Questions, Questions, Questions...
The most frequently asked question we get is: “how much does this cost?” While that is an important question, there are many others you should ask before getting to the cost. From video production project tasks to multimedia project planning organization and video production proposal requests, there are many important factors to consider. To assist our potential clients, here are Stage Left Films list of not-so-frequently-asked-questions.
How Long should my project be? Your project should be as long as it needs to be. You are creating a project to fulfill a specific need, so your project must be long enough to convey all the information necessary. That being said, we council all our clients that, in general, shorter is better.
As a guideline, with a corporate or sales video, generally 3-5 minutes is the longest you’ll be able to keep your audience’s attention. Training videos (or other programming that will be required viewing) should be broken into logical segments of no more than 30 minutes each.
How Involved can I (or should I) be in the creation of my project? We welcome client input and involvement in every aspect of the production process. Ultimately, the finished product will be a representation of you and your organization, so it is important that your “fingerprint” be evident.
Here at Stage Left Films, we have a review process that guarantees your unique personality will appear on your project while keeping your time commitment to a minimum. However, if you wish to spend more time with the producer throughout any stage of the project, we love to have you!
Below are some examples of the type of time commitment we receive from a typical client:
How much time will I need to invest? Although Stage Left Films will handle the majority of work on your project, there are commitments that you as a client must keep in order for your project to be completed on-time and on-budget. We work closely with you to be sure those commitments fit within your schedule.
To get some idea of how much time might be involved on your project, here are some examples of the type of time commitment we need from a typical client:
How long will the production take to get finished? That all depends on the complexity of the project. A typical production will take between two to eight weeks to complete. More complex productions can take longer.How is a production budget developed? A budget always begins by assessing your needs. Once we have a good understanding of what a client needs to accomplish, who the audience is, and what kind of return on investment the client is hoping to realize, we take that information back to a team meeting where one or more creative treatments are developed. These creative treatments are rough sketches of how we envision your finished product will look. This also gives us an opportunity to demonstrate to you as the client that we understand your needs.
In the process of creating the treatment, we develop a working schedule that includes how much time it will take to produce the treatment as written; the length of the finished product, how may days of principal photography, how many days of editing, what kind of editing or motion graphics, what kind of music, etc.
Often we will ask a client if they have a budget in mind. This is not a sneaky way for us to suck every last penny out of your budget. This is simply a tool we use in assessing a client’s needs. There are so many different ways for us to approach a given project, that knowing a ballpark budget allows us to more fully customize your creative treatment and give you the best product possible.
What determines the cost of my production? There are many factors that go into production costs. Here is a list of just a few variables that come into play:
How widely will the product be distributed? Often licensing fees and talent pay will be higher for something that will be seen by a nation-wide audience verses an internal, company-wide audience.
How many people do you bring to a shoot? This depends on the style of production. On the most basic end, Stage Left Films will arrive with a producer, director of photography, and a production assistant. On larger scale more complex shoots, we can have as many as 20 (or more!) people on set.
What happens after the shoot? The editing phase is where all the elements combine to breath life into a program. Your project will be in the care of Stage Left Films producer, director and editor during this final phase. All the elements of your production (video, images, audio, graphics, etc) are placed together in our computers for the editor to manipulate and begin to create a finished program.
Different companies have their own processes for postproduction. At Stage Left Films, we have a process that insures your complete satisfaction. We work in three basic stages:
This first review is a chance to be sure the foundation is solid. Not all elements will be in place and very little graphic work will have been done. At this point, a representative from your organization will spend a minimum of one hour with Stage Left Films editor and producer to approve the general direction of the editing process and give feedback.
A representative from your organization will come to Stage Left Films edit suite to review the piece with the editor and the producer. Plan on a minimum of one hour to discuss any changes that need to be made. This is the last chance to make structural changes to the edit without incurring additional cost. Examples of structural changes:
Changes should be minor at this point, but the devil is in the details, so be sure to pay attention to the details! Examples of changes that are appropriate during this review:
Once we have final approval on the editing process, we take your project to mastering to create your final copies. Voilà!
When is the first time I get to see my video?Opportunities to see your video actually begin while we are shooting. We encourage clients to join us on-set to view shots as they happen. Many clients are amazed at the transformation from raw footage into finished product.
Although we are happy to have you as a client in the edit studio from day one of postproduction, the most productive viewing of an edited version is at the first review.
What do I receive when the project is finished?In general, Stage Left Films offers a single “broadcast” or “archive” master copy of your project plus three “consumer” copies (DVD, miniDV, VHS, etc).
What if I need additional copies? Just ask! We can provide duplicate copies of your project done in-house. For larger runs, Stage Left Films has relationships with several duplication facilities throughout the Midwest.
How well do you know my business? At the moment, we don’t! That is why meeting you is so critical.
The fact that we don’t know you (yet!) is why we don’t give pricing out over the phone. Imagine if you called a custom home-builder and asked “How much does it cost to build a house that is perfect for me?” Any amount they said would be meaningless. They don’t know you. They don’t know what kind of lifestyle you live. They don’t know if you like things big or small, modern or traditional, urban or suburban, etc. The same principle applies in our industry. We have to know you before we can put together your perfect custom production.
How easy is it to make changes after the production is finished? We like to tell our clients that when it comes to your project, you can do anything. Of course, not everything is easy. Stage Left Films maintains editable backups of each project for a minimum of 6 months. Should you wish to make an edit or change within that first 6-month period, it is much simpler than after that period.
Will I be charged for changes after the production is finished? The answer, unfortunately, is yes. Groovy Like a Movie maintains a careful procedure to be sure your project exceeds your expectations, and our pricing is based on this process. Should your needs change after the completion of that process, we need to cover our costs for additional changes.
How long before I re-do my video? The shelf-life for any program will vary greatly depending on the individual project. Several factors should be taken into account when deciding when to revamp, update, or replace any communication project.
What are the different ways this production can be utilized to maximize our investment! The ways in which you can distribute a project have exploded over the last few years. You have the traditional outlets of delivery via tape, DVD or CD. The current technology of the Internet means your project can now reach a worldwide audience in a very high quality format. Sites like Google Video, YouTube, MySpace, Textamerica, and others allow you to distribute progrects via the Internet at no cost. Local cable companies are now offering dedicated channels for non-profit or locally based programming. In other words, it is an exciting time to be producing and distributing content!
Why should I choose you over other production companies? There are a lot of great production companies that you can choose from, so competition is fierce. Because of that, we have developed policies and procedures that eliminates surprises and insures your finished project exceeds your expectations.
We have an on-time guarantee that pays you cash back if we miss our final deadline. Our pricing is competitive and our quality is outstanding. Plus, we’re a group of fun, successful, creative individuals who will treat your project is if it were our own. After all, our name is on every project we do.