'How much does a video cost?' I've just met someone who is interested in having an online video presence to attract more potential customers or clients to their offering and this is nearly the first question. My heart sinks.
In your business what is the first question people ask you when they are enquiring about your service? Is it 'How much does it cost?' No? I didn't think so. And yet that is often my experience because for many people it is the first time they are commissioning a video and perhaps they have not considered what is involved. As you think about it now, what do you think is required to create a video? Anyway as a little prompt have a look at the video here below and guess what work goes into it, what is its purpose and then finally the cost of it, put your answers in the comments below. Take a look now...
Did you like it? It is cute isn't it. Does it get its message across? Would it encourage you to take your Christmas shopping to John Lewis? After all that is the purpose of a video, like any form of advertising, it is to attract your clients' attention and keep your business front of mind for your potential customer.
So let's consider what work is involved in creating this, because it is a creation requiring time - often considerable time. First of all what is the purpose of the video? Then how to deliver this message is the next challenge, as suggestion after suggestion is brought up and discarded for a range of reasons until eventually we are left with 2 or 3 which are then explored in more detail to examine the ease vs. complexity, likelihood of delivering on the chosen purpose, and of course cost implications. So now having spent time on the creative concept this leads you on to scripting the story. As I guess you know yourself there are many different ways to tell the same story so the HOW to tell the story is the next choice point along this journey again reflecting your outcome and product or service. If you sell Halloween costumes, a scary 'Walking Dead' style story theme might work but if you are a consultant, is that the theme you would like to go for? Maybe...but probably not, you might prefer to show how you supported one of your clients which helped their business prosper. Or if you are bringing new product to market you could choose to tell the founders inspiration story.
As you can see, not a camera in sight yet! So you have the story. Next comes writing the script. Locations need to be decided on and scouted, the number of people appearing in it, perhaps casting actors and or voiceover artists. Costume design, set design are also key elements impacting on the story delivery. Then the storyboard gets drawn up so the director of photography knows what type of shots will tell the story most effectively. Each shot is drawn to show who, where, what is happening and what is the camera doing, for example. This is like creating the blueprint for building a house you need the detailed working drawings as well as the initial sketch concept. Afterall you wouldn't think of building a house without one...would you?
After this the script is analysed and broken down in detail to enable scheduling. Now the shot list is created in the order in which it will be shot, not in the order of the story. Because you do not want an actor on set all day who only has a one minute shot to shoot. Time is money. Nor do you want to keep moving location only to find you are going back and forth and then back to where you started again. So for efficiency the better the script analysis means the better the scheduling which leads to efficient shooting. I know, it is a lot isn't it?
Anyway finally on to the shoot. What is needed? Cameras obviously, tripods, monopod, gimbal to stabilise shots and deliver cinematic shots, lenses, filters, boom mic, boom pole, reflectors, lapel mic, recorder, slate, lights, batteries, chargers and so on, lots of gear. A person or people to operate it all.
During the shoot it is rare that only one shot of a specific scene or piece of action is taken. The same shot might be taken 10 or more times and it is surprising the little things that make a big difference, inflection in a voice, the blink of an eye, a pause, these small elements make a huge difference at the subconscious level. And it is with the subconscious you want to connect because this is where your potential customer makes decisions.
Once the shoot is complete it is now transferred to the editor who makes sense of all the shots and compiles them into the best story. For a 60 second video approximately 20-30 good shots will be required. To get 20 good shots the editor will probably be working with 60 to 120 shots. If it is, let's say 90 shots, they need to analyse and each shot is approximately 15 seconds just analysing them, tagging and grouping them can take quite a while. The editor then painstakingly puts them together, breaks them apart and experiments with them, until the first rough cut is assembled. It is surprising how a change in shot order can change everything. This is a review point where the editor receives feedback and creates the changes suggested to deliver the best result. The editor also then works with colour correction and colour grading depending on the mood of the piece, on the dialogue, music and sound effects, graphic elements, logo and so on; a lot of meticulous work at this point in the production. Until finally the whole piece is complete and ready for delivery. If there is a lot more involved than you thought, you are right and I have only scratched the surface.
So I guess you are waiting for the answer...to the question: 'How much for the video?' above; well John Lewis paid £7,000,000 yes seven million pounds and I counted approximately 70 shots created this two minute video. If you like, that is £100,000 per shot! So this gives you an idea about the sort of creativity, skill, time investment and technology required to create a video advertisement.
If you are interested in spending a small fraction of this to promote your company, give me a call or contact me to discuss your project.
I have been fascinated by pictures both static and moving for as long as I can remember. Research evidence backs up how powerful video marketing really is.