First of all, we love what we do. It’s fascinating, rewarding and exciting work. Part of the reason that’s true is that video is still (relatively) new as a discipline for brands and organisations that put content at the heart of how they talk about themselves.
We also love to demystify what we do, to open up new ways of thinking about and doing video that brings clients’ stories to life. We’re exploring strategically, creatively, together.
At the same time, people have been making films forever. And we’ve been around a while. We count ourselves as both part of the old guard as well as the vanguard. So we’re taking responsibility here and calling time on some misconceptions, untruths, truisms and fictions. Some old, some new. Some we are guilty of ourselves. There’s no blame here, just an opportunity to set the record straight. To blow the whistle.
Seven phrases that should you come across them, should act as a warning that all might not be as rosy as it seems. A sign that your video project might be about to enter dangerous or risky ground…
"We'll fix that in post"
In the midst of a time-pressured shoot, someone spots something that doesn't look quite right, and you simply don't have the time to do the shot over again. So you decide there and then that you’ll be able to Photoshop it out in post, speed it up in the edit or blur the edges of the frame.
But there’s always a risk. That these fixes either don’t come off, or that they undermine the overall quality of the video. It might turn out to be an adequate ‘fix’ but it should be seen for what it is. A papering over of the cracks.
Watch out for the cracks.
"What program did you use?"
Once heard, never forgotten, this dreaded utterance is guaranteed to wipe the smile off the face of even the most positively minded of video production veterans. It chills the heart and can lead to trauma and depressive states.
This is because it precedes a request for “the file” which means that someone client-side is thinking about using Graham the intern to do a re-edit in-house. Graham thinks he can do it in the version of Adobe Acrobat on his office machine. Graham’s machine has 3 GB of storage remaining but he’s going to delete some temporary Outlook files.
The difficulty is that the project files are large and numerous and are contained in a bunch of locations. They run across several separate pieces of software and are subject to rendering and transcoding processes that work together to produce the neat set of video files that represent the final, finished film. To replicate this set of circumstances in another environment is not straightforward and mostly represents a false economy.
But good luck Graham. We mean you no ill.
"Everybody's a filmmaker these days"
Very few barriers to making videos exist today. Mobiles shoot full HD, iMovie is available on every Mac and it seems that everybody and your grandma is posting to YouTube. So everybody is a filmmaker.
Furthermore, technologies like Snapchat and Periscope represent new and interesting ways in which video is integral to our everyday lives.
All the same, user-generated-content ought only ever be a small part of your content marketing output and strategy. Your grandma is probably not qualified to make the professionally produced video content that today’s audiences demand of brands and organizations.
Unless your grandma is Jane Campion of course. Then you’re alright.
"Editing will take 6 full days"
In practice the edit will expand or contract to fill any amount of hours and days. No editing process is ever ‘finished’. You only run out of time. There is always more that could be done. You can finesse, tweak and polish ad infinitum.
In most cases, if the client deadline means a film needs to go live on a certain date, then editing will have to work to that schedule. It’s an iterative process with space for feedback along the way. Edit one might turn out to be radically different to the final video.
If you have 4 hours to put something together, you use the time in a different way and focus on the best first version you can assemble. It may be the best you were ever going to do, you just never know.
"We want a viral"
If a video works, if it’s impactful or it truly resonates, it will be shared.
That said, pretty much every occupant of the list “The Most Successful Viral Marketing Videos of All Time” will have benefited from an initial ‘leg-up’. There will have been significant media spend on the views that formed the basis of the subsequent exponential success.
So, there has to be a plan and the way to go here is two-fold.
1 – Create a media and distribution strategy with clear audience definition and targets that are attainable.
2 – Make something that someone will want to share amongst this audience.
It need not be a reach for the stars and a place in the top 10 but it should represent a real win for you on your terms.
"Can you make a quick change please?"
Hope you are well.
I understand that you produced our company video. I think it was at the end of 2012?
I have a quick favour to ask of you.
Can you cut out the second interview of the three? Nigel has since left the company and we’d like to show the video at an event we’re hosting tomorrow.
Would you be able to get this back to me by end of play?
Yes, this is a minor change. And yes, technology means that we can work faster than ever before.
But, any change, however minor, requires a set-up process: finding the footage, loading it into the editing software, making the change(s) and then exporting the film again. Aside from the skill of the editor involved, this is a technical process that requires heavy-duty computer processing power and waiting times.
There is no way around this. We’re happy to help. But it is never really “a quick change”.
"Can we use the track from Reservoir Dogs"
Music rights licensing is time-consuming, complex and costly. Reservoir Dogs’ Little Green Bag by the George Baker Selection would possibly run into the tens of thousands of pounds, as would most modern chart hits. Add to that a drawn-out approval process and this is prohibitive for anything outside of a large-scale production with a lengthy schedule and a budget at the highest end.
One option is an existing library track that will convey the feeling or overall effect of the original, for a fraction of the cost and time. Another is an original piece that's composed to 'feel' like the track you want, while being sufficiently different to not infringe on any copyright issues. It’s amazing how many TV commercials do this. Keep an ear out.
If any of this sounds familiar or if you feel that what you need is an upfront and honest approach to how video can help with whatever it is that you need to say, give us a call on 0203 818 3268 or email firstname.lastname@example.org