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GregQuestions about our biz.
by on Jan 5, 2007 at 10:10:03 pm

I'm working with someone who is researching various areas about our business, and I thought I'd take a moment to pick the brains of the best forum here on the cow. Here's some questions that I'd appreciate getting your input on.

1. What sort of film and video production trends are you seeing in your market (be geographically specific)?

2. Are project budgets remaining steady, or are they going up or down?

3. What is the one thing you have to educate your clients about the most when they come to you requesting a video project?

4. What are your clients looking for when they come to you with a potential project? How has that changed over the years?

5. How has your company evolved with the changes in technology and client demands?

Thanks so much for your help, and above all helping me communicate the best answers.



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seamusRe: Questions about our biz.
by on Jan 6, 2007 at 3:04:01 pm

I'll have my two cents.....

For 80% of the time I'm a freelance video editor/motiongraphics/dvd guy. I work in many diferent companies, seeing many different businesses and their clients.

1. What sort of film and video production trends are you seeing in your market (be geographically specific)?

I'm based in Australia. Also alot of my work is corporate stuff. (event, communication, dvd etc)
As for trends, mmm...well for me its all been DVD for the last 2 years. Before then it was VHS still. I now haven't even handled a VHS for 2 years. Everything ends on DVD. (And not necessarily for the better mind you)
Not sure thats a trend cause its a bit old.

The other is high def. That would definately be a 'trend'

2. Are project budgets remaining steady, or are they going up or down?
fairly consistant I suppose. ALOT of variables here but more or less consistant. But we have had a pretty steady economy for the last decade here in Oz, I think that has played its part.

3. What is the one thing you have to educate your clients about the most when they come to you requesting a video project?
Unbelievably its still ASPECT RATIO! what widescree, 4x3, anamorphic etc all means. Alot of people still just don't get it.
The latest issues are HD related. You can imagine the grief trying to teach them about HD and all its variables when they don't get aspect ratio.
Specifically HDV. thats just a whole format designed to piss off post people with clueless clients!


4. What are your clients looking for when they come to you with a potential project? How has that changed over the years?

Being able to deliver across multiple platforms. The video will be a presentation projected of a DVD one day, hard drive the next, on the net the following day. Each time looking beautiful and taking no time at all to deliver....eesh.

5. How has your company evolved with the changes in technology and client demands?
Being able to do all this on a simple cheap system. Our edit systems now can do everything from DVD authoring, HD post, web compression, all at a pretty cheap outlay. I mean 10 years ago your looking at 6 figure price tags on systems that could do half as much.

The good thing is that it is now all about delivering what the client wants, not about the tools you have. Thats brilliant in my books.






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Nick GriffinRe: Questions about our biz.
by on Jan 7, 2007 at 7:25:52 pm

OK, Greg. I'll bite, too, but briefly.

1. We work in industrial markets, mostly in the US. Production trends are we have to scramble for almost every job we get as budgets seem to be under pressure. (So I guess this addresses 2. also.) Working from the inside out with clients has always been important and that seems so now more than ever. I define "inside out" as being part of the planning process whenever possible and not simply a vendor.

3. We educate our clients about why our stuff looks the way it does. Better takes longer and therefore costs more accordingly.

4. Our clients are looking for the work we do to integrate fully with all other aspects of their communication programs. The change is hopefully that we're getting better at doing that.

5. I consider it odd, or indicative of the narrow segments where we play, that so far NO ONE has asked for high def. In fact, it seems to be going in the opposite direction with more concern always being on down-sampling for web or CD delivery.

I also agree with Seamus that VHS, once our primary delivery vehicle, is dead, dead, dead. Everyone wants DVDs at every stage from window burns to final delivery.


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Larry MeltonRe: Questions about our biz.
by on Jan 9, 2007 at 6:05:48 am

These are interesting questions....

There's more competition than ever. Cheap technology is probably the biggest reason, along with the maturation of the industry.
This keeps prices competitive. In the midwest where I operate a small production company, budgets were up a bit in 2006 - but that was the first time I've seen that this decade. We do a lot of commercials, and one thing I've noticed is that TV stations are doing better work in this area. How do we compete? As Nick said, it's important to try to build strong enough relationships that we become part of the process.

While nobody is specifically asking for HD yet, I dove into HDV about 18 months ago and have been trying to educate clients about it. One of the selling points is that by shooting in HD now, they're building an archive that will work better for them down the road. The other benefit to this is that I am able to provide quality that compares favorably to film production
(especially for TV spots) at a much lower cost. I also like the results better, and that's worth something.

On the road to finding the right solutions to where I am now (JVC Pro HD, Adobe Production Studio with Matrox Axio LE), I tried a few different solutions at a cost of a few thousand dollars. It occurs to me that this is a trend as well - we will be moving through new technologies faster and faster, there will never be another Betacam SP. But the monetary risk is much lower.

Clients are looking for someone they can trust. Whether they want me to write, produce, direct and edit, or just turn on the camera and point it at something, they want to know that I will do what I say - and more - and that I'm honest and worthy of their trust and money. And they want value -
not the cheapest price, but the most for their money. This hasn't changed since I started my business 20 years ago.

I've had a lot of discussions lately with friends and peers about how much this biz has changed over the last 10 years. I have become a computer geek by necessity. I spend at least half of my working hours in front of a computer - editing, compositing, communicating with clients. I can't believe how indispensable e-mail has become. There are times when I complete a project and send out dubs and never speak to my client in person or on the phone - it's all via e-mail. Last year I produced a fairly significant TV spot for a major NASCAR speedway. While I did have some phone conversations with my client, I didn't meet her in person until after the spot had already aired for months. To me, this was a kind of amazing thing - internet approvals and e-mail had removed geographic boundaries.

And yes, VHS is dead. But I also believe that DVDs are on their way to the grave already. I have almost completely stopped making DVDs for the purpose of client approval - I just post it online for them to download. And as the television and computer converge, I'm convinced that's where it's all going.

I have a real love-hate relationship with the current state of this industry. I turned 50 in 2006 and despite my best efforts, I don't know if I'll be able to keep up with the swift changes in technology. When that technology betrays me I find myself incredibly angry and frustrated. But it's amazing that I can produce high-quality video with network and feature-film quality effects on a desktop computer. So that's what I'm trying to do these days, and when it works, I realize I'm lucky to be working in this business. When it doesn't, selling insurance seems pretty attractive.

Hope this was a little helpful.

Larry Melton
Triangle Productions


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