So you want to shoot some video?

So you want to shoot some video? No problem.

I have a degree in Television producing, so surely we can figure something out. I know a friend whose parents still smother him with gifts (instead of love) and he just got a new Canon 5D – he probably knows how to use it by now too. While everyone else was studying Economics, another friend and I spent our senior high-school years ‘learning’ Film & TV. He used to have a pirated copy of Final Cut on his laptop, so he can probably edit some stuff to look real sexy.

Yeh, we can make you a video alright. Maybe it’ll even go viral – why not? As for remuneration, just buy us a case of beer and we’ll call it even. Easy.

…if only.

The art of film is exactly that – an art. Professionals exist for a reason, and have spent years refining their skills in one of the many particular and often excruciatingly specific roles that exist in the industry. You’ll find a guy on set whose only role is to change the focus of the camera during a shot (Focus Puller). Why? Because he is damn good at it.

As Razorfish moves further into the realm of creating great video content for its clients, we must accept that we aren’t traditionally the experts in this area. Luckily, the guys at Thinkbone are.

To set the scene (so to speak) this week Thinkbone’s crew turned our lobby into a live set in order to teach us a thing or two about production, budgets, and the different outcomes you can expect. They were to film the same scene (Pulp Fiction’s famous “$5 Milkshake”) three times – each with a different budget, and thus final product.  For the purpose of the exercise, let’s assume each budget is for 60 seconds of final video.

  • Low budget: For this we are looking at a stripped back pre-production (logistics, scripts, basically all the organizing), three days of post, a bare minimum crew (Producer/Director, Production Manager, Production Assistant, D.O.P), catering and a basic camera and tripod set-up. Oh, and your mate/Mum/cousin acting. Approximate total: $20,700.

For that you can expect to produce something resembling the quality of video below:

  • Medium budget: In addition to the above, we’d be looking to add an Art Department, props, wardrobe, casting, semi-professional Actors, make up, location costs, and a beefed up camera kit. Approximate total: $ 65,200.

And for the extra money and effort you’ll be looking at something of this quality (ignoring travel costs):

  • High budget: Let’s add more crew, professional actors, expert lighting, more location costs, more catering, and amongst other things, a better camera, a dolly (the thing on the train tracks), and a dolly operator. Approximate total: $97,000.

Now we are looking at some high-end video production capable of matching, or even improving on the original scene. This isn’t to say you need to spend big for every bit of video you create. Each grade of production serves a purpose, so it depends on the individual project and the objectives as to how much you should be budgeting.

Here is the final take of the day (sound is from the camera mic, so apologies). Thankfully, Thinkbone opted to waive the $97,000 – thanks guys. That case of Superdry should arrive any day now.

Dean

@deanvowles

3 Responses to So you want to shoot some video?

  1. Love it dean, but that is a very 90’s way of thinking.

    Time can now substitute costs. one individual with enough time can shoot, edit, score and do post production themselves with really high quality and easily accessible technology. but the point you made at the start is the linch pin, it comes down to skill. so my advice to everyone is practice practice practice.

    • Hey Sos. Do you believe that in the future there will be no need for professionally orchestrated film? I think this seminar showed us that while the regular amateur can produce some pretty impressive video to be shared digitally, they are still affronted with limitations that a production crew do not have. These limitations include budget, equipment, accessibility, human resources and professional training. It all comes down to purpose- what is the film trying to achieve and how can it do this? In some circumstances a budget film is all you need and in others, not.

  2. Dion Clark says:

    So you can hear that sound professionals exist for a reason also!

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