6 tips to save time and money on your next video production
At Rogue Robot, we’ve been making films and animation for our clients for over 12 years, and we’ve learnt a few things in that time. So here are a few tips to help you save time and money on your next video production.
1: Short is Sweet
Most videos rarely need to be more than 3 or 4 minutes long. The temptation is to cram everything in that you want to say – after all, you’ve only got one chance to say it, and you are paying for the pleasure.
But think of a video as an introduction. Use it to showcase your key themes, concepts or ideas; to hook your audience, and tease them with what you can offer. Use it to spark thoughts, ideas and questions which you can then answer in more detail, directly to the questioner.
So keep your video short and sweet. According to unsubstantiated facts we’ve found on the internet, people watch a video online for between 2 and 3 minutes before getting bored. This may, or may not, be accurate but you know yourself that you’re more likely to watch all of a 2 minute video than a 10 minute one. People are time poor – they want to be hooked and informed or intrigued quickly. If the video is made well, it will engage them for far longer than its running length.
The exception to this would be training films, explainers and the like, which take a viewer through a specific process. However, keeping things engaging, concise and free of lengthy explanations is still a good thing to do. If there are questions after the video, you can answer them directly or point them towards further, more detailed information.
Plus don’t forget that if it’s shorter, it’s cheaper.
2 – Get Involved in the Pre-Production
Pre-production is the stage where everything is planned and arranged to ensure the smooth running of the video production. It is where decisions are made about such things as content, style, storyboards, voice over script, locations, interviews, shoot dates, delivery times and so on.
Get involved in this pre-production. A good video production company will be on hand to go through this with you; after all, it is in their interest too – good planning makes filming, editing or animating go quicker and smoother.
Discuss decisions with management, colleagues and stakeholders. Get their opinions, include their requests, iron out the problems, keep them in the loop. It is far better to work things out at this stage rather than once production has started.
It’s easier to change a Word document than it is to change a completed edit.
3 – Images are More Powerful than Words
There has been a recent trend within explainer animations of illustrating every ‘important’ word in a script with an image. For example —
“We know your time (A CLOCK) is precious (CLOCK TURNS TO A COIN), so we work with you (HANDS SHAKING) to ensure every minute (MINUTE HAND SWEEPS ROUND) is targeted (MINUTE HAND SWEEPS ROUND AND REVEALS A TARGET) at producing maximum results (ARROW HITS THE BULLSEYE – 100% CRASHES ON)”
Or for scripts to over-narrate a film, when the footage can do the talking.
A few, cleverly conceived, strong visuals will communicate much more effectively than an overload of images.
As always, less is usually more. Except for cake.
4 – Shoots Take Time
Setting up a shoot – whether for an interview, a piece to camera, or general shots at a location – takes time. There is camera gear to rig, lights to set, mikes and audio to prep, perhaps make-up and costume, props, set dressing. Then there are multiple takes, cutaways, re-takes, as well as any number of problems and issues that can crop up.
None of this can be done quickly. Actually, it can, but don’t expect to get a great video at the end of it. To do it right, you’ll need to set the time aside. A good production company should be able to break down the time needed to set up and shoot, allowing you to schedule room bookings, arrange interviews, and take up as little of the CEO’s time for their interview as possible.
5 – Being on Camera is Hard
If you’ve ever appeared in front of the camera, you know just how hard it is. A good crew should make people feel at ease, and give them the time they need to get their piece right.
But there are a few things you can do to make appearing on screen less painful:
Prepare beforehand. Read the script or treatment, and outline what you are going to be talking about.
If you can, avoid using a script. Preparing a detailed script will make your appearance seem stilted and lifeless. You may say all the right things, but you’ll come across as an automaton. You can always use autocue if you have particularly long or detailed lines to say, but nothing can beat an honest interview or piece to camera. Don’t try too hard to include business speak. You know more about what you are saying than anyone – just relax and talk.
And don’t be afraid to stop talking – be clear, concise, say what you need to say, then stop. Often people feel the need to keep talking, getting in everything they can. But that just makes the interview ramble and makes it harder for an editor to cut, and that increases edit time, and that increases cost. Be neat in your answers and editors will make you look great!
6 – Take your time before giving Feedback
Most production companies will offer two rounds of amends to work. They’ll usually provide an initial rough-cut of the film, then a second, amended version, before delivering the final piece.
Take your time before feeding back on these edits. This stage of the production is just as important as any other, and the decisions made here need to be as considered as any other. Watch the films a few times, let them sink in, share with all the stakeholders involved and get their feedback. And then collate all that feedback into one document to send back to the production company.
They’ll love you for it, because nothing slows a project down more than the drip-feeding of feedback. Plus, making minor amend after minor amend because all of the necessary people haven’t seen the film, costs time and therefore money.
Take the time and you’ll save time.