As the video industry rebounds from the past few years of recession, production budgets are growing and more clients are engaging in video production. Here are 5 ways to increase your production value on a budget.
1. Map out a Blueprint — Pre-Production is the most critical phrase in video production. If your project is well-defined in terms of scheduling, locations, visual aesthetic, and cost, the production will generally fall into place smoothly. Of course there will be things I call “knick-knacks” such as a Makeup Artist canceling on the day of a shoot or a location falling through at the last minute but if your project details are carefully drawn out in Pre-Pro you’ll pull off a quality shoot anyhow. (Note: Always have a backup MUA and additional locations on stand-by.)
2. Commit to Quality — Decide from the onset of the project that you will produce the highest quality content for your client. Invest in quality gear regardless to whether you are purchasing new gear for your inventory or renting for the day. Hire the best crew and talent for your shoot (review reels, read resumes and recommendations when available). Keep the end product in mind.
3. Fall in love with Lighting — Quality lighting is the difference between a professional project and a home video. Learn about different lighting techniques, gels, and equipment to couple with your camera to achieve cinematic visual aesthetics.
4. Pay Attention to Audio — Bad audio can kill a project. Always use an external mic in addition to any wireless you may use on your shoot. I personally prefer to double-mic my shoot to capture voice and room tone. Whichever you choose, be sure to monitor the sound using headphones while rolling to ensure the sound that is being captured. There are only a handful of things worse than shooting all day to realize you have recorded ZERO sound. (ouch!). Make a commitment to recording quality audio sound.
5. Log Your Shots for the Edit — Going back to pre-production, commit to logging every good shot and angle with timecode for easy retrieval during the editing process. If your shots are logged, it will cut time in edit by allowing you to go straight to the best footage shot. Not only will you cut your time in edit, you will also speed up your workflow and impress your client by delivering the project on-budget and on-time. Deliver and roll on to the next one!