As you begin your next video production in NYC there are many things to think about, and lots of numbers to crunch! Planning a video production can mean making a significant investment in both time and money, especially when done to a professional standard of quality.
Looking for opportunities to cut corners is a natural part of the budgeting process. A huge benefit of this is that whether you make cuts or not, an up-front in-depth look at your project will be helpful as you move on to later stages of planning and production. While it’s tempting to slash those numbers, you’ll want to avoid slashing the quality right out of your video production.
To help you keep quality in your production where it counts the most, here are 5 corners you should never cut in your NYC production:
1. Number Of Crew Members
If you’re less experienced with video production it can be easy to assume that the number of crew members a production company recommends using can be cut down. On the contrary, there are specific jobs that each member of a crew needs to attend to, and nothing is more detrimental to a production than confusion and disorganization.
For example, you may think an interview can be done simply with one camera and its operator. But a good lighting set up is essential to make the interview subject, and the video itself, look their best. For proper lighting, the crew will need various lighting kits and components to get the right lighting color, to avoid glares, to ensure proper power is being used and that no electrical issues occur. All cords are taped down so that no one trips on them, and lights will be held steady with sand bags. Safety first folks!
The camera also needs to be set up, leveled, balanced and focused, with audio equipment ready and in place. While the camera operator gets a good look at what the subject looks like in the frame, production assistants may need to adjust lights or move other objects.
Also, for an off-screen interview style, a producer may need to perform the interview in order to prompt the subject to make useful statements on camera. Meanwhile, the camera operator will be busy ensuring that lighting, focus and camera function are all top-notch throughout filming.
It can also be tempting to take an expert estimate of filming time and try to rush it. In each of the three main phases of production, time is critical toward getting everything done right. For example:
- In Pre Production: It can be disastrous to under-estimate the amount of hours needed for pre-production planning, which can include the gathering or building of props, booking and coordinating locations and talent, or even helping on-camera subject to rehearse. You may think that you can plan and prep everything yourself, and decrease the pre-production time allotted to your video production partner. This limits how much time they have budgeted to organize details critical to the success of your production.
- In Production: Your project can be compromised greatly if hours are underestimated and the crew is forced to rush or if unforeseen circumstances are not prepared for. As described in #1, even load-in and proper set up of equipment is essential and takes some time to be done safely and correctly.
- Post-Production: This phase is last the process, and often prior to beginning the post-production phase you and your video production agency can take stock of how much time has been used thus far. Project details may have changed since you began planning and after you executed filming, so you can also at this point re-evaluate the hours allotted to the project for post-production. It’s always wise to over-estimate early on.
3. Casting Professional Talent
It’s easy to think you can pull in friends and amateurs to take part in your video production, rather than paying professional actors. A times this can work out, but most of the time it ends up taking more time to prep and coach them, and can decrease the range and quality of footage you end up filming.
Professionals are well practiced and arrive ready to bring a variety of intonations and personality traits to their roles. This increases the overall production value in a big, big way! Professionals may add some costs to your budget, but you’ll guarantee better options of footage to work with in future editing phases. That is worth the investment!
Pro voice over artists are also experienced in speaking with a variety of intonations, emotional emphasis and pacing. Voiceover may seem like a small detail, but a professionally scripted and performed voiceover reflects well on your brand, supporting the perception that you are capable and successful.
4. Professional Makeup or Wardrobe Services
You might think that professional acting talent or extras will cater to their own appearance in preparation for being on camera, but relying on them to look a certain way (professional, stylish or in character) is a mistake that can affect the entire project.
The appearance of individuals on camera is one of the most important aspects of a video production. Every detail of a person’s appearance becomes magnified and seared into the minds of the viewer, affecting their perception of your brand or project. It’s best to ensure everything is taken care of by beauty and style industry professionals and under the watchful eye of your creative director or producer.
5. Setting and Props
Often details like setting, scenery and props are overlooked or seen as frivolous, but just like the appearance of people in your production, the appearance of the setting and items being used within that setting can also directly affect the perception of the viewer.
First, you must have a proper-looking location, whether it’s an office, a home, a ballpark, a dangerous-looking alley, or quaint neighborhood storefront. Location scouting takes time and can involve a fee to rent a desired space. Buying or making props to stage the area with can also take time and involve some costs. But, scrimping on these details can be detrimental to your project.
For example, perhaps someone has offered their home to film in, but you arrive to find that it looks severely outdated or is a mess, or it cannot actually accommodate the size crew and talent. Or perhaps you want to film in your office, but when the crew arrives and sets up you realize that the background of your shot is boring, empty or devoid of personality. It can take a little time to select objects (awards, a lamp, plants) and arrange them within the frame so that they enhance the image, but don’t overwhelm it.
If you’re feeling exhausted by all of these new things to think about as you plan your next video production, I don’t blame you one bit! This is why video production experts often lead their clients through the process so thoroughly, so that they can help clarify and manage all of these very important details. It’s these details that make your production worth filming, and your film worth editing, all to provide you with a successful end product.