Posts Tagged ‘video shoot’

One Way to Avoid Costly Re-shoots

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

IMG_5641BI understand that with almost every video production, the client and producer must strike a balance between scheduling enough time for adequate coverage while staying within budget. Although consolidating certain aspects of the production (i.e. the number of locations, the number of people appearing on camera, etc.) can help improve efficiency, taking it to an extreme can compromise the final video.

The video production companies that I know of (including ours) offer half-day (usually up to five hours) and full-day (up to 10 hours) rates. The production budget can be reduced by blocking off one half-day rather than one full day to shoot everything on the shot list, but dong so isn’t always the most prudent approach. The shot list may look rather short when reading it on paper, but in actuality can take much longer to complete.

Often when shooting corporate videos, it will become necessary to feature certain company representatives in the video. They may have a prepared script that they plan to deliver directly into camera. On paper, this looks simple: off-load the gear, set up, light, rehearse, and shoot. Let’s say you have four to six different people who must read from a prepared script, then shoot b-roll. It can be tempting to schedule a single, half-day for this shoot, but it’s important to consider a few things:

  1. Down Time - Since the on-camera talent is not professional, but rather, actual employees of the company, there may be times when they can’t make it to the location on time. Other things might pop up at the last minute that they are forced to deal with. This means you might be set up, ready to shoot, but have to wait until the company rep is available.
  2. Multiple Takes - Even professional actors need a few takes to get the delivery just right. This is especially true with non-professional talent. As mentioned in item #1, company employees have important day-to-day duties. It can be difficult for them to take the time to memorize the script. Don’t assume that they will have everything down before walking in front of the camera. They might need a few extra takes, and even some extra breaks if something comes up that they must tend to.
  3. Revisions – Sometimes the words of a script may not sound as eloquent as you thought they would when the talent starts reading it aloud. Or, certain facts and/or claims within the script may be inaccurate. In either situation, rewrites will probably be necessary, and that means additional time tacked on to your shooting day.

That single, half-day can quickly be used up, leaving you precious little time to capture everything else on the shot list. And once you start rushing through production, the overall quality of the footage will suffer. It would be wise to carefully consider the above points and go ahead and budget for a full-day, even when you think you can squeeze everything into a half-day. Better to prepare for the full day rather than be faced with costly re-shoots, or a video that doesn’t live up to your standards.

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Pictures From Our Recent Video Shoot

Friday, March 11th, 2011

We were hired by an out-of-state production company to provide video production services for a one-day shoot in Hamilton, AL. Yesterday, we sent a DP and an audio tech up to Hamilton to a remote area of timber land. We shot b-roll and stand-up interviews for a piece highlighting a Memphis-based paper company and their ongoing attention to environmental and sustainability issues.

Red Fox Media - Birmingham, AL - Hamilton Video Shoot 02

Red Fox Media - Birmingham, AL - Hamilton Video Shoot 01

photo 2Red Fox Media - Birmingham, AL - Hamilton Video Shoot 04

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Behind the Scenes – Photos From Our Latest Video Shoot

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

We were hired by Hall Marketing to produce two promotional videos for one of their clients, Hoover City Schools. The school system offers counseling programs for Middle School and High School students, called Middle Ground and Bridges, respectively. Each program is designed to help students open up the lines of communications between themselves and parents over various issues that teens face. We shot the videos in one day at Hoover High School. Post-production should be complete by the middle of January.













You can view more pictures from our shoot by visiting our Flickr page.

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What the Video Production Co. Doesn’t Know Can Hurt You

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010

checklistWhat your video production doesn’t know can hurt you. Many people who have little experience working with video production companies usually feel a bit overwhelmed. They understand that they need to produce a video for their company, non-profit, school, etc. but beyond some basic generalities about the project, they aren’t sure what the video production company needs or needs to know. If the entire process is to run smoothly, you need to provide the video production company with some logistical details. A good producer or director will know to ask you these questions, but it’s still a good idea to have this information in-hand when you discuss the project with your video production company. Here are some details that need to be hammered out:

Project Overview

  • What/Who the video is for
  • The goals/objectives of the video
  • The desired length of the video
  • Where the final video will be shown (website, public event, seminar, trade show, in-house communication, sales meetings, etc.
  • The deadline (Read this post regarding video production deadlines and how to schedule your video project accordingly.)

Technical Details About the Project


  • Script-writing responsibilities (will the video production company be required to conceptualize and write the script, or will your department handle that task?)
  • On-camera talent (will the project require professional talent to be provided by the video production company, or will your company provide employees for the video?)
  • Voice-over talent (will the production company need to provide this, or do you have someone available that you have used before?)

The Video Shoot (this will help the video production company determine how many shooting days are necessary)

  • The amount of material that needs to be shot
  • The specific people/places/products/etc. that needs to be shot
  • The number of different locations
  • The number of people that need to be interviewed
  • The amount of archival footage, stock footage, and/or stills that will be needed

On Location Considerations

  • Addresses and directions to all locations
  • Contact person for each location
  • Loading/Unloading zones
  • Specific location protocol (security concerns, where to sign in, where the video production company can and cannot go while at the locaton)
  • Staging area (an out-of-the-way place at the location where the video production company can store their gear)

I recommend taking the video production company representatives on a tech scout of each location before the shoot, so you can go over these details and clarify any unresolved issues. A good tech scout will catch potential problems before the shoot begins.

Clear, consistent communication between yourself and the video production company will be of enormous benefit when the shoot begins. Take the time to conduct thorough pre-production planning. Provide the video production company with everything they need. Your finished video will be a lot better because of it.


*Don’t let the higher number – 1080 make you think that it’s better, or has a higher resolution that 720. Both are official high-definition formats. The difference is mainly in how the two formats record an image. The “i” in 1080i stands for “interlaced,” and the “p” in 720p stands for “progressive.” An interlaced image is created by breaking the image you see on your screen into two separate “fields” – upper and lower. Scan lines reproduce the image on the screen by scanning horizontally, top to bottom. On the first pass, the scan lines recreate every even line. On the second pass, the odd lines are recreated. The horizontal lines are interlaced to show you the complete picture. In HD video, there are 1080 horizontal scan lines. A progressive image is created by scanning the entire image in order, all at once, much like a single frame of film.

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Business Owners – What To Do When Times Are Slow

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

There are wonderful benefits to owning a company, but growing the business takes an incredible amount of work, dedication, and patience. The farmer doesn’t see the results of his labor as soon as the seed is planted. In like manner, the young entrepreneur can’t expect immediate returns on his investments. Times will be good. Times will be bad. In the years that I have been running my business I have experienced quite the roller coaster ride. During slow periods, it’s important to make good use of your time and plant sees from which future successes will grow.

  1. Don’t Be Negative. I place this one at the top of the list, because we have all experienced feelings of discouragement, despair, and hopelessness. However, it’s important to remain positive. Negativity will result in apathy, which will do nothing for your business.
  2. Attend Networking Events. When other projects consume most of your time, you can’t afford to attend social events. However, when business slows, take advantage of opportunities to get out and meet new people. The relationships you develop today will benefit you in the future.
  3. Follow Up On Existing Leads. As I’ve mentioned on this blog before, I like to use Gmail as my email client. It allows you to create labels to easily organize and archive your messages. I have an entire list of conversations labeled “Leads.” When I have a slow period, I go back through those contacts to see if there are any deals I can close. When things are busy, it can be easy to overlook an existing lead, so take the time to follow up.
  4. Brush Up On Local Business News. Keeping up to date on what’s happening in your market is a great way to find new leads. Subscribe to the local business journal, or follow blogs that provide local business content. Staying on top of current business events will help you to better understand how your products and services can help those around you.
  5. Improve Your Marketing Efforts. Re-examine your brand. How are you reaching out to others? Is it time for your website to be updated? Have you neglected your blog, or other social media profiles? Sometimes when business is slower I take a look at my demo reel to see how I might re-organize it and improve it. You might also consider creating and sending a free monthly e-newsletter (see my sign up form to the right of this page) or writing an informative article and submitting it to local publications. Think of anything that will help you get your name out in front of people.
  6. Practice Your Craft. If you are a photographer, cinematographer, writer, graphic designer, or web designer, you can take advantage of slow times by improving your skill set. Create some work on spec. Get out and shoot something. Update your portfolio. If you are an editor who really needs to learn more about using After Effects, sign up for a class and learn something new. Watch some tutorials. The quality of your work will only get better.

For a business owner, slow times can be frustrating, but staying busy and staying productive are the keys for staying successful. Invest in yourself and your business. Use your time wisely. The small seed planted today will grow into a strong plant, if properly cared for.

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