The Moving Parts of Full Motion Video

Has your business considered producing a video to showcase your service or product to customers and prospects?  If yes, then you may be asking where do I go to have a video made? How much will it cost to do it right?  Professional video production can be intimidating. Read more to find out the various ‘behind-the-scenes’ elements that go into producing a quality video, and find out how to avoid common pitfalls when hiring a production company to complete the project. 

Why So Expensive?

Video production can be rather expensive. If you’ve shopped around for video services, you have probably learned this and asked – why?  The reason is that there are many ‘behind the scenes’ activities and work flows that occur both before and after video is even recorded. Sure, you can run to the local electronics store and buy an “HD” camera and shoot your own company video. But there other aspects of production you will need to consider if you hope to present a professional video for general consumption.

DIY Pitfalls

Do-it-yourself video production is possible. But while the cost of professional video production equipment has indeed gone down in recent years, it can still cost thousands of dollars in equipment cost. Factor in the learning-curve, and you may be in for a substantial investment of both time and money.

Thumbs Down!But how do you keep it from looking like a boring home movie or worse, end up looking like this one?

We think this guy is selling a multilevel marketing program, but frankly the video is for the dogs…

Production Value

The budget you set for a video needs to consider the creative and planning aspects that are so often overlooked when producing a video. Script writing, scene and shot lists, cast coordination, legal waivers, music scores, and more. So when can you consider your video “good enough”?  For every company or project, the answer will be different. An internal video that will be shown only to staff, need not require a flashy production. On the other hand, a video intended to launch a new product or global brand will need sizzle and pizzazz. Those are two ends of a spectrum. Somewhere in-between is a modest, yet polished, professional video that leaves a lasting impression. A video may be the very first encounter a person has with your company. If that’s the case, you may indeed have one shot to move that prospect to the next phase of your sales funnel.

Over production not necessary…

Bloated Video Productions: These are the videos that have a lot of unnecessary extra (and expensive) bells and whistles without the offsetting benefits. Don’t get me wrong, special effects can make for a very interesting production, but on a smaller job, do you really need them? Sure, you telling your story from outer space can wow your friends and family, but will the extra cost of a green-screen production cause more people to buy your service? Over production is often sold for the benefit of the film crew. They may produce an award-winning creative video – at your expense.  Such videos often have very hefty price tags.

The One-Man-Band Production: These types of productions are usually done by a lone-wolf who arrives at your location with video camera in hand. She may even be quite skilled at her craft, but it is very important to distinguish between ‘shooting’ a video and ‘editing’ a video. It can be really hard to find a great cameraman who also possesses the creative editing talents of a professional editor, or the discipline of production director. This is why so many videos are perfectly adequate in every way to be perfectly boring. There’s a lot of stuff involved in making even just a short length video – lighting, sound, direction, story-boarding, scripting, cast coordination, and more all goes into video production. It’s really hard for one person to handle all those elements effectively.

Phases of Video Production…


storyboardPre-production:
This phase is often overlooked and includes elements like script development, annotated shot list, cast coordination, and creative planning.  This phase also includes the planning and preparation for an actual, on-location video shoot.  In the “good” example video later on, pre-production took place over several weeks prior to actual shooting. Don’t underestimate the importance of this phase. Often times people say, “I need a video”, and they want to jump right into shooting without a plan or direction: mistake.

video-recorderProduction: This is what most people recognize as ‘video production’ as this is the most visible ‘fun’ phase. At this point you go on-site and execute all the creative elements that were hopefully planned during the pre-production phase.  Disciplined direction and client expectation-setting is really important during this phase or you will blow your budget quickly on over-takes.  Too many hands in the pot now can spoil the soup later. The client may relish every frame of their video, but in reality only a tiny fraction of video will make the final cut. For every hour of actual filming, you may end with only a few minutes of usable (interesting) video.

gearsPost-production:  This is the all-important final phase that separates an amateurish video into a final work of art. All of your prior planning and assets you’ve collected will now be utilized. Your ingredients – the story, script, still photos, voice-over, music, captions, and more – will be now baked into a real production. It all culminates here. The final product may barely resemble the raw footage recorded during production.  Now all the planning will pay off, as you know exactly what pieces of video, sound, music and pictures need to go where on the timeline. The use of professional editing tools is essential for high-quality editing, and the free software that came with your PC will neither have the horsepower nor functionality you need to produce your vision.

**Important side note**

Throughout the entire process, it’s important to have a good project manager keeping everything on task and on schedule.  Without someone dedicated to the day-to-day planning of the production, who communicate effectively with the client, you run the risk of going off course and over-budget.  This person can be a producer, account manager or member of the video production team but will serve as a single-point-of-contact for the client.

What should your final video look like?

It’s exciting for any business, big or small, to showcase their company. When it’s all said and done the video must to be a piece that you will be proud to display and share with customers.

Thumbs Up!A “good example” of a polished, yet relatively inexpensive video, is the one below.

Produced by Adverscan and courtesy of Campbell Family Dentistry)

Measuring Success

You want a product that can stand the test of time, will be easy to digest, and above all, be interesting. And over time, you should want a return on your investment. To measure success, monitor your online analytics and the feedback you get from clients. A new customer that tells you they called after seeing your video can be priceless. So spread the word and encourage sharing on social media. Having a distribution plan is just as critical to the success of the production as the video itself.  A great video isn’t worth anything if no one sees it, right?

At Adverscan we can take your video from conception all the way to distribution and promotion. Don’t hesitate to call or email us if you have questions or would like to talk about your specific project.

Watch for more blogs on video production.  There’s so much more we could get into, but honestly that’s a lot of reading, and we’d rather show you what we mean.

About Mike Cancell

Mike has been a thought leader in the area of mobile communications and digital marketing for the past 20 years. He is the principal partner of Adverscan, a small multi-channel marketing agency located in the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina. When not daydreaming about skiing in the Rockies, wind surfing in the Caribbean, and dating supermodels, he can be found at home trying the patience of his wife and kids.