The Stuff of Great Video

I was invited to a Hollywood Emmy party at a Beverly Hills mansion a few years back. I’d stepped out onto a balcony for some fresh air and to view the spectacular evening panorama of sparkling lights from the LA valley below. The man leaning on the railing next to me was Leonardo DiCaprio.

We chatted for about 15 minutes about Toronto, the film industry and more. It was this conversation that first inspired me to write what I’m about to share with you.

I love LA because, the number of people who ‘get’ the filmmaking process is staggering and many, like Leonardo, get it at a very high level. As a Producer, I enjoy working with crew or clients who have even basic knowledge of the craft because it makes my job easier and can positively impact the final product.

I wrote “The Stuff of Great Video” series not to teach you basic DIY video-making skills, but to give you a unique set of management tools to help you and your organization take control of the quality, cost and outcome of your next video production. I’m sharing the same tools that I use on every production I work on.

Few people these days have time to stop everything and read long emails, so I’m breaking these articles into bite sized pieces that you can easily ingest in 3 minutes. The opening of the article below takes under a minute and a half to read.

Let’s get started.

Location, Location, Location…

You’ve hired someone to plan, shoot and produce your video. The filming locations they’ve picked are aesthetically perfect representations of the scenes required by your creative. You’ve approved the location photographs your vendor submitted, the studio they’ve rented and you’re familiar with the CEO’s office down the hall where the interviews are going to take place.

You’re good to go, right?

Maybe, maybe not!

Here’s the ‘need-to-know’: The good things about a location are minor priorities compared with the bad stuff that may interfere with, delay, or cause cost-overruns during the shoot day! These ‘bad’things are easy to miss unless you know what to look for.

The bad thingsare easy to missunless you knowwhat to look for.

I got a call…

I got a call from a Chicago Ad Agency that was producing a video for a Toronto IT client. They wanted costs for a Videographer and Sound Recordist and when the quote was approved, they requested a ‘quick’ location scout. Their Chicago based Creative Director had developed storyboards from a series of location photos taken by the Agency’s Account Executive during a previous client meeting.

The small fee they paid for this scout was probably the best money spent on the production!

With storyboard in hand, I trundled off to check the place out. What I found at the location completely changed the dynamics of the entire production.

To be continued…