Posts Tagged ‘client relations’

Video Production and Social Media

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

In this Internet age, one that’s dominated by social media and user-generated content, it’s easy to find examples of individuals who have been reprimanded, fired, humiliated (or all of the above) based on what they post online. As much as the label “social media” is tossed around, the term “social policy” is not too far behind. It’s important for everyone to know what facts and information are okay to post online.

As a regular user of social media, I recognize the value it can have to SEO. Tools like Twitter and Facebook are additional spokes in the wheel that can drive additional traffic back to a website. Therefore, I like to keep my contacts updated on the projects we are working on. I might write a blurb about our recent work in our e-newsletter, or post behind-the-scenes pictures to our Facebook page.

If you find yourself working with a video production company, the contract needs to state explicitly what can/cannot be shared during the course of production. I have a clause in our contract which allows me to promote the work in various ways to help market my business. However, that particular clause deals specifically with the final, completed video. Posting pictures, videos, etc. online while the project is still in production is a separate matter and should be clarified between the video production company and the client before the job begins.

My clients do not have issues with me posting behind-the-scenes content to my various online accounts, but usually they ask me to wait until after the video is complete or after the video has been posted/exhibited/distributed. Every client-production company relationship will be different, but in the era of social media where everything is instant, policies regarding video production and social media should be addressed early so that serious problems don’t occur later.

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Video Sharing Services

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011
Image representing Dropbox as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

When I first started out in video production, I was still making approval copies for clients on 3/4″ tape or VHS and mailing them to clients. Then I would have to wait for the package to arrive, wait for the client to review the tape, then wait for the client to call with his/her comments and suggestions.

Things have changed dramatically in 10 years. Now, I can instantly share an HD-quality digital file with a client by uploading it to the cloud. Delivery is almost instantaneous. There’s no need to spend the money on physical media, packaging, and postage. Just encode the edit and upload it to an online service. Then, email a link to the client and he/she can preview it in the browser window, or download it to a local hard drive.

If you are looking for online solutions to share and collaborate on video production projects, allow me to suggest the following:

  1. YouTube – You can easily upload videos and then share them with your clients. However, if you don’t want your rough cuts to be available in the public domain, be sure to make them private, so that only the intended recipients can watch it.
  2. Dropbox – This is a free online storage solution that allows you to sort your content into folders, then share those folders with your clients and others on your team. You can upload various edits of a project into a designated folder so that everything stays organized. A free account provides 2GB of storage, but if you sign up for a free account by clicking the link provided, you can get extra space free.
  3. YouSendIt – This service is simple. Upload your file (50MB per file max for a free account) and then YouSendIt will provide you with a link that you can send to your clients. This isn’t a streaming service. The client will have to download the file on their end before watching it. They now also offer cloud storage (2GB for a free account).
  4. SendUIt – This is a stripped-down version of YouSendIt. You don’t have to sign up for anything. You don’t have to create an account and password. You don’t have to pay for anything. Just upload your file (100 MB max), get a link, and send that link to your client.
  5. Portal Video – This online solution generates transcripts from footage uploaded to its server. From there, video editors can quickly start to piece together a rough cut by simply selecting and moving pieces of text from the transcript. Portal Video changes the corresponding video accordingly. Once a rough cut is complete, it can be shared with the client through a designated Portal Video player.

There are a number of services available for sharing videos back and forth. Some will be free and others will have some kind of pricing structure. Dropbox is the service I use most often, but if you have any suggestions for cloud storage/sharing services that you have found useful, please let me know in the comments section.

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This Video’s Budget Is Not Like the Others

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011
Video Production

Image by Johnnie Blows via Flickr

Once you have worked with a video production company to create a marketing presentation for your business, you might be inclined to hire the same company again when a new need arises. As you and your team estimate the cost, feel free to use the budget from the previous video production as a starting point, but don’t assume that both budgets will be exactly the same.

Different video projects can vary greatly, depending on the size, scope, and style. The budget for building a 4,000 sq. ft. home will be vastly different from building a small cabin in the mountains. Even though they are both considered “houses,” the costs in creating each structure will be different. Even if you are using the same video production company a second or third time, the budget for each video can change. For example, an overview video of the company and its history is different from a client testimonial video. And a testimonial video is different from an internal training piece. These are important distinctions to make, because I don’t want you to be in a situation where you have already budgeted “X” on a new video, and the actual budget turns out to be more than you anticipated. Both client and video producer need to be open and honest about what’s expected and what can be delivered, regardless of how long each they have been working together.

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Red Fox Media – Little Things Can Make a Big Difference

Monday, July 12th, 2010
A video editor operating an AVID video softwar...
Image via Wikipedia

I believe that the most exciting thing about the video production process for any client is when they get to see everything come together in post-production. Editing, in a sense, is a form of writing, because it is up to the editor to find the story among hours of footage, then assemble those elements into a coherent whole. Sometimes the final product follows the original script line by line. However, sometimes the final video may bear little resemblance to the original script. That’s because a new and better story can often emerge as the editor and the client sift through the footage. Those that enter post-production with an open mind can often find a new angle to the story that was never thought of previously. And that can be a very good thing. That’s why it’s important to allocate a good portion of your budget for post-production. Things can become very fluid as the client, the producer, and the editor experiment with different possibilities, so you want to be prepared. Anticipate change. More than likely, you and your team will request changes to the edit. Also keep in mind that in a very complicated video (i.e. heavy compositing, layers, effects, etc.) the smallest change can be incredibly time-consuming for an editor to make. He/She will need time to remove old footage, find and insert new footage, apply the same effects, color correction, titles, etc. Then, the video must be rendered out so you can preview the new version. Turn-around time for certain changes might take longer than you initially expect, so be sure you and your team avoid waiting until the 11th hour to request changes, if at all possible. Neither you nor your video production company want to miss a deadline.

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When Video Directors and Clients Have Different Working Styles

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

img_5638b2In my experiences as a video producer and director, I have learned that clients can fall under two extremes: On one end of the spectrum are clients who are heavily involved in every stage of the process.  On the other end of the spectrum are the clients who take a “hands off” approach. They approve the creative strategy and then let the production company produce the video. Then, they will come back in during the editing process to give notes. And, of course, there are clients who will fall somewhere in the middle.

Ultimately, it’s your responsibility as a producer/director to give the client what they want. You need to recognize their particular work habits and learn to adapt accordingly. But if you are faced with a client who prefers a “hands off” approach it can be difficult to determine if you are on the right track. You could be faced with a big problem if you have already shot all of your footage and invested a lot of time in the edit only to discover that your client didn’t like the way you shot a particular scene. Or they might not like the wording of the script in a particular section. Or they might not like the look of a certain location. However, there are things that both the client and the video director can do to avoid costly re-shoots or extra time in the editing suite.

Directors, don’t ignore the client while on set. If you see that they are standing off by themselves, encourage them to come over and take a look at each shot before you start filming. Ask them if the lighting, framing, blocking, etc. is what they had in mind. Before moving on to another scene, ask the client if there is any other shot that they need before wrapping the gear. Clients, make sure that someone from your team is on location to supervise the shoot. Don’t be afraid to look over the director’s shoulder. Ask questions. Be honest about what you would like to see. Make sure that the footage you are getting is the footage you want. Better to have the footage and not need it, than need it and not have it.

Ultimately, a video production is a collaborative process, so both parties should respect each other and listen to any creative input. The client and the production company both want to produce the best video possible. And that’s some common ground from which to start.

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