Frequently Asked Questions
WHY SHOULD WE USE VIDEO?
The better question might be 'How can you NOT use video?". Perform a quick Internet search for the words "Why use video", and you'll see plenty of powerful information outlining the huge benefits of using video in a huge variety of applications. Video is engaging and persuasive. It's more personal and a great way to communicate with your various audiences, and develop your brand. The most powerful argument for using video is that we are an increasingly video-engaged society. Web site search engines rank sites with video higher in search results. YouTube is the number two searched website in the world. In addition to the obvious sales and marketing applications of video, it also does a great job in delivering a controlled, consistent and engaging message to your audience. That's perfect for employee education communication and education efforts in safety, training and human resources departments. Click here to learn more about the different applications of video and what they can do for you!
WHY SHOULD WE USE YOUR COMPANY TO PRODUCE OUR VIDEO?
As you look around our website or talk to us, we think you'll discover many good reasons. At the top of the list might be: Experience. We're video production veterans. We're efficient, creative and knowledgeable. We don't simply want to produce a video; we want to help you solve a problem, improve your sales, increase results, decrease costs and extend your investment. Without the years of experience doing many, many video projects along with a healthy bit of life experience, it would be hard to provide the direction and advice we can offer to your project. Longevity is another big reason. We've been around for 17 years. You need to know that who you hire to do your project will be around to do another one if necessary, or to make a revision to your video a year or two from now. We're in it for the long term and we know you are as well. We work to help you succeed, because we know that's the secret to our success.
WHAT IS THE PROCESS?
Every project is different. Simpler projects may not contain each of these steps, but generally speaking the process of making a video involves the following:
-Concept and creative discussions
-Budget discussions, estimating/project proposal
-Video shoot planning
-Actual video shoot
-Recording of any voice-overs
CAN WE MAKE CHANGES ALONG THE WAY?
In a word: yes. However, at times they can add to the overall project cost. You'll have a chance to review the script and request changes. It's very important to make sure the script is exactly the way you want it before we get very far into the production process. You can certainly be present during any video shoots to offer input. You can help select actors or voice talent if they are a part of the video. After our first edit, you'll have a chance to suggest changes. Most of the time, we find that requested changes are minor and will not affect the project cost. Major changes such as adding extra content late in the process or making script changes after it was approved are certainly possible. But they can add significant cost because they may require additional video shoots, a revised voice-track or extensive re-editing of the piece.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE?
Unlike a widget coming off of a production line where you know exactly how long it takes to create, video production has very few standard project completion time frames. That's because every project is customized, and each one is different. We can produce a very simple project in as little as a few days. Complex productions can take months. Typically, it's a good idea to allow a few weeks for a TV commercial, and two or three months for a longer video piece. For more information, click here.
WHAT IS YOUR SERVICE AREA? WILL YOU TRAVEL IF NECESSARY?
Our main mission is to provide high quality video production services for our core area: Sioux City, Iowa and the surrounding communities that fall in about a 100- mile radius. Draw that circle and you'll see it covers Northwest Iowa, Southeast South Dakota, and Northeast Nebraska. We love where we live and we will go the extra mile for our local clients. However, we will travel further if necessary and if it fits into your budget. The wide open highways in this part of the country make it easy and quick to get to destinations that might seem to be very far away to folks used to living in denser populated areas. It's nothing for us to drive 2 hours or more to a shoot location. We've traveled to Virginia, Colorado, Minnesota, North Dakota, Wyoming, Washington, Florida, Illinois, Texas and Arizona to name a few (we've both flown and driven to distant locations).
HOW MUCH WILL IT COST?
If a video producer gives you a "standard quote" for a video production during the very first conversation you have with him or her, you should proceed with caution! Creating any video is much like building a house. If a builder said your house was going to cost $200,000 in the very first meeting, without any house plans or drawings to show you what it would look like, would you sign on the dotted line? Maybe it's a good price, but how do you know for sure? Wouldn't you need more information? How large will it be? What materials will be used? Where will it be built? Ideally, you would have building plans or blueprints created to indicate exactly what type of house you're getting. Only then can an accurate project cost be determined. In the video world, the "blueprint" is our script, which indicates most of the things we would need to know to provide an estimate. Sometimes we won't have an actual script before we need to provide an estimate. But if we can meet with you to learn as much as we can about the project, its goals and parameters, we can formulate an initial outline and concept, which can help us to provide you with some idea of cost. We would try to answer questions like: How long is the video? Will we use actors? How much video shooting is involved? Where will we shoot? Will there be a large amount of motion graphics and special effects used during editing? All of these factors and many more affect the price. Our services are time-based, plus outside expenses. We simply try to figure out how many hours it will take to do your project effectively and efficiently.
HOW MUCH WORK WILL WE HAVE TO DO?
We are very capable of tackling the vast majority of tasks when it comes to creating a dynamic and effective video piece for your organization. There are a few things we simply cannot do ourselves. You or someone at your organization will need to be our main point of contact and will need to help us in a few ways:
-by providing background and information for the video script
-coordinating access to your facility for video shoots
-coordinating schedules of co-workers who may appear in the video
-making sure workers are dressed appropriately and show the appearance that fits the image you want to portray,
-preparing areas that might need to be cleaned or prepped prior to shooting
-providing products or materials for studio video shoots
-ordering signage, props or other logo items for the shoot
-supplying approved logos or other photos or graphical elements that need to be included in the video.
If we are shooting at your location, this is your chance to put your best foot forward. The more efficient you can be at these tasks, the less time it will take us to get what we need, resulting in a less costly overall product for you.
WHO WILL BE THE VOICE FOR OUR VIDEO?
Voice talent is a big part of the overall sound and feel of any production. We have cast literally hundreds of voices for various types of productions. We can find someone who will fit your video perfectly. We choose from studios and freelance voice talent from all over the country.
OUR EMPLOYEES WILL BE IN OUR VIDEO. WHAT SHOULD THEY WEAR?
Have you ever heard someone say: "You can almost never overdress, but you can dress too casual." Generally, you should know what image you want to put across in your video. Some scenes require very specific clothing for the desired look or effect. Some simply require a company uniform. Others maybe are trying to show a typical corporate setting. We'll discuss all of these issues with you during the planning stages. But in general, we favor some variety of color where not every single person is wearing black or white, and clothing that doesn't have very fine lines that can cause trouble with video cameras. See Interview Preparation and Preparing for a Video Shoot for more information.
WE NEED A RADIO COMMERCIAL. CAN YOU DO THAT?
Audio production is a big part of what we do. We've produced hundreds of radio commercials over the years, and we can also supply the soundtrack to your company's Message On Hold system.
CAN WE SUPPLY THE SCRIPT?
Writing for the video screen is different than writing for any other medium, and we have a lot of experience creating dynamic scripts that are very effective. However, you are the expert when it comes to your business, product or service. Many of our clients do indeed supply us with the script and we go from there. We are flexible and can work with an existing script if necessary. We may want to review the script and offer suggestions for ways to "translate" it onto the video screen in an appropriate fashion. In the end, you're the customer and we'll produce what you want to produce!
DO YOU HAVE A TELEPROMPTER?
Yes, and a teleprompter can be an effective tool, especially when professional talent is reading from the teleprompter. They are experienced and accustomed to performing on camera. They have ways of making it seem natural, especially if the copy is written that way. However, we've all seen people who are less than comfortable reading from a teleprompter. The average person is not experienced at it, and often they sound and look nervous, anxious and un-enthusiastic. We can coach them, but we've found that if you have people you want to deliver lines on camera, it is often best to keep those lines short and have them memorize them, or conduct interview sessions where they deliver the content naturally in their own words.
HOW WILL THE FINAL VIDEO BE DELIVERED?
Getting your video in front of your audience is a key issue and should be discussed in the initial planning stages of production. Videos are viewed in all types of environments. You have to consider the typical "screens" people will use to view your video. If they are at a trade show, it will likely be displayed on a TV screen. This may be the case also in a conference room, training room, or your lobby. On a personal computer, they could watch your video online via YouTube, your company's website or other website. Or you could send them an email with a link or even the video itself as an attachment. Or you could send them a USB drive containing the video, or distribute it on a CD Rom or DVD disc. Your video could be deployed on the iPad, and mobile platforms. We can prepare it for all of these situations, and it's good to know beforehand exactly how it will be viewed. Designing graphics for a video played on a mobile phone device is much different that for a 65 inch TV, for example.
HOW DO WE PUT OUR VIDEO ON THE WEB?
There are far too many issues to discuss here, but it really comes down to whether or not you want to "host"the video on your website, or have it hosted by another service. There are benefits when it comes to search rankings to have the video hosted on your website. But consider this: video is still rather bandwidth intensive, and depending upon how much of it you have on your website, and how many people are going to view it, you could cause serious problems and run into a lot of expense by hosting your own video. If those issues aren't a problem, we can work with your IT department to supply a properly encoded video for your website. You may still want to consider creating a YouTube presence and also putting your videos there. YouTube is the number 2 searched website in the world, so having a presence there only increases the chance that someone will find you. We have excellent encoding formulas that ensure your video will look its best on YouTube. If you don't want to host videos on your website, please inquire. We have options for other hosting services that are effective and cost-efficient, and will keep your visitor on your site as opposed to sending them off to YouTube (they may not return!).
WHAT IF WE WANT TO REVISE OUR VIDEO IN THE FUTURE?
All of the digital assets we create and use to produce your video are archived. Another copy is made and stored off-site, so your materials are always safe. If a revision is necessary, we can usually make changes quickly and efficiently. As time marches on, hardware and software changes. Upgrades in computer hardware and software versions sometimes means the older software originally used to create the video might be incompatible, and the newer hardware might not run the older software. So, while we would like to promise that we could easily revise your project forever, a safer assumption is that we can make revisions within 2 or 3 years. After that, it may still be possible to make changes, but the likelihood that we would run into situations where it is more difficult and time-consuming increases. In most cases this hasn't been an issue, because as time goes on things have changed with your business as well, and you don't want to necessarily show old clothing and hairstyles, areas of your facility that have since been updated, and information that is not current. In other words, it might be time for a new video!