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basic needs and budget estimate for web video

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michelle cohen
basic needs and budget estimate for web video
on Jun 9, 2007 at 6:56:44 pm

I'm in a bit of a spot and am hoping to get some advice asap. I'm talking with a small web startup company who wants someone to produce their video pieces as content for their site (i've been in this industry for years as a producer and work with video as a hobby and have some exp. but not in a professional context).
I would need to coordinate the shoots and produce the video and i need to provide a basic idea of what, and at what estimated cost, they might need to budget for, above and beyond my salary -- I'd be well compensated for this, i just need to come up with a range or ballpark guess at what they'd need to budget for the actual projects beyond that.
I can handle the shooting and, for the most part, the editing myself. Incidentals like cab fare and a few extra pairs of hands are covered as well. They have a partner/vendor who is hosting the video and dealing with ads and player.

here are some examples of the type and quality of the videos that they are looking to produce (after the ads, sorry):

they are providing the basics (camera, mics, mac, Final Cut Pro, etc.), I'm not so worried about the costs of these. It's the production costs for each shoot that I'm not so sure of, esp the items with a *.

can anyone provide some ballpark estimate/range/guess on some or any of the following, and if there is anything major i forgot.
camera, mics, tripod and computer/editing suite are covered and im pretty familiar with those costs so not so much worry about that, unless i'm really wrong as far as needs here. mostly in the dark about lighting and sound needs/budget.

camera (at very least 3 chip DV cam, no need for 24 p or HD)
basic directional and in some cases lavalier mics (recommendations?)
boom pole
decent tripod
*lighting (here's where I need suggestions.)
--minimum lighting -- what sort of lighting package, and minimum cost?

i'll be shooting, I think that will work fine
*sound (again, help!)
--sound recordist/mixer (how much is a low to average day rate for this at minimum?)
--any other expenses around this

--do we need someone to handle the lights, and how much is a minimum for this?

I can handle most of the editing (i know my way around FCP pretty well), but what should we budget for someone to work on this (hourly rate?) should the need arise, for a short piece like one of the ones below.
-- post production sound (what would are needs be here if any?)

talent (pretty sure we'll just use folks from the office or friends here)

re music rights etc. I think we can stick with what's out there for free and i believe my potential employers have this covered.

*are there any other significant expenses i'm missing

many many thanks in advance for your expertise and advice.


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Nick Griffin
Re: basic needs and budget estimate for web video
on Jun 12, 2007 at 5:42:05 pm

Dear Michelle:

I've come across an amazing opportunity and I'm hoping that the folks here can give me enough information that I'll be able to immediately know what I'm doing and become fabulously successful in the process. Seems I've made some new friends who have a Proton Accelerator and a complete Nuclear Physics lab that they want me to run so we can discover the meaning of the Universe. I'm no scientest, but I'm thinking the whole Unified Theory thing can be cracked in a month, maybe two. All I need to get started is to know what it is that I don't yet know.

Sorry, Michelle. Don't mean to be brutal but perhaps the silence is so deafening to your post because:

a) It seems highly improbable (at best) that you'll be able to create a production as complex as the Neutrogena show (the only one of the three examples that I could get to play) without AT LEAST six to ten exceptional people, most with YEARS of experience. (The Neutrogena show credits list 27 people!)

b) There are so many questions, covering so much territory, that your post is at the same time intimidating and wearisome.

c) "...i've been in this industry for years as a producer..." Then stick around a few more years, ask a lot of questions, study everything you can and perhaps you'll have most of these answers and be in a much better position to succeed.

Again, I don't mean to be unkind and with net start-ups success can sometimes be accidental. But if you run into this without a serious amount of know-how and knowledge behind you, you're likely to run into a wall. Hard.

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John Davidson
Re: basic needs and budget estimate for web video
on Jun 12, 2007 at 9:05:58 pm

Michelle, get yourself a good DP, and if you must, direct it yourself, but don't shoot it. Also, find out what your client can afford before you lowball yourself. If you need greenscreen, lighting will be more difficult and expensive. Also, people around the office might not be as effective as actual talent.

Cheap is good, but as Nick said, the Neutro thing had 27 people on it (none of which seemed to have a wireless mic handy!!). Maybe all that money was spent on the hottie from Heroes. Well spent if you ask me!

Alot of the production decisions (like shooting HVX100 24p vs video), need to be based on the product. For example, makeup type products want a softer, glowy look to hide wrinkles. Technology products wants your visuals to be crisp and cool for better detailed viewing.

There's just way too much here to think about without knowing alot more, which would then borderline on folks doing the work for you.

Talk to your producer friends. You'll be able to disclose more and get better feedback.

Good luck!

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