The Ultimate Guide to Video Production

This is the most complete guide for those of you who are looking to hire a video production company.

In fact, there are 10 chapters jam-packed with tips, tricks, and strategies on the entire process of having a commercial video made for your company.

At House of Sticks, we believe in sharing as much of our talent and expertise as we can.

Sharing is caring, so keep reading and feel free to check back in regularly as we try to keep this site up to date as often as humanly possible.

We know you’ll really find this guide helpful.


Table of Contents

CHAPTER 1:
Why Video Is Important

CHAPTER 2:
Defining  Success

CHAPTER 3:
Knowing Your Audience

CHAPTER 4:
The All Important Script

CHAPTER 5: 
How To Find A Production Company

CHAPTER 6:
The Request For Approval

CHAPTER 7:
Pre Production

CHAPTER 8:
Production Days

CHAPTER 9:
Post Production

CHAPTER 10:
Distribution

 

 


 

Why Video Is Important

Content consumption is at an all-time high and anyone in the marketing world knows… if video isn’t a part of your campaign strategy, you’re wrong. Enter the era of digital content explosion.

The issue that now faces content creators, of every level, is the competition. Something like 14 days of video content is uploaded to every minute.. to YouTube.

That’s literally an impossible amount of content to watch. And that’s only one video streaming service. That means there is an impossible amount of noise to cut through.

No longer are advertisers or filmmakers competing with TV and the movie studios, we are literally trying to capture the attention from every one of the 5 screens people have around them at any given time.

So what’s the answer? It certainly can’t be more content. Let’s propose this as a solution. Better content.

That doesn’t necessarily mean higher quality images or better sound… it means more emotion filled content. To steal a great line from Gladiator, “Are you not entertained”.

More and more, the answer is “no”. The average time a user spends in front of a screen each day is 5 hours…. that’s not including the time spent at work… doing work things.

That’s 5 hours spent looking to be entertained… 11 hours a day total. 2.5 hours of that is spent looking at a mobile device screen. Let’s make the case the desire to be entertained is a desire to feel something.

We are literally being consumed by our desire to be entertained, to feel something. And don’t think it goes unnoticed.

A recent study from the National Institute of Health revealed the correlation of emotion to memory. You can read it here. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5573739/).

 

It’s forever long and you probably won’t read it, but it goes on to say that if you feel something you will remember to action or place or fact associated with that feeling.

As though “feeling” is a good trigger for memory.

Deep down though you know, you don’t need to a study to tell you what you already knew. We have all seen that movie we think about the next day.

The break up that consumes us and years later you can remember the details of the room.

The bad news from a family member that comes flooding back every time you smell a certain scent.

Or the depending on how old you are, the Budweiser frog commercial. Bottom line, if you can make someone feel something, you can make them remember.

It doesn’t matter what the emotion is, it can be funny, scary, sad or anything in between, it all can trigger a memory.

And remembrance is the goal of any artist or advertiser. It how we judge Super Bowl commercials and movies.

So while there is more content out there, its better content, more emotion filled content that will help us cut through the hours of nonsense that is out there streaming through the airwaves.

Defining Success

Man Analyzing Video Key Performance Indicators

Now the science portion of this article is over, let’s get down to your needs. Since we have established what makes for good content, let’s also make the assumption you want to create good.

Now for businesses and for those of you who are business minded, the definition of success is more complex. (here’s a great resource for identifying the right KPIs)

If you are in a corporate organization, your definition of success is probably defined by what is called Success Drivers or KPIs. Key Performance Indicators.

That’s just a fancy term to define how we are going to keep score.

If you need an ad to drive more revenue into your bottom line, then an increase in gross sales would be what we track to determine whether or not a project has been “successful” or not.

It’s terrible to correlate a marketing campaign to sales directly as there are a ton of variables involved.

Much of the time the thing that’s tracked is impressions. How many times a person has had the opportunity to interact with your content.

This is getting into ad agency world a bit and since we are talking specifically about video production and high-end video production, let’s digress.

Don’t be intimidated by the KPI process or measuring impressions. Your goal could literally be to make a piece of content that elevates the look of the brand.

Its a bit more subjective but it’s something to track.

The point is it’s nearly impossible to please executives without defining what success looks like at the outset because you give the agency and video production company no real goal besides “make something cool”.

If that happens you run the risk of ending up with a project that looks beautiful but doesn’t perform like the ones holding the purse strings would want. House of Sticks wants to make you look like a rock star in that situation.

Because, if we can make you look good, you will call us for every other project you ever have.

Know Your Audience

It might seem a bit redundant to talk about audience after talking about defining success, but after all, the viewers of our content aren’t things but people.

As you know, different people like different things.

The trick here is to try and categorize people into groups and define what those groups want to see.

Older people feel different ways about coarse jokes than young people and it’s important to understand that because at this point we are working towards a script.

The script is the blueprint for the video project. As a commercial production company, we always want to understand the subtext of any script provided.

The wildly successful projects we have been a part of have always provided a bit of the objective of the project and campaign at the outset.

Knowing the context and goals of a script really helps to understand the subtle differences in the audiences designed perception.

All that means is, we want to know what you’re getting at and why the script is written the way it is.

If you can provide an audience and goals, it helps as we can make creative decisions to further emphasize those goals. After all, we want to be collaborators.

The All Important Script

Scripts typically come to a video production company on two ends of the spectrum. One side is a fully baked, storyboarded script the other just an idea, maybe bullet points.

Both have advantages and disadvantages from our perspective. (Heres a great post on How to Write a Video Script)

Let’s start with the fully baked version. Fully baked scripts come from agencies or marketing departments with lots of experience in video production land.

They are well thought through, vetted, iterated and approved by the stakeholders in the project.

These projects have a clear vision and are as airtight as possible. From our perspective, the success of these projects is almost completely based on the quality of the client.

By quality, we mean a group that looks at the video production company as being a collaborator and not a subcontractor hired to make sure the image is in focus.

We want to create something wonderful just like you do. The other end of the script spectrum is the balter point or idea script.

Honestly, these happen quite often. They typically come from less experienced or just understaffed/overworked in-house marketing teams or agencies.

The success of these projects really depends on the production company’s internal capability to provide very creative feedback and probably have a group of freelance or in-house copyrighters and producers.

After all, you are asking the video production company to wear the ad agency hat too.

Either way, in order to produce a great end product there must be a well thought through and planned out script.

How To Find A Production Company

So now that you have a script it’s time to try to find a video production company because we need to be working towards a budget. After all, nothing is getting done without money attached.

But before you can send your super-polished world changing script out to bid, you’ve got to find the production company to send it to. It’s time to start dating.

So where do you start? The obvious method, which I’m sure you’ve already tried is, of course… Google.

Typically every search starts with some sort of web search. However, in this effort, most of the really high-end video production companies don’t invest a whole lot of money in SEO.

So they are really difficult to find with an internet search. Why? Because most of their work comes from agencies.

Agencies have big budgets and desire to produce the best content in the world. So the big fish, live in the agency pond.

They have very little need to advertise or optimize the website to be found on a search engine. The majority of work comes from direct relationships from what’s called an “agency rep”.

An agency rep is a person who knows lots of the decision-makers at agencies in a region and understands what product is coming up.

They are capable of matching and promoting the right talent for the right job.

In this case, they promote specific video production companies for specific jobs… and get paid really well to do so. But that doesn’t solve your problem.

The question still remains how do you find YOUR new production partner? If you really need that high-end video making company, you have to know what you’re looking.

Or do more than just a search for “video production company in _____________”.

Best Places To Find Great Production Companies

 

And it wouldn’t do much good to list out the top 10 because they change every year. But try AdAge’s list of top production companies.

You can find them in the link above.

Here’s the better news, the good production companies, win awards every year. So one really good place to look for these companies is on the award show websites.

The bigger the award, typically the better the production company.

Start with the Emmys, Cannes, or the AICP awards. These places typically have the best projects around.

Of course, there are others like the ONE show, and D&AD but typically these are more advertising focused and not just broadcast or commercial production.

If you search for production company awards, things get weird, because there are a TON of them and at some point, you can basically buy one for the price of entry.

So be careful how far down the totem pole you go. You get what you pay for, but sometimes it just doesn’t matter.

The up and comers

Now after talking about the top 2%, let’s come back to reality. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with the companies you can find with a search.

Many of them probably have won awards and can accomplish most of the work you need them to. In the end, chances are, you’ll get a good solid product if you do your due diligence.

Best case scenario, you end up with a young and upcoming company that’s hungry to make something great. In a lot of ways House of Sticks still is like that.

Lastly, finding the right production partner online might not be the most efficient way to search. Personal references and referrals go a long way.

Reputation certainly will be a key decision maker and there’s no better way to gauge that by the words of a trusted associate.

So the next bit of advice… if you can’t or once you have found something on the Internet then ask somebody personally.

If you’ve been in the marketing world or have been a decision maker for a while, you certainly know lots of marketing people, most of them are now working in a different company.

So take a minute and ask them. After all, you are going to be working with the company you choose for a couple of months. Might as well make it an enjoyable few months.

Now, we have a list of companies to engage. But how do we compare one company to another? First and foremost, look at the work. Chances are, what you see is what you will get.

Most production company websites are basically portfolios, so this step should be pretty easy. If you don’t like what you see move on.

If you do, its worth the time to get in touch. We all get excited about a potential client call. If you like what you hear, keep on talking but if you don’t, keep moving.

The point of this exercise is to find a really great collaborator. We bet, you only have to do it once. Because once you find us, you will stick around.

The Request For Approval

woman requesting approval

Before you can dance you have to get out on the floor. You now have a list of vetted potentials. You’ve got your script and now you need to put together the document that critically describes the project.

This is called an RFP or “Request For Approval”.

We are going to split this section up into a few parts to help with the clarity.

  1.  What and what not to include in the document
  2.  Comparing responses
  3.  Making the selection
  4. Setting expectations

First things first, let’s look at the potential suitors. It might be helpful to have them ranked in order of preferred to backups before you ask the cute one to dance.

So what should we include in the RFP? From the perspective of a production company, include everything you think is important.

At the very least, include the following:

  •  The script
  •  Number and duration of final deliverables
  •  Specific resolution (if necessary)
  •  A delivery mechanism (broadcast, digital etc)
  •  Duration of use
  •  Local, regional, national or international
  •  Specific requirements for talent
  •  Specific/Required products or locations to use shown
  •  Shot list?
  •  Any other specific requests
  •  The due date for RFP
  •  The due date for deliverables

Feel free to request:

  •  Director treatments
  •  Specific budget formats
  •  Most relevant sample work
  •  Storyboards

As well, you can also consider including a budget or budget range. That can be a tricky question.

From our perspective, an included budget typically means you know its low and you are trying to mitigate the spend while increasing the ask. It might work. Might not.

Not including the budget, means you’re serious about the creative are hopefully looking to be impressed.

However, we have been wrong. This question really depends on how much the company you are engaging needs your brand in their trophy case. We work on a meal, reel or relationship basis.

Its either going to make money, look awesome on the portfolio or be worth it fo and the long haul. We wrote an article about that here. To include the budget is up to you. Again, the goal is to find a solid production partner.

Comparing Responses

Its been a few weeks and your due date is approaching. At this point, you should have a stack of proposals or refusal responses. Let’s hope you have a pile of responses.

So how do you compare all the proposals? Remember that list of potentials that you ranked? Start there. Now ask yourself if you’re looking for a collaborator or a practitioner.

Are you looking to make your script better or are you looking for someone to hold the camera and make sure it’s in focus? It the latter, just go with price.

But if you are looking for a partner, let’s follow the rabbit hole. Responses from top-notch companies will include at the very least a vision statement or a treatment based on your script.

Look for a short description and maybe some pictures to show you what the production company’s vision is for the project.

This will typically come from a director at the company(who’s bio will probably be attached).

You might get so lucky as to receive a directors treatment that describes the vision in much detail, some storyboards and even a rip-o-matic.

This is a compilation of footage from other places edited together intended to impress. Finally, you should see a budget number.

The detail in the budget will vary based on your request and the experience of the production company’s Executive Producer. There is what’s called an AICP compliant budget which will include about 10 pages and list out every aspect of the shoot.

If you don’t know what you’re looking at, feel free to ask. They can be a little heavy on the eyes. This is the point where a bit more due diligence is needed.

Look it over and make sure they have accounted for everything needed and everything you requested. Otherwise, there will be some push-back and possibly some costly change orders.

Making the Selection

Do your best to look at things objectively. Consider all the information and… go with your gut. If you have a previous relationship with a video production company and you can’t risk a change, then go for it.

If you really love the vision of a director but the price is a little high, do some soul searching and maybe go talk to your manager about getting more money.

If you feel like there is one budget that is just way too low, be cautious. They might have forgotten something important.

Or maybe they just really want the job. Either way, make the decision you’re most sure of and make the best of it.

Setting Expectations

This section is not called contract negotiations for a very specific purpose. Contracts are just a legal way to formalize an agreement that should include expectations.

At the end of the day, we all hope no one ever needs to look at the contact. Hopefully, all parties involved have a clear understanding of what needs to be done and the way business needs to proceed.

The only time the contract comes out is with the lawyers and we all know where that’s going. So, let’s steer clear. The best way to do that is to have a project kickoff meeting.

Award the contract verbally. Plan a meeting and deliver the signed agreement after you have talked through the details together.

This leaves less room for interpretation and might really help if you have never worked before together.
Depending on your company’s legal team, there might be more or less room for contract negotiations.

Typically the differential in revenue between the parties dictates the level of flexibility, so this section might be completely useless for you if you work for a large multi-national. Here are a few things to consider including in the contract.

Clearly stated number and length of deliverables, due date and price. Many times we are asked to provide the raw footage.

As a means of best business practice, if you want the raw footage and source files, please make sure you ask for it up front and not after the final edit.

All the other stuff if up to your organization and both sides will want to get the most advantageous agreement… you know, lawyer crap.

From our perspective, we always want the option to show off the final product. Remember – meal, reel, relationship.

Pre-Production

Technically, pre-production starts the moment you sign the contract, so let’s take a look at what’s critical to accomplish before the production days arrive.

MOST IMPORTANTLY: Establish a solid plan. The pre-production phase is where all the work happens. If you have a great script and a great plan and a great production company, good things will happen.

Nothing good happens without a good plan… at least consistently.

In fact, your production days should feel like you’re just making the plan come to life. Easy, relaxed and fun. 

There is something to be said about thinking through the project to create a plan.

Being intentional about thinking through each step will reveal some things that will be critical to success.

The last thing you want is to discover a critical need on the production day.

This is where experience on behalf of the production company plays a big role.

With all that said: Do your best to think through everything. Everything.

Now in the same breath, we are going to say… even the most well thought out plans can change on set. It’s ok.

The key is to keep things moving. Many times, beautiful things come from problems. Its one of the key fundamentals of design. Roll with the punches. 

Often times the most beautiful things come from the most unexpected places. Let constraints be a driving force in the design decisions.

Be comfortable with changes on set. Sometimes things just look different through the camera.

There’s a new angle or a line off the cuff sparks an idea. Roll with it. It is a creative process after all. 

Location Scouting

With the script in hand, its time to go look at the location. Not every project requires a location scout but getting eyes on the place where the filming will happen is certainly a good idea.

The location scout can bring to light some new problems you might not know were an issue.

You might find out there are not any outlets accessible in a room, or that the light shines through a skylight at the time you wanted to shoot the interview.

You might find a better angle or room altogether. The location scout should provide another layer of confidence your project will turn out the way you want it to.

Usually, the complexity of the location scout and the number of people involved will increase as the budgets increase.  

Casting

One of the most important parts of any video production is the quality of people you have on camera. Think of quality as a measure of two attributes.

1. level of comfort on camera and

2. ability to deliver the emotion necessary.

Both of these things can be learned and can come with experience, the second can require a bit of talent.

This is true from the corporate executive interview to the Oscar-winning actor. Let’s say your project is to interview a corporate exec.

You’re not going to get a choice of a different person and if they’re terrible on camera it’s best just to try to make them as comfortable as humanly possible.

However, if you do have a choice, and get the opportunity to work with a talent agency here are a few tips to start with.

  1. start with some descriptive terms. It’s easiest to find who you are looking for when you know a bit about what you want. Be as descriptive as you can be so the talent agency can provide headshots of exactly who you want. 
  2. Getting headshots. Even though the headshots are supposed to be an honest representation of what the person will look like, some people have headshots that are old or were that picture that was taken at the perfect angle. Just make sure if you like someone you see a video of them or get more images before you book them. 
  3. Talent isn’t free. When you are looking into getting talent from a talent agency, understand you will end up paying what’s called “usage”. This means you pay for the duration you want to use their image. The longer you want to use the image the more you pay. Buy it for single use or in perpetuity. 
  4. Be prepared to be surprised by something. Without fail, there is always one cast member that does something or can’t do something or something. Just saying, they’re people and there are a lot of variables. Be prepared for the human factor. 

Defining the tone

This step should really be closer to the top of the list, but it’s the one thing that you probably already know, but haven’t been able to communicate or nail down.

The tone of the final product is a bit brand management, a bit feel, a bit sales. It’s a subtle thing that if not managed correctly can make a good video just seem weird.

It’s the difference between jazz and classical. They play the same instruments but they sound very different. Defining the tone at the beginning will set everyone up for success.

It’s the music selection, the location, the camera angles, the lighting, the way the lines are spoken. All of those things will influence the tone.

The difference between cute and weird can be the way one character looks at another when they say that all important line.

If you want a great way to change the tone of a piece change the music. It’s one of the biggest factors to the overall feel of a piece. Don’t believe it? Play a video you know well on mute.

Now play it again while listening to another song on your phone. Hear the difference? Do you feel it? Yeah. If you’re the client, please do us all a favor and try to set the tone early.

One of the best ways to convey the tone you want is using other videos as examples. This way there’s no guesswork.

Visual style

Almost as potent as music is to tone is visual style.

Is it an animated video, an interview with b-roll, a musical poem, spoken word, highly scripted technical shoot, or some combination?

Whatever the final deliverable is, the visual style should match the tone. This gets into the area of cinematography quite quickly, so let’s be brief. 

Lighting decisions, camera angles, contrast ratios, the speed of edits all have a big impact on the visual style.

This is something the director and DP from the production company should determine so make sure you are aware of it and know that it’s needed.

Any production company worth their salt will be able to provide this pretty easily… it’s what we love to do anyway. 

Scheduling the day

At this point, there is a story, a script, a location, and a cast. Everything is ready for the dance, its just time to show up and let the magic happen. The schedule for the production days typically taken care of by the UPM and 1st Assistant Director (both people are hired by the production company). The schedule will be delivered to the crew and the client in the form of a call sheet. The call sheet is a list of the crew members with their contact information, the nearest hospital, projected weather, important information as most importantly the time each person or department should show up. Once on set, if there are any questions about the schedule talk to the 1st Assistant Director. 

Storyboards

Storyboards can be the best tool or the worst. We have written a few articles on both sides, here and here.

On one hand they are a fantastic representation of what to expect on set. They can be very impressive and provide a very clear vision for what will be captured.

This can be especially helpful if there is a client monitor on set and there is a one to one representation of the boards and the image on the screen.

If the boards are carefully drawn with the proper locations in mind and have client approval, they are essentially an extension of the contract and set very clear expectations.

On the other hand, they can also provide a level of detail that is unrealistic.

We have seen clients who saw a frame with a blue colored sky and on the day the sky was grey and there was an issue.

Or the frame from the storyboard is flipped compared the actual shot. Take storyboards for what they are… a tool to keep track of what’s needed and what’s not.

Another alternative to storyboards is a shot list. Rather than a visual representation of what’s going to be captured, a shot list is a description using only words and fancy film people jargon.

They aren’t as impressive, but they are just as effective. Just make sure there is a plan before cameras start to roll. 

PRODUCTION DAYS

It’s game time. Let’s get this party started.

Get ready to get excited and see some beautiful images in the monitors.

Most of the time a production day will be 10 to 12 hours or longer if you can capture everything that’s needed on schedule.

You’ll be engaged mentally all day, so get ready to be emotionally spent afterward but it will be well worth it.

If you have a solid plan going in, the production days should just be executing the plan. Its super fun to see a plan come to life! 

As previously stated, it’s important to have a solid plan but its also equally important to have some contingency plans as well. Nothing ever goes perfectly to plan.

It seems like there is always an unexpected thunderstorm, or a cast member sickness, an outfit malfunction or something that was missed or couldn’t be captured or ran out of time.

It’s all good. Just know its not the end of the world and there is still an opportunity to make it work again in post… which brings us to another important issue.

Making sure you have all the data backed up on set. 

There is this strange phenomenon that happens on set: as the cameras roll on set, the cards they record to, start to become the most expensive pieces of equipment around.

It only makes sense to back up the footage from those cards to as many places as needed to make sure data isn’t lost.

The standard rule of thumb is to back up footage in triplicate and confirm before formatting cards.

Best practice is to separate all 3 copies each night to reduce the liability of complete data loss.

If we happen to be on location in a remote city, we like to send one of those three hard drives via FedEx back to the office to get the post-production process started. 

Funny how the production piece only took a handful of sentences to explain. It’s probably a good proxy of the video production process as a whole anyway.

The majority of the work should take place in pre-production and post-production. Production days will fly by. It’s very much like planning a big party.

A lot of planning for the day, then it comes and goes.

POST PRODUCTION

Footage is in the can as they say. We have captured all we need to make your final piece of content, now its time to massage it into a masterpiece.

At this point, there has been the opportunity to break the story with the writer in the script and re-write, we refined it again with the director and DP during production by finding new angles, lines, and options on set.

Now, the post-production process is the third and final chance to tell the story exactly how you want it. This is where a good editor will be able to inject their skill into the mix as well. 

As this step in the process is the third and final opportunity to make changes, it usually means LOTS of changes happen.

Which means lots of iterations need to be shared and commented on.

Typically, there are 3 or 4 rounds of changes included in a price, but it all depends on the contract and the terms that are being used.

From the perspective of the video production company, and post house, it’s very helpful to get meaningful feedback on each iteration.

This means being efficient and being specific about what’s needed.

Commenting on a video file can be tricky as the images are moving and much of it is based on feel, but there are a few best practices and some software that can be very helpful in the post-production iteration process. 

Providing feedback

The most basic form of note taking is going to be just sending emails back and forth and referencing the timecode.

Timecode is a running set of numbers that start at frame 0 and run the duration of the video counting frames, seconds, minutes and hours.

Timecode is extremely helpful we referencing a specific point in the video. The version of the edit you receive might have timecode burned into the image or not.

If it doesn’t do your best to refer to the second’s mark from the video player on your computer or browser.

Or, ask your post house to render a version with timecode burned in.

When referring to timecode for feedback, think about using a spreadsheet to notate all your responses, or at the very least use bullet points. 

Another more recent option is to use software that allows you to make comments directly on the video file itself.

There are many tools out there that offer this type of service. Wiredrive, Frame.io, and Vimeo are the most widely used tools for this type of thing.

Wiredrive being the industry standard for high-end commercial delivery as it offers the owner the most in-depth look into your viewing activity and notation.

This is by no means an exhaustive list and new tools are coming online monthly.

Word to the wise: Make sure you aren’t trying to stream a video file from a source that isn’t intended to be used as a streaming service. Dropbox is not a streaming service.

The video will not play back smoothly. 

Expectations

At this point, its necessary to discuss expectations.

After seeing the footage for the first time you will experience one of two emotions and varying degrees.

Either there will be a feeling of excitement and elation about what the final project is going to turn out like, or there will be some disappointment.

However, you should have a pretty good idea of which one of those emotions you will be encountering after the first iteration based on the experience on set.

But, let’s take a step back and understand at this point there isn’t much that can be done about shots that simply aren’t correct or don’t exist.

This is typically where you realize, you get what you pay for.

Some changes just will require a reshoot. If this happens, its in the best interest of all parties to not point fingers and remember you chose the company you chose in the beginning for a reason. 

Keep it in mind that everyone wants to make something great.

Both sides want to make something they are proud of and production companies and post houses will typically go above and beyond to provide an excellent product in the end.

The best way to ensure the best possible product comes out is to have an open and honest dialogue and be in the collaborative mindset the whole way through.

Don’t be that client who has unrealistic expectations, who changes their mind after the video is nearly complete and then goes back on it the next time around.

Hopefully, you did your homework and hired a professional company with a good reputation and a solid portfolio. Let them be the professionals.

After all, this is what we do on a daily basis.

In your list of requested changes, some things might not get changed.

This is for good reason and hopefully, it will have been explained honestly and gently. 

Delivery of assets

Depending on your technical requirements, the file sizes of the digital assets can be very large.

Most of the time North of 500Mb and in some cases up to 50Gb for a 30-second master.

This article is certainly not the place to take about codecs and all the other technical mumbo-jumbo.

There are entire courses dedicated to video compressions and delivery formats.

Just know, if you want something you will hold on to for a long time or deliver in many different places, get a high quality, low-compression (large file size) file.

If you are going to put it on YouTube and never put it anywhere else… a more compressed version will work just fine.

All of the major video streaming services re-encode your video file once upload anyway. Re-encode is a fancy term for re-saving or compressing again. 

There are a TON of different ways digital video assets can be delivered.

Downloadable links are probably the most convenient of all the possibilities as they don’t require any special software or hardware needed.

Dropbox and Google Drive are 2 of the most common ways to share files.

Vimeo also offers, downloadable links but beware they can be compressed.

Wiredrive, FTP, heck even an email attachment can be sufficient.

IN the case of file sizes being too large to download due to the time it takes to actually get the file, sending a hard drive via FedEx is always an option.

This is especially true if the raw files from the camera are part of the final deliverables. 

Deliverables

Speaking of deliverables, it’s important to know what it is you should be receiving.

For the majority of the people reading this post, the final deliverable package will probably be the video file and maybe the raw footage from the camera.

If you are more technical and have broadcast requirements or are in rights managed a situation where actors and agencies and networks are involved, the list of final deliverables can be quite different.

For video files, you might need to be provided:

  • Different codecs
  • Different versions for resolution, dimension or sound mix
  • An EDL file (edit decision list)
  • Cue sheets (a description of each edit and a description of what’s in the frame)
  • Talent and music releases
  • Stems for the music (separated out tracks with each sound, music, and voice on a different audio file)

If you don’t know what any of these things are, its ok. It means you probably don’t need them or someone else will take care of it in the future.

Don’t worry about it, we know what we are talking about and if we don’t Google is pretty handy. 

A post house or video production company can also provide different versions of the edit, shorter, longer, alternates and in our case stills from motion.

Depending on the camera system the footage was captured in, sometimes you can pull high-resolution images that can be used in social media posts and for content on websites.

Again, just make sure you discuss that up front. 

One final thing you might consider is the source files.

Now, this is kind of like asking the baker to provide the recipe for the cake, but if you name the source or project files as part of the deliverables package, it’s not a big deal.

Getting the source files will allow you to make changes to the video at a later date without reengaging the post house or production company, but it also requires your company to have the capabilities and ability in-house to accommodate.

Be careful though as you will probably pay a premium for the source files and you might not have the proper software to even open the files, much less the powerful computer needed to make the changes.

Whatever you do, don’t ask for them if you haven’t previously outlined that request from the beginning, it’s NOT common practice to ask for them and it can be a bit offensive. 

DISTRIBUTION

It’s time. All of the hard work and weeks or months of time spent on this video have come to a close. The only thing left to do is put it out there.

But don’t just put it out there. By that, don’t just upload it to YouTube and judge the work by the number of views. It might work out if your channel has millions of subscribers but if you don’t you will be disappointed.

This goes back to your setting what the success drivers were at the very beginning. This topic, in particular, is outside the wheelhouse of any video production company as once we make the asset for you, we are hands off.

But, it’s still important to discuss it as we will be judged on the quality of the outcome of the product and not necessarily but the quality of the asset. 

We really want to be judged by the quality of the work and not by the number of views.

Assets that are distributed on streaming services like YouTube aren’t competing with others in your industry, but with every video that’s online.

You’re competing for the attention of people who scrolling through hundreds of Facebook posts per minute. Its impossible to compete with cat videos sometimes. 

RETROSPECTIVE

Alright. We did it. We have gone from idea to launch as broadly as possible with some descriptions of how each phase works. Thanks for your time