Frequently Asked Questions about Video Production Services

These are some questions that often come up from clients new to hiring professional video production services.

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Frequently  Asked Questions
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Q: I need a 3-minute video created. How much do you charge for that?

A: There is really no way to answer this without a lot more information. The reason is because pricing is not based on the final length of the video, but rather on the shooting time, crew, equipment, post-production (video editing) time, and other factors involved in the video’s creation.  A 3-minute (or any length) video could simply be one person on camera sitting against a wall using no supplemental video/movie lighting, or that video could necessitate flying all over the world to shoot footage, use sophisticated motion graphics, and involve multiple crew people and a lot of expensive equipment.  Determining the video’s content and what kind of crew and equipment are needed is essential to figuring out a video’s cost.

Q: My event/shoot will only take 30 minutes. 

    What is your hourly rate?

A:  Professional video production personnel generally don’t charge hourly, but instead by the “half day” (0-5 hours from the time of arrival at the shoot location until departure from the shoot location, though this can vary if the drive time is especially long or the job involves extensive travel) or “full day” (5-10 hours with the same exceptions), with overtime after 10 hours being billed hourly.

There are several reasons for this.   One is that even when a shoot/event is 30 minutes/an hour/etc., the time it takes to load up the equipment, drive to the location, unload the equipment once there, set up for the shoot (keeping in mind that we always like to arrive at least an hour--if not longer-- before the event/shoot to set up, in case there are any problems), tear down the equipment, and drive back are all part of the working day, since no other work can be done during that time.  So a “simple 30 minute shoot” is in actuality more like 2-3 hours, at the very least. 

Therefore, and related to this, it is highly unlikely that we (video production personnel) will be able to book another job that day.  Most video and film productions are highly organized projects that take place during typical business hours at a specific date/time and cannot be rescheduled.   The 2-3 hours mentioned in the last paragraph will likely conflict with any other job that arises for a given date, meaning that we must treat every job, no matter how short, as the only work we can take that day. Most video production/film production/broadcast clients also work by the half day/full day system of billing, so it doesn’t really make sense for us charge hourly since taking a job, no matter how short, likely means having to turn down other jobs from clients used to paying by the half day or day.

Q: What is video editing?

     How do I know if I need that service from you?

A:  To explain video editing we need to talk about raw footage

When we record footage of an event, training session, testimonial, interview, presentation, etc., the unaltered original footage straight from the camera, exactly as it was recorded, with nothing changed or removed is called “raw footage.”  Anything at all that was recorded will be in the raw footage--that means the good material that you want to keep and use, but also plenty of things you probably don’t want.  Examples of the latter include footage where the videographer was adjusting the camera (resulting in shaky, unusable footage), back up audio sources (creating noise and confusion on the audio track), extra footage from when the videographer recorded several minutes early in order not to miss the beginning of an event, and extra material at the end of an event before the videographer stopped recording (your audience will likely not want to sit through either of these last two, as we are talking about footage of people milling around, finding their seats, standing around talking, etc.). 

Because of all these unwanted things, chances are a client will not want to use that footage in their final product exactly as it was recorded, which is where video editing comes in.   Video editing, really, is any alteration to the original footage that results in the creation of a new video file.   This can be something as simple as taking an hour-long speech, removing the extra material (described in the paragraph above) from the beginning at the end, muting a backup audio source, and creating a new, smaller video file of the whole speech for upload to Youtube or a similar video service; to something as complex as a highly edited piece that includes interviews, stock footage, motion graphics, music, and sound effects. 

It is fair to say that almost all video needs editing (a rare exception would be something like corporate media training where the video is played back exactly as it was shot, on site, for the client, and not edited or used after that time).  Again, editing can be simple or complex, but some work, no matter how minor, is usually needed to clean up footage for a final product. 

As to whether a client needs that service from ME, some clients have video editing capability and experience themselves, or work for a company/team that has someone on staff that does video editing, in which case those clients may NOT need me to perform the editing for them, and I would simply hand them the raw footage at the end of a shoot.