Advice needed for video project

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    • #42517

      The company I work for has been given a 15K grant to develop and shoot a video about treating mentally ill children. They have asked me to handle this project as I have been directing church broadcasts for the past 4 years (4 cam live to air). I have also been involved in some TV shows (Nashville Network), films and various video projects in my long and checkered past. I have some editing experience on a Media 100.

      My first recommendation was to hire a pro to do this however, they would rather buy equipment and do their own as they would like to be able to use the equipment for future projects both for internal training and commercial sales. This company treats underserved and indigent patients in east Tennessee. They’re good folks so I am willing to help. I have made my limitations very clear to them but they would really like to try this.

      My equipment list includes: camera, tripod, editing software, wireless mics and lights.

      I would love to hear any recommendations or thoughts. I would be grateful for any advice.


    • #178528


      Thanks for the reply. Your suggestion is the first route I recommended to them. They are pushing back because they have gone this route in the past and it worked poorly for them. There is only one videographer in the area and this is the guy they worked with. I may have to expand the scope of the search. Also, they want to have the equipment to tape future presentations that our docs provide to the communities we serve. We can only reach so many in person – but we can distribute a lot of DVD’s.

      You are quite correct about the time factor except part of me would enjoy the challenge and I have done some of this work before – I just haven’t had to buy equipment to do it. And, yes…though I am a doc, even I wouldn’t do my own operation. πŸ™‚


    • #178529

      You being a physician, I’m real happy to hear about your checkered past. I’ll try to keep this a secret. }:-)
      This project is obviously not a one person deal. You need contractors.
      The absolutely most important help you need is a professional writer, preferably someone experienced in writing for film, although someone who has written popular style articles (as opposed to medical journal pieces) can probably find the right documentary voice.
      Next most imporant, for the production phase, you need a crew of a camera person and an audio person. A few years ago (more than a few actually) my sister was a student in theater arts at your local community center of higher learning (University of Tennessee; go Vols). It probably has morphed into a thriving school of film making arts. They may be able to help you out with your crew needs. Also, they can bring some extra cams and equipment, like cranes, to the effort.
      It sounds like you have a lot of experience directing in your church work. As director/technical director, you have given direction to camera operaters for live shoots. This is (or can be) a very intense job, so I figure you know your stuff. It should not be a big jump from that to producer/director of the upcoming production. UT is probably crawling with Final Cut Pro work stations and students eager to be your intern editor. I’d suggest that you go for FCP equipment for your company and attempt the editing yourself. If this turns out to be more than you can chew, hire a pro (e.g., UT professor) to deliver your masterpiece.
      BTW before discussing serious money or responsibility with any contractor or outside help, per compusolver’s input, you need to be looking at demo reels/work samples.
      Enjoy the ride,
      REGARDS … TOM 8)

    • #178530


      More good advice…this is really quite a nice forum. Nobody has yelled at me even once. πŸ™‚

      I had not thought about the school route (Go Vols!) but this might be just the thing as we collaborate with UT School of Medicine on a number of projects. Carson Newman University is also in the area and I had a good experience working with one of their interns in the church media center.

      The on-air performers will be two of our clinicians who frequently present nationally. The script will be a distillation of their presentations. We have already had several meetings sorting out who does what and what the differences will be between this project and a live presentation. Various slides will be intercut with the spoken parts and I’m pushing for B roll shots of "patients" checking in, moving to exam rooms, etc. I think the producer role you mentioned might be a better fit.

      I like the FCP idea but our IT dept is solidly PC – and it would be nice to have some tech support for the equipment. They groan every time I bring my Powerbook into a meeting.

      Thanks again…

      Gregg (with the checkered past…I used to do radio and TV commercials)

    • #178531


      If you want to buy the equipment yourself, that’s fine and all, but again, going pro would be a wise investment.

      If there’s only one videographer in your area, why not look at other areas? Heck, if you pay for the airfare and a place to stay while we’re filming, My production team could come down from Minneapolis and do it for you and it would still cost but a fraction of what it would cost if you did it yourself.

      I work in the nonprofit industry. One of the reasons I do pro video is because my current job, aiding the disabled and elderly in central MN, does’t pay enought to put food on the table. Plus, I acutally get to use my eqipment to produce promo videos for my organization and othe local nonprofits. But I still remember one time, when I was volunteering at a Habitat for Humanity site in Omaha, the town I’m originally from.

      Because Omaha is a big town, they can usually get 4 or 5 crews on a house on the same day. One particular day, I was there with a team of other quasi-talented builders to do some rough carpentry. About the same time we got to the jobsite, two other trucks pulled up. In one truck, there was an older, scraggly gent with a few buckets of beat up, old tools. In the other truck, the "handsome carpenter" arrived, with all of his brand new tools, all of which were name brand DeWalt, craftsman, etc…

      During the day, I noticed something interesting. The scraggly guy with the beat up tools could work circles around the younger guy with all the newest equipment. Well, Habitat in Omaha divides the day in half. You can either stay the whole day or work half a day. At lunch, the guy with the neat tools left, and I asked the one with the beat up tools about how he could get so much done than the guy with better tools.

      His response was simply "All the fancy tools in the world won’t make up for not being in your element."

      Having said that, I am sure that having done video in the past, you would probably know what you’re doing. The problem is that ultimately, there will be people on your crew, and situations where everyone will be out of their element. Good videographers can make this sort of thing fly smoothly and easily, where for your team, aside from having important other tasks you can’t get away from, you’d also have to contend with learning/relearning a lot of the field.

      I think your company should consider hiring a videographer. Even if yu have to fly somebody in from out of town, it will be financially reasonable. And in charity work, it’s essential that you get the best value.

      Besides that, on your budget you’d be hard pressed to get all the equipment you need. a couple nice cameras and tripods, a lighting rig, a good editing machine, and some wireless microphones, and your entire budget is spent. That might sound alright, because that’s all you asked about, but keep in mind that you will need more than just those elements. You’ll probably also want a digital recorder to capture audio, a shotgun mic and potentially a boom pole (if needed), media for recording, lens adapters and filters, batteries, cables, and all the little things that add up fast. When we got started, I set aside $2000 for the little things. Honestly, I wish I’d have had more than that.

      If you want a plan based off your budget, I’d gladly draw one up, but ultimately, you’d save money by having a pro do it. If you fly someone in, they could probably even shoot footage for several videos at once, so that if you wanted to do more productions wit them in the future, you wouldn’t need to fly them out there for as long, if at all, to get extra footage. Just a thought

    • #178532


      Sounds like your script/shot list is already under control.

      Still, I wonder if maybe bringing in a professional writer when you have your final draft might not be too outrageous an idea. Sometimes perfection can be taken to a new level: MAGICAL.

      Some years ago I worked for a Division Director in a HQ HR Office of a well known Cabinet level Agency in the Federal Government. He was still in his 20s and would often boast that he had gotten to this senior management position without knowing anything about the field we were in, Personnel, today known as Human Resources. This bravado used to drive many of us crazy. But the thing was, he was a (fill in whatever nomenclature meets your standards of elegance and taste) of a WRITER. Any correspondence, paper, draft legislation of importance that originated anywhere is this large Office of Personnel (approx 200 staff in HQ (included Payroll function) plus more staff in 10 Regional Offices around the country) would be passed by him for a final rewrite or edit before being sent up to the Secretary of the Agency for final signature. He just had the WRITERs gift and his version never failed to be signed by the Secretary and forwarded to the next level (i.e., frequently the Prez, Ronald Reagan at the time). He later became a Director of Personnel himself, for another Cabinet level agency. I should add that he could think on his feet in a way that later became known in DC as spin and he had no fear of performing in front of large groups. What he really enjoyed and actively practiced was writing plays and musicals that would be performed in front of large audiences in the DC burbs and starring himself!

      I believe real writers, as opposed to those who just write well, are born not made. If you are not one or dont have access in your org to one, you might consider getting one at the critical point. Having an outside professional analyst/writer look at a script, one who can relate to the target audience, but who isnt hung up on the backstory of what produced certain script angles, can be a useful thing. Anyway, an option to consider!

      No Matter What, Stay Cool!

      REGARDS … TOM 8)

    • #178533

      Shoot Tom!

      I must be one of those born writers then because all I do is write checks to cover my wife’s credit card bills! X-D



      Two frames of thought here (no pun intended πŸ˜€ ) If you are just looking to have a well done documentary made in regards to your topic, IMO I would have to agree with the rest of the guys. What you’re talking about doing is very extensive and will take a lot of work but the end result will be well worth it.

      The other thought is that if you are really interested in learning about the video industry and all that is involved as well as putting your own program together, then by all means go for it. But keep in mind that it will probably take you a while and that in the end it probably wont be as nice as a professional production would be. I’m 99.9% sure that if you ask everyone and anyone on this forum to compare their first video projects to their latest, everyone will start laughing because the one thing about this industry is that experience is what makes you good. Shoot, when I look back at my early projects I did many moons ago, I actually get embarrassed now.

      At any rate, whatever you decide, may the force be with you.


    • #178534


      I’ll agree with you there, that the early years are always interesting to look back on.

      I can still remember the first wedding I filmed. I did it for free, just to have one for a demo reel. I came across the tape for that wedding not too long ago, and I was hard pressed to find anything as professional as what I have done lately. It was still better than an ametuer video, but there was so much that I did that left me screaming at the TV "NO! NO! Transition! Watch the head room! Cut, not fade!"

      Admittedly, everyone has to start someplace, and if this agency starts filming their own videos today, a few years (maybe even months if they do it regularly) down the road they’ll release videos that just pop and make you go "wow". But if they want that for this upcoming video, maybe a solution would be to outsource the video, and use the remainin budget to get their own camera and editing computer to get started on. By the next time they want a video, they can spend a little bit on a couple more cameras, and go from there.

    • #178535

      I met with the senior management team today. I recommended going with a pro to shoot the upcoming project. I outlined many of the reasons listed in your various posts and, in the end, they agreed to go this route.

      They would still like to move into video such as taping our clinicians who give presentations, maybe webcasting lectures to our docs at distant clinics, and internal training material. I believe it would be better to do these things a little at a time rather than start with a full-blown DVD production for the first project.

      Thanks for all the good advice. Now…does anyone know a good videographer? πŸ™‚


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