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Old April 18th, 2011, 09:43 AM   #16
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Re: A new paradigm in video production?

Originally Posted by Bill Davis View Post
...At it's heart, Editing is removing the crap, however authentic it might be, that doesn't advance the communication.

Editing HONORS your audience by condensing the time and clarity of the message you're presenting.

It's not real - it's BETTER than real - because of the editors efforts not to waste the audiences time...
I agree with a lot of what Bill says above.

However, please read the whole thread before going off on me. If you aren't talking about client values and solutions, your relationship may not survive a challenge from a downmarket provider.

"Everyman" authenticity does increasingly exist. More marketing is built on it today than yesterday, and there will be still more tomorrow. Advertisers are desperate for social media channels. Just what do you think is happening on DVInfo, for example?

I'm not saying we all have to embrace it, and I certainly don't see personal opportunities at this time, but there is a lot going on in these markets. I'm not going to ignore it because "it sucks".

For example, POV and helmet cams have been available for decades, and have occupied a small niche in pro video solutions, I've occasionally rented one. I've been fascinated to see that GoPro is apparently making money hand over fist in consumer and hobbyist markets with their helmet cams, sufficient to buy Cineform. Say what? I'd have said that's crazy, can't happen - but it did.

Where does all that media go? YouTube, obviously. Who benefits? How about event sponsors, like Red Bull, or mountain bike manufacturers, or the European travel industry. Could those clips displace our professional solutions? You betcha'.
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Old April 18th, 2011, 10:21 AM   #17
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Recognising value

I believe OP has a good point. Here is my interpretation of his thoughts.

Regardless of how small the job is, a quality video production will cost some (moderately) serious money. When considering video as a part of some campaign, cost is often the factor that eliminates it from consideration.

The idea to generate interest in video by lowering that barrier is actually a good one. I think all of us here will agree that amateur, self-produced video will be nowhere near the quality of professionally produced one. However, there may be situations where a campaign could benefit from such video material, when it would otherwise never consider video due to the low perceived value ("too expensive for what we get out of it").

When you enable someone to begin shooting their own video for their marketing, three things happen:

1. First, they are apprehensive and somewhat reluctant (new territory);
2. Next, they get a hang of it, figure out how to get it from start to finish and, seeing the result, they are enthusiastic and excited about their new video campaigns;
3. Finally, they quickly begin to realise the shortcomings of their amateur production.

These three steps will effectively educate clients about the value of video in their advertising. They will also educate them about the value of proper video production. Eventually, while they still may consider doing their own production (and learning to do it better, as they go along), they will be much more ready to allocate budget for properly done video.

A completely ignorant client will simply NOT understand the value of your work, nor the value of that final product in their marketing efforts. Properly educated client will more likely seek professional help. Giving someone a Vixia and a simple handbook just might generate more business than trying to explain to them why they need to pay you to do video for them.
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Old April 21st, 2011, 04:19 AM   #18
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Re: A new paradigm in video production?

Originally Posted by Scott Wilkinson View Post
• show them what basic consumer or prosumer cameras/mics/lights to buy
• teach them how to use this equipment, with an emphasis on easy techniques anyone can do
• teach how to do simple editing (again, with an emphasis on how easy it can be)
• give them some coaching on doing interviews, etc.

Basically, we need to show people that video does NOT have to be something they need to pay a professional production company to do. What is more important, in my opinion, is that they actually shoot video and get it online—even if it's handheld, cuts-only video.
Interestingly, I've been hired by a large organisation to do just that: provide a series of 90 minute coaching sessions on basic video production techniques. In addition, I was commissioned to provide a list of prosumer gear (in order of bang for buck) that would boost their internal capacity.

I didn't approach them : they were seeking this kind of support and came knocking.

Their rationale was, "we have a IT professionals in our internal coms team who already multi-task, video is becoming increasingly ubiquitous, and we don't want to pay a production company 10K every time we need a routine shoot done for internal communications."

I've already completed a couple of successful sessions with their IT people which they greatly enjoyed, and the initial list of gear (HD camera, lights, tripod, mic, FCP) I provided has been signed off and purchased.


The two things this experience has taught me:

1) It's not very profitable : I can make a lot more money shooting and editing a project then providing bits and pieces of training, simply due to the number of hours you can charge for. Although my consultation rate is higher than my editing rate, 90 minute sessions once or twice a week don't add up to much when you factor in time spent on invoicing, scheduling, planning and following up queries.

2) Rather ironically, the spin-off has been great!

From the coaching, they've quickly understood:
i) quality production values are not easy to attain: the learning curve is steeper than envisaged (camera technique, framing, lighting, audio, basic direction skills - there's so much to take in before we even get to post).
ii) their IT staff are busy with other roles: they simply don't have endless hours up their sleeves to get anything more than the most basic videos produced.
iii) hiring a professional delivers better results, is much simpler, and is ultimately more cost effective : they don't have to hire and train staff to manage complex equipment.

While I'm continuing to provide training sessions so they can capture very basic footage (archival material of conferences and such like), I've become their go to guy: I'm now being hired to shoot and edit using my own equipment :-)

In fact, during the training I was able to showcase my work (ie: "what do you notice about the lighting here?", "what's the effect of the cutaway" and so on), which led them to ask for quotes.

So, profitable, no. As a means of getting in with a large, well resourced organisation, fantastic.

I also might add it's been rewarding on a personal level to teach people the craft. I've had a very captive, enthusiastic group to work with and the act of teaching is also a really good way to rethink your methods and hone your skills.
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Old April 21st, 2011, 03:06 PM   #19
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Re: A new paradigm in video production?

I may sound like a broken record with this comment seeing as I've posted several versions of this same thing as it relates to different current posts in other threads on this site, but I have to think that if you want some insight into where the professional video industry is headed, a good industry to observe is desktop publishing.

The exact same creative skills vs. low cost technology upheaval occurred in desktop publishing over a decade ago and you can see how things have shaken out for the print design professional. Interestingly (on a side note), that industry is heavily female creatives while the pro video ranks are largely male. I'm not sure what impact that will have on natural evolution of job placement when you factor in the difference in ego.

I see so many parallels, I'm actually more interested to here opinions on where this comparison doesn't hold up.

Finally, Scott's original post reminded me more of my current job as a value-added reseller of video equipment. Most of the things he listed as considerations for providing to customers are the very things that make my company different than the online box houses. So I guess we will see a continued blurring of roles between the manufacturers of the tools and the end users. People forget how many middle men are necessary in between. Frankly, as long as there is any art to it, I don't think middle men will ever be eliminated because they may be the only source of creative talent in the equation - they just may not be compensated as highly.

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Old April 21st, 2011, 06:40 PM   #20
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Re: A new paradigm in video production?

Allan -

I too have used that analogy, and it's at least somewhat appropriate. Pity the typesetter...

It's ALL media, whether you're talking print, internet or broadcast.

It's all now "digital assets", whatever the final delivery, be it paper or a screen between 2" and 70 feet or more.

It's all a function of computer horsepower and capabilities - the ability to print black text on white paper took just about everything a computer had a couple decades ago, now that's "nothing"... digital imaging and audio have come a long way, and now high definition video (some even in 3D!) are becoming a "desktop" capability for most current machines... even the highly tweaked specialized processors in cameras that allow them to adjust settings and track faces are rapidly outpacing the abilities of the "average" shooter!

The underlying KNOWLEDGE of how to operate a camera is still handy to have, but as technology progresses, the human element of the equation becomes less and less... as the technology takes over. What it may mean for the "value" and monetary compensation is hard to say, but talent and skill still count for SOMETHING!
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Old April 22nd, 2011, 05:49 AM   #21
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Re: A new paradigm in video production?

Guys - this post has been really intriguing to me because it confirms some things I've been wondering myself for a while. I posted a couple comments and decided to use a current project on my desk to test the low-budget Youtube film ideas I mentioned.

So here's a video that I made for my church this week - not a business video but I followed the concept of what I've been thinking as a simple online product I can offer to businesses.

It's designed with Youtube in mind - I shot and edited this in 2 hours or less with very minimal gear. It's not high end but I hope it's also not 'cheapy'. Let me know what you think.

YouTube - Craig Massey (owner of Massey Design) - Rescue Story / Live Art in Watseka, IL

I'm considering a price point of around $400-$500?
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Old April 25th, 2011, 11:58 PM   #22
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Re: A new paradigm in video production?

What would you have us say?
The video is fine.
The audio is fine (hope you got rights clearance for the music.)
The audience in the local church who knows these people will LOVE it.

Now the tough part.

First the dollars. You charge 500.00. In business terms, if you can keep your overhead (taxes, expenses, depreciation, expendables, etc, etc, etc, to 50% (kinda rare, but possible in an occasional service oriented business) that means you actually make about $250. You say it took you 2 hours but I seriously doubt that's all the actual time it took. That allows nothing for planning, checking out your gear, travel to and from location, phone calls planning the who, what, when, where and how and all the rest of the stuff that happens around a video shoot and edit.

So be fair and call it a minimum of 10 hours actually spent making this. So you're taking home about $25 an hour for your efforts. Significantly less than a plumber, but more than someone working fast food. Which, the way you're approaching this work, is just about right.

If and when you move up to working on projects that aren't for an "industry" that is tax exempt and has a pre-set catalog of acceptable story and concept ideas - then things get a bit more difficult.

You see, when you have to drive RESULTS, rather than just make people feel good about their personal faith choices - the stakes get a lot higher. And when that happens, you'll discover that a single video set in an artists studio with nice natural light and lots of visually interesting STUFF all around isn't the same as one set in, for example, a noisy factory or a small, boring conference room. So you'll have to grow, and expand, and deal with the differences.

I think it's important for you to understand that just because you've done a video that seemed simple and straightforward this time, that doesn't mean videomaking ITSELF is simple and straightforward. IT's kinda like driving fast. On a clear road under ideal conditions - anyone can do it. But nobody gets PAID for everyday driving. The people who get PAID to drive, are those who take responsiblity for driving when it's dull (cab drivers) or when conditions are dangerous (race car drivers) or when economic results are on the line (truck drivers.)

That's not what you're doing yet. But keep at it and perhaps someday you'll make the transition as many of us here have.

Good luck.
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Old April 26th, 2011, 08:33 PM   #23
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Re: A new paradigm in video production?

That's a fair enough response. I honestly did spent the amount of time that I said, although I didn't drive anywhere because that was my studio that we shot it in. I realize it's not a tested idea in every circumstance, and that it would be more challenging with a business storyline, but I think it has potential.

I'm going to keep after this and see how it goes. I've made money doing a lot of different things and currently am completely self-employed, so I do understand the financial end a little bit. Just looking for a fresh, new, simple product with a broader market since I'm in a fairly low population area.
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Old April 27th, 2011, 07:27 AM   #24
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Re: A new paradigm in video production?

Philip - that last comment about you location is a huge point that not many people have addressed.

Location, location, location. We can't forget that the video industry is a completely different animal based on where you are located. Very few rules will translate universally to all places - and niche markets are just as legitimate as mass ones. In fact, the cinema world is a very small niche market compared to the pro video world - yet the mentality of the professionals in that environment is often that they are the center of the world.

Take for example the way the filmmakers look at Canon and the 5D and scratch their heads at why Canon doesn't make simple changes to make the camera more useful to their world. One of the big reasons for Canon's slow response is the fact that they are serving a much, much larger photography market and are really more interested in letting photographers shoot a little video than letting pro videographers shoot better video. (Getting away from my original point -sorry).

Anyway - you need to do what works for you where you are - and not let anyone who isn't coming from your market lead you away from making money. What works for them in their market may not work for you in yours.

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Old May 5th, 2011, 02:34 AM   #25
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Re: A new paradigm in video production?

I’m afraid Scott’s idea is old hat and long-debunked.

In the late 1960's half-inch tape and small cameras were beginning to raise interest in the larger corporates in the industry in which I then worked - aviation. A few years later U-matic had sanitised the technology but by most managements there was still perceived to be a giant gulf between that and “proper” television which was still largely originated on film.

I recall in my company a female executive, richly endowed with contacts and not much else except a modicum of looks persuaded the senior management to invest in two complete studios and an editing suite based on U-matics. The cornerstone of her presentation through which I sat and winced was that it was “absolutely easy, no more difficult than taking a cassette recorder out and recording sound”.

I’d come from a passion for photography, film and television as an amateur but it was patently obvious as soon as the installation people had left that we’d acquired a white elephant. To run an in-house production unit needs an in-house salary and career structure that’s integrated into the parent firm. To hire in outside skill is to defeat the basic “in-house” premise and unless there is a constant flow of people within the company wanting to go into a branch off the company’s mainline career structure - which usually meant losing out in the corporate climb, the project was bound to wither on the vine.

There’s a repeated pattern evident in many industries durting which companies expand their peripheral activities, taking them in-house for economic or cohesion reasons (or many other perceived benefits) then gradually the costs of these non-core activities rises until the bean-counters or a new CEO sweeps away the lot of them, slimming down to the company’s core business and buying in the ancilliary services. In my former business it meant that from time to time the only thing the airline did was fly planes but after I moved into video production I saw exactly the same patterns and cycles in the confectionery business, the glass business etc etc.

It is of course, too easy and tempting to dismiss Scott’s paradigm out of hand on this basis and the one word of caution I’d add to those who feel he’s completely wrong is that every now and then technology really does yield benefits which completely change industries. Staying near to my original competence, take the Radio Officer present in every big airliner up to the mid-1950's. He and his technology and skills have been reduced to a few silicon chips within a couple of boxes that have replaced not only him, but now the Navigator’s job as well.

Keeping an open mind and recognising these sort of benefits earlier than everyone else is probably what separates out the great businessman from the average, but I’m sorry Scott, I don’t think this is one of them.
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Old May 5th, 2011, 03:11 PM   #26
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Re: A new paradigm in video production?

Good observations, Phillip -

Yes, the technology really is making it about as "easy" as point and press record, if "production value" isn't a great concern... goes for MANY "industries" and "careers", that's how it is.

And, yes, unless a company is large enough to sustain a "department" dedicated to a specific related endeavour such as "video production", by and large they are FAR better to outsource to a dedicated professional, or eventually will decide to do so anyway durign a "cost cutting" phase. Again, that's just the way it is.

Despite that, smaller companies MAY have some interest in being able to produce at low cost and effort SOME video materials - if they try the "point and shoot", they very quickly will see the results aren't all they expect, but MAY be "adequate". IF the results don't cause them to give up, they MIGHT want to make a more serious investment in time and training to get better results, but if it begins to take away from the primary money making enterprise, they may well call the "trainer" back and just pay to "git 'er done".

I think Scott's approach is a way to keep "stirring the pot", but beyond that, probably not a big $$ generator.
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Old May 5th, 2011, 07:57 PM   #27
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Re: A new paradigm in video production?

Lots of good info and opinion in this thread and I tried to ingest it all in one sitting so pardon me if I've missed something. For me, the foundation for any decent video is the ability to tell a compelling story. From TV spot to news story to YouTube clip there's a talent necessary to do that. Some get it as a gift from God whilst others have to spend time learning it. That's the baseline. All the production values, expensive effects and moody lighting are frills and dressin's. Often important, but not always necessary to effectively tell a story.

A large budget isn't always necessary but it will be a factor in the look and perceived quality of the finished video. Whether your client needs this is often determined by their bank account. There is, however, a hard budget floor for every project. It'll be different for each one, but it's there. Go below it and the client won't get what he/she wants. Either that or you won't make a profit on the project. Both are bad.

Clients pay folks like us for our skill, experience, talent, equipment, time and more. Our intangibles are more valuable than our hardware. That's why they come to us, or stay away when they no the costs for an effective piece will be too high.

Someone here once compared clients doing their own videos with patients doing their own brain surgery. You can set them up with all the best equipment but it's very unlikely either will be happy with the results.
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Old May 6th, 2011, 01:26 PM   #28
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Re: A new paradigm in video production?

Originally Posted by Dave Blackhurst View Post
I've got no problem "educating" a client or a potential one, in fact if they begin to realize how much work is involved in even a simple production, perhaps they might be more excited about paying you to do it!
I agree completely. It's "what they think they want" as opposed to what they "really want".

They think they want to save money with some DIY work. That's fine.

What they forget is time is money. Money is also time. They purchase our time so as not to spend their own. Most of them realize this and don't even go the DIY route. Others go the DIY route, discover the time investment (never mind the hardware and school-of-hard-knocks investment), and back out.

Then, there's a few that will push through, produce something truly horrific that makes parents shield their children's eyes, and proclaim complete satisfaction with it.

And they are the ones you wanted to avoid as clients anyway.
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Old May 6th, 2011, 05:55 PM   #29
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Re: A new paradigm in video production?

I own a Craftsman socket wrench set. I can change the spark plug on my mower. I hire someone to tune up my Honda. I own a couple of nice wood planes. I can make a nice post for my mail box. I hired someone to do the built-in shelves in the family room. I've got band aids, too. I can handle my son's scraped knee. I got someone else to do his heart surgery. I own a pipe snake. I can take care of kitchen clogs. I hired someone to install to the new oil furnace. I've written the bylaws for a couple of nonprofits, but a lawyer did my LLC filings for me.

Get it?
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Old May 8th, 2011, 12:25 PM   #30
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Re: A new paradigm in video production?

The real paradigm shift is video equipment. To do video production in the 80's, you needed a room full of equipment costing more than $75k, and a video engineer to put together a video. Today, a 10 year old kid can do the same thing with a $500 camcorder and a laptop.
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