Posts Tagged ‘video’

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The incredibly compact microphones that get attached to a person’s clothing in order to pick up their speaking voice are called “lavalier” microphones. They’re also referred to as “lapel” microphones. These microphones can serve a number of purposes, but to capture someone’s voice inconspicuously is by far their most common use. Don’t let their small size fool you. The most important voices in broadcasting, politics, and the entertainment world all have to wear lavaliers. They have to sound good.

Lavalier microphones are used both wirelessly and with microphone cables. This article’s focus is on the nature of the microphones themselves, regardless of how they connect to their source. It should be noted that with wireless lavalier microphones, the type of connectors that attach the microphone to the transmitter of the wireless system vary greatly. If you’re curious about what kind of lavalier microphones you can use with your specific wireless system, don’t hesitate to call us at 1-800-947-9923.

The need for a lavalier arises when hands-free operation is required, and when the sound must be clearly picked up without the obtrusive visual presence of a larger microphone. These circumstances can also apply when a shotgun microphone is used, but lavalier microphones offer certain advantages shotguns cannot. Lavaliers are usually only a matter of inches away from a subject’s mouth, so the audio quality is often more present and consistent. A shotgun microphone usually requires an extra person to operate a boompole, but lavaliers function without manual assistance. Lavalier and shotgun microphones don’t necessarily replace one another; in fact, they’re commonly used in conjunction with one another during a production.

Lavalier Mic
Using a lavalier clip with two holders allows you to create a loop in the cable to cut down on vibration noise.

There are a few different pick-up patterns available in various lavalier microphones. The most popular pattern is omnidirectional. A common misconception about omnidirectional microphones is that they pick up the sound of an entire space, no matter how far away the microphone is from the person’s mouth. This is not so. Omnidirectional does not mean omnipotent-directional. Omnidirectional lavalier microphones are popular because they tend to sound the best. Also, when the person who is wearing the mic turns their head while they’re speaking, there is no dip in volume because there is no area in the pick-up pattern the microphone is trying to cancel out. Another reason for their popularity is that they are physically smaller than the cardioid lavaliers.

Cardioid lavaliers are really only used in high-noise environments, or when feedback from monitors in a live sound situation becomes an issue. In both of these cases it’s often a better idea to use a headset microphone as opposed to a cardioid lavalier.

Lavalier microphones are used universally in TV and film production, as well in live stage productions and houses of worship. In theater it’s common practice to conceal a lavalier microphone in the hair or the wig of the performer. In film production lavalier microphones are often hidden beneath clothing. This is done in situations where the microphone needs to go completely unseen.

When a lavalier is obscured behind hair or clothing, some of the high frequencies can get cut because the microphone is physically muffled. Manufacturers compensate for this by designing and building lavaliers with a boosted high frequency response. Because of its flat physical shape and its excellent sound quality, the Tram TR-50 is a popular choice for a microphone to conceal under clothing.

Voice Technology VT506
This Voice Technologies VT506 features a 6dB high frequency bump. It also includes various mic clips and a microphone cage.
Countryman B3
Due to its extremely small size and resistance to moisture, the Countryman B3 is widely used for hiding in a performer’s hair or wig.  Countryman also makes a lavalier with a high frequency boost that’s good for concealing, the EMW Peaked Frequency Response.
EMW Peaked Frequency Response.

Lavaliers can be used for a variety of purposes, in a number of different ways. From surveillance operations to sound effects creation, their miniature size finds its way where other microphones cannot. Musicians will sometimes use lavalier microphones on their instruments. The multi-tasking Audio Technica AT831B comes with one clip to attach the microphone to your clothing, and a second clip to attach the microphone to a musical instrument.

Below we have listed some popular accessories that work universally with all lavalier microphones:

Microcats – These are little fuzz balls that fit snuggly over lavalier microphones in order to cut down on wind noise. They enable you to use a lavalier in a high wind environment.

Undercovers – A disposable system from Rycote that enables you to mount the microphone under clothing (you don’t need a clip), and it prevents rustling and contact noise as well. This is an excellent solution for use with lavaliers that do not have a microphone “cage” accessory available.

Stickies – An adhesive pad from Rycote that allows you to easily mount a lavalier to clothing or skin.

Overcovers – A disposable system from Rycote that enables you to easily mount a lavalier microphone to clothing or skin, and protect the microphone from wind noise when used in high wind environments. Microcats.

RKR Micro – An inexpensive universal microphone clip solution.

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The complete history of the video camera is contained within only the last century or so, but as with many forms of modern technology, no one person is solely credited as having invented the video camera.  John Baird, a Scottish engineer, was one of the earliest pioneers in capturing moving images for television production.  However, his experiments were built upon others that had come before him and much of the technology employed in the evolution of the video camera was built upon his findings. So while it’s safe to say that Baird was a pioneer in video camera technology, it is unfair to say that Baird invented the video camera.

The video camera as we know it today is able to record images and sound. The first demonstration of this capability took place on 14 April 1956.  Ray Dolby, Charles Ginsberg, and Charles Anderson invented the video camera that was the first machine to record both image and sound. This invention sold for approximately $75,000 US Dollars (USD) apiece.  Affordable only to major television broadcast studios such as CBS, who purchased three the same year, these machines remained professional devices for several years.

Video cameras designed for personal use, now called camcorders, became available to the general public in the 1980s.  These machines were bulky, heavy, and expensive, but proved to be efficient.  Building upon technology that had been developed for years, major electronics companies such as Sony and JVC began developing new technology.  These companies invented the video camera we now call camcorders.  These devices were capable of capturing image, sound, and recording to a storage device all in one machine.

n the late 1980s and early 1990s, those same companies who had invented the video camera for personal use began to miniaturize and digitize their machines.  The camcorder became smaller and more compact and by the late 1990s, digital camcorders were the most popular form of video camera. Today, video camera technology is inserted into numerous portable devices including cell phones, PDAs, and digital cameras, capable of taking both still images and moving images as well as recording sound.

Reprinted from One Market Media (Jimm Fox).  Visit them at http://onemarketmedia.com/

Visit ADR Productions on the web at www.adr-productions.com

Some people come into video production thinking it won’t cost very much and think it takes just a few hours to do. Sometimes it can be that way but most of the time it isn’t. Some of the factors that can determine the cost for digital video productions are:

* Experience
* Equipment
* Time
* Production Value

EXPERIENCE
Experience counts for a lot when choosing a producer/videographer/editor. They understand how to spend the
time wisely and efficiently. The less experience someone has the more likely mistakes will show up when you
start a production. Is there good audio, was there enough light on the subject, how slick does the
production look? Most of the high quality work that is done in videography/editing is never noticed even though you do see it. It just looks good. Lower quality work is more noticeable as unattractive or lacking something.
If you look around you can find some individuals out there who have plenty of good experience and creativity and not charge an arm and a leg for it. Whoever you look at, watch their clip reels, observe their work history and talk with them to get an idea of what they have to offer.

EQUIPMENT
Equipment is the next consideration. The type used can add a lot of quality and/or cost to a production. Do
you want the video production done in HD or SD? HD is going to cost more but that is where all production is
going. Though SD is still very good for web videos or internal company use. There are many tiers of HD and
SD equipment and you should be aware that the more sophisticated the stuff is, the more it will cost to use. Most companies have invested $15,000 for a camera, lights, and audio gear. Other have invested $30,000 to $100,000 or more. Get the camera/crew that fits your needs.

And it’s not just the camera. There are lights, microphones, teleprompter and other accessories that help with the creation but add to the cost, especially if more people are involved. So, how many people will be on site? Each person adds a significant amount to that total. Is the crew just 1 person or is it 2 or more? Location is something else that will dictate what is needed. Is it indoors or outdoors? Way out of town or in the suburbs?

The other half to this production is the video editor. They too have a lot of equipment that needs to be updated on a constant basis. New and better techniques are evolving which requires upgrades and further investments, again in the $5,000 to $20,000+ range. Some monitors for color correcting cost around $10,000 each.

One of the major stumbling blocks to having a pleasant production experience is the type of video format you choose to use. Be especially aware of the formats and codecs. Talk with your video production team and choose a format/codec that is compatible to both the videographer and editor. It is real important to talk with both before starting a production. Not just the videographer. Not just the editor. Both! There are a lot of new and evolving developments within the industry which changes the playing field on a regular basis. If you have both of these folks on the same page you can save yourself some money and lots of headaches.

TIME
This is a very important point: make most of your decisions during pre-production, making changes mid-production can be very costly. The decision making process is the most expensive part of any video production and eats up most of the time. Which is why the more time you spend on pre-production the less time is spent making last minute decisions during the actual production, therefore saving you money. Some items to focus on are: a script, location, if and who will be the on-camera person and preparing them for their appearance, any props you need, make sure they are ready by the day of the shoot. The more of these projects you do the better you will get. Experience of the crew will also show in the time spent during production. These are some time saving features during a shoot but what about in post? Sometimes changing a font is easy and doesn’t cost much, other times it almost means a complete rework of a video edit. It really depends on where in the process the change is made and how many other steps are affected by that change. This is with all aspects of post. Find out how many other things get changed when you ask for “your” one change. Where it lands in the process makes a huge difference.

Expect it to take a minimum of at least a half day for a simple video production shoot. The time needed will depend on how long the total piece is that you are creating and how much production value you want to invest in the video. The crew will need to set up their equipment and make sure everything is ready for the on-camera
person. Lights, audio and anything else required for the video will be included at this time. This process
can take anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour (or more) to complete. Again, how complicated and involved is the shoot? The more involved the longer it takes to set up. Higher quality requires more time to set up. Be prepared for this necessary prep time. It makes a big difference in how the final product looks. Then there is the on-camera person. Are they comfortable in front of a camera, are they experienced or is this their first time? Even the best of talent will need more than a couple of takes to get the “good one”. A newbie will require more takes but isn’t it better to spend an additional 15 minutes to get a good take then to try and edit around the mistake in post and still not be happy with it? Once the shoot is finished, all of the equipment needs to be packed up and removed. This tends to be faster than the set-up time. Keep in mind every time you need to change locations the whole tear-down/set-up process has to be done all over again.

Editing generally takes longer to complete than the actual shoot. First the video needs to be brought into
the computer which can take time. Is it tape based or file based video captured in the field? If an hour of video is shot on tape, it will take one hour of time to get it into the computer before editing can even begin. If it is file based it will take a shorter amount of time. Deciding which “takes” are the good ones requires listening to all of them. This in and of itself takes time. Most of the time a producer is responsible for this step. In other productions another person like a writer is the responsible person. It all depends on what type of production and where the duties lie for each individual. Do graphics need to be created? This takes time. Is everything all gathered together and ready to go? If not, this can cause delays in the middle of an edit. Once an edit is finished it still may need more work. Like audio sweetening, color correcting, etc. Then it will need to be rendered, exported and turned into whatever format is needed as a deliverable. This takes time. Sometimes hours. Also, how many proofs are needed before a final is agreed upon by the “decider”. Each redo takes time. Not all corrections take only a minute or two, some take an hours.

One time saver is to have all of these elements ready to go at the beginning of the edit. A script will really
help speed up the editing process. It makes it easier for the editor to follow along with the different takes and ensures that all elements are included in the edit. Having the script on hand will also help determine what graphics are needed. What music if any is wanted? Is there any animation? What are the names and titles of people shown in this video? Do you need them identified?

Other items to consider are; what final format is the product supposed to be? This can be a different format from the one used on the video shoot. What dimension size is needed? How will it be delivered? These bits of information are important to know from the beginning of the production to help save time in the long haul. Each process requires a certain amount of time. Be aware of how long it takes to do what you want in “production” and smart decisions will follow.

PRODUCTION VALUE
This is an intangible type of thing. This is the creativity of the people involved and how they go about
incorporating it into the video. Sometimes these are very well thought out methods and procedures, sometimes
quirky, on-the-spot changes and sometimes it’s trying to get things perfect and paying attention to detail.
There are many little things added together and they all add time to the production. Changing the audio level,
getting rid of a hiss, doing a take one more time to get the shot just right, changing the light just a
little, adding a filter, re-working the script, adding more graphic elements, adding music, adding animation, editing out something someone said because it is too late to have it re-shot, experimenting with several methods to reach a “best” solution, correcting color; all of this takes time. But this kind of time is well spent. This is your look and feel – your image.

COST
You can take all of the above mentioned factors into consideration to help you determine how much time it would take to create your video. The more involved it is the more time it will take. The more simple it is the less time it will take. One is not necessarily better than the other. However, how that time is spent is important.

If you think a completed video, shot and edited for you, can be done for $100 think again. Add another zero
to it and it will be closer to what needs to be spent to get a very basic video done. Different types of production will cost different amounts. If it is a simple talking head, either with a green screen are office background, then that doesn’t take too much time to shoot or edit. It still may take two to three hours of shoot time and depending on how many takes were done, it could take another 2, 3 or 4 hours to edit. You are still looking at a starting price of around $200 for a very simple one camera, no lights, mike on a camera shoot with not much editing done other than getting it ready for the web. A more realistic approach is to figure that a finished video will cost anywhere from $200 to $2000 for every finished minute. (That $200 is rock bottom by the way and is rarely met.) Given that range, a 3 minute video could cost anywhere from $600 to $6000. Some folks would even say that $6000 is too cheap for making a good production. To give you a different perspective; the average cost to produce a 30-second national television ad in 2001 was $358,000. You obviously don’t need to spend that much unless you are wanting to advertise nationally.

These sums probably don’t help much because it is such a wide range but that is part of the business. There is such an extensive variety of production styles and such a wildly different set of expectations that sometimes it’s just a simple jump into hard reality that will give you a number that works for you. If you are interested in creating a video for the web, launching a company product or making a training video then having a better idea on what is involved in making a video can help lead you into making a better budget for a video production. This in turn should give you a better product in the end and will make you much more pleased with the whole experience.

Visit ADR Productions on the web at:  www.adr-productions.com

 

Search & Win

There are currently (2011) three main frame rate standards in the TV and movie-making business: 24p, 25p, and 30p. However there are many variations on these as well as newer emerging standards.

  • 50i (50 interlaced fields = 25 frames) is the standard video field rate per second for PAL and SECAM television.
  • 60i (actually 59.94, or 60 x 1000/1001 to be more precise; 60 interlaced fields = 29.97 frames) is the standard video field rate per second for NTSC television (e.g. in the US), whether from a broadcast signal, DVD, or home camcorder. This interlaced field rate was developed separately by Farnsworth and Zworykin in 1934,[1] and was part of the NTSC television standards mandated by the FCC in 1941. When NTSC color was introduced in 1953, the older rate of 60 fields per second was reduced by a factor of 1000/1001 to avoid interference between the chroma subcarrier and the broadcast sound carrier.
  • 30p, or 30-frame progressive, is a noninterlaced format and produces video at 30 frames per second. Progressive (noninterlaced) scanning mimics a film camera’s frame-by-frame image capture. The effects of inter-frame judder are less noticeable than 24p yet retains a cinematic-like appearance. Shooting Video in 30p mode gives no interlace artifacts but can introduce judder on image movement and on some camera pans. The widescreen film process Todd-AO used this frame rate in 1954–1956.
  • The 24p frame rate is also a noninterlaced format, and is now widely adopted by those planning on transferring a video signal to film. Film and video makers use 24p even if their productions are not going to be transferred to film, simply because of the on-screen “look” of the (low) frame rate which matches native film. When transferred to NTSC television, the rate is effectively slowed to 23.976 frame/s, and when transferred to PAL or SECAM it is sped up to 25 frame/s. 35 mm movie cameras use a standard exposure rate of 24 frames per second, though many cameras offer rates of 23.976 frame/s for NTSC television and 25 frame/s for PAL/SECAM. The 24 frame/s rate became the de facto standard for sound motion pictures in the mid-1920s.
  • 25p is a video format that runs twenty-five progressive frames per second. This frame rate derives from the PAL television standard of 50i (or 50 interlaced fields per second). Film and Television companies use this rate in 50 Hz regions for direct compatibility with television field and frame rates. Conversion for 60 Hz countries is enabled by slowing down the media to 24p then converted to 60 Hz systems using pulldown. While 25p captures half the temporal resolution or motion that normal 50i PAL registers, it yields a higher vertical spacial resolution per frame. Like 24p, 25p is often used to achieve “cine”-look, albeit with virtually the same motion artifacts. It is also better suited to progressive-scan output (e.g., on LCD displays, computer monitors and projectors) because the interlacing is absent.
  • 50p and 60p is a progressive format used in high-end HDTV systems. While it is not technically part of the ATSC or DVB broadcast standards, it is rapidly gaining ground in the areas of set-top boxes and video recordings.
  • 72p is currently an experimental progressive scan format. Major institutions such as Snell & Wilcox have demonstrated 720p72 pictures as a result of earlier analogue experiments, where 768 line television at 75 Hz looked subjectively better than 1150 line 50 Hz progressive pictures with higher shutter speeds available (and a corresponding lower data rate).[4] Modern cameras such as the Red, can use this frame rate to produce slow motion replays at 24 frame/s. Douglas Trumbull who undertook experiments with different frame rates which led to the Showscan film format, found that 72 frame/s was the maximum frame rate at which emotional impact peaked for viewers.[5] 72 frame/s is the maximum rate available in the WMV video file format.

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Video production can cost as much or as little or as your budget allows.

You can borrow a flip camera, shoot some video and upload it to YouTube – all for free. Or you could hire James Cameron to write, produce and direct your video where you’d be looking at a budget just shy of  half a billion dollars when you include marketing costs and Hollywood accounting. Both options would result in a finished video but you’d probably need special glasses to watch the the more expensive option.

The good news for businesses looking to engage a video production company is that many of the factors that affect the price of a video have been going down over the last few years. Some dramatically. Assuming you find a company that does great work (this is a critical first step by the way – if the company doesn’t do great work it’s not worth paying anything for) the first question to be answered is  ‘how much does a video cost?’ There is no simple answer to that question but here are 25 factors (ranked in order of importance to the overall quality of the video) that affect the price of a web video:

  1. Production Experience. Doctors, mechanics, lawyers, videographers… whatever profession you care to mention, experience matters more than any other factor and, all things being equal, you do tend to get what you pay for. There are many, many moving parts in the creation of a video but at the end of the day you are paying for the expertise and experience of the key people responsible for your video. 
    Costs:
    You can pay $25/hour for a recent film school graduate or $250/hour for a top flight video veteran. On average most production companies will charge between $50/hour and $150/hour for the people involved in key activities such as shooting and directing.
  2. Concept / Script / Storyboard –  Doing video for the sake of video is a waste of money (although it’s great for the video production industry!) What measurable business objective are you trying to achieve?  How is this video specifically going to achieve that objective? And of greatest importance, do the people creating your video have the experience or guidance to create a video that will help move your business forward? Lighting, sound, framing and editing are all important but they don’t matter in the least if what you are creating has no value to your intended audience. Like companies that spend $10,000 on website development and little or no money on content for the site, many companies waste a lot of money on nicely shot but otherwise meaningless video.
    Costs: Expect to spend between $60/hour and $125/hour for an experienced marketer (does it make sense to have an entertainment script writer or video production assistant develop your marketing script?) to develop a concept, script and storyboard that serves as the blueprint for you video.
  3. Editing. The editing process is highly nuanced. Editing is where you create the style and substance of the video – you sequence all of the available assets into a cohesive story that communicates your key messages in a clear and engaging manner. Editors arguably should be the most highly paid (and skilled) in the entire process (quite often they are not.)
    Costs:
    Editing costs run between $40/hour and $125/hour.
  4. Actors/Presenters. Do you need to hire professional presenters, actors or models to improve the quality of your presentation? Not everyone is good on camera. You may need to make difficult decisions about who should represent your company. In a broadcast commercial quite often it is not someone in your company. Even in a corporate video you may decide that hiring outside talent is the best decision.
    Costs:
    Presenters, models and actors can range anywhere from $50/hour to $200/hour or more depending on experience, demand and union costs.
  5. Camera. The quality and flexibility of the camera you shoot with can make a huge difference in the finished quality and editing options for your video. Are you shooting on a $ 500 DV camera, a $2,500 DSLR, a $10,000 Full feature HD camera, a $20,000 RED or are you shooting on Film? The pace of technology advancement in film and video is breathtaking and the features and capabilities of cameras are changing weekly.  Bottom Line: You should be able to see the difference in the final output quality in more expensive cameras. If you can’t, then it’s not worth paying for.
    Costs:
    You will spend between $25/hour and $150/hour or more depending on which digital camera is used. Film cameras, lenses and stock will take you well over $1,000 /hour.
  6. Equipment. The more experienced video production companies tend to have a wide variety of tools and equipment on hand for each shoot. Do you need a track dolly or a jib-arm to create a shot with movement? Do you have a high quality field monitor to know exactly what you are getting (or not getting) as you shoot? Do you have all the necessary audio equipment (lav’s, direction mics, booms etc) to capture the audio you need?  Lighting and framing are everything in video. Do you have lights – lots of different lights to accommodate a wide variety of shooting scenarios? Do you have a variety of lenses to create the specific feel you are after – wide angle, fixed focal length or Cine lenses for narrow depth of field, etc?
    Costs. Equipment cost can run anywhere from $25/hour to $100′s/hour or more depending on what specific equipment is required.
  7. Crew. If you’ve ever watched a movie or television show being filmed you might wonder why you need so many people standing around idle on a set. Most business web video productions don’t require more than two people (and sometimes one is enough) but depending on the complexity of the shoot you may require a crew of three or more. If you are conducting man on the street interviews as an example, you need a cameraman, a sound man and a directer or interviewer. Concept videos like commercials will often require more people to help with the logistics of the shoot.
    Costs: Expect to pay between $ 25 and $75/hour/person for experienced crew.
  8. B-Roll / Cut-away shots. Most videos benefit from the addition of footage that supplements what is being said on screen. If you are interviewing a business owner who is talking about their new equipment you should cut away to shots of the equipment as they speak. Showing the viewer what is being described in the video is more informative (show me , don’t tell me) and also helps to keep the attention of the impatient viewer.
    Costs: The length of time and equipment used to capture the b-roll will increase production costs. You can add anywhere from 10% to 50% of the total shooting costs if you need to supplement interview footage with b-roll.
  9. Locations and production time. Where are you shooting? How long will each scene/interview/shot take?Are you shooting in one location or many? What are the specific requirements and constraints of each location? Are you indoor or outside? If you are shooting outside is weather a factor? If so what happens if it rains? How much set-up time is required? Are the locations close together? The most important factor is the total amount of time required for production. There are few economies of scale for time – but with good planning you can do a lot within a specific period of time.
    Costs: This cost is arithmetic. Two days of shooting is twice as expensive as one day. {If shooting extends for many days or is regularly scheduled then most companies offer a discount}
  10. Studio shooting. Do you require the use of a sound stage or studio? Do you need a controlled environment to shoot in? Are you shooting green screen and keying out the background in edit? The use of a studio has to be factored into the overall cost of the production one way or another. Larger companies may include studio time in their shooting costs and other companies include it as a line item as studio rental time.
    Costs: Factor in between $100/hour and $ 400/hour depending on the size of the studio. (If you need a studio you will be charged for it – one way or the other)
  11. Set, props, equipment, extras. Aside from video production equipment are there other special props or pieces of equipment that need to be included as part of the costs? Do you need to rent a van, rent furniture, hire extras, hire a plane or helicopter for an aerial shot or bring in special equipment for the shoot? These all have to be factored in to the cost of the shoot.
    Costs: Depends on what is required.
  12. Stock footage Do you require supplemental footage or images to support the video? There are many websites that sell high quality still and video footage. Some videos are comprised completely of stock footage, text and voice-over.
    Costs: Stock images can be as cheap as $3 and great quality HD stock footage can cost as little as $50.
  13. Narration Do you need a voice-over to tell your story or to tie the video together. Video is a powerful medium but it is even more powerful if you take full advantage of audio to support what is being shown on screen.
    Costs: Voice-over costs have dropped dramatically over the last five years. Many voice artists work from home and can produce great work for almost any budget. $100 – $400 for a 2 minute video is reasonable depending on the experience and demand for the specific voice artist.
  14. Audio files. Do you require a music bed, special sound effects or other audio to supplement your video?
    Costs: Good quality music for video starts as low as $30 for a two or three minute track. Custom audio can cost $1,000 or more depending on the experience of the musician and what is required.
  15. Teleprompter. A teleprompter can save a shoot. Even the most experienced speaker can be intimidated by lights and camera. It’s true that you can usually tell when someone is reading a teleprompter but that may still be preferable to the agony of a shoot spiraling out of control because the CEO can’t remember his lines.
    Costs: Teleprompter and operator usually cost between $350 and $600 for a half day.
  16. Geographic Location. New York is more expensive to shoot in than Central Lake, Michigan because the cost of living is higher in New York. Half day rates don’t exist in some large cities today.
    Costs: Expect to pay between 25% and %50 more if you are shooting in a large city.
  17. Digitizing, transfers, rendering and uploading. Video takes on many forms during the production process. If you shot on film you have to transfer it to a format that works in your editing system. After you edit it, you have to render it to a presentation format (for web, for broadcast, etc.) and depending on where it’s going you may have to upload it somewhere (your web server / YouTube / The Academy Awards, etc). All this takes computer and human time and you generally have to pay for both.
    Costs: Sometimes these costs are buried, sometimes they are line items. Tape transfers are still very expensive ($100′s of dollars).  Rendering and uploading time are usually buried in the costs but can also be charged out at an hourly rate ($50 – $100 per hour).
  18. Length of the Video. The longer the video the more it is likely to cost. Web videos tend to be around a couple of minutes although this varies considerably depending on the type and purpose of your video. Filming an articulate talking head (limited editing) for 10 minutes is much cheaper than creating a 30 second commercial. So…
    Costs: All things being equal (they never are) consider longer to be more expensive, but it’s not arithmetic. An extra minute of video might only cost you %10 more if you have planned the extra requirements into the overall workflow.
  19. Licensing/Union Fees. Are you using any media assets or talent that could be subject to ongoing licensing, usage or union fees? The web continues to drive all costs down including licensing fees – but they still exist. The best talent is usually a member of  SAG, ACTRA or some other union.
    Costs: Varies depending on the project and talent.
  20. Direct or Third party. Are you dealing directly with the video production company or are you going through an agency or other middleman?
    Costs: You should expect that you are paying at least a %30 mark-up if you are going through a third party.
  21. Interactivity. Are you creating linear video or are you building in interactivity? Is there a direct call-to-action that you want to get the viewer to follow? Do you require flash programming do build the video into a special player that will sit on a specific landing page? The future of video is interactive video.
    Costs: Expect to pay between %10 and %30 more to develop interactivity and flash support elements into your video.
  22. Hosting. Your video is going to live on the web. Where is it being hosted? You might end up hosting it on different servers (your own, YouTube, a business portal, etc.) depending on your business needs.
    Costs: Hosting is either free or relatively inexpensive ($ 5 – $10 / month/video depending on bandwidth usage.)
  23. Formats. How many different formats does your video have to be rendered in? Where is it going to be seen? Do you need a short version (editing down) and a long version? Does it sit in a multiplayer or is it in three different players? Should you break it up into pieces to make the length of it a little less evident and also to allow the user a bit more control?
    Costs: Adapting multiple formats for a video could add %5 to %10 percent to the cost of the job depending on how much editing is required.
  24. Language and translation. Do you need close captions? Do you need language versioning? Do you need onscreen text to change per language? Do you need to dub in different narration for different markets?
    Costs: Language versioning can add %10 to %20 to the overall cost of the job. (Editing and proofing of different languages is usually much more time intensive than one language alone.)
  25. Miscellaneous fees. Ya, everyone hates lawyers ‘disbursement fees’. Video production has the equivalent in ‘Miscellaneous fees’: Travel costs, meals, mileage, hotels, transportation, out-of-pocket… it all adds up.
    Costs: Usually in the $100′s and sometimes in the $1,000′s of dollars on larger shoots.

Bottom Line?

Taking all of the above into consideration there are reasonable ballpark figures that you can use as a guidepost for budget purposes. A two to three minute web-based corporate video presentation might cost between $2500 and $7500 depending on the variables mentioned above. If you use the time honored “$1,000 a minute” for a professionally produced online corporate video as a starting point, that will give you a reasonable idea of where to begin in the budgeting process.

Budgeting Tip:

The best way to get a quick estimate is to have a reference video to compare to. (I.e. “How much would something like ‘this’ cost.”)

Visit us on the web at www.adr-productions.com

I’m sure you’ve been poking about on the internet and come across many different forums. Have you noticed that everyone is talking about this mysterious thing called “film look”? I’m sure you have.

The way people talk about it, it seems like making your video look like film is the holy grail. I’m sure in your mind this has raised many questions. What is film look? Do I need it and why? How do I get it?

The truth about ‘film look’

If you float around the message boards long enough…you’ll probably be really confused as to what this whole concept is about. Obviously, people are trying to make their digital video look more like film…but how….and why?

Let’s talk about the “why” aspect first.

Why make your video look like film

Many people just assume film is better so it only makes sense to try and make your video look like film. That may be your opinion, but you can get yourself into trouble thinking this way. Many people who think film is better will do anything to make their video look like film, even if that means putting ‘dust and scratches’ effects on their video. The result of doing something like that is video that looks like it has scratches on top of it.

The real reason to strive to make video look like film is because audiences are used to the look of film when watching a movie. If your movie is shot on video, people will notice that the movie looks different than what they are used to seeing. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Video has a look of realism and if you are trying to portray a gritty realistic story then video great. However, if you are trying to portray a mystical fantasy world, video could be distracting to your audience.

Ultimately though, you have to shoot with what you have. So rather than strive to make your video look like film, make it your goal to make the best possible looking image for the medium you are shooting.

That being said, lets discuss some of the differences between video and film, how to compensate for them, and when you should just leave things alone.

Film look demystified

There are a variety of components that make film look different than digital video.

1. Dynamic Range – Film has the ability to capture much bigger variations in light intensity. Have you ever seen video where the sky is completely white? The sky is white because when the camera’s CCD chip sees something so bright it can’t translate it. Instead it says “that is so bright…its just white”. The same is true on the dark side. If something is too dark, the camera just assumes it is black. Digital video has a very limited range of intensity it can see, while HD is slightly more, and film is drastically greater (several F-stops.)
* How to compensate – This is probably the hardest thing to overcome when working with video. In some very expensive cameras you can do somethings to slightly improve this…but that is a subject way to complex for this article. Instead, the best thing you can do is to prevent this limitation from distracting your audience. The number one distraction caused by this is blown out highlights..aka the white sky. You should try to do everything you can to avoid blown out highlights. You do this by exposing for the brightest thing in the scene. Outdoors, this could cause your subject to become very dark, so its a good idea to have a big reflector to bounce light onto your subject. Or block out some of the suns light with what is called a butterfly scrim. Here is a great tutorial on how to build a scrim.
* When in doubt underexpose – That statement probably sends chills down the spine of a professional cinematographer because it sounds like such bad advice. However, rarely do I see a single shot that seems so underexposed that some post production treatments can’t save them. Shots that are too bright, however, are very difficult to treat.
2. Gamma Curve – Film reacts in a non linear fashion to light, while video is completely linear. If you want a good (but very technical) explanation of that, check out this wikipedia article. But all you need to know is that film colors look different because of this, and there is very little you can do about it. However, some of the higher end prosumer and professional camcorders actually have gamma correction features which help it to mimic the look of film.
3. Noise – Video CCDs produce noise due to the way it picks up light as well as the way it digitizes the image. You can’t completely eliminate noise, but you can minimize it by keeping your camera’s electronic gain settings at their minimum.
4. Dust and Scratches – Since film is a physical thing, dust and scratches can easily end up on the film negative. Alot of people get so into the ‘film look’ thing that they think this is important to add to their video. Don’t be stupid. There is no reason to purposefully degrade your image. This is the one area that digital has a significant advantage over film, so be happy and keep it the way it is.
5. Resolution – Film technically doesn’t have a resolution because it doesn’t actually have pixels. However, just like video, if you project the image of a 35mm film big enough, it will start to look soft just like video does. Most experts estimate 35mm film to be about equivalent to a 4K resolution. That is about 4 times more resolution than 1080p
6. Depth of Field – This is the big one. Most digital cameras have a small CCD that is about 1/3″. Higher end cameras sometimes have a 1/2″ or 2/3″ CCD. This is much much smaller than a 35mm frame. Because of the way light goes through a lens, the result is that the smaller the CCD size, the more of the image is in focus. That means that on 1/3″ chip the entire shot will be in focus, where as on 35mm film the DP can control the focus to be on the subject and blur out the background completely. This can be of huge benefit to the filmmaker as it forces his audience to look at the subject. With video, you have much less control over what is in focus and what is not. Because of this, you have to be very careful not to have a cluttered distracting background that will pull your audiences attention away from the action
* Back up zoom in – You can get some of the same effect of a shallow depth of field by backing your camera up as far as possible, and then zooming in to get the shot type you want. Technically you haven’t changed your depth of field, but you can achieve close to the same look with the subject in focus and the background out of focus
* 35mm adapters – There is an entire industry now of 35mm adapters. These are devices that allow you to put a 35mm lens on the front of the a device, which then is projected to an intermediate screen which your digital camera focuses on. These can be a bit pricey and difficult to work with, but they are a bargain compared to shooting with film. Here is a trailer for a short film, Wide Asleep, that we shot with a 35mm adapter. The shots look beautiful, but I can tell you from experience these devices are often quite a bit of trouble to use.

There isn’t a whole lot more to it than that. But remember, the idea isn’t to make people think that your movie was shot on film. Honestly….who cares? Your goal should be to make the best film possible, using the techniques and tools available.

Visit our website at:  www.adr-productions.com

Professionals will often prefer to purchase a 3 CCD video camera, as these offer many benefits over other models. Consumer video cameras are perfect for documenting family memories. However, they are not suited for professional productions. There are many reasons why professionals will prefer 3 CCD cameras over consumer level camcorders.

What Is a CCD?

Almost all digital cameras on the market use CCDs. These are special electronic chips that convert the light entering the lens into electrical signals, which can then be stored. These chips are essential for all digital cameras to function correctly. A 3CCD video camera has three separate CCD sensors. Each of these collects Red, Blue and Green light separately.

Superior Quality

The quality of videos made with 3 CCD video cameras is superior to videos made with consumer level camcorders. Because different colors are collected on separate sensors, they can then be recombined to produce a very high quality and high resolution photograph.

Even camcorders with a higher resolution will normally produce poorer quality images than a 3CCD camera. This is because they need to use interpolation algorithms which reduce the actual resolution of the image.

More Advanced

A normal consumer level camcorder will feature a single CCD. This CCD will capture all of the colors of light entering the lens. By using a 3CCD model, it’s possible to take a step into the world of professional film making. There have been quite a few professional films which have been captured on these professional 3CCD camcorders.

Many of these video cameras have interchangeable lenses. This is very different to a consumer level camcorder which has a single fixed lens that cannot be removed. The ability to change lenses makes it much easier to shoot in a variety of different conditions.

Reliability

While these cameras are more complicated, they are much more reliable. Professionals will be aware that these are built to high specifications, which will ensure that they won’t let you down. These camcorders can cope with being used every day without any trouble. These are also much more rugged than a typical consumer camcorder, and this means that they do not need to be handled with kid gloves.

Flexibility

A consumer level video camera will shoot high quality video in most, but not all, situations. A 3CCD sensor is much more flexible as it allows you to shoot in a wide range of different lighting conditions. The three separate CCDs in the camera will ensure that the images are clearer and sharper, even when shooting in poor light conditions.

Choosing a 3CCD Video Camera

When looking for 3CCD video cameras, you will need to look at a few different names. These cameras are also sold as 3MOS and 3 chip cameras. It’s a good idea to stick to a well known brand name for these cameras, as this will ensure that you choose a high quality and high resolution camcorder.

Not all 3CCD video cameras are created equal. It’s a good idea to test the camera out before buying it as this will give you the chance to check how everything works.

Visit Our Website at:  www.adr-productions.com

We are excited to start off 2011 with the News4 Health and Fitness Expo on January 15, 2011 at the Washington Convention Center.  We will be filming for one of the participating booth vendors.  They have asked us to come in and capture the excitement surrounding their product.  This will be done in a short documentary style piece which will eventually be uploaded to their website and YouTube.

We look forward to being a part of this exciting annual event in it’s 18th year!

Visit our website at www.adr-productions.com

At ADR Productions, we want to wish everyone a joyful and safe New Year 2011!

2011 marks another year where we hope to make new friends and visit with old friends.  We have some new and exciting ideas to bring you throughout 2011 which we hope you will enjoy.

As always, your suggestions and referrals are always appreciated!

We See Us in Our Customers!™

Sincerely,
Scott Shirley – Owner

Visit us on the web at www.adrproductions.com

It’s a good feeling when you can look back on a year and have it bring a smile to your face.  2010 was one of those years!

In 2010 we had the return of some old friends and the addition of some new friends.

We started the year off with the conclusion of the Stixrud project which started in September 2009.  Dr. Stixrud is a professor of neuropsychology who who specializes in the evaluation of children, adolescents, and adults with learning, attention, and/or social/emotional difficulties.  He partnered with us to film a twelve session training course  with the goal of creating an online course for his customers.  I found myself absolutely amazed at the information I gathered about the effects of TV on young children during the filming of this project.

Spring of 2010 saw the return of Elan DanceSport Center and their ProAm showcase.  We also welcomed a new customer to ADR Productions in the ballroom dance genre, Dance Factory!  The Dance Factory gave us a trial run on their Spring ProAm dance showcase and expressed the complete satisfaction with the finished product.

Summer of 2010 brought the addition of the semi-pro football team, Virginia Lions, to the ADR Productions family.  The Lions are part of the AFL and have committed to making ADR Productions their official video production company in 2011.

Fall of 2010 again saw the return of Elan DanceSport Center and The Dance Factory for their Fall ProAm showcase performances.  These really are must see events if you get a chance when they return in the Spring of 2011.

2010 also saw several other new clients such as ARMI Live and Urban Fat Chords, The Producers Choice music software.

We continue to run into old friends in the industry and make new ones.  I would like to welcome TimeLine Media to our circle of friends in the production arena.  We have had the great pleasure of working beside Rassi Borneo and his wife Bryony.  If you are looking for a professional photography company, Timeline Media should be your first choice.

At ADR Productions, we just want to say thanks to all of our new and old friends who have helped to make 2010 a very special year. We will see you in 2011!

Join us on Facebook at ADR Productions’ Facebook page!

Thanks,

Scott Shirley