This guide is designed to be given to a client so that they uderstand where WE all stand in the production of THEIR commercial
To create a viable business / educational / entertainment video, we all need to be clear about the following points in order that the video becomes a useful, productive creation.
A. The Purpose of the Video
B. The Target Audience
C. How it will be Exhibited and Distributed
D. The Financial Considerations (ie. The Budget)
After clarifying these matters we, as the producer and you as client, will be able to proceed to the next step:
E. Writing the brief
The brief is the basic production document. It decides the shape and style of the video, the 'treatment' and it is very important that everyone exercises great care at this stage. If the video is badly designed it could cost all of us a lot more than budgeted for, and at the same time fail to achieve the results you require.
YOUR (THE CLIENT'S) REQUIREMENTS
Successful videos seek to communicate one message which will motivate the viewer to take action. The single message may be supported by quite a number of examples, but the one message should always remain clear that the viewer should try a method, buy a product, avoid an accident, phone a number, write a letter, be educated, be entertained, or simply laugh (or a combination of any of these elements that lead the audience to a clear purpose, and avoids confusion, or frustration). This clarity of purpose also saves the video from becoming too complex, and too expensive.
Who will see the video? Which portion of the audience are you trying to reach? Where and how will it be shown? In other words, your target audiences demographics...
Different videos may share the same purpose while being aimed at totally different audiences. For instance, a video on safety for industrial workers will be very different from a safety video aimed at families around the home, just as childrens humour will be very different from adult humour.
First, identify your target audience. Try to establish their educational level, their occupation, and previous knowledge or misconceptions they might have about the subject.
The target audience will determine many aspects of the video's structure. It will determine the length, (attention span, time away from jobs), the script, (vocabulary, sophistication of presentation), and format (broadcast, DVD, Internet or Intranet distribution).
Other aspects to bear in mind are: Will the video be supported by a presentation, a lesson, an insert, explainatory cover, website?
All of these considerations can affect the budget, and choice of delivery and distribution methods, along with the equipment needed to produce the program.
If you intend to make only a limited number of copies of the video, and play them in the office(s) or at a conference, then distribution is not a problem. But if you would like to send a copy to, for example, every major building company in the state, you will then have to think about distribution right from the start - you'll need to form some idea of how many copies will be required, in what format, eg., DVD, streaming via the Internet or Intranet, posting on youtube or similar, and budget accordingly.
It is easier to decide what format, and how much to budget, if you have some idea of what you will get for your money. In this area there are numerous factors involved. Technical quality is one. Broadcast quality can be very expensive. But if it's not intended for broadcast, if the program is to be released on DVD or over the Net, then it is not necessary to employ highly expensive production techniques; in fact it would be a foolish waste of money to do so - iIt's gives truth to the old adage, horses for courses. One can opt for much less expensive production techniques than required for broadcast and still obtain excellent results.
If the video is to be used to train staff, then you might well be able to use your own employees as presenters and actors. If the video is to be a sales tool that will have to compete with other well produced sales material, then it might be necessary to employ professional actors and narrators.
You can get a rough idea of production costs from the following: If you merely want to document an event it can cost as little as $5 for each minute of screen time. If editing is required then the cost might rise to $10 for each minute of screen time. However, if you want a professional image or look, you'll need to budget accordingly, for such items as a professional cameras, lighting, and peripheral equipment. (And you might need to budget for professional presenters and actors too). This could cost anywhere between $250 to $2,000 for each minute of screen time. Bear in mind, many TV commercials cost upwards of $100,000 - for just thirty seconds of screen time!
Outline or Treatment
The first step in pre-production is the development of an outline. To do this job properly we need to carry out some research to find out about your business, and prepare an outline for a video that reflects your needs in 'visual' terms. This research period could last a couple of hours over tea and coffee, or weeks, depending on the nature of the program. We will need your full co-operation during this period because it is vital we know your organizations background, and your specific requirements. To support protracted research it is usual to ask for a fee; some production companies call it a retainer, others call it a research and development fee. The cost varies, it may be quite low for a simple training program, or a great deal more for a sophisticated corporate image building project.
When the research is completed a written outline will be produced giving an overview of the shape and style of the video, and an approximate breakdown of the costs involved. This outline deserves - and needs - your concentrated attention. After you have had a chance to study the outline, you should confer with us, paying attention to every detail and any suggestions you might have to make so we can make suitable revisions. At this point any changes can easily be made; later, when the video is in production, changes will be time consuming and costly.
Script and Storyboards (optional)
For some projects, especially those with dramatic elements, a full script showing the dialogue, narration and visual treatment will be necessary. You should also study this document very carefully and correct narration which does not reflect the company's policy or manufacturing processes.
Sometimes storyboards will be developed. Storyboards are similar to comic strips and contain drawings of the video's characters and sequences.
Once you have approved the outline we will then analyse the physical, artistic, and technical requirements of the production and develop a budget which will show all the Pre-Production, Production, and Post-Production costs.
Like most production contracts we specify payment for services in three steps; the first payment on initiation the contract, the second payment on completion of the principal photography, and the third on delivery of a digital master.
The actual production of a video can be a complicated process. Under normal circumstances it is best that you allow the director, cameraman and crew to finish their work as quickly as possible.
While it is possible to make changes at this late stage, any changes you request after shooting has begun could be very costly.
When the shoot is completed the editing process begins. With some projects the first edit will be the final video. All the visuals, graphics and sound mix will be completed in one edit. You approval at this point means the contract is fulfilled and the final payment can be made.
With other projects there can be a longer process, including an off-line and on-line edit, but in this case you will know in advance if it is necessary, and the process will be fully explained beforehand.
Of course we will keep you fully informed and updated about the productions progress during all its stages...