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Q: We’d like to create some video mini-documentaries for our new web-based case study system, which will house material about our national awards scheme. These documentaries and other media will add to text on the site to create a complete case study.

At this stage I’m interested in ball-park costs

Let me know what you think


ICT Officer
Sustainable Communities Scheme

A: There’s potentially a deep problem with this requirement – and hopefully a thinking-outside-of-the-box solution.

It goes like this:

The Problem

You suggest shooting in 10 locations, to capture each of your sustainable communities.

Immediately I’d look for ways to reduce this shoot requirement, as 10 days shooting with a camera crew and subsequent editing & post production is expensive, and will give you a difficult decision when it comes to buying.

For example, if one company can shoot for £200 per day less than a competitor, then the overall saving will be £2,000. And £300 per day means £3,000 saving – just on shoot costs!

In fact because of the overall high cost and potential savings, daily shoot rate may well become the deciding factor when selecting a video production supplier, and the company offering the cheapest shoots may well win the tender.

The production is in danger of descending into a buy-on-price situation.

For a regular 2 day corporate shoot, this is not so important, and other factors such as creativity, skill and experience matter more a daily shoot rate.

But for a 10 day shoot, for the reasons given, the reverse applies and the cheapest is likely to win, unless budgets are high and you have deep pockets.

This, in a nutshell, is the problem – shoot day cost.

The Solution

Did I promise a thinking-outside-the-box solution?

I’d suggest rethinking the whole premise and recommend an interactive flash popup, with video for some but not all of the case studies on your website.

Here’s how it could work:

I suspect the truth is, that out of 10 documentaries, 3 of them will stand out as real winners.

These Top Three will be

> the most representative

> have the most fluent watchable speakers

> have the stories that the most people will relate to

> visually project the great results that have been achieved in the best way

The other 7 case studies will have varying degrees of not-so-good, even though each will have important local or specific strong points.

All studies are not equal.

Also consider who’s actually going to sit and watch 10 case studies?

Our own research into viewer web behaviour at Studio Rossiter shows that the majority tend to watch just the top three in a list of viewable videos – and often only the top one!

With this in mind, it makes sense to focus resources on the Top Three, and see if less can be spent on the other seven.

This means we can immediately reduce the shoot days required.

And at a stroke this will reduce the overall cost quite dramatically!

So how’s this actually done?

The Vision

With an interactive flash, much of the information required can be very capably delivered using animated graphic captions and images, supported by voiceover narrative

This approach is exciting to watch. It’s not a trade-off, or second best.

In particular, voiceover narrative makes compelling viewing.

I can suggest using video with the Top Three case studies.

For example, interviews with award winners, community leaders, key citizens, etc.

With the other seven “less important” or less representative case studies, alternatives to video could be found.

For example, you could use a few audio soundbites with photographs.

Imagine a 24 word soundbite with a community leader, plus a photo. I’ve used this technique successfully before without a problem.

This is because there’s so much more to an interactive flash than just a series of video voxpops.

Imagine: Each popup case study packaged as a colourful yet appropriately styled popup with navigation tabs across the top.

Example navigation tabs might be:

> Background

> Actions taken

> Results

This will offer user choice, and be a delight to use as it will be genuinely interactive and informative.

And as a useful add-on, each popup could also act as a miniportal for links to other useful info, or to send email enquiries.

The interactive animated captions-with-voiceover flash also avoids the tendency to ramble, which is a perennial problem with documentary production.

If the thrust of the case study messages stays focussed on what was actually delivered to the communities involved, expressed in human, emotional and factual terms then you reap further benefits:

> A crisp concise series of messages will reduce the abandonment rate. You’d be amazed at how many people give up on video after a very short time.

> Lengthy, laborious and expensive video sections can be automatically omitted. Without wishing to offend, I know from experience that public bodies are prone to this form of boilerplating

> Your innovative and exciting approach to delivering case studies will be seen as a Best Practice model for other publicly funded bodies and local authorities

In addition, no special technical or intranet requirements are required for this approach.

In short, the flash approach will:

> Cost less than comparably effective video case studies

> Look much more impressive than a bunch of talking heads

> Engage viewers in a compelling interactive manner

The Cost

Pricewise, the interactive flash approach will cost less than the expensive quotes for a 10 day video shoot, but cost more than the cheapest.

You could express it this way:

Instead of penny-pinching to pay for a colossal amount of shoot days and maybe getting a lesser quality in the end, you could aim for a top notch interactive flash with video deployed in the most representative examples.

Video case studies will look great within an interactive flash on your website, and serve to promote your sustainable communities.
© Studio Rossiter

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