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Taking the Guesswork out of Video Production for You, the Client

Over the years, I’ve found that many new clients tell me they need a fabulous video, but aren’t sure about the parameters of what they want.

Here’s a handy list of questions to think about before you have that first meeting with your producer/production company.

Knowing the answers to these questions should help you organize your thoughts in terms of your expectations and smooth the way to getting a fairly accurate estimate for your project.

  1. Who is the audience? Is there more than one? You may find that your video has multiple audiences and multiple uses. Multiple uses may give the video a longer shelf life. For example, you may not be able to justify spending a lot for a one-time meeting, but a video for a one-time meeting that lives permanently on your company’s homepage may justify higher production values and a greater investment.

  2. What is the primary message? Secondary message? If you are clear about the KEY POINTS you want to communicate, your creative team will work with you to determine the best creative approach that will help you realize your project. Think about the CALL TO ACTION and work backwards.

  3. What length video is best to accomplish your goals? Typical viewers start fidgeting after 2 minutes, especially for web videos and meeting openers. Even if you have a long performance video or a training video in mind, be mindful of your audience's tolerance levels.

  4. Will your video be interview-driven with real people or scripted? Will your scripted narration be read by a professional narrator? Perhaps there a celebrity affiliated with your organization who may be willing to participate? You may find this raises the status of your production considerably.

  5. How many locations need to be represented? Are you documenting a process or an activity? Or are you interviewing individuals? While processes can't be moved, you may find that it's more efficient to bring all your key people to one location than to be moving crews from location to location. Is shooting to take place in one building or in multiple locations around the world? Knowing where you are shooting will help your producer/production company determine how many days you’ll need to shoot and help expedite a production schedule.

  6. And how about additional elements? Will the producer be going through archival videos, photographs, or sound recordings that need to be screened, logged and transferred? Do some of your key points require graphical treatments or animation for maps, charts or statistics? Is there a logo you need to animate? Elements like these can enhance a program considerably, but need to be budgeted.

  7. And finally D&D: Deliverables and Distribution. Do you have a need for different versions of the same show? A long version? A shorter version? Or perhaps a version with a different focus for a different audience? This impacts the editing time. In addition, knowing your distribution plans helps your producer/production company determine what formats you'll need: i.e. broadcast Pro Res 422 version, a YouTube version, DVDs or other formats. This impacts outputting.

The answers to these questions may not be obvious right off the bat, but they will get you thinking in the right direction. Ultimately they will help you determine the target audience, the content of the show, the style, and of course, the budget. Additionally, it will give you a good foundation to begin discussing your video with your producer/production company. The more you can share, the smoother the process will be.

Feel free to write to me at or call (973-669-1930) if you’d like to get this conversation started.

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