Stage One | Pre-Production
One key to producing a good video is planning!
If Leonardo Da Vinci’s sketches are any indication, oftentimes the greatest creations begin on paper. Need more proof? The U.S. Capitol, Eiffel Tower, and Hagia Sophia Cathedral, all wondrous creations, first began with a pen and a pad. So too do our tailor-made videos.
We start off with a concept development session (that’s fancy talk for “brainstorm”), which leads to scripting ideas. The script then serves as a complete blueprint for the project, from beginning to end. It describes every visual and audio element, just as an architect’s plans specify every detail of a monument.
As experts, we will handle the crafting of your script while also incorporating your input. By investing sufficient time and effort into the script, we can collectively avoid time-crunches and crippling roadblocks that may otherwise plague the creation process.
In addition to script formation, elements of the pre-production stage include: researching information, finding locations, designing & building a set, hiring actors or hosts, locating necessary props, getting the voice-over talent lined up, and arranging testimonials or interviewees, just to name a few.
Learn from the best. Study TV commercials and marketing videos that promote a similar product or service to the one you’re promoting. Adapting the styles and techniques of others is a time-honored tradition in filmmaking. Just don’t infringe copyrights by reproducing any of the content of other videos.
One successful technique that is easily adapted for a budget conscious video is to use a series of short testimonials. Rather than hiring actors, you can ask satisfied customers why they like your company. In this case, the scripting process would include asking questions to prompt the interviewees. The responses will be recorded and later arranged into a script after the video is shot.
If you have appealing publicity photos, consider using them in the video. In fact, some very effective videos have been constructed entirely from still photographs. Don’t have access to images? We have a high-quality digital camera and a professional photographer that can capture great still photos if desired.
When considering international distribution, understand that it’s a lot easier and cheaper to produce a foreign language version than the English version since it uses an off-camera narrator and text subtitles rather than people who speak on-camera.
Special effects and cool animations are fun to watch, but they can be expensive and time-consuming to produce. Make sure this “eye candy” contributes to the sales or informational message and is not cluttered or confusing. Too much information on the screen can be difficult to read because a smaller text must be used.
The graphic elements and/or logo produced for your video can also be used to create brochures, website, letterhead, business cards, postcards, or any print, publications or promotional items that you need to coincide with your marketing efforts. For more information about the graphic design process, see the next chapter.
A professional narrator, sound effects, and having just-the-right music are essential to any video. We have a library of royalty free music and sound effects, as well as a database full of local and national voice-over talents.
How do I identify the audience?
Since effectively engaging the audience is the entire premise of making a video, it’s very important to accurately identify your target audience by their perceptions, concerns, and aspirations. Some criteria you can use to identify the public include gender, age, lifestyle, income level, geographic area, cultural background, occupation, etc.
After you’ve identified who you want to reach, list out a few main benefits of your company and the problems you can solve for them. Some example solutions include helping save money or improving the quality of life through your product/service. Every element in the video must build on these solutions rather than merely describing the features of a product or service.
Consider closing with a call to action based on your targeted demographic. Make it time sensitive, or offer something they just can’t refuse! It is very important to identify what motivates your targeted audience and match your marketing message accordingly.
How do I get my message out there?
After identifying your target market we can figure out the necessary reach and frequency by conducting a media audit. Based on Nielsen and Arbitron ratings, as well as other statistical data, the media audit can provide us with invaluable information that shows whether the media you purchase is in the right places at the right prices .
Once the audit’s results have been analyzed, businesses can examine current ratings and programming on specific stations and then match your targeted demographic with the local, regional and/or national programs all according to your budget. Without a good media buyer and a smart media strategy, you could blow your entire budget faster than you can say, “How much does it cost to be on during the Super Bowl?” Let’s face it: you are not Coca-Cola. You do not have money to burn. If you did, you would be out on a cruise right now instead of looking for a new ad agency.
When companies have incredible amounts of money to burn they don’t need direct response TV or radio. They can carpet bomb the stations, spending money like mad men, buying any time slots for any price, reaching anyone, without concern for immediate results. Few companies have that kind of money. If you want to make the most of your budget, you can’t be so hasty. You have to buy smartly, strategically, cheaply, and you need results. You need direct response television and/or radio.
Utilizing commercial advertising balances art and science. Television is simple yet powerful because everyone watches it. Studies show that the average household has the TV on for a remarkable seven to nine hours each day. It’s not an overstatement to say that television is the single most important media in many of your prospects’ lives.
We will plan the distribution of the commercial before we produce it. We can put together a media buying plan with strategic placements on a variety of media channels.
Like most companies, you need to be smart with your advertising dollars; but the one area where so many companies go wrong is media buying. They either try saving money by placing commercials themselves (which rarely saves money in the end), or they go with a media buyer that promises an obscenely low commission rate and then doesn’t deliver an effective strategy. Reaching your target audience is the most important aspect of any marketing campaign, so it’s important that you don’t put all your eggs in the cheapest basket you can find. For years now, Peppershock has been positioning clients so that their stories hit the mark with pinpoint accuracy.
To maximize your message’s reach, it is often advisable to inform the press about your business through a marketing or informational video. This type of outreach is typically called a “VNR” or Video News Release. Such videos are sent to local media outlets with an accompanying press release. If your story is newsworthy and is shared through the press’ outlets, you can expect a large boost in exposure as a result, so make sure your content is top-notch!
Of course, there are no guarantees that it will land on the 5 o’clock news, but sometimes your efforts can certainly pay off. If the press use your content, then that is great! If not, at least they will have it for future file video usage.
Stage Two: Production
It’s not unusual to shoot a scene or record the audio several times. We do this to capture different angles for cut away shots, and to ensure the best take from the actors or scenarios if necessary. When filming, we’ll always shoot a lot of close-up shots. On TV they are generally more compelling than wide shots; however, we do get Medium Close-Ups (MCUs) and wide shots/establishing shots as well. ECU means Extreme Close-Ups.
It’s always best to shoot in a more controlled environment, allowing you to take the necessary time for proper adjustments to lighting, actor/interviewee positioning, the set and many other esthetics. Sometimes shooting live will not result in the most desired outcome and then you don’t have the chance to re-do the scenario.
Also, know that some scenes may be shot out of sequence. The purpose of this is to be more time efficient while on the set. It’s a lot easier to set up and shoot all lines given from the same position (even from different parts of the script) before switching everything for the next. For example, having to move the lights to the same spot a dozen times takes a lot longer than if you just shoot those dozen scenes in that same setting.
Stage 3: Post-Production
Be sure to stay just as involved in the editing process as you were in the scripting process! The first step in the post-production stage is logging the footage. You can leave it up to us, or review the footage yourself, recording the time code of the sections you’d like to see.
With the rough cut produced we can then use Adobe After Effects to create the motion graphics and reinforce elements such as your name, logo, address, phone number, and slogan.
Like script writing, good editing makes a major difference in how successful the video is for you. It’s important to keep the show moving and always directed to the most important viewer – your customers. Cut out any content that is weak, keeping in mind that shorter marketing videos are generally better than longer ones.
How much will it cost?
• It is customary to put 50% down of the estimated cost in order to book your shoot and edit dates. Realize that this is an ESTIMATED cost based on the projected time spent and services provided. Any additional costs and time spent will be pre-approved by you. Change requests also take extra time and will be calculated into the cost accordingly. Note that expediting a work order incurs additional fees as well.
• First time media buy clients are also required to put half down on the media buy, otherwise the media buy is generally NET 30 of the airdates. Note, if your company is a bar, restaurant, or you haven’t been in business for more than two years, expect to pay for the media buy in full up front for at least the first buy. Also, know that it is your advantage to use an ad agency such as ours for media buying; we are able to get better rates since we buy in bulk. A media audit is unbiased to any station, therefore your commercials will be effectively placed on any number of stations, rather than just one.
• Your video could take 5 to 50 hours or more to shoot & edit depending on the scope of the project. Our goal is to transform the raw footage into an exceptional marketing tool for your business.
• We have invested a lot in our equipment, training, and experience. We continuously expand alongside the new technologies released yearly. Unlike a Hollywood movie, the members of our team generally wear multiple hats while working on your project, blurring the lines between the following roles.
• lighting technician
• sound person
We place the bar pretty high for ourselves, ensuring that you end up with the content that you hoped for and deserve.
It’s very difficult to estimate an exact price without knowing the complete scope of your project. We encourage you to contact us to discuss your video desires and budget.
Graphic Design Process
What type of graphic design do you need?
Graphic design is a broad service. Simply stated, graphic design is making anything visually beautiful. Still a little vague? Graphic design covers the following: