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Any Recommendations on How to Make a Marketing Video

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Andrea WoogerdAny Recommendations on How to Make a Marketing Video
by on Jul 11, 2011 at 8:38:31 pm

I am brand new to video production and I need to make a marketing video for high-end engineering tools. Does anyone have any suggestions on classes I could take or online tutorials to look at for the basics on how to do this project? Basic tips are also appreciated.


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Mark SuszkoRe: Any Recommendations on How to Make a Marketing Video
by on Jul 11, 2011 at 9:36:02 pm

Get one of these books, stat:



the King:

http://www.amazon.com/Scriptwriting-High-Impact-Videos-Imaginative-Informat...



His book will tell you everything you need to know and more, a very good resource in the first or updated second edition. You can read it in a day, but you will profit from it for a lifetime. I did.



The Queen:

http://www.amazon.com/Corporate-Scriptwriting-Book-Donna-Matrazzo/dp/B000PC...

Matrazzo's book is old, but it is still a fast-paced, fun, easy to read and follow guide to the process, which hasn't changed all that much. Her book also gives good case study examples.



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Bill DavisRe: Any Recommendations on How to Make a Marketing Video
by on Jul 12, 2011 at 3:42:28 am

Hi Andrea,

It's a little like being asked to build a "car." There are a LOT of sub-systems and parts to consider.

A simple car - like a soap box derby racer - can be built in a week or so - using kit parts - and anyone with general skills can expect to be reasonably successful on their first time out.

Building a modern automobile like they do in Detroit, however, requires vast resources, years of design skills and huge amounts of time, effort and money.

Obviously you're not trying to create a hollywood blockbuster - so you aren't going to be playing in the rarified relms of the pros - but if you want a quality result when doing anything inherently complex, you need a good plan that you can follow.

Morley's fine book will start your thinking in excellent ways. But thinking isn't the same as doing.

The critical components are A) an overall plan (sometimes called a "treatment" that outlines what you're going to try to accomplish with your project. The treatment leads to a script. The script leads to a shooting plan (who and what you need to have in order to execute the script and where and when those assets need to be in place!) The script and shooting plan taken out on location or into the studio to do the actual shooting. The resulting field work is brought into Editing - where the parts are assembled into a whole. Then typically the last step is to output the finished project in a form that the client can use - e.g. files for broadcast, web assets, discs, whatever.

That's the general workflow in it's simplest form.

Most here who do this professionally, will tell you that the pre-production (everything before the camera records the first shot) is the most critical to a projects eventual success. And that time, effort and resources spent on developing a good script, acquiring competent talent, and making sure all the logistics are good to go before your first day of production - is the most critical part of getting quality results.

Hope that helps.

"Before speaking out ask yourself whether your words are true, whether they are respectful and whether they are needed in our civil discussions."-Justice O'Conner


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Tom SeftonRe: Any Recommendations on How to Make a Marketing Video
by on Jul 12, 2011 at 11:31:28 am

Maybe you could tell me how to make your tools and then I can trade information with you, in a fair swapsy style.

Or you could pay someone who knows what they are doing.

Just a thought.


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Mike SmithRe: Any Recommendations on How to Make a Marketing Video
by on Jul 12, 2011 at 1:20:07 pm

I have a buyer's guide, due a refresh but largely solid content, at http://www.grapevinecommunications.co.uk/buyersguide/


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Craig SeemanRe: Any Recommendations on How to Make a Marketing Video
by on Jul 12, 2011 at 2:56:19 pm

Most important is to know or define a target market/demographic.
Think about what engages, entertains, informs them.
You're not selling products but solutions. Show benefits.
Don't confuse a marketing video with a training video.

Once you can identify the above, then you can figure out the ways to tell your story.



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Scott CarnegieRe: Any Recommendations on How to Make a Marketing Video
by on Jul 12, 2011 at 3:14:45 pm

Best thing to do, hire someone locally that has experience to co-produce it and learn from them.

http://www.MediaCircus.TV
Media Production Services
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada


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Marv MarvinRe: Any Recommendations on How to Make a Marketing Video
by on Jul 12, 2011 at 5:01:08 pm

Get a clue Tom. What do you think the purpose of communities like this is? People come to the Cow for advice. Some know everything there is to know about producing a video (like yourself) and others haven’t ever focused a camera or flipped open a FCP manual. Instead of taking offense to Andrea’s question on how to do this on her own, rather than pay a professional, why don’t you try contributing the forum with a real answer or go away.


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Juris EkstsRe: Any Recommendations on How to Make a Marketing Video
by on Jul 12, 2011 at 10:22:37 pm

It's not clear what expertise the OP has, she may be looking to do this herself, or she may be finding out ways of contacting and hiring a large production company to produce a quality product, so it may be a total waste of time to go through, on The Cow, detail by detail all the steps neccessary to answer the question fully.
So Tom's reccomendation may actually the most appropriate one.
Maybe Andrea will come back and respond to all the suggestions and expand on her needs.

(From my brief glance at it, I think she should go through Mike Smith's guide very thoroughly.)

P.S. I would have said that as the product being sold is High End, the marketing video should also be High End.


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Scott SheriffRe: Any Recommendations on How to Make a Marketing Video
by on Jul 14, 2011 at 4:06:22 am

[Marv Marvin] "What do you think the purpose of communities like this is?"

IMO, You are way off base. This is mostly a professional users forum for colleagues to exchange tips and idea's.
It is not Intro to Production 101 at your local 2 year school's MassComm program.
If you want to take the OP from the "I don't own or know how to use a camera" stage to the "I need a finished video presentation" stage, feel free.
But I don't think that is the purpose of this forum, or any of the others here.
Perhaps Ron might chime in with his thoughts.

I completely agree with Tom. The OP is asking for a recommendation, and considering the circumstances, the best, and only recommendation is to hire someone with experience to do this. Especially if you want professional looking results.
Sometimes people are just looking for the 'easy button', and have completely unrealistic expectations. I think it is fair and proper to point this out, instead of leading them on some fantasy that they can learn several large skill-sets overnight from a couple of posts on a forum.
You can go down the thread and read my reply to the OP, if you like.

Scott Sheriff
Director
http://www.sstdigitalmedia.com


"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur." ---Red Adair

Where were you on 6/21?


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Tom SeftonRe: Any Recommendations on How to Make a Marketing Video
by on Jul 14, 2011 at 3:23:21 pm

Wow Marv, you are an angry fella. Or is it Andrea? I note you only joined recently....

As another individual has already commented, this is a professional forum for mutually sharing advice. I don't think I'm being unfair to say that a question from a complete novice that is asking how to do the same job that I have trained and learned over an 8 year period is too much. That question is totally indicative of where our business has been going in the last 5 years - don't pay the guy who knows how to do it, get the guy(or girl) in marketing to have a go and we will just buy them a camera and a copy of FCPX. When I started, Creative Cow was a growing resource out of which Aaron Rabinowitz and Andrew Kramer have added more tutorials and know-how from external sites. It is know a wonderful place where as you pointed out "people come for advice". I have, and in many cases it has helped me immensely.

If you are a video professional, you should be fighting your corner as hard and as fierce as you can. When I have been asked questions by kids who are starting in the industry and have valid points to make about how to run a business, how to deal with a client, how to shoot a particular scene, how to tight edit something, how to deliver on a particular medium, what equipment to use etc. I have been more than willing to help. This wasn't a request like that - it was a request for the community here to tell you exactly how to do your job so you could take the budget away from someone who really knew what they were doing. If you really needed an answer and you wanted to learn you would have typed the question into google, watched every tutorial on here and then come back with a specific query. I felt this was too much.

I hope Andrea didn't find my response offensive, and I note that you have now started to bad mouth me on other responses. Thanks for that. I notice that you haven't exactly been offering people sterling advice around here, so it's a little bit much that you fire at me about this being a sharing community for all, when you don't seem to have shared that much....

If you really want to learn, watch all the tutorials on here and videocopilot. Then come back and ask a question that a community of video professionals would not be asked by a novice.

If I was out of line, please can other Cow members let me know directly and I will stop responding to posts on here and go back to being a lurker.

Thank you.


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Scott SheriffRe: Any Recommendations on How to Make a Marketing Video
by on Jul 14, 2011 at 8:30:41 pm

[Tom Sefton] "If I was out of line, please can other Cow members let me know directly and I will stop responding to posts on here and go back to being a lurker."

Tom,
IMO, you hit the nail on the head, and I applaud you for standing up and telling it like it is.
Because if anyone is out of line, it's the OP. I doubt the OP meant any harm, but requests like that are basically rude, and demeaning. They show there is a huge disconnect in reality when someone thinks they can just buy a "cheap camera" and get a "beginning student" (Andrea's words, not mine) to shoot their footage, and thats all it takes to make a marketing video for a "high end" product. Or maybe whats even more surprising is that there are other professionals on the forum jumping up to not only help, but to even defend this behavior.
This would be like asking a mechanic to post the entire process for removing, rebuilding and reinstalling the engine in your car because the kid down the street could do it for free if he just knew how it was done, and had a cheap wrench or two.
If anyone thinks that is a reasonable request, or it's the purpose of these forums. I would suggest they call up some other trade professionals and try to go down that road with them and see how far they get.

Scott Sheriff
Director
http://www.sstdigitalmedia.com


"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur." ---Red Adair

Where were you on 6/21?


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Tom SeftonRe: Any Recommendations on How to Make a Marketing Video
by on Jul 14, 2011 at 8:57:58 pm

Thanks Scott. I'm not surprised at what other professionals have done here in any way. It just shows what generous and well meaning people they are. I'm not. I want my business and all of the people's who post on this fine forum to remain secret, sacred and difficult to learn. Because then we will start making money again. I'm not advocating greed is good but our industry is facing some big problems-highlighted most recently by apple's willingness to stick 2 fingers up at the creative video industry to gain more sales with consumers and the dreaded prosumer with its release of fcpx and dropping of fcp7. Andreas question was well meaning and naive, that's all; I just don't like giving up secrets about our trade so that someone can do the job on the cheap and a video pro brother or sister in the USA or wherever in the world misses out. Andrea, for the record I wish you all the best with this job, and any others you get. If this is going to be your chosen career I hope it's a successful one.

Peace?


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Scott SheriffRe: Any Recommendations on How to Make a Marketing Video
by on Jul 14, 2011 at 9:34:02 pm

[Tom Sefton] "I'm not surprised at what other professionals have done here in any way. It just shows what generous and well meaning people they are. I'm not. I want my business and all of the people's who post on this fine forum to remain secret, sacred and difficult to learn. Because then we will start making money again. I'm not advocating greed is good but our industry is facing some big problems-highlighted most recently by apple's willingness to stick 2 fingers up at the creative video industry to gain more sales with consumers and the dreaded prosumer with its release of fcpx and dropping of fcp7. Andreas question was well meaning and naive, that's all; I just don't like giving up secrets about our trade so that someone can do the job on the cheap and a video pro brother or sister in the USA or wherever in the world misses out. Andrea, for the record I wish you all the best with this job, and any others you get. If this is going to be your chosen career I hope it's a successful one."

I think this is a good discussion to have in a forum like this.
I completely agree that many here are well meaning.
I also agree we must stop cutting our own throats. To stand in line for twenty years, and let people that just showed up get in the front of the line is self-defeating.
I'm sure the well meaning guys that have all the work they could use, and are getting the best rates, don't really ever stop to think that handing out the easy answer advice from halfway across the globe to someone that hasn't paid their dues could be taking food off the table of those that have worked hard to learn their craft, but do not have all the work they could use.
We need to stop doing that 100% across the board.
And it isn't really helping the newcomers either, at least in the long term. It would be better for many of them to be forced into some type of basic learning of the craft to build their skills on as they progress. If all we are going to do is put out every little fire they have without any effort on their part, they will never be as good as they could have been.

Scott Sheriff
Director
http://www.sstdigitalmedia.com


"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur." ---Red Adair

Where were you on 6/21?


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Craig SeemanRe: Any Recommendations on How to Make a Marketing Video
by on Jul 14, 2011 at 9:29:23 pm

[Scott Sheriff] "Because if anyone is out of line, it's the OP. I doubt the OP meant any harm, but requests like that are basically rude, and demeaning."

Keep in mind we don't know the circumstances. For all we know she'd an underling with an oppressive bean counting department head who stuck her with this job. She didn't ask us to manage the project for her. She asked about classes and tutorials. It's also possible that this isn't going to be a mass distributed marketing video. It may be that a small group is coming by for a meeting and the company just wants a basic no budget presentation.

[Scott Sheriff] "whats even more surprising is that there are other professionals on the forum jumping up to not only help, but to even defend this behavior."

It may not be her behavior at issue. It may be her boss who put her in this situation.

[Scott Sheriff] "This would be like asking a mechanic to post the entire process for removing, rebuilding and reinstalling the engine in your car because the kid down the street could do it for free if he just knew how it was done, and had a cheap wrench or two."

Or maybe she's just asking where to find one of those DIY how to fix my engine books because the boss doesn't want to pay for a mechanic.



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Scott SheriffRe: Any Recommendations on How to Make a Marketing Video
by on Jul 14, 2011 at 10:13:16 pm

[Craig Seeman] "Keep in mind we don't know the circumstances. For all we know she'd an underling with an oppressive bean counting department head who stuck her with this job. She didn't ask us to manage the project for her. She asked about classes and tutorials. It's also possible that this isn't going to be a mass distributed marketing video. It may be that a small group is coming by for a meeting and the company just wants a basic no budget presentation."

I know that the threads stack up here out of order sometimes, and I know that not everyone reads every forum. But I'm not basing my entire opinion on just this one posting in this forum. You may have only seen this one posting.

[Craig Seeman] "It may not be her behavior at issue. It may be her boss who put her in this situation."

That may be entirely true, but I don't think it is all that relevant. For example, I don't think the bean counter excuse would be a defense for software piracy. If the accountants are to cheap to go buy an NLE app, and your boss demands you start editing, does that make it OK to make bootleg copies from a friends set of discs?
I'm not really questioning Andrea's motives. I'm just saying she's asking a lot of other people that do this for a living, for whatever reason. And may be setting herself up for failure in the process.
A lot of us had parents that let us drive the car on back roads long before we were old enough for a learners permit. But they wouldn't let a underage learning driver loose on the 405 in LA. Recipe for disaster.


[Craig Seeman] "Or maybe she's just asking where to find one of those DIY how to fix my engine books because the boss doesn't want to pay for a mechanic."

My above two answers combined cover my thoughts on this, and I would add that helping Andrea could be taking work from other fellow COW types, in her area. Because there is a big difference between helping a colleague that already has a gig, but may have hit a minor road block. And making it possible for the gate crashers to land work that they are not really ready for yet, that should really go to someone that is ready.
Did you see the thread above about invoice issues? In that thread Michael Hancock posted a talk by Mike Monteiro gave on getting paid:
http://forums.creativecow.net/thread/17/874262
If you haven't seen, or watched it, I would highly recommend it. It relates to this because some of the possible 'outs' you give Andrea, or her boss are a lot like some of the excuses clients use to try and weasel out of paying.

Scott Sheriff
Director
http://www.sstdigitalmedia.com


"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur." ---Red Adair

Where were you on 6/21?


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Craig SeemanRe: Any Recommendations on How to Make a Marketing Video
by on Jul 14, 2011 at 10:53:56 pm

[Scott Sheriff] "That may be entirely true, but I don't think it is all that relevant. For example, I don't think the bean counter excuse would be a defense for software piracy. If the accountants are to cheap to go buy an NLE app, and your boss demands you start editing, does that make it OK to make bootleg copies from a friends set of discs?"

And if it means she doesn't and she looses her job . . . There are many unscrupulous businesses and it's not out of character if a business is that cheap. All it takes is one crappy manager, not the whole business. There are businesses who will steal footage for internal marketing or conferences and the poor employee who has to follow orders or get fired is put into an uncomfortable place.

[Scott Sheriff] "I would add that helping Andrea could be taking work from other fellow COW types, in her area."

It doesn't sound like her boss is open to that kind of budgeting.

[Scott Sheriff] "If you haven't seen, or watched it, I would highly recommend it. It relates to this because some of the possible 'outs' you give Andrea, or her boss are a lot like some of the excuses clients use to try and weasel out of paying.
"


I saw that a while back. I never give a client an out. Its a whole 'nother ballgame if you're an employee though. I can tell some stories . . .



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Marv MarvinRe: Any Recommendations on How to Make a Marketing Video
by on Jul 15, 2011 at 7:43:32 pm

You are correct Tom; I didn’t join until reading your post. I’m a long time lurker and I never thought I had anything to say that people could benefit from. That said, this has been a quite interesting thread…

The reason I sided with Andrea is because I have taken the steps to become a professional but haven’t been fortunate enough to make it in the business. I’ve graduated from college, worked an internship in video production, and I’m now begrudgingly working in print design and working video production on the side.

Do I know how to slap together a marketing video as Andrea requests…sure, but I’m hopeful that someone will give her a sliver of info that I hadn’t thought of that just might give me the edge on my next project. God forbid we ever revisit the basics.


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Scott SheriffRe: Any Recommendations on How to Make a Marketing Video
by on Jul 14, 2011 at 3:44:42 am

[Andrea Woogerd] "I am brand new to video production and I need to make a marketing video for high-end engineering tools. Does anyone have any suggestions on classes I could take or online tutorials to look at for the basics on how to do this project? Basic tips are also appreciated."

I'm not clear on if it is your tools that you want to make a video for, or if you have been hired by someone to do this.
Either way, you are probably going to think I'm a jerk for saying this, but you need to hire a professional to do this.
I'm basing this opinion on this post, plus this post by you in the JVC camera forum.
"I am looking to purchase my first video camera. It will be used to market high-end engineering tools. I need something that is preferably on the cheaper side and that can be easily operated by a beginning student."

So if this is your product, and you want to have a professional looking presentation to match the quality of the product, you need to hire someone with experience. Not DIY, and not some unnamed student.

If you have been hired by someone, you are doing them a great disservice by attempting to take on a project with no experience, and then charging them money. Period, end of story.

Scott Sheriff
Director
http://www.sstdigitalmedia.com


"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur." ---Red Adair

Where were you on 6/21?


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Sam CornelisRe: Any Recommendations on How to Make a Marketing Video
by on Jul 14, 2011 at 7:33:54 am

I'd say, don't get too aggressive here. Everybody has to start somewhere. Suppose the question is: "Hi, I want to learn what it takes to make a good mkt video for engineering tools. Then I'd say: do not focus on the tools, since you are starting. Tools and equipment grow as you grow. Any camera and computer will do to learn how to tell your story. And what is your story ? That is the main question you have to ask when you produce your video - or, what is the question the buyers of the engineering tools have. Try to answer that question, and you are on a good path to make a good video. Now, buyers of engineering tools have one special thing: they want to know how it works, what it does and want to see that the tool is the best fit for their needs. They often look very close to technical details. And you have to find a way to show the technical details at a glance. But get those details perfect. The technical details of high-end engineering tools are their main selling point. Very often you may want to incorporate animations in your video to explain that.

Sam


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Scott SheriffRe: Any Recommendations on How to Make a Marketing Video
by on Jul 14, 2011 at 9:13:46 pm

[Sam Cornelis] "Everybody has to start somewhere."

I agree, everyone does have to start somewhere.
But setting yourself up for failure is not the best way to get started.
Normally you go to school, get an internship, and get some OTJ training as an assistant. Or some combination of the above. The OP just wants to go from the start line, to the finish line, without running the race in-between. Look at what is required here, and how many specialty disciplines are involved.

Writing and Scripting
Producing
Audience and Demographics
Equipment Acquisition
Camera Operation
Lighting
Sound Recording
Graphics
Editing
Finish and Distribution.

Sure lots of one man band guys do this stuff all the time. But they have Experience.
Seems like a lot to learn in order to accomplish the stated goal of making a marketing piece for a high-end product. Especially since the OP seems to be starting from ground zero as far as experience, is committed to buying cheap equipment, and hiring beginning students as crew.

The 'Good', 'Fast', 'Cheap', rule of thumb triangle never lies. You can only have any two, of these three things in your project.
If it is applied to this problem, it points out the obvious.
The OP wants 'Good'-Marketing video for a high-end product.
The OP wants 'Fast'-Condense years of experience into reading a couple of help posts.
The OP wants 'Cheap'-DIY by an inexperienced person, or persons learning OTJ, using cheap gear.

Nowhere in the known universe can you have Good, Fast and Cheap all in the same project. Since this is the Marketing and Business forum, I think it is quite proper to point this out.

Scott Sheriff
Director
http://www.sstdigitalmedia.com


"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur." ---Red Adair

Where were you on 6/21?


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Mark SuszkoRe: Any Recommendations on How to Make a Marketing Video
by on Jul 15, 2011 at 2:37:40 am

Tom, with respect, and not tying to insult you, but if you think the only way to survive in this business is to stop giving people free advice because they might use it against you to wrest away your clients some day, you're in the wrong business and you are already doomed.

We can give away the "secret sauce" all day, but it doesn't make the newbies into Cordon Bleu chefs. Whether you want us to sit in the "cone of silence" or not, thousands of fresh kids are coming out of college and tech school media programs every year, looking for work. There is nothing you can do regarding keeping "secrets" of our experience away from these multitudes that will have the slightest slowing effect on their advance. One of the COW articles recently was about how even among the most experienced of moderators, nobody is an expert at EVERYTHING equally. An entire industry exists to inform and train these people and us, and the COW is one component of that.

My outlook on the issue you raise is that you can't stop the hordes, you can't make the industry a private club or priesthood, but, you MAY be able to educate them so that they understand how to value their time and work, and not race to the bottom to deliver cut rates. If you grow a more savvy consumer of media production services, you're creating more opportunities to steer new business your way, as the customer moves up the food chain looking for more and more value-added.

Four times in my career I've been approached by operations that wanted a list of what to buy to make them a successful self-contained production operation, the so-called "secret sauce". Pretty much every one of those operations is long gone. The one that's left, that didn't want to keep using me because they thought it would be cheaper to DIY, still sends me business cleaning up and improving the stuff they do "in house". One place hired me to come in and shoot. I asked why bring me in when they had their own in-house operation. "We wanted actual quality for this", they told me. I told the guys asking for the shopping lists you can't buy gear that magically makes you know what you are doing.

You cannot stop the wave, Tom. You can try to surf it, and navigate in a way that gives you a pleasant ride and takes you safely to the shore of retirement. But to suggest that what we do on the COW to help and advise people is hurting the business is like complaining the ocean is too wet.


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Tom SeftonRe: Any Recommendations on How to Make a Marketing Video
by on Jul 15, 2011 at 8:14:27 am

I think you have misunderstood my post mark. I'm not going to comment any more, other then say-I have clearly stated that I have offered other young video pro's tips on their career in the past and I applaud others for doing so too. This was a totally different request. I have pointed out that the problem rests on companies asking beginners in their employ to take on video work rather than paying for it, not advising fellow professionals. I know my quality sells my work. But as our job is shown to be easier, video producers make less money.

You surely can't be missing the point that this was a request from someone on how to make a video that x years ago YOU would have been pricing up?

I ain't doomed pal, I just like sticking up for my fellow pro's.


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Mark SuszkoRe: Any Recommendations on How to Make a Marketing Video
by on Jul 15, 2011 at 12:17:18 pm







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Andrea WoogerdRe: Any Recommendations on How to Make a Marketing Video
by on Jul 15, 2011 at 4:08:04 am

I apologize for having sparked such a debate. I was given this project by my boss and have no idea how to go about it. A friend of mine who is in the business suggested that I post a general message on this site to get ideas on where to begin. It appears he was mistaken on the purpose of these forums or perhaps he had a different idea on what I should have said in my request. Apologies if I have offended anyone. It was unintended.


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Craig SeemanRe: Any Recommendations on How to Make a Marketing Video
by on Jul 15, 2011 at 5:02:24 am

I've seen many people get thrown neck deep into projects by bosses with unfair and unrealistic expectations. It's unfortunate people blamed you when just asked about where to go to learn this stuff.

This might be worth looking at.
http://www.videouniversity.com/shop/marketing-with-digital-video
or this, although it's about "home" business, it's focused specifically on corporate video.
http://www.videouniversity.com/shop/professional-video-producer-how-to-star...



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Sam CornelisRe: Any Recommendations on How to Make a Marketing Video
by on Jul 15, 2011 at 7:50:51 am

Don't worry about it. It is not because Scott and Tom want to protect their business, that you may not ask questions.

In my opinion, the only thing that matters is that you don't make boring video's. Have respect for your audience. I have seen boring video's from very experienced people, I have seen even more boring video's from first year students. But the other way is also true: I have seen amazing video's from 16 year old kids and I have seen amazing video's from very old bastards.

The thing is, if it is interesting for yourself, chances are great that it is interesting for your audience. And how do you keep it interesting ? Look at your footage over and over again. Try to spot what is different with the ones from others that you like. Redo it and repeat. That is the only way to learn it. Do it, do it do it. Also, try to find people who are not afraid to say that they don't like the video. Ask them why they don't like it - and fix it.

If there is one thing that both the 16 year old wizard and the genious old bastard have in common, is that they are very passionate, dedicated and committed to settle only for the best result.

And to the ones that are afraid to loose business by giving away some "secret sauce": you shouldn't be afraid. If someone got "it", you can't stop them. If someone doesn't have "it", he/she will never be a thread to your business, since you can perform always better, thanks to your experience.

And if the boss doesn't want to pay for your experience, you don't loose any business here - because he wasn't going to give you the order in the first place.

I have been a long time reader (not contributor) to this forum, and I often spot this weird fear for youngsters - you know, the kid making great video's with the handycam. You know what ? Today it is not even the handycam anymore, it is the smartphone. Times change - tools change - requirements change - and even more: the expectation of the audience is changing. But what doesn't change is the the need for dedication and talent.

Let's keep it interesting, and just create good stuff - novice and experienced. Shall we?

(uhm, it seems that I got a little bit carried away)

sam


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Scott SheriffRe: Any Recommendations on How to Make a Marketing Video
by on Jul 15, 2011 at 6:17:32 pm

[Sam Cornelis] "Don't worry about it. It is not because Scott and Tom want to protect their business"

You have got that all wrong. I'm not trying to protect my business, I'm trying to protect your business by not reaching across the globe from another market via the internet helping your competitor get work. The "your" being the working professionals that have major investments in time and equipment. And the competitor being the guy with no overhead, and no experience that is bringing everyone's rates down.
As I said, if you want to take the time writing an A to Z guide to video production for every newbie that comes along, that's your business. Tom and I were trying to point out that you may be hurting fellow colleagues in your effort to help the newbies. And you may not be helping them at all, because some will get in over their heads based on your initial help.
I think these are all valid considerations, and worth discussing. And it doesn't make us evil because some of us will draw the line on how much free help we are willing to hand out, and to whom. You will see plenty of posts where we have helped out colleagues that are our direct competition.

[Sam Cornelis] "And if the boss doesn't want to pay for your experience, you don't loose any business here - because he wasn't going to give you the order in the first place."

That is not always true. Sometimes people just are unaware of the costs, and how it is done. Armed with that information, people like Andrea can often go back to their boss with the facts and get the budget to do it right and hire professionals And often in doing that they will gain valuable experience, with much less career risk.
Everyone on this forum has at least one story of doing repair jobs for clients that tried to go the DIY route, and in the end it cost them a lot more than if they would have hired experience over low cost in the first place.

There's a sign in the service waiting room at my car dealer, which says:
Service Rates
$50 per hour
$100 per hour if you watch
$200 per hour if you help
$500 per hour if you started the job yourself, and need us to fix it.

Scott Sheriff
Director
http://www.sstdigitalmedia.com


"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur." ---Red Adair

Where were you on 6/21?


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Sam CornelisRe: Any Recommendations on How to Make a Marketing Video
by on Jul 15, 2011 at 8:25:38 pm

Yeah ... being creative, I like this discussion. I know it is getting off topic ... but hey, it's friday.

Thank you for protecting my business, Scott, but I don't feel threatened by this question, not even after you made your point. If you read my thoughts about creating a marketing video, you'll see that there are no big secrets hidden in it. Just like Mark writes: you won't become a Cordon Bleu chef.

Will not giving tips and in stead trying to talk Andrea the assignment out or her head and switch over to a professional organization, save the business? I doubt if you can change their minds.

In this case, Andrea has gotten an assignment: "make me a video". If you weren't in your current position, but in Andrea's, you'd love to get a question like that and start working on it, immediately. Just because -admit it - making video's is big fun. So why pass it? It is a chance to start with something.

And of course, the result would be better with a professional crew, and as you point out in your long (very well thought) post: the result may be disappointing - or maybe just good enough. Lessons will be taken for the next project - and maybe they spend the 50.000 (I doubt it), or they keep on the same track. That's up to them to decide.

You say that Andrea may be able to convince her boss to go professional if she has your information. I don't see any incentive for her to do so, and if a boss has an idea .... very often they'll stick to their ideas. Especially in this DIY age - "Go Create", remember.

And yes, many professionals say that good work can only be produced by experienced people with expensive equipment. This is something I read in a lot of places in this forum.

In my opinion, this is not true. One reason is: it is not the equipment, that makes a video that people love to see. It is the idea and the creativity that is important. In your example about Cogswell vs. George: if George had a more creative and appealing idea, he'd win. Actually, you say it in your example: he did exactly what is boss asked, nothing more. That is the reason for his loss, he didn't use his creativity.

Another reason why you should take small budget project seriously is, that the audience is very, very much used to watch the average youtube video. Whether you like it or not, standards are lowering. The big thing is here: how can you still make money out of it? Not by offending the people who work like that, but by embracing this new evolution and ... you can guess it: use your creativity. Since you have a lot of experience, you also should have a lot of creativity. That is your biggest strength against a competitor - especially against a "cheap" one.

If you try to protect your business the way your are doing it right now, it will be a dead end. There is a wave of new competitors coming ... think of all graphic designers, photographers, youngsters who have a perfect feeling of the new times etc. that now have access to the world of filmmaking - and often have a very good eye for design. You can't stop them from changing their minds. If you try to do so, you are making the same mistake the music business did. And look where they are now.

On the other hand ... there may be a new, big market for cheap, lower standard video's, but there is also a big new market for high quality video's. Think of infotainment systems, narrowcasting etc.. there are much more channels that need to be filled with content than there was ever before. And trust me, big chains with lots of stores will always relay on professionals.

All I want to say is: everyone deserves their space, even the kid with the camera - and they are no threat to anyone. In fact, they can sometimes produce very interesting and inspiring stuff.


(note: if my car dealer had I sign like that ... I'd go for the 50$ option and never return. I don't like it when people treat you as a morron - even when I am one.)
(for the record: I am somewhere in between the high-level video guy and the kid)


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Tom SeftonRe: Any Recommendations on How to Make a Marketing Video
by on Jul 15, 2011 at 9:50:31 pm

Great post Sam. You are bang on. Creativity will always win, no arguments here. I'm a creative as are all of the people who visit this forum. I'm just interested to know what business model to use if we are supposed to admit that using cheap cameras, cheap production crews and cheap edit suites for videos makes as good results as using top quality gear and crews if we have a great idea? Once prices come to such a low point and videos are all high quality because we are working our arses off to be as creative as possible on small budgets, no-one will ever get those prices back up. Ever. 

If a client gets a $50k result from $5k budget then you will never get them paying more than $5k.

Why should we sell our creativity, our skills and experience and our expensive equipment for less? Once hourly rates drop as low as $30 an hour across the board, a business will never ever earn more than $72k per year. Working every day per year 10 hours per day. Less equipment, rent, tax, expenses, software, utilities and staff you won't have much less. But if you are ok with that, the company who employs you sure as hell will be!

I know that there is now a massive Market for small budget videos-we are making decent money in it, but we don't offer big budget results for it, we show the client the difference in what they are paying for - cheaper camera, cheaper edit suite and no crew and they usually come up with some more money to make it superfunky.

We constantly compete with young video companies-some we lose, but the majority we win because we are good and we have experience. My old man always said-they pay for the job, my experience is free....

The only mistake you make is claiming that because we are not willing to help young beginners for free (I am happy to do it if they are a pro, not for a freebie for an intern in a company who should be spending with you) we could be in trouble. What about the hundreds of companies in the UK and USA who don't bother reading or writing on cow forums or helping others? Are they doomed or are they too busy counting their cash and roll call of big clients? I know 5 video pro's in the immediate area around me who turn over more than £150k per year and have never thought to read a cow forum, they are great at their job and know how to make money though! 

Best of luck-I won't stop trying to protect your and my budgets and creative integrity because I'm convinced that is the only way for us all to make a good living from the industry we all love. Have a good weekend! 


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Sam CornelisRe: Any Recommendations on How to Make a Marketing Video
by on Jul 18, 2011 at 10:12:05 am

Tom, you are right, this is the true question: how do you make money from it? I honestly don't know, but I have some thoughts about which path to follow, a path that fits for us. Time will tell if it is a good one.

Lowering the rates is certainly not an option. Putting a different value against those rates could be an option. If we start a new project, we don't assume it will be a video in the first place. It may be a broader experience - think website, campagne on narrowcasting systems, campagne on USBstick/DVD ... . Maybe animated graphics combined with video will show the message in a better, more spectacular way. The thing is: all those extras are software driven. And using software means automations and templates, means re-usability, means lowering production time, lowering cost - but giving a greater value. This means you can sell it at the same rates (or even higher rates), and with a lower cost you can increase your margins. I call it being creative with technology.

We have to invest a lot of our time to constantly improve ourselves - but it is fun to do, since you can achieve great results and those results are easy to sell at a good price.

I never said you will be in trouble when you tell no-pro-youngsters to go away (that was someone else). I just wanted to say that you can't stop them by acting like that, nor can you bring anyone else in danger by advising them. Actually, everyone's situation is so different that everyone should follow their own path: being it the broad approach, being it the high-quality approach, being it the I-don't care companies you mentioned, or even being it the cheap stuff.

As long as the end result is something interesting to look at, its okay for me, and if it is not ... I'll find something else to look at.


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Scott SheriffRe: Any Recommendations on How to Make a Marketing Video
by on Jul 15, 2011 at 10:15:04 pm

[Sam Cornelis] "And yes, many professionals say that good work can only be produced by experienced people with expensive equipment. This is something I read in a lot of places in this forum.

In my opinion, this is not true. One reason is: it is not the equipment, that makes a video that people love to see. It is the idea and the creativity that is important."


Thanks for reading my other post. I realize it's TL;DR. This one is too.

I'm afraid I have to disagree that creativity is more important than standards.
If you are living in a house, flying a plane, or driving a car made by someone else, would you prefer it to be built creatively, or with standards?
Not everything in this business is done to entertain. In fact the majority of it is not, and there are many, many jobs that there is no premium placed on the entertainment value.
So do you like to shoot sans lighting and mics, and go au naturale and avoid all that expensive gear? I actually hope you don't because using an on-camera mic sucks, and most people fail miserably at using available light. Who wants to spend time doing things that suck? I don't.
Maybe we should just start doing in-camera edits too. NO, let's not. That would suck too.
The newbies just don't want to invest the time, or money into doing it the right way. Instead it's a lot easier and cheaper to just not have any standards, and say that those that have some are snobs. Don't fall into the trap of believing that crap.
That's OK for some folks, but I'm never going to be an advocate for lowering production values. Even if it is the current rage. I learned to use, and own what you would call "expensive equipment". I want things to be lit, have good audio, be shot with the sticks and have B-roll to cover the edits, etc. I know having standards makes me somewhat of a dinosaur, or a snob, I'm OK with that.
This reminds me of the demonetization of the rich, and the people that want to tax them 'just because'. This make the assumption you will never get rich, or don't aspire to be rich.
To advocate for, or even just accept the lowering of standards as being OK, is the same thing. It is saying that you have no interest in moving your career to any level above entry level, or having knowledge of intermediate, or advanced skills. Whats the point of getting in this business if all you want to do is schlock work?
Look, you may think that shooting some 60 year old CEO's annual speech to the stockholders isn't creative enough for you, or isn't interesting enough to do more than a half-ass job. But that guy is a paying client and deserves the best.
He deserves to be lit, mic'd and made-up properly. He deserves to have his camera on a tripod, and have a well composed frame. He deserves to have the people doing the lighting, shooting, audio, and editing to have skills in their jobs he is paying for. It may seem quaint to do all that for something that isn't very interesting, or very creative. But he is a paying client, and it is interesting to him, and that is what professionals do. Anything less than this falls below the threshold of what 'professional' is. And believe it or not, that type of work is a lot of what video production is.

Scott Sheriff
Director
http://www.sstdigitalmedia.com


"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur." ---Red Adair

Where were you on 6/21?


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Scott SheriffRe: Any Recommendations on How to Make a Marketing Video
by on Jul 15, 2011 at 5:38:07 pm

[Andrea Woogerd] "I apologize for having sparked such a debate. I was given this project by my boss and have no idea how to go about it. A friend of mine who is in the business suggested that I post a general message on this site to get ideas on where to begin. It appears he was mistaken on the purpose of these forums or perhaps he had a different idea on what I should have said in my request. Apologies if I have offended anyone. It was unintended."

No apologies are needed. Your posts simply brought up a common occurrence that generate a spirited discussion. In a 'room' full of creative people, that is going to happen.
Also don't forget that a lot of us are sitting at our desks working while we are doing this, so there is a tendency to get straight to the point, which can seem abrupt. Don't take it personal. It's not.

We have spent some time talking about if/why we should help the nouveau-cinema folks, but lets talk about your situation for a minute and get back OT.

As far as your project, I would use caution. What we do isn't brain surgery, but yet there are a lot of things you learn over the years. Video/film projects of any length have hundreds of failure points. The less experience you have, the more of these that will jump out and bite you. If enough of those happen it will create a cascade failure and the entire project falls apart.
Even those of us that have done this a lot have things happen occasionally. So avoiding problems, and how you deal with them before they get out of control is part of the job. No book can possibly detail every problem you might encounter, this is where experience comes in to play.
In your case you first posted asking for advice on buying a camera. Your main criteria was that it should be relatively cheap, and easy enough for a beginning student to operate. So you don't really have any producing experience, and no knowledge about cameras either. The plan is to hire someone to shoot your footage that doesn't have any directing/lighting/shooting experience, and use a camera that is new to everyone involved. This scenario is creating lots of unnecessary failure points, because there is no experience in the project at any level.
Someone mentioned that everyone has to start somewhere, which is true. But this sounds like two student pilots teaching each other how to fly, and far from an ideal situation.
And what about editing and finishing what you shoot? Who will do that, and on what equipment? This may all seem very easy when looking in from the outside, but if you spend a few minutes looking at various other forums on the Cows you will see people pulling their hair out because they are trying to edit footage that was either improperly shot, the format doesn't work with their editor, or maybe both.
So there are lots of places this can go wrong and make you look bad, and cause the company to spend a lot more time and money than necessary. It is also possible it will all work out OK, but sometimes even that is not as it seems.
I don't know what to call it, except 'expectation disappointment'. Lets say you get this all done without any major problems, and show it to your boss and his reaction is lukewarm. How does this happen?
Cogswell Cogs puts out a great demo and marketing video on their website, and runs it in their booth at every trade show. It's the buzz at every event they show it at. Cogswell spent 50,000 dollars on it. They hired an experienced producer, an experienced crew from LA to light and shoot it with top quality gear. Post production editing, graphics, sound and color correction are all also handled by experienced professionals, all hired by the experienced producer who knew the quality, and type of work they all did.
Cogswell's competitor, Spacely Sprockets sees this video and asks his factory manager George Jetson to make a similar marketing video. Mr. Spacely knows anyone can make a video and put it on Youtube, so it must be pretty easy. He gives George a budget of 5,000 dollars, which should be more than enough considering you can buy a HD Flipcam for a couple of hundred bucks, and get Final Cut X for $300. With that budget, George buys a pro-sumer camera, and hires a first year film student to run it. They don't do any lighting, and there is no sound-person. George also buys a computer to run Final Cut, and teaches himself how to edit. The only post production work that is done, is what George can do himself. With only a few minor problems, all goes well. The video is done, and it is exactly what the boss asked for, and came in a little under budget. George thinks he has a winner, and shows it to Mr. Spacely, who is underwhelmed. There is no glaring problem he can point to, and it is exactly what he asked for. But Cogswell's video is just better. George cannot help but feel the disappointment of his boss, but doesn't understand where he went wrong. Mr. Spacely doesn't have a specific criticism, he just keeps showing George the Cogswell video, and asks why his video "doesn't look like that". George defends himself by saying it came in under budget, and is exactly what the boss asked for. In the end George's boss agrees it is what he asked for, and decides to just accept it for what it is.
The boss won't say it to his face but it is a mission failure, reputation damaged.
George knows it, and Mr. Spacely knows it. It's just no one has the experience to know why or how it happened.
In the end it is quite simple.
The experienced producer knew what to budget in order to get what the client wanted, and was able to justify the cost. The the experienced producer hires other professionals that not only used high quality equipment, but added all the nuances of their craft they have learned over the years to make the video stand out from the pack. George knew none of this. If he had, he could have pointed out the budget gap to his boss at the outset, and avoided the disappointment and unrealistic expectations.
This scenario is an all too common occurrence, and one that is best avoided if at all possible.

Scott Sheriff
Director
http://www.sstdigitalmedia.com


"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur." ---Red Adair

Where were you on 6/21?


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Sam CornelisRe: Any Recommendations on How to Make a Marketing Video
by on Jul 18, 2011 at 9:06:06 am

Scott, Tom, I think were are close to a conclusion here ... after all, that's what discussions are meant for: to learn something.
(Scott, what do you mean with TL;DR?)

Scott, maybe I should clarify myself. If I speak about using cheaper equipment, I am not talking about in-camera edits nor do I ever skip proper lighting. Let's take the example of lighting. A red head set is is not that expensive. You can even rent it on a project base. With good use of 3 to 4 red heads, you can achieve great results with a camera of, let's say 2500 to 3500 Euro's (I am European - so all Euro's here). Yes you can use a 10-20.000 Euro camera as well - but since many corporate videos are viewed on the internet - no one will notice the difference. Especially if the content of your video is good. As a requirement for the camera, I'd say you should be at least be able to adjust most things manually (white balance, exposure, ... you know). That's where most consumer camera's fail - but most prosumer or low-end professional camera's can do it.

My point is - if you are starting, you should practice a lot with the equipment that is available to your small budget. With that practice, you can achieve surprising great results. Of course, you need to learn the rules of the game, such as the influence of lights and sound.

Sound ... let's go to the 60 year old CEO of your post. Actually, that kind of job is even more challenging your creativity than you might expect. Why ? Because most CEO's are not-so-good-speakers-as-let's-say-Steve Jobs or the average TED talk-speaker. (I don't want to use the word boring here, but ... you know). You can take the sound from the available audio equipment in the house - and/or you can use a thing like a Tascam digital recorder. Camera ... it is not that difficult, since those guys don't move a lot. Make sure your lighting is ok, and maybe use two camera's: a wide angle and a close-up. Lighting, camera, sound ... you can use the cheaper gear, or the expensive ones. This doesn't give you an interesting video - if the CEO is not a good speaker - the video will be boring. So what do you do then - since you are paid to make a great video? You will use your creativity. You will start to listen to what the CEO is saying, and try to find a way to illustrate what he is saying. You may integrate photo's, graphics, small animations, slides of his presentation, other corporate footage ... in your video to make it interesting and get the message to the audience. This has nothing to do with the price of the equipment, but has a lot to do with using your creativity. It is certainly not lowering the standards.
(if the CEO is a good speaker ... everything becomes more easy of course - just show him. Look at all the TED talks)

So, Scott, I agree with you that lowering the standards is not the way to go. All I want to say is that you don't need to swear by expensive equipment to produce good quality. In fact, keeping high standards is your main weapon to protect your business. The question is: how do you reach the high standard.
I would never call you or anyone else a dinosaur - I have great respect for experience - since I believe it is experience and creativity that produces great results. But not the tools.

(FYI, I am not making entertainment video's - my topics are for most people even more boring than the annual CEO's speech. We are specialised in the creation of instructional video's and animations for high tech equipment ... . The video's are only liked by the people who have to work with the equipment. But nevertheless, these video's are very challenging to produce. That's why I felt I had to reply to the original topic of this thread).

Tom, ... I'll answer your post in a next post.


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Sam CornelisRe: Any Recommendations on How to Make a Marketing Video
by on Jul 18, 2011 at 1:28:13 pm

mmm, the thread seems to be a little bit mixed up. This post had to be placed before my previous one.


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Scott SheriffRe: Any Recommendations on How to Make a Marketing Video
by on Jul 18, 2011 at 4:49:34 pm

[Sam Cornelis] "(Scott, what do you mean with TL;DR?)"

It's net-lingo for 'To Long, Didn't Read'. I'm saying I know it was a long post, and wouldn't blame anyone for not reading it.

I'm glad to hear you are not advocating, or tolerating the lowering of standards. For a while it seems as though you might have been. My mistake.
I think there is a difference in who we are talking about. There are the new and inexperinced people, that are learning but still understand this is a professional craft that has standards and requires a certain level of commitment. These people know that everyday is a learning experience.
And then there are those that think it's so easy a caveman can do it, just because they have some hits on a youtube video. They disrespect those of us that have put years in learning our trade, dismissing that, as the stuff for the oldtimers.
They are people that operate well below the threshold of what a lot of us would call minimum standards. They don't own, rent, or even use lights. Tripod, whats that? Shoot it all handheld. Putting lots of jump cuts in your finished work makes it more 'arty', why shoot cut-aways? And of course reading the manual is for geeks, not us creative types. Does anyone know where I can download some sick light leaks and lens flares for free?
These are just a few examples of what I'm talking about. They have never taken the time to learn the basics of the craft, and don't want to invest in what most would consider the bare minimum when it comes to equipment or skills. They do this because they would have to charge a higher rate, and no interest in the time it takes. And with their experience they're unable to justify a higher rate. So to compete with the rest of us, they shoot everything in a run-n-gun style, junk it up with a lot of free plugins, and edit with some bootleg copy of whatever they got from some cracked serial number website, or by using an academic copy of the software. The cut every corner possible. They are the equivalent of those people that are selling burrito's they made in their home kitchen, out of the trunk of their car. Real restaurant owners that pay their taxes, have insurance, permits, employee's and equipment overhead have every right to complain about the bootleggers. We do too.
These are the people I'm talking about. The people that are dragging the average rates down for everyone. The people that got into the business last month, and are driving around in their GMC Denali with the magnet sign on the side that says "Joe Blow Video Production". Last month the sign said, "Joe Blow Amway Dealer". And then when these people get in over their head, they get on here at the last minute and expect us to help them. There is at least one of these posts on the Cows somewhere everyday. I don't consider these people my colleagues, and don't feel any obligation to help them. I understand that some of these folks are just niave', or put in this position by their boss, or a hundred other excuses. But it doesn't really matter why they are doing it. Helping them hurts the true low budget working professional in that market, as Tom and I have been pointing out. It's is the same as acting as a 'look-out' for the burrito seller, and letting them know when the food inspector is coming so they don't get caught. I'm not talking about the guy that has been doing this working for someone else for a few years, that is starting to do some lower budget freelance work in his spare time, who has some education, and professional experience.
There are a couple of standard arguments. One is that you can't stop the gate crashers. True, or not, that doesn't mean I should help them drag our rates down. And if one of these guys gets in over his head, and crashes, maybe that is the chance a colleague could use to get a much needed gig. Another argument is that the rest of us should be able to beat these Johnny-come-lately guys with our skill. Often that is true. But, sometimes these guys ofter a little better rate and underbid the job to get the guy on the hook, overstating their abilities and experience. Then they just take much longer at their lower rate, to run the tab up. You never get a chance to tell the client that paying someone that is more experienced is often more cost effective, and delivers a better product. Especially if some Cow member comes swooping in like Superman from the other side of the world to save the day when these guys have an epic failure. Not everyone works in a market where the client has the experience, or is sophisticated enough to understand who the pro's are. And the other way these people drag the rates down is by doing this, and making the client think this is "how it is", and lowering expectations.
And then there's the "who do you think you are" excuse, from the very people I'm talking about. They get on here and make excuses for their behavior, and try to assert your some kind of snob, bad guy, etc, if you wont do all their work for them for free. They quite often demand help as if this was some type of vendor provided customer service, and get indignant if you call them out for not doing their homework, or cutting corners.

Scott Sheriff
Director
http://www.sstdigitalmedia.com


"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur." ---Red Adair

Where were you on 6/21?


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