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Q: I need a very rough idea of budget to pitch for, here goes:

3-4 minute film which will include 1-2 mins generic info and then 1-2 minutes of industry specific info x 18 industries. Voiceover in approx 10 European languages. So, ideally need to produce one DVD that gives a menu option to select one of 18 presentations and one of 10 languages. Footage will have to be shot in at least 20 locations(assume all UK) in factories, offices, food processing plants, pharmaceutical laboratories, supermarkets, ski slopes etc, etc.

Marketing Manager
International Group

A: How to produce 18 videos in 10 languages shooting in 20 locations? Unless you have a huge budget, the first area to look at is cost.

The reason for mentioning cost first is that each video is likely to be in the style of voiceover dubbed against footage shot on location. Post production visual effects will be added obviously, but mostly the videos will be short and to the point. There won’t be any of the usual creative tools such as actors or animated text or talking heads, as these are time-consuming and costly to produce in foreignspeak, because everything has to be multiplied by 10.

On the other hand, television ads use actors on multilanguage productions (eg, all the car ads), but they’re careful never to show the actors lips when they’re speaking (ever notice that?). They add the relevant language voice as a studio dub later, usually added when the person’s head is turning so you never quite see the lips and the words at the same time.

The same applies to graphic animated titling which is very common in UK corporate videos, but is time consuming and therefore expensive to produce, say, in Russian or Mandarin.

Likewise for talking heads. They’d need to be dubbed in foreignspeak and wouldn’t look good for a the high end corporate video package you suggest.

Now we’ve determined that cost is arguably the major issue, what else can we do to keep costs down.

You mention 20 locations? This makes for a big shoot, up to 4 weeks on the road for a crew. And there’ll be shedloads of footage shot, all of which needs grading and editing.

If you could reduce your locations to 15 instead of 20 you’d reduce you shoot costs by 25%.

To help, I’d look at your existing stills material. In a company your size you probably have a lot already in stock.

Stills can look good in video if they’re treated properly. The BBC use stills all the time in their documentaries. As the viewer sees them, they turn slightly and zoom in, or zoom out. It’s a well known technique.

I should budget to spend at least £50,000, and very probably a lot more depending on the final treatment and number of locations shot.

While this answer isn’t a creative treatment as to what you can do, it’s hopefully a good cost indicator, and shows you some of what not to do when producing a long video in 10 languages.
© Studio Rossiter 2006

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