Many of our clients think of JLB Media Productions as a great budget option to produce quality, affordable corporate videos for their businesses. While we enjoy the opportunity to produce all types of corporate work, we also like to emphasize that our creativity is limited only by the budget, not by our experience. When you think of a restaurant chain like Olive Garden, you probably think of solid, affordable Italian food, nothing special, but not a bad option for a regular meal. When you think about Safeway, you maybe think of a regular, ordinary grocery store that will meet your needs most of the time, but nothing fancy like Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s with specialty items and whatnot. Every company has its niche, which they either define intentionally, or fall into unintentionally, but with a video production company the key ingredient is creativity.
If a video production company has just one staff member, a camera operator who also edits, the company may by design be more tailored to crafting straight-forward videos without a lot of bells and whistles. You wouldn’t hire Joe Blow Productions to create your nationwide commercial campaign, for instance. You would hire Joe Blow Productions for your internal company videos, though, because he’s affordable and delivers solid results for the audience. At essence, though, film is a very different business than grocery stores or restaurants. A grocery store could rebrand itself and change a bunch of their suppliers, reconstruct their stores, and focus on a new demographic. A restaurant could change directions and offer alternative foods, redo their ingredient lists and recipes, etc. In both cases, though, the businesses have to alter everything they do to serve a different demographic or need.
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With video production companies, the key is creativity because all filmmaking, from the lowest level to the highest level at major studios, is done by freelance professionals. The studio days are gone, which means every time Disney commissions a $200 million blockbuster, besides business staff, they hire all production professionals on a freelance contractor basis. Corporate video production companies do the same thing, unless they’re owner-operator outfits where one person does all of the work. The creation of a great video, then, is not the result of a company with hundreds of employees, where high level video creation is out of the realm of possibility for any smaller company. Any company, no matter how large or small, can create a great video with the right idea and the right budget.
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Let’s take a hypothetical example of how a small budget video is created, then look at a larger budget video to examine how a company addresses each need. On a $3,000 corporate video, the production company hires an appropriate videographer for a full day shoot, brings aboard a grip or production assistant to help the day progress more smoothly, and tasks a producer or project coordinator (or both) with tasks like paperwork, scheduling, and general planning. When production company and client agree on a production date, the pieces begin to move into place for planning the shoot, securing the contractors, and making the editor aware of incoming footage for the final edit. A $3,000 video is rarely a highly creative endeavor at the idea stage; instead, it’s the result of a client-directed video type and the execution of the plan by the production company. For instance, the client wants office B-roll and several interviews from key executives, then the editor compiles the footage into a company overview video.
On a higher budget video, let’s say $20,000 for the sake of argument, the client wants a fun, creative concept that connects with viewers, makes them laugh, and makes them think highly of the brand in general and the company’s offerings specifically. A creative director pitches several ideas or concepts to the client, almost like story ideas, and the client picks an idea they like. The creative director then either writes the script themselves, or hires a professional writer, to flesh out the idea fully and bring it to life on paper. Once the script goes through client approvals and tweaks, it becomes the blueprint for the entire project, much like architectural plans for a building. A skyscraper condo building has a different set of professionals involved than a family style suburban restaurant, which guides the hiring process. In the same way, the script guides the production company in making hiring decisions.
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For our Mr. Formal commercial shoot, for instance, the script called for two locations, a Mr. Formal storefront and a mansion. With the importance of wardrobe, fitting sessions had to be scheduled with all of the actors, who had to be secured over a lengthy casting process. With the importance of beauty and fashion, a hair and makeup artist was a clear “must have” position based on the concept. Typical crew positions like cinematographer, gaffer, key grip, and 1st Assistant Director were brought aboard based on their specific skill set and expertise for the type of project.