January 27, 2012 \ Geoff Birmingham
Video production made easy

Relaxing by the water

Okay.  Misleading title. Anyone who tells you that shouldn’t be trusted, like the folks who promise that you can lose weight while sleeping.

But we got to thinking a little about this because our friends over at Wistia invited us and others to submit a video to help debunk a perception that video production equals headaches and hassle.

Over time, we have had a number of conversations with clients or prospects indirectly related to this subject. From those conversations, I have listed below three concerns that we have heard, and I’ll probably think of additional ones for a later post. The solution to nearly every scenario is good communication up front.

1. The last producer we worked with thought he had all the answers. This is something that has been said to us on a number occasions.  Namely, the producer comes in, has a way he feels things should be done, and is rather unreceptive to hearing alternate ideas from the client.  I would suggest that perhaps this might be the tendency of some – I suppose creative types like to do things their way – but that these individuals are probably the exception rather than the rule.  Ask your producer:  “How flexible are you about taking creative direction?”

2. Shooting video means lots of equipment, crew guys all over the place, and major disruption. This is a concern that is frequently expressed to us and it’s understandable.  No one wants  a rowdy crowd of  filmmakers invading their work environment.  The key thing to keep in mind is 1) not all video production crews need to be an army of people – sometimes they can be as small as one camera guy ; and 2) being discreet is mostly about attitude.   Ask your producer: “How many people do you intend to bring with you?”  “How can you ensure that during production my co-workers/clients/students won’t be annoyed by your presence?”

3. Video production involves so many logistics.  I am concerned that I don’t have the time for it. There’s no way for me to argue that video production is a cakewalk.  Most things that are worthwhile require a bit of effort!  However, if you choose your producer wisely, he or she can definitely eliminate a lot of the hassle.

Some producers perform best when the client provides most of the direction and upfront organizational work.  Others among us are happy to take on the majority of responsibility when it comes to handling logistics.  For a recent video for MIT’s admissions office, we assumed most of the pre-production tasks. We are about to embark on another video for them, and they have told us they do not have the time to do much more than be present on the day of filming. Ask your producer: “I am busy, and don’t have a lot of extra time.  Can I tell you what I want and you run with it?”  “If so, how will you accomplish that with minimal participation from me?”

Photo: anieto2k