Archive for the ‘Video Production’ Category



Milwaukee Video Production Buyers Guide

Milwaukee Video Production Buyers GuideTips for Planning a Video Shoot in Wisconsin or Anywhere Else

You’re all set to produce your marketing video. Or… maybe it’s an internal project? Maybe an event video? Regardless of what type of “corporate video” you’re producing, finding a Milwaukee video production company is next on your docket. These are some practical tips for just about any city. 

Shopping for a production company isn’t the typical kind of thing you’re used to researching. You’re about to create a video… something that’s one part functional and another part art, so you’re tasked with finding a credible company with talented marketing artists.

That’s why we’ve created this guide. You could certainly just hire us. We’d love that (we’re pretty awesome), but really the best advice is to do a little research and get bids from a few companies.

Let’s start from the beginning.

Why You Need Look At Multiple Production Houses

Every production company is different from the other. Some are bigger, some are smaller. Some help with creative and marketing ideas, others simply execute your plan. Equipment and personnel can also vary from company to company.

When you take these things into account, it’s good to look at multiple companies to get a sense of which is best for your project.

Are you heading into a big budget production? Multiple cameras, a large production crew, fancy equipment like cranes or drones?

If so, you’re going to need a big production house that can handle that kind of stuff.

On the other hand, are you trying to keep it simple? Are you more interested in quality storytelling than video gadgets? A smaller company or even an independent video pro might be better for your project.

So… how do you begin to separate each company from one another?

Tip #1: watch their work

You’re obviously going to start looking at production company websites. You’ll be able to get some basic information, but really what you want to do is watch examples of their work.

Forget the company “sizzle reel” if they have one. This is simply a highlight video… a compilation. How’s that going to help you?

Instead, watch their client work. If you want to know what to watch for, check out our vlog post on the subject: Tips for Picking a Video Company.

Also, has the production company produced a video about itself… an “About Us” video? Are you kidding me!?! They haven’t? A company that produces marketing videos for other businesses hasn’t produced one about itself? That’s… a little… weird.

Tip #2: vetting

Once you’ve found a few companies with videos you like, you’re going to want to vet them.

Start with their clients… Fortune 500, medium-size companies, micro-businesses… see any companies that seem to be about the same size as your business? Are there any in related industries?

Of course, cost is going to be a factor when vetting production houses as well. The only problem? Many (most) production companies don’t list any prices at their website.

I know why they do this. Every video project is different, so that makes it tough to put together a price list.

However, it isn’t impossible. We know people need a little guidance in this area, so we put together some ballpark prices for our website. We even detail how to figure out video production cost.

It would be great if every other production house did this, but they don’t. That means you’ll have to spend some time on the phone speaking with them. You could try email, but the phone is probably easier.

While they’ll ask you a bunch of questions for your price quote, you should ask some as well, like:

  • Make sure to ask if they’ll give you a fixed price, or will it change depending on how the production goes? We have clients who were burned by production companies in the past. They thought the price was fixed, but things were added during the production process (extra shoot days, special equipment, more post-production time) and next thing they knew the price had skyrocketed. It’s okay if it’s not a fixed price, but make sure the production company will agree to talk with you in advance of any additional expenses.

It also helps to sometimes work backwards when getting a quote. Tell them your budget and then see what they can do for that amount. I know… you don’t want to show your hand, but this is a great way to shop around. You can still find a deal because if they’re offering more than you need, you can walk back your budget and ask what they can do for less.

  • Once you have a price, make sure you know what you’re getting for your money. How big will the crew be? How many hours will they spend on your project?
  • What about content ideas? Will they help generate creative ideas and work with you on storytelling, or will they simply execute the plan you provide to them?
  • Ask them about their video production process. Every production house does things a little differently from the rest. Find out what’s involved and how long the production will take.
  • Are revisions included in the price? Again, every company handles things differently. With some, revisions cost extra. With others, you get a certain amount included in the price.

Tip #3: get it in writing

You’ve looked at some videos, you like a company’s style, and you have a good price estimate. Time to get an official proposal.

The proposal will probably just put into writing what you’ve already discussed with them, but it’s a necessary step. Communication is so important! You don’t want there to be any curve balls.

Once you’ve approved the proposal, get a contract and you’re ready to roll!

You’ve Selected Your Milwaukee Video Production Company

Hopefully, I didn’t scare you away. It sounds like a lot, but it’s all worth while. And now that you have this trusted guide, the process should be much easier.

And the good news? At the end… you’ll have a terrific marketing tool, so have fun!

Chicago Video Production Buyer’s Guide

Chicago Video Production Buyers GuidePicking a Chicago video production company can be a tricky proposition. First, there are a ton of them to choose from. Second, it can be difficult telling them apart. Finally, many don’t list even ballpark prices at their website. That drives me nuts, but more on that later.

I’d like to make it simple on you and say, “Hire Us! Your mission is accomplished.” But that’s just lousy advice. Not because we aren’t good at what we do… we’re actually pretty awesome. No, the reason why is it’s important to shop around and pick the right production company for the right project.

Difference In Production Companies?

Not all production houses are created the same, or equal for that matter, which is why it’s important to find the right fit.

For example, if you need a big production… think lots of lights, multiple videographers and sound technicians, maybe a drone or a crane to get some cool shots… yeah… a crane. Not every production company can pull that off.

On the other hand, let’s say you want a small production crew… or a single videographer… for something that would be less disruptive to daily operations? Maybe you need a company with a strong emphasis on storytelling? That same company that handled the big shoot might not be right for those videos.

If only there was a handy-dandy guide that could help you make sense of all of this. Well, that’s what we aim to do.

First Step: Watch and Listen

Start Googling… every company you look at should have sample work at its website. Check out its previous work.

Insiders Tip:  if they have a single “sample reel” of their work… don’t bother watching. It’s a highlight reel. How’s that going to help you? Instead, watch the client work they’ve posted. We have more guidelines in a previous vlog post if you need more help (Tips For Picking A Video Company).

Also, have they produced a video about themselves telling their own story? What? They haven’t? So a company that produces videos for other organizations doesn’t see the value in producing one on itself? Seems… weird… doesn’t it?

Second Step: Vetting

The next step is vetting them. Who are their clients? The Fortune 500 or mom-and-pop shops? Are their businesses or brands that appear to be the same size as yours? Any that are in related industries?

One of the main things you’ll to want to know is cost. This is going to take some leg work… or at least some time on the phone.

I’m with you… this drive me crazy. Why don’t production companies list their prices!? As someone who started his own production company, let me fill you in. Every project is different, so it’s tough to publish a price list.

However, just because it’s tough, doesn’t mean it’s impossible. We manage to post our ballpark prices… even how to figure out video production costI wish more companies would do this for you, but many (most) don’t. That means picking up the phone and asking questions.

Here are some good ones:

  • What will it cost? Tell them what you have in mind for your video and ask how much it will cost. They’ll ask you some questions and should be able to give you some sort of an idea on pricing.

Insider’s Tip: ask them if it’s a fixed cost, or is it possible things will change during production. We’ve had lots of clients burned by other companies in the past because they thought the price in the contract was fixed, but during the production process things were added (more shooting days, special equipment, additional personnel, etc.) all driving up cost without them knowing. Make sure it’s a fixed cost, or the production crew will notify you of any additional costs before they happen.

Another option is to work backwards. Give them your budget and ask what they can do for that amount. I know, a lot of people don’t like to do this because they don’t want to pay more than they have to. I get it, but this method will often get you a more accurate picture of what you get for your money. Also, if you’re shopping around, you’ll be able to compare between companies.

  • Once you have a price, ask them what that gets you. How big of a crew? How many hours will they spend on it?
  • Will they help with content ideas? What about help with storytelling? Some production houses are just that… they’re all about the production and only the production. If you’re providing all the direction on content, this might be fine with you. But if you need a little help, it’s good to know upfront if they can provide some creative ideas.
  • What is their video production process? How long will it take? Every company has a different way of doing things. Find out how each of them works.
  • Are revisions included? Once the video has been edited, it’s important to know if you can make changes. Sometimes making changes costs more. 

Last Step: Get a Written Proposal

Okay… you’ve looked at a bunch of videos and like a particular company’s style. You’re okay with their price estimate and their production process. Now you need a formal proposal.

What you’ll receive will likely put into writing what they’ve told you over the phone. Hopefully, it will also include more details on things like how much time is devoted to each aspect of the production.

Once you sign-off on that, get a contract, sign, and you’re off and running!

You’ve Selected Your Chicago Video Production Company

I hope all of this didn’t sound too daunting. It really shouldn’t be now that you have this trusted guide.

The best part… once you’ve picked the right Chicago video production company for you, it’s time to actually produce the video. And producing videos is fun.

How-To Figure Out Video Production Cost

video production costPricing out video production can be kind of tricky. Ask someone in the industry for help and you’ll likely get the typical answer… it depends. Not very helpful when you’re planning a budget and trying to figure out your video production costs.

Maybe that’s why so many production companies don’t advertise their prices. It drives me crazy when I can’t find pricing information at a website, so we at least try to give some ballpark figures. We’re also happy to prepare a quote for you anytime you’re planning a budget. While I’ve had plenty of clients and prospects thank me for that, I thought a more extensive blog post on how we break down our costs might be worthwhile explaining.

While you’ll probably still have to contact me or another video producer if you have specific questions, my hope is that this post will give you more insight into what goes into producing a video so you know where your money is going.

Our “Day Rate”

First things first, we don’t charge by the hour. We’re sometimes asked for a 1-hour video shoot; however, customers don’t see all of the pre and post-prodution activities that take place. Things like travel time to and from the shoot, color correcting the video in post-production, and converting the files into something they can use. In short, video production takes a lot more than an hour.

We charge by using day rate, $1,200/day, or sometimes a half-day rate of $800. Basically, we figure out how much time will be spent on a project (how many days), then we apply the day rate to come up with our total cost.

The most frequent question we get is how much does a 3-minute video cost… or a 2-minute video… or a 60-second video? Regardless of the video length, the answer is always… it depends… and here’s why.

Let’s use the 3-minute video as an example. The finished video might be 3-minutes, but each 3-minute video can vary greatly in how long it takes to produce. We’ve had 3-minute videos that took just a few days to produce costing about $4,000. We’ve also had a 3-minute video take nearly 2-weeks to complete costing over $10,000. It all depends on what has to be shot and how much time we’ll need in post-production.

Let me walk you through the process for how we breakdown our time to help you understand it better.

Concept Planning

The first thing is simply getting on the same page with the customer to make sure we’re producing what they need to meet their goals. At this point, we’ve likely already met with the customer before preparing their video proposal, so this concept planning meeting typically only takes about 30-minutes to 1-hour and can be done in-person or over the phone. We do things like:

  • outline the approach to the video
  • discuss with customer the subject matter and raw video that must appear in the video
  • discuss how many on-camera interviews will be conducted; select interviewees and discuss plan for contacting and coordinating each person

Pre-Production

Next, we start to assemble all the things we’ll need during the shoot. This can take anywhere from 1-2 hours. Preparations include:

  • create any necessary shot lists (based on the concept meeting)
  • prepare interview questions (based on the concept meeting)
  • prepare equipment (checking/testing the camera, lights, media cards, tripod)

Video Shoot

The day of the video shoot is the most obvious to people because we’re on-site so what we do is on display. This is a big part of the “it depends” aspect of things. How many video shoots will be required to capture what we need for the video?

It’s talked about and decided in advance when the video proposal is being prepared. Sometimes everything we need to shoot is in a single location and all available on the same day. Perfect.

On the other hand, sometimes there are multiple locations involved, someone critical to the video needs to be interviewed on a different day, et cetera. All of these things add-up.

As far as the shoot itself, here are some of the things we do:

  • videographer visits each site to shoot everything on the shot list
  • videographer also shoots other raw video he/she finds relevant or beneficial
  • videographer interviews predetermined people

Most of T60’s videos only require a single videographer, but there are cases where additional resources are needed or requested. We have helped coordinate things like additional videographers, sound technicians, an live online streaming coordinator, a teleprompter operator, hair and makeup, et cetera. Adding professionals like these does increase the production’s cost.

Post-Production

This is where a lot of the time gets spent that the client never gets to see. It’s the other “it depends” variable. How much time gets spent in post-production varies depending on the amount of raw video there is to sift through and how complicated the story is to tell. It could take anywhere from 2-5 days in most cases. Some of the things that need to be accomplished are:

Logging Raw Video

  • review all the raw video that was shot
  • transcribe sound bites from interviews

Script Creation

  • notes regarding sound bites and raw video are reviewed
  • sound bites are selected, then arranged into story form to create a script
  • script is emailed to customer
  • minor changes are discussed by phone, changes requested by client are made

Video Edit

  • edit video according to the approved script
  • relevant graphics are created
  • preview video is provided to customer for viewing
  • minor changes are discussed by phone, changes requested by client are made

Wrap

  • digital files are created

Taking into consideration each of those phases… concept planning, pre-production, video shoot, and post-production… most projects take 4-5 days to complete, costing about $5,000 – $6,000

Price is always agreed to in advance with our clients, so they know what the cost is before production begins. We have had a few situations where a project takes longer than anticipated and the price has changed during the process. In all of those cases, the customers added shoots, or other components, and then agreed to an accordingly higher price. Communication is the best way to avoid any potential cost issues.

Low-Cost Videos

We do produce low cost videos for small business owners with tiny marketing budgets for $1,000.

Those videos are all about keeping a very strict production schedule. From beginning to end, the entire production needs to take us less than a day to create the video. We do that with a 1-hour video shoot, during which we follow our 3-step storytelling process. We ask a string of questions leading to answers that essentially create the script on its own, then we edit everything together.

These customers also relinquish creative control to us and trust we will deliver a video that’s on-message. They do not get a script to approve or a preview video that allows them to ask for changes in the final video.

This cuts down on a lot of the time it takes us in post-production. If a customer wants editorial control in one of these low cost videos, we recommend our full-service storytelling instead. Our customers who have purchased our low cost videos have been thrilled with the end result and, of course, the cost!

Breaking down your video production cost

Those basic steps for how the videos are produced should be pretty universal from company to company. Of course, every production company prices things in their own way, but that’s how we determine the cost of a video.  I hope this at least gives you some understanding behind the process.

–Tony Gnau