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Old March 10th, 2007, 04:48 PM   #1
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Advice / Production Ideas For Instructional DVD

I'm about to start writing the shooting script for an instructional DVD (psychotherapy) which I hope to produce in the next year, and I would like some thoughts and questions from all of you which will enable me to anticipate as many of the production needs as possible.

I know that this section of DVinfo is not for technical subject, but I anticipate that some of your answers may overlap into technical suggestions which I can go away and research more fully in more appropriate areas, e.g. people might choose to recommend the type of camera set-up (e.g. 2 camera), and type of lighting I might use; you might mention the kinds of problems that I might encounter (e.g. sound from one lavalier mic. leaking into another, and what to do about it); or maybe some of what I'm trying to do would fall within the province of DVD authoring, rather than having to do with shooting/editing.

I'm mentioning all this because I left photography, film and video after I finished my degree in 21 years ago, and I have also never produced a project.

Here is some more information.
1. The DVD will be instructional, maximum of 60 minutes long.

2. There will be one, consistent host - probably me - at times presented on camera, at other times using narration off camera

3. There will be several interior, office locations, and maybe a classroom - no exteriors.

4. Content will be illustrated in various ways, some of them combined at times, e.g. through the use of 6 actors (max. of 3 or 4 at any one time, probably) in role playing situations, presented in the form of short (maximum 2 minutes) vignettes; narration; overlays of text on the screen (possible picture-in-picture); icons appearing on screen that are clickable via DVD remote control, and that take people to other sections of the DVD (most of them .pdfs or on screen lists of text material, but perhaps some links will take people to other video sections of the disc).

5. I will be editing or co-editing the project (Final Cut Express HD), but not shooting it.

6. There will be a relatively small run of DVD's - maybe 100 initially.

7. If things go well, I will be producing 3 other 60 minute long DVD's to finish off the series.

8. Clarity of image and sound are of paramount importance. So good lighting, the ability to see what is happening within the role plays, particularly close ups, is important, as is the ability to hear clearly sound at various levels from a whisper to a shout.

9. I have a very GENERAL idea right now that the shooting will be 3 days long.

10. I want to have the final DVDs in PAL and NTSC format.

11. As I will be putting a lot of money into the production and will be offering the results for sale, copy protection is important because even therapists steal.

I do have a video which has exactly the production values that I like regarding sound and lighting, but unfortunately there is only one interview in the video, and - if memory serves - it may be a one camera set-up, so there are some differences between what is depicted in the video and what I have in mind, but the basis is there.

My main problem is keeping production costs as low as possible while maintaining high audio/video production standards. The former is important because the market that I'll be selling to is not very big, and the latter is necessary to present a product to that market in which sound and video issues do not get in the way of the function of the DVD, i.e. accessing the contents of the DVD in order to learn.

Sorry about the length of this, but I wanted to be specific, and any help would be gratefully received, whether about costume storage or the fact that if I'm going to hear dialogue spoken in a whisper, then I'll have to watch out for camera noise (obviously I'm aware of this issue already).

I would very much appreciate hearing about ideas/experiences of using student filmmakers/actors/graphic designers. Should I produce and direct or separate those roles?

When I was a student photographer years ago in London (U.K.) I had a bad experience doing a project for my degree show with fashion students from another degree, so I really wonder about the above and am ready to pay for quality rather than trying to economise and have that reflected in the result.

Many thanks in advance,

Last edited by Geert van der Veen; March 10th, 2007 at 07:54 PM. Reason: Left Out A Bit
Geert van der Veen is offline   Reply

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