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How do I get a video made?

Many people, given the task of commissioning a video for their organisation, are at a loss as to where to start. We thought we’d map out the process and give you a few pointers as to how to go about it.

1. Write a ‘brief’

Create a short document that explains what you want. It should include:

  • Who your audience will be
  • The main messages you want to communicate
  • How the final version is to be used – at a conference, as a DVD, a presentation, web or perhaps all of these
  • Your time frame for completing the project

2. Budget

Get some quotes. The temptation is to get three quotes and go for the middle one. That might work out fine, but is no real gauge as to the quality or value for money of your final result.

We’d recommend you ask companies for a daily rate for shooting and editing, that’s a clearer comparison. Alarm bells should ring if they don’t want to give you daily rates.

Make sure they explain in detail what they’re intending to give you for the money they want to charge. If it all sounds like technical jargon maybe you should talk to someone else.

Production companies would rather you let them know your budget. Some prospective clients don’t like the idea of this, but you can get a much more accurate idea of what can be produced if we start from a known budget. The difference between a £5,000 production and a £10,000 production will be considerable. Of course how you play it is up to you.

3. Treatment

The production company puts together a written treatment explaining how they intend to produce your programme. They might produce a treatment with their quote. Work will commence once you have agreed the treatment

4. Storyboard

A storyboard is a representation of the video in the form of a series of small sketches like a cartoon strip. These are used occasionally but they’re not essential to the process. Sometimes the shooting script, described below, is called a storyboard.

5. Script/shooting script

Next the production company will write a script, although not every programme has narration. The script is agreed and you’ll finally end up with a shooting script which usually consists of pages with two columns showing the text of the narration and interview sections on the left and the visuals on the right.

6. Shooting

Dates are agreed and shooting commences. The client is involved in shooting as much as they feel necessary. You’ll probably want to be present at interviews and their customers’ premises but maybe not if there is more generic shooting involved. The production company can provide dvd copies of the raw footage if necessary which is useful for checking things like interview content. We can even supply you with copies of the footage with the timecode displayed in picture. The client can then choose shots and note down the relevant timecodes.

7. Edit

Occasionally a client might want to sit through the whole edit, but editing is a time consuming process and it’s not usually good use of your time to sit through the course of the entire edit. Normally the production company will complete a rough or ’off-line’ edit where the main elements are put together which will give you an idea of the content and running time of the programme.

Then they’ll complete the programme with music, graphics and effects and if required author the project to DVD or Blueray disc.

The client will usually see the progress a couple of times through this process and finally you’ll end up with the finished product for your website, presentation or ready for DVD duplication

Files, formats and discs. What does the client take away?

The final clip that the client receives can come in a variety of formats from Broadcast and webcast to DVDs and Blu-ray discs to presentation files to formats for the internet and mobile phones.

We can make files in Quicktime, avi, mp4, mpeg1, mpeg2, wmv, flash and more.

Display formats

Clips made for large screen display at conferences for example need to be in High Definition. We produce full HD clips in MP4 and quicktime for such purposes.

DVDs and Blu-ray

DVDs can be produced from the simplest clip that autoplays straight from the disc to far more complex discs with layers of motion menus and DVDrom content. These discs can include subtitles in multiple languages, and can be made to PAL (European) standard or NTSC (US, Japan) standard.

Powerpoint presentations

Video files can be produced for powerpoint and other presentation software, in mpeg and other formats. Presentations are often displayed in 4:3 aspect ration and clips can be specifically made in this format.

Files for the internet

Files can be made for display on web pages and for file sharing sites like YouTube and Vimeo. Files for download, files for streaming, HD files can all be produced. We deliver mp4s, flash files, etc. to be uploaded by your website service provider or provide files to their specification. For webcasts we’d bring in a specialist team with all the skills equipment needed.

Broadcast Specifications

Broadcast files are usually supplied on a portable hard-drive as widescreen HD quicktime files, to the specifications that each broadcaster provides.

So if you’re thinking “I need a video to go on YouTube” or “I need to make a promo video” or perhaps you need to film an event or record a conference or you need a video for a website. You might need to produce a marketing video or make a corporate video, the stages involved are all very similar. If you need any kind of video production please give us a call.

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