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Need some pointers for MASSIVE project

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Matthew BakerNeed some pointers for MASSIVE project
by on Jul 18, 2008 at 1:37:07 pm

We are bidding on a project that is going to require approx. 600 hours of finished video. Our company is familiar with doing training videos, but normally only a few days of training at a time. What pit-falls, time saving techniques, hardware upgrades, and other logistics should I be aware of before getting into a project of this size?

As of right now the company consists of myself, my wife, a part-time editor, and two videographers whom I can call on as reliable & competent camera crew. We have two editing machines running Premiere Pro with three cameras.

I am planning on switching from a tape media, to hard drive (firestore) based company so that we can drastically reduce capture time. I also know that I will have to bring my editor on full time, and possibly hire on another editor so things do not get too backed up. The editing required for this job will not be too intense (they are asking for one camera-occasionally two, with titles and still pics).

Also in the bidding process, we are wanting to make a very positive and strong impression. What factors should we be sensitive to and does any one have any creative ideas that might help with our presentation?

Side note, this is a government project so are there any pointers that I should be aware of or extra sensitive to regarding that (confidentiality is a given)?

Thank you!

Matthew Baker
Baker Creative Productions, LLC

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Bruce BennettRe: Need some pointers for MASSIVE project
by on Jul 20, 2008 at 4:44:02 am

Hi Matthew,

The first thing I would do is hire an independant, experienced proposal writer that knows how to write for government bids.

Good Luck,

Bruce Bennett
Bennett Marketing & Media Production, LLC

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Matthew BakerRe: Need some pointers for MASSIVE project
by on Jul 22, 2008 at 2:20:49 pm

Thank you for the tip, I will look into that!

Matthew Baker
Baker Creative Productions, LLC

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Mark SuszkoRe: Need some pointers for MASSIVE project
by on Jul 21, 2008 at 2:29:05 pm

Read the recent COW article on how the gaming video guy organizes his file naming and data structure, to keep the project organized.

You don't give a lot of detail as to what the project is, but my first question would be does it really require that many hours? I bring this up because people tend to forget themselves and get complacent when it comes to the structure of a training video, and they limit themselves to just taping somebody's stand-up live presentation. This is like early film making, where they put one camera in the front row of a theater locked down on a wide shot, and let the stage actors do their normal show. It wasn't until film makers started moving the camera to different angles and using the power of cutting that the medium found it's own "art".

So it might be with a "big" training project. I'm just saying that it couldn't hurt to ask questions that may lead to making the project smaller, shorter, more effective and more managable by re-writing it specifically for the video platform and audience.

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Matthew BakerRe: Need some pointers for MASSIVE project
by on Jul 22, 2008 at 2:29:20 pm

Good point, I will have to look into that possibility although the details I am privy to right now are still fairly vague. What I do know is that they have about 600hrs of training scheduled, and would like to document it all.

Thank you for the organization recommendation. Excellent article!


Matthew Baker
Baker Creative Productions, LLC

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Bill DavisRe: Need some pointers for MASSIVE project
by on Jul 28, 2008 at 1:57:11 am

Okay, first the ground rules.

I fully expect you to send me a couple of financial points off the top as your "consultant" should my sterling advice below prove fruitful here...

What you do is you tell the agency that you're going to give them a HUGE deal. Then keeping your face totally straight, inform them that for decades, the traditional "rule of thumb" for quoting corporate videos has been around $1000 per finished minute.

So that puts the nominal value of this particular 600 hour job at right around $36 MILLION BUCKS. (Keep that straight face, it's crucial here)

Remember, don't crack a smile and DON'T laugh - in the arena of government accounting, this is what's commonly known as "petty cash."

Then tell them you're going to offer them your SPECIAL GOVERNMENT RATE of 50% off.

A simple $18 Million.

Remember this client is the GOVERNMENT. A billing of a mere $18 Mil will probably land on the desk of some second assistant of the junior aid to the undersecretary of something or other - and chances are that if you get lucky and it arrives on the friday of a 3 day weekend, they might just sign it and forget about it.

Be sure to do a great job. The government deserves our best efforts.

And let me know when I can expect my consultant fee.

You could do that, or you could do what others have noted here and SCHOOL the client that out of that 600 hours of purported training, there really should be less than 100 hours of ACTUAL content. The rest will be a mess of intro, audience bonding stories,exercises, lunch, personal relief breaks, re-hashing, point reinforcement, digression for storytelling, and perhaps some Q&A.

They need to understand that simply RECORDING a live training situation and then forcing others to watch it in anything like real time is just about the WORST use of video technology that is imaginable.

In order to turn 600 hours of anything into even 100 hours of watchable content, I'd suspect you'll be spending more like 6000 hours. Given a 40 hour editing week, you're looking at this project sucking away 150 man/weeks of effort. So if you're tempted to price it at something that SOUNDS lucrative, say, A HUNDRED GRAND! the project will actually yield about $16 an hour - or about what that 18 year old down the street is paid for working at Home Depot once you factor in the costs of taxes and benefits.

This kind of job is the kind where you have to be very, very, VERY careful. Not just about making a profit, but about creating a program that is boring and ineffective and will suck away countless of hundreds of human hours in wasted time spent slogging through an ill-conceived and less than effective government required training regimen.

Big job. Big Responsibility.

But it sounds like you have some experience, so I'm going to believe that you can do this and do it well. Just make sure that after those two years of man/effort - you have a chance to feel as good about the gig as you did going in.

Good luck.

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matthew bakerRe: Need some pointers for MASSIVE project
by on Jul 31, 2008 at 2:06:44 am

LMAO!!! That is probably the best (and most enjoyable) advice I could receive on this subject :)

But honestly, the reason for the large hour count is due to the variety of unique subjects and their technical details. From what I hear the viewer will only be watching small job specific modules and NOT the entire 600hrs.

Yes, the size definitely presents some very sober challenges, which of course is why I am looking to receive as much council as possible. Logistically I have mapped out as much as I can think of, (man hours, equipment, organization...) but want to ask around and see if there are any blind-spots that could arise. Of course any ideas to help keep it interesting would be well received. :)

Thanks again for your input!

Matthew Baker
Baker Creative Productions, LLC

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Mike CohenRe: Need some pointers for MASSIVE project
by on Aug 2, 2008 at 4:55:44 am

Sounds like the website, where you view 2 minute segments for each of the 60 jobs you can have in the Army. That was probably a $500,000+ job for a contractor.
I look at GSA RFPs once in a while, and all of the video projects usually have about 20+ bidders, so good luck jumping into that process.
That being said, we have done a few government video jobs and they can be profitable if you realistically bid. Just be careful as the others have said.
Good luck.

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