me giving you a huge discount for the first one with the understanding that I'll get full rates for subsequent ones - how about I charge my full rates for this first one - then I'll give you increasingly big discounts on the next few - you'll come out WAY ahead that way"

Bounce that off them - but don't hold your breath.

Good luck.
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Old January 6th, 2009, 09:13 PM   #4
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Bill, as always, makes great sense here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Davis View Post
I'd start by requiring the client to do their own DETAILED outline of every single minute of content. The lessons, the music to be used (with it's appropriate usage RIGHTS cleared), lists of who will appear, properly executed and signed releases from all of THEM, and a realistic breakdown of a marketing plan to turn the resultant product into cash such that everyone gets paid.
My client actually had photos prepared of each exersise for me, as well as a written description, and an outline that she followed during the shoot. She purchased rights to the music, and had a release from her exercise partner, and has a marketing plan. Though I disagree that it's your job to make sure they do this. It's not.

Quote:
This is the PERFECT time to use the smartest video production rejoinder in the world. To wit... "Look, how about instead of me giving you a huge discount for the first one with the understanding that I'll get full rates for subsequent ones - how about I charge my full rates for this first one - then I'll give you increasingly big discounts on the next few - you'll come out WAY ahead that way"
Agreed. I got lucky, though, and got no argument about pricing.

Quote:
Bounce that off them - but don't hold your breath.
So true. Bill's right. Don't get suckered into doing some big project for nothing.
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Old January 7th, 2009, 08:06 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vito DeFilippo View Post
Don't forget to record room tone. I remembered, and it was a god send.
I'm curious as to what you did with this. Was it for fill with cutaway shots or another purpose? I ask because I've not done what you have but anticipate doing thing like this this year.

TIA.
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Old January 7th, 2009, 10:23 AM   #6
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I too am religious about recording room tone. I've used it to blend between different takes with slightly different acoustic backgrounds in the same place as well as replace "silence" when I can hear someone in the hallway talking that I didn't catch in my cans while shooting. As well, you can use room sound to tail out behind a scene into the next when you don't have enough practical sound. It's also possible to use your recorded room sound as a noise print for selection in a Reduce Noise filter in audio post.
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Old January 7th, 2009, 01:37 PM   #7
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I'm curious as to what you did with this.
What Shaun said, pretty much. Basically, having room tone makes it much easier to make the 'noise floor' of your sound consistent.

If you cut out a speaker's throat clearing, you need something to fill it in, for example. Otherwise, the removal of the backgound noise is too obvious. Tons of other situations where it's usefull...

If you asked this question in the audio forum, you'd probably get lots of great info.
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Old January 7th, 2009, 03:35 PM   #8
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Perhaps an even easier to understand example.

You record two person dialog EFP style. So you set up your camera and shoot a 2 shot over the shoulder (OTS) with HIM face on to the camera talking and HER nodding and responding to his lines.

Then you move the camera to record the second half of the dialog (her stuff).

After lighting her and getting ready, you roll the camera to concentrate on getting HER lines recorded correctly. Only to FAIL to notice that between those setups, the AIR CONDITIONING came on.

When you go to cut the scene together - this happens.

CUT TO HER: "I still love you." (WITH air conditioning sounds)

CUT TO HIM: "No you don't." (WITHOUT air conditioning sounds)

CUT TO HER: "Of course I do - forever" (WITH air conditioning sounds)

CUT TO HIM: "Then why did you shoot me?" (WITHOUT air conditioning sounds.)

Recording room tone (both with and without the AC if you're smart - allows you the choice of ADDING the AC sounds to HIS clips to even out the sound field.

Or, if you have enough takes to cut the whole scene without AC but suddenly notice in post that when the AC is off and the set is quiet, you can suddenly hear the grandfather clock ticking away in the backgroun d - then you have some room ambience to use to either add or subtract or just MOVE the ticking clock sounds so that there's consistency in tick tock timing against your newly cut audio track.

Audio is fun, huh?

Hope that helps.
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Old January 9th, 2009, 10:10 PM   #9
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Thanks everyone for your suggestions.
Can I do a good video with one camera? Or do I need to build renting a second camera into the estimate? Certainly the portions where he is explaining exercises can be repeated, but when he is teaching a class, it seems like it would be hard do it with just one camera.
And I bet I'm in for some exposure nightmares if we end up in one of those rooms with sunlight streaming in. As stated before, esp. if it's a window wall.
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Old January 10th, 2009, 03:06 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kell Smith View Post
Thanks everyone for your suggestions.
Can I do a good video with one camera? Or do I need to build renting a second camera into the estimate? Certainly the portions where he is explaining exercises can be repeated, but when he is teaching a class, it seems like it would be hard do it with just one camera.
And I bet I'm in for some exposure nightmares if we end up in one of those rooms with sunlight streaming in. As stated before, esp. if it's a window wall.
Not really.

All you need to do is choose a camera position where the window wall is BEHIND you.

Then everything in front of the camera is fully lit and you have no issues.

If you MUST shoot towards the window wall, then yes, expect everything to be blown out by backlight.
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Old January 17th, 2009, 11:59 AM   #11
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Let me ask a question. If this guy wants this in HD - I my camera is not HD. If I rent an HD camera, then use the pd170 as a backup camera, is it difficult to make the footage match? Does it still look good together?
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Old January 17th, 2009, 12:16 PM   #12
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Let me ask a question. If this guy wants this in HD - I my camera is not HD. If I rent an HD camera, then use the pd170 as a backup camera, is it difficult to make the footage match? Does it still look good together?
1. You won't make the footage match. So don't bother trying.
2. If you rent an HD camera leave a day or two in the rental to work on learning it. Good HD cameras have a LOT more features and things to learn than your PD170
3. I've used my DVX100 as a "B" cam to my EX1, *BUT* embraced the difference. I'd use it for black and white, or PIP inserts, or as a prop camera that shows up in the shots from the "A" camera so it looks like a bigger production.

Lots of ways to go about it, but if you are delivering in HD, the PD170 won't come close to matching anything.
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Old January 17th, 2009, 12:22 PM   #13
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Does everything other than web video pretty much need to be done in HD, these days?
Even weddings and personal event video?
I'm wondering how much of an investment will be upcoming and concerned that my beautiful little camera will fast become a doorstop.
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Old January 17th, 2009, 12:33 PM   #14
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Does everything other than web video pretty much need to be done in HD, these days?
For years, video people have lamented that the average Joe doesn't listen to us when we talk about the quality of our better cameras when we bid jobs. Well, now they are paying attention and suddenly the guy with an HV20 can make a PD170 or a DVX100 look VERY ordinary. I have shot HD exclusively since the summer. I brought the DVX100 home this weekend to shoot a series of tests to see if I will retire it, or keep using it. I can color match it pretty well to the EX1, but that is about where the similarities end.

Even if we shoot SD today and it's ok for the client, in a year or two they are going to wondering why they didn't get an HD version and will come back for one when their SD version looks crappy on their new HD TV. I shoot HD, master in HD, and then deliver in HD, SD, or web format depending on client need.

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Even weddings and personal event video?
Yep.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kell Smith View Post
I'm wondering how much of an investment will be upcoming and concerned that my beautiful little camera will fast become a doorstop.
Bad news is it's already a doorstop, but no one has announced it yet. This is not a static market my friend. Time to move on. There are a LOT of good options out there in the HD world right now. From $1k to $30k. Pony up, and be happy. HD really is a nice place to be.
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Old January 17th, 2009, 03:16 PM   #15
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yes, I may tell him I can't do the video and recommend getting with someone who can do hd.
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