The above scene is from Jaws and it takes place right at the moment that Chief Brody gets his first look at the great white shark. It’s then that he realizes that he and his team underestimated just what they are up against. The same problem can occur in any video production. It’s easy to underestimate the scope of your project. What seemed like a simple, straightforward shoot and edit can quickly balloon into something entirely unexpected. The last thing that you, as a video producer, want to do is to go back to your client and say, “We’re going to need a bigger budget.” That’s not a fun conversation. Here’s what needs to happen to ensure that neither you nor your client underestimate the scope of the video project.
- Everyone (both client and video producer) need to be upfront and honest at the beginning. You as a video producer should never over promise. Be clear on what your capabilities are. And you, the client, should never try to downplay what’s involved in producing the video. If you are working from a script and are not as prepared as you need to be, then you need to tell the video producer, “I’m going to need several takes to get this right.”
- All decision-makers need to be involved from the very beginning. If the “higher-ups” wait to watch the video after everything has been shot, you may be forced to re-shoot portions of the video if they don’t like what they see. Re-shoots are costly. You as the client can avoid them by making sure that anyone who has to put his/her stamp of approval on the video is present for all important decisions.
- When it comes to budgeting for post-production, the “less is more” mentality doesn’t work. More is more. In other words, you will always need more money for post-production than you think you do. Many clients (and video producers) underestimate just how much time will be spent editing the video. You may accurately gauge the hours you will spend assembling the edit, but you may neglect to consider time needed for encoding, making approval copies, delivering approval copies, approval meetings, phone calls with the client, making changes to the edit, re-working sections of the script, additional color correction, audio mixing, more encoding, more approval copies, etc. The list can go on and on, so you need to be prepared. Always budget more for post-production.
Video producers and clients need to work together so both parties clearly understand what’s involved in the production of any video. These tips are intended to help you avoid potentially awkward meetings wherein you have to ask for more money, because you simply underestimated what you were up against.