An insight into the Sam Collins Media production workflow
Spending money on a video production can be a daunting prospect, with many unknowns. How can you be sure you’re going to get something you’re proud of? How can you stop the costs spiralling? Over time, I’ve developed a way of working which is designed to ensure that you, the client, gets a final product that does exactly what you need it to, on time and on budget. Here’s how that happens.
I work in small teams. Most of my productions are created by a team of just two.
I personally oversee every stage of production – your work is not
farmed out, subcontracted or passed on.
The original intent and vision is carefully maintained throughout. I believe working in small teams allows me to maintain a direct relationship with the client and foster a dynamic yet informal atmosphere which ultimately produces great results. I love what I do, and I want to immerse myself in your project.
So, where do we start?
- We order the coffee.
- We discuss the particular aims and objectives of your video project. What messages do you need to get across? Who is your audience? Whether you want to use video to briefly outline your business services online, inspire people to donate money to a cause or train a workforce of hundreds of people, a clearly defined set of goals from the outset is vital.
- We talk about formats. Is it something that will work best as a 30 second clip to share on Facebook and Twitter? Perhaps the scope of your message is best expressed in an hour long documentary? It could be a 15 minute DVD to show in a meeting. Whatever the specifics, getting the format right is important to allow for accurate budgeting and to arrive at realistic, clearly communicated deadlines.
- The budget. My client base is very varied – it’s clear that different organisations have wildly different resources at their disposal. Arriving at a budget which works for all parties concerned is a collaboration, a dialogue. I have worked at both ends of the spectrum and a variety of experiences is important to me.
Many of my clients come back for repeat business, and I believe in
nurturing these relationships
Therefore, I don’t simply post a day rate and say ‘take it or leave it’ – the arrangement needs to represent value for all parties.
OK enough chat – you need to see something on paper. A couple of days after our initial meeting, I send through a proposal. This is a document which outlines everything we’ve decided upon – the aims and objectives of the video, the format, the budget, when it will be delivered. A timescale is included, showing how long each phase of production will take. A document like this is always helpful – you may need to show it to colleagues to sign off on, or have to hand when planning your own work schedule. If you’re happy with how everything looks, I then send through a short contract, which is in place to protect everyone and keep life simple.
There’s a lot to decide before picking up cameras. Who is going to feature in the video? When are they available? Where are we going to shoot? Do we need any specific equipment to pull off the look and feel we want? Do we need to storyboard, or is it much more of a freeform project?
I believe in being well prepared before conducting on screen interviews – do I need some time to research a topic first? What other videos exist in the same market – how can we make a better one?
Sometimes pre-production only takes a couple of hours, sometimes a few days, but it is the groundwork which enables the rest of the process to run smoothly.
Writing and preparation aside, an effective video is a combination of several key aspects – beautifully shot footage, high quality audio and carefully chosen music. Then there are other elements – still photographs, animations, voiceovers and so on. Recent rapid improvements in audiovisual technology mean that extremely high production values are achievable in ways that were unimaginable just a few years ago (in the right hands, of course). Equipment can be far less cumbersome, crews much smaller – meaning relatively little disruption to a day’s work. After shooting, everything that’s been gathered is backed up in duplicate – technology is wonderful, but it sometimes lets us down! It’s important to keep everything safe.
BUILDING THE STORY
I started my career as an editor, and it’s an art I love. All the disparate elements are taken back to the studio and crafted into a coherent whole. A slightly reticent interviewee becomes confident and expressive. Evocative music transforms a familiar location into something new. Ideas and concepts are artfully condensed into their vital elements. This kind of impact is impossible in other forms of communication.
SPREAD THE WORD
A beautifully made video is one thing – now it’s time to use it. Online sharing, both on websites and on social media is where so much of this content belongs. I liaise with your web team to deliver content in the format they need. Don’t have a web team? I can set up a Youtube or Vimeo account on your behalf, upload the videos and email you with clear instructions on how to start sharing your slick new material. If it’s a DVD you need, this is a straightforward job – it can be on your desk the next day. Maybe you want to go to TV – I have experience in preparing material for broadcast so can deal with that too.
It’s all about simplicity, speed and enabling you to get your video content in front of the people who need to see it.
Want to have a chat about your video? Drop me a line!