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11, Nov 2019

Seattle Videographer Blog

Lean Video:
Achieving maximum value for your video


When working with a videographer it’s important to understand that unlike many services, video involves equal parts technical ability and artistry. You are asking for something that does not yet exist. Due to the nature of this field, no matter how simple and cheap your video will be there are many factors that go into ensuring that the quality and content lives up to your expectations (For greater detail into the actual cost of a video check out my article "What’s under the hood: an inside look at video costs and how to save in the process")

The benefit of hiring an expensive videographer is that due to their years of experience they will know what you want with very little explanation or direction. The process will go quickly and you have a very high likelihood of getting what you pay for. Now, if you are someone on a shoestring budget and you want to get some professional video work done, then you will most likely hire some young cheap up n’ comer who seems like a good enough deal. In a situation like this, the way you handle the project will significantly affect the value of the video you are asking for

By following these tips I can promise that the quality of your video will increase exponentially and the cost of production will decrease just as much. If you want to get the most value out of the video you NEED to be more involved in the process.

By “more involved”, I mean you need to dedicate 45 minutes of work total toward the project. If your goals are saving time, money, and getting the most value for your video I would recommend following these tips:

  1. Know what you want before the shoot and have an example to show the videographer.
  2. Have a script or at least an outline you can offer before the shoot. If it’s an interview, have a set of questions ready. I have a gray hair for every client that came to a shoot unprepared; this always doubles the production time, and therefore increases cost. In the case of an interview, it looks much better to not have the speaker read the lines. It shows through on camera and feels really inauthentic to your viewers.

  3. Have a production schedule
  4. This would really consist of three things if it’s a “simple video”: the shoot, the rough cut review, and the final cut review. We are all busy, and it’s easy to not prioritize a video project. However, a video project is an artistic endeavor which requires attention. If you neglect to take care of the video, so will the editor. Putting projects on hold force video editors to focus on other projects that are moving forward, and that will mean putting minimal effort into making your project sparkle. Eventually, a video that could have taken a matter of days has dragged on for months, and neither party is excited to revisit the fourteenth edit.

  5. Pick one kick ass location!
  6. Having your location picked out ahead of time is a huge plus and everyone will love you for it. Choosing a great location does not require all that much effort. In short, find a place that’s quiet, not too dark, and doesn’t have a plain white wall in the background. That alone will be a game changer for the quality of your video. To learn more about choosing the perfect location read the article "How NOT to Choose A Location"

  7. Have all the titles, logos and brand guidelines sent to the videographer before they start editing
  8. Post production tends to have a lot of back and forth, and the more you can minimize the number of emails, the better. Ideally you would get all of your edits in two to three batches of corrections. Having titles and graphics ready to go effectively cuts down on a day or two of time that would be otherwise be billed to you. This may seem miniscule, but even minor edits can become time consuming the further into the project you go.

  9. Be clear about what the video will be before the first cut
  10. On occasion, I will have a client that doesn’t know what they want with a video until after it’s 90% complete. It is understandably hard to visualize the video you want, and it’s also very easy to point the finger when your contractor makes a mistake. I would say keep in mind that videographers, while very talented and good-looking, are not mind-readers. Effective communication before, and hopefully during the editing, is a recipe for success.

  11. Do the review.
  12. Just do it. Take the time to review! It takes maybe three times the length of the video, which is usually 1 minute long. If you need advice on how to review a video, check out my article “How to crush your video reviews at record speed”. In short, take note of the time code, ie, at “00:57” in the video, where you want your edt to happen. Also, make sure you are asking for something that is possible. Editing is magic, but not even magic can add footage that was never taken. I would also note that you will get a better, more motivated editor if you add some positive commentary before or after your review. Video editors are people too, and they spend countless hours working on a project that you review for a fraction of that time. A little goes a long way. If you need a little guidence in how to review you video read "How To Crush Your Video Reviews At Record Speed"

  13. Mention what platform(s) the video will be shown on
  14. This actually greatly affects the way the video will be made. If it’s an Instagram video, or is made for a platform that requires a much smaller sized video. Many platforms are designed for completely different aspect ratios like vertical video for example. This knowledge can speed up the turn-around of your video if given to the videographer ahead of time and ensure it looks good on all devices and platforms.