Posts Tagged ‘editing’

Videos Not Set In Stone Until You Say So

Thursday, March 1st, 2012

Marketing videos, training videos, TV commercials, etc. are different from products that one might buy from a retail, wholesale, or dealer location. When you purchase a product off the shelf, for the most part you are buying something that is immediately ready for your use. There might be some assembly required on your part, or it may need batteries, or charging/fueling. And if that product is not to your satisfaction, or if it does not work properly, you will have to return it for an exchange or refund. You can’t ask the clerk behind the counter to send the product back to the factory to make modifications and design changes to meet with your particular tastes.

The process of producing a video is more fluid and flexible. If you find yourself working with a video production company for the first time, this is an important distinction to make. You shouldn’t worry if the initial edit of your video isn’t quite what you wanted, because that particular cut is NOT the final version. Changes can always be made.

We, like many other video production companies, will always submit a rough cut to our clients to see if our approach to the project matches the client’s vision. So, don’t hesitate to tell the video production team what you like or don’t like about the edit. Give them your feedback. Ask questions. If there are certain things you would like to change, mention that to them and (most of the time), those changes can be made.

Video production is a collaborative process. Our job is to ensure that our clients are happy with the videos we produce for them. Nothing is set in stone until the client approves what he/she sees on screen. Post-production is a flexible, fluid, ongoing process, so don’t panic if you see something that isn’t quite right. Sit down with the producer and/or director and open up the lines of communication so everyone remains on the same page.

Bookmark and Share

Under the Lights: Make Your Subject Comfortable

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

Conducting on-camera interviews is always an important part of a corporate video or documentary film. They provide the viewer with context and help to round out the story by providing different perspectives and opinions on a particular topic. However, capturing the polished sound bites one hears in the final video is not an easy task. It takes the right kind of person, asking the right kind of questions, which helps the subject feel comfortable enough to answer while staring into a camera and bright lights.

If you find yourself conducting interviews for your next video project, here are two things to keep in mind, which should help in your next interview setting.

The most important thing is to make your subject feel comfortable. Always tell your subject is that it is okay to mess up. Remind him/her that everything he/she says will be edited. Your subject needs to know that it’s okay if he/she stumbles or loses his/her train of thought. It’s just par for the course. Those things will happen. If your subject understands that he/she will not ruin the entire video will a verbal misstep, it helps increase his/her comfort level and confidence. And that will help your subject appear more natural on camera.

However, as a follow-up to this first point, you should always make sure that the subject regains composure before continuing. This will help you when you are in the edit suite, putting your video together. For example, if the subject flubs a line and starts laughing as a result and then goes back to what he/she was saying while still chuckling, you won’t have a good point on which to edit. Your final video will have a sound bite that (for some reason inexplicable to the viewer) begins with someone laughing. Have your subject regain composure, get settled, and pause for just a moment before continuing.

Observing these two points will really help improve the quality of your interviews, because you will capture clean audio of a subject who is comfortable, natural, and confident.

Bookmark and Share

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.

Bookmark and Share

Your Video: Everyone Has an Opinion

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

Red Fox Media - Video Production - Birmingham, AL - Sidewalk TV Shoot 2Opinions matter. They help us to make decisions about where to eat, what products to buy, and whose services to use. They help us to see certain issues from various perspectives so we can get a better understanding of cultural, societal, political, and world events. They can also help us to refine and improve our marketing and advertising messages, so that the products and services we offer can gain the most traction among our target audience. But after we gather and sort all of these various opinions, there comes a moment when we must formulate our own ideas and opinions about what direction to take.

When producing a marketing, sales, or promotional video, there are many different approaches one can take in terms of concept, script, tone, and visual style. Some might know instinctively how they want their video to look, while others may need to conduct extensive research and talk to others to uncover what they like. Some don’t need to show their video to anyone during the post-production process. Others may feel the need to pass the rough cuts around to various contacts to get initial feedback and suggestions for revisions.

If you are working with a video production company on a video project, don’t feel bad if you would like to show the rough cut to people you trust in order to get their opinions. After all, video production is a collaborative effort. Talk to your friends/colleagues about the video. Find out what they respond to. What worked for them? What didn’t? How can the video be improved? Also, talk to the video’s producer and director. Find out why he/she made certain aesthetic, or editing choices. Understanding the motivation(s) behind such decisions will help you gain a better understanding of the editing process.*

Take time to listen to the opinions received from friends and colleagues. Weigh those against the insights and professional experiences of the video producer/director. From that information, you can formulate your own opinion about how you want to revise the edit. Remember, when you start showing the video to different people, you will get a wide range of opinions. It won’t be possible to please everyone. You might make one revision to the edit that’s based on one friend’s opinion, only to disappoint another friend who wanted it done a different way. Changing the edit in an attempt to please everyone will only leave you (and the video’s editor) frustrated.¬†Throughout the video production process, remember that this is your video. You hired a video production company because you value their experience and trust their capabilities to create a professional presentation for you. Ultimately, the purpose of the video is to market/advertise/promote you, your company, your people, your services and your products. Opinions do matter, but in the end, it’s your opinion that carries the most weight.

*Remember, I’m talking specifically about post-production; the point at which the final structure of the video is formed. Any changes to the concept, the script, or the way certain scenes were shot will almost certainly require re-writes and re-shoots.

Bookmark and Share

The Method Behind the Madness of Video Production

Friday, July 29th, 2011

Red Fox Media - Video Production - Birmingham, AL - Burdette Video Shoot 004A few months ago I was working on a video shoot for a client. As we moved our equipment inside and started setting up, my client said, “I had no idea this much was involved in producing a video.” This is a remark I often hear when producing videos. People will comment on the amount of gear we have to carry around with us and at the amount of time it takes to set up and shoot each scene. They talk about our attention to detail when it comes to lighting and blocking camera movements. They marvel at how much footage we shoot just for a thirty-second TV commercial or a three-minute corporate video. Producing high-quality videos is something we take great pride in, but it’s also something that demands a lot of our time and resources.

Even before we roll onto the location for the first day of shooting, our work has been going on, behind the scenes, for a few weeks. There is so much that has to be accomplished during pre-production to ensure that the actual shoot runs smoothly and efficiently. For articles on the importance of pre-production, you can browse through these articles, “Preparing for a Video Shoot,” “Scheduling Your Production,” and “If Only the Flux Capacitor Was Working.” Some of the tasks that demand our time and attention during pre-production include:

  • Creative meetings with the client to go over conceptual ideas
  • Writing a script
  • Revising the script
  • Scheduling the shoot
  • Location scouting
  • Securing locations
  • Casting (if necessary)
  • Hiring the crew
  • Prepping and loading the gear

Depending on the size and complexity of the project, our time spent in pre-production may last as little as five hours, all the way up to forty hours. Once the shooting date arrives and we arrive on location, we have to:

  • Unload the gear
  • Conduct one final walk-through
  • Move furniture to make room for the gear
  • Set up and light
  • Set up the camera
  • Block camera movements
  • Tweak background elements that are in each shot
  • Direct the talent
  • Prep the talent for audio
  • Slate, shoot, and log each take

And this process will repeat itself for every location. Again, our time in production will vary depending on the size and scope of each video project. We might spend as little as 1/2 day on location, but we might spend as much as five to seven days to capture all the footage necessary for the final video.

Once the shoot wraps, we take all the assets back to our office to begin editing. This is a process that largely goes unnoticed, but here are some action items that we must accomplish throughout post-production:

  • Transfer all footage from tapes or external hard drive to the editing system
  • Set up the project and import all assets
  • Go through all the raw footage, shot by shot, and make notes on what’s happening in each scene
  • Mark shots as usable or unusable
  • Begin rough assembly of the video to formulate the narrative structure
  • Record a scratch track of the voice-over to be used temporarily throughout this initial phase
  • Listen to any and all on-camera interviews for relevant and usable sound bites; mark these for use later
  • Insert the interview segments and compile them with the b-roll segments
  • Present the rough edit to the client for notes
  • Make revisions; tighten the edit
  • Make music selections
  • Insert the music
  • Direct the voice-over talent during the recording session
  • Insert the voice-over
  • Mix all audio
  • Create and insert all graphics and titles
  • Present to the client for notes
  • Make additional revisions if necessary
  • Color correct every shot to ensure optimum quality and color accuracy
  • Render and export the final video
  • Deliver to the client

Post-production can, by far, be the most time-consuming aspect of the production process. It’s not uncommon to spend as much as 40 hours on a 3-5 minute video for a client. To date, I believe, the most we have spent in post-production on a project has been 80 hours for a 7-minute promotional video.

I believe that video production is an artistic medium, and, as with all art, doing it well requires a certain amount of time and effort. So, the next time you want to work with a professional video production company, just know that the cameras, the lights, and the familiar call of “Action!” is only the tip of the iceberg.

Bookmark and Share