PR Agency would like to save money by producing a short video themselves for a client

Q: We’re a PR Agency and we have a client who’d like to produce a simple demo video of their industrial services. They’re located in Yorkshire.

We’re on a tight budget, so to reduce the cost, we’d like to explore the possibilities of producing this ourselves.

How could we go about doing this?

MD
PR Agency Yorkshire

A: If you’re confident, then you can indeed save a significant amount of money on your budget by producing a publicity or corporate video of the event yourselves.

I’ll assume you’re looking for a simple point-and-shoot video with voiceover, and that it’s no more than 5 minutes runtime.

Here are the steps involved in the production process:

> Script writing

> Shooting

> Voiceover

> Editing

> Streaming and duplication

Let’s look at these at see how costs impact at the different stages, and where any trade-offs
may be necessary.

Script Writing

Make a bullet list of the points you want to cover first.

Then go and recce the shoot site and check what footage will be available to shoot. Don’t do this from your desktop. It’s a get-up-and-look process.

Once you’re familiarised with the site, and know your overall content, it’s time to start writing the script.

Be sure to write the script in advance. Don’t try to write it after the shoot.

This way you can be certain you’ve covered all the points, rather than take a risky shoot first and ask questions later. The BBC might do this, but you shouldn’t.

Allow 100 words per runtime minute.

Write short simple sentences.

Each sentence should have an image to go with it, ie, what you’d like the camera operator to shoot to go with each sentence.

Do this 100%. Don’t leave any blanks in the script.

You can use photographs or previously prepared graphics if you think they’re suitable to visualise what the voiceover is saying.

These should be landscape and around 720×576 pixels or larger

Don’t have whole long tracts of footage marked off against 3 or 4 sentences. You must have a clear idea in advance what you’re going to shoot for each sentence of script. If you try to fudge here you run the risk something will go wrong.

Once you have the script complete, check with your client that it says everything they want it to say, and formally obtain their approval.

Now you’re ready to shoot.

The Shoot

You need to hire a camera operator.

You can find one in Google searching on “camera operator” or “cameraman”, plus the location where you intend to shoot.

Don’t buy cheap.

Look for a television experienced camera op, preferably older, as you’ll need their know-how to help you on the shoot.

Once you’ve agreed a daily rate and any travel costs, send them a copy of the script in advance and explain to them that you need their help, and that you’re not a professional video director.

An experienced camera op will prove helpful, and be quite capable of guiding you through the shoot.

They’ll know which lenses and lights to use, and how to shoot footage in such a way that an editor can make sense of it all later. You should be able to rely on them.

Plus you’ll get great shots as they’re a skilled camera op.

Specify DVCAM for your shoot format as everyone uses it, it’s high quality digital, and it’s quite cheap.

Voiceover

You’ll need voiceover so again, go on google and search on “professional voiceover”.

You’ll see there are lots of them, and you can hear samples of their voices on their websites.

Be sure to pick one that owns their own studio, and doesn’t oblige you to hire a studio facility.

This is not only cheaper, but later if you need to change a few words of the script, the voiceover artist will probably do it for free if they have their own studio.

Editing

This is where you make a friend of your local video company.

A local sports or social events type of video company will have a relatively low hourly editing rate, compared with a full blown corporate video studio, so find one in Yellow pages.

With your script and footage, and you sitting in on the edit, they should quickly pick up on what you want.

It should take a few days at the most.

They should also be able to do simple titling for your video, as well as dub in any photographs or graphics you provide.

Pick someone who seems receptive to your idea, without just being a “yes-man”, as you’ll need their advice along the way.

Duplication & Streaming

It’s back to Google to search out providers of these services.

There are lots of them and they publish prices and packages online. It’s easy to arrange. If it’s not, then find one where it is.

Your video editor should supply you a single DVD from which you can arrange make copies, or convert to a streaming file.

Conclusion

If you keep the topic simple it’s not that hard to make a short corporate video.

Here’s info to get you started on your video objectives 

The important thing is to plan your script out first, visit the shoot location in advance, and win client approval prior to any shoot.

If you don’t you may find unexpected’s can occur, which will mean re-shooting, which sends costs spiralling. Or you may find the demo difficult to re-rig for a second shoot, in which case you’ll be in trouble.

So plan carefully. The professionals always do.

Speaking of professionals be sure to hire seasoned experienced pros for your project, whether camera op, voiceover, or editor.

Their experience will guide you, as they’ve done it lots of times before.

Last but not least, keep to a simple point-and-shoot topic with voiceover format. The simpler you keep it, the more certain you can be of producing a really fine end result, a DVD your client will be proud of.

And you’ll save a lot of money by producing your own short publicity video yourself.

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