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We just need a little three minute video…

Darius Laws is an award-winning TCC Producer/Director who has experience working with Vodafone, HSBC and British Gas. He spends his time creating video content of the highest standard and here, he reflects on the implications when a client says they ‘just need a little three minute video’…

When I’m hired to produce a video it’s generally because the client doesn’t have the skills and expertise to undertake the task themselves. I find that communication between yourself and the client is the most important and effective way to produce a final project that you are both happy with. By following the below advice, clients will be able to break their video project down into individual concepts to consider, rather than initially underestimating the power their video can have.

Defining your video’s duration in the first instance is a mistake; it’s only traditional television slots which require set lengths, and unless you are producing a video to be screened to a captive audience, the best duration is the one which communicates your messages and maintains your audience’s attention.

The other misnomer is the idea that the video is ‘little’. Perhaps the client expects their video will be ‘little’ because they know they don’t have a Hollywood budget and that Ridley Scott won’t be directing. But just because the video is short doesn’t necessarily mean it will be cheap. The cost range of making your video can vary considerably.

There will be some projects which will require very little resources and some which will require lots of sparkle, the only restriction really is our imagination.

Budget: When commissioning a video there are some basic questions which the client and the video producer need to be clear about. It might be a good idea to start with the message; what are you trying to convey? Once clear on the key message(s) the producer can plan what elements might be required to communicate this. Your budget will obviously impact and determine the different elements involved.
darius-laws-51For example, a CEO talking directly to the camera in a 30 second video message won’t require much production resource but even with this example there are factors to consider: does the location need to give permission to film? Is the filming location underneath a flight path or next to a train line? Has the talent had time to learn their lines, or would a teleprompter be useful? What clothing has been chosen for the filming? Is it necessary to have a green screen?
At the other end of the scale, if you are making an internal training video you might need to hire actors, props, multiple locations, include voice-over narration, graphics and music.
Overall, ensure your budget takes every aspect into consideration and is a realistic figure to produce the effect that you want.

Audience: The style or format of the video might not only be determined by the budget but also by the audience. Making a gas safety video designed to be viewed by a student audience will need to be produced in a different style than an internal financial services compliance training video. I often find it useful to ask clients to show me examples of videos they’ve seen and liked, as well as ones they dislike. This allows me to understand the audience they are trying to reach whilst also factoring in the desired results they want for their project.

Timescale: Planning is critical in order to ensure the filming day and the subsequent editing transpire smoothly. It’s a good idea to agree on an outline script in advance. The producer will advise on what is realistic to be filmed within the allotted timescale. Planning will manage everyone’s expectations and ensure we are all on the same page.

darius-laws-4Quality: With all video content, you should expect a minimum standard of quality when it comes to the camera and sound equipment used. The producer will advise you in this as you might not need the most expensive camera on the market to achieve your desired result.

That said, I recall a time when people would say ‘it’s just for the internet so it doesn’t need to be High Definition; now those same people are unable to use that footage because it looks substandard. My advice is to future proof your content by shooting to the best grade you can afford. A great producer is someone who can get the most out of your budget, make your video serve its purpose and, ultimately, positively represent your organisation.

It is a fun, creative and collaborative process but remember why you’ve enlisted the help of professionals in the first place! After all your eight-year-old son might jump in the car claiming he can drive but you wouldn’t give him the keys, would you?

To see a range of TCC’s talented production-orientated freelancers, head to our showreel gallery for examples of their work!