6: How Long Does a Video Production Take?
A Guide to Everything You Need to Know to Get the Most From Your Video Marketing
Welcome to the Sixth chapter of Video Production for Clients: Everything you need to know to get the most from your next Video Production.
In this part you’ll learn how to know what is a reasonable amount of time a video production should take to make you videos. You’ll also learn about which factors are the most likely to blow out the due date and how to avoid going over budget and over time.
You’ll also learn to spot the warning signs of a Video Production company with bad time management skills.
When we talk to our clients about their biggest fears of something going wrong we get the same two answers time and time again.
We initially thought it would be the fear of getting a crap video created, but that didn’t seem to be an issue with our clients because they already had seen plenty of videos examples on this site.
The two biggest things that worried our clients the most were going over budget and time. We looked at Cost in Part 3: How Much Does a Professional Video Production cost?
This time we’re going to look at… …Time!
You’ve no doubt heard the chilling stories about simple video productions coming in way over the due date and also over budget. It may have even happened to you – let’s delve into the ways that this can happen and how can you stop it from happening to your productions.
Part 01: Table of Contents: How Long Does A Video Production Take
Each part of the guide has it’s own table of contents so you can get the info you want quickly and easily!
Creative Brain = Poor Time management Skills.
We have to admit to you that it’s true; there are many creative types out there that have bad time management skills, especially when they are less experienced.
The general consensus is that because creatives spend so much time with their thoughts turned to their imagination and passion, they lose sight of the practical everyday things like hours spent and how much more of the project is left to complete.
In truth it’s a little more complicated than this, because often times the creative is learning new techniques, or exploring ideas that they think will be perfect for your production – both of these things are breaking new ground and so it’s often very difficult to predict how long it will take to implement.
Time is Money Dammit !
So how do you guard against this?
If you get your video production created by a company that uses the traditional advertising agency model, then there’s a very good chance that they already have measures in place by having managers who’s job is to keep the creative on track., If you want to be sure – make enquires as to how they manage the process. Just remember that agency’s often come with larger fees.
While Smaller Video Production companies, come with smaller fees – if you are not careful your production might get stuck in slow-motion.
If the idea presented to you sounds complicated or cutting edge find out if the operators have done this kind of thing before and if they are willing to swallow any extra hours that it may take to get it done.
Another way of guarding yourself against creatives with poor time management skills, is to meet the team and assess the type of people they are, are they young and impulsive, or are they much more experienced and quietly confident.
Experience will trump youth and passion every time – an experienced operator has done this many times before and as a result knows what to do right the first time, every time. He or she will know how much time to give for experimentation and when to abandon an idea or technique that will hurt the budget. They will also know when to politely inform you that your new great suggestion for a change at the last minute will blow out the deadline or your budget.
2 Hot Tips!
Hot Tip: The more extravagant the idea presented for your production, the more time you should factor in as a buffer just in case things go awry.
Many Creative’s will try and squeeze as much production as they can right up to the due date – which can result in blown out deadlines, a good idea is to plan ahead and set a fake deadline to your video production company as extra insurance just in case the worst happens and the project becomes overdue. (just don’t tell those creatives!)
Look for a production company that have had plenty of real world experience handling deadlines. Crews and operators that come from a television background with plenty of miles under their belt are always a good bet – because if you’re late in television you’re fired.
Post Production: The Tantalisingly Tempting Time Trap.
These days thanks to incredible advances in technology, there are literally limitless amounts of ways to make your video look unique. Some of the effects are almost instant to try, but some take hours for the computer to “render” the effect before you can see what the effect may look like.
We’ll be the first to admit – it’s a lot of fun creating special effects and looks, or fancy transitions from one shot to another – but they can take a lot of time.
Even the editing process can be a time sink, as it’s very easy to try different ways to put together the shots.
It can be very tempting to get stuck on one just section trying to find the very best combination of shots and effects that go together – sometimes the section that is being worked on might just be a few seconds in duration!
Also once you get shown a preview or perhaps you visit the edit while it’s being put together, through the power of hindsight, it’s very easy to see a whole bunch of new ways that you “think” might make the production better. But BEWARE – you the client can also be a cause for going over time and budget.
While a good production company will always strive to make you the client as happy with the end result as possible, they have to balance the effect of un-planned changes to the Post Production process.
Sometimes what looks like a simple change can either have ripple effects of needing to change everything afterwards or before, or perhaps go back and redo and entire part of the production process to accommodate the change.
It’s always good to give the changes you request a value, that way the Video Producers can make a judgment call as to whether it’s worth putting strain on the production resources, the budget or the all-important deadline.
Their decision matrix might look a little something like this.
Easy fix and low impact (on production process) – low to high priority change – doable.
Easy to Hard fix, low impact – medium to high priority change – doable.
Hard fix / high impact – only doable for high priority changes.
A Time & Place for Changes.
There is a very good reason why the production process will include particular stages where you, the client will be invited to give feedback and request any needed changes. This is to try to keep the production to budget and timeline, and to help manage the production resources of the Video Production company.
(yep that’s right, although your video producers are making you feel like you are the only one – they’re probably seeing other clients at the same time as you.)
Here are some tips for when to suggest changes.
If something bothers you –no matter how small, discuss it with your producer – and the sooner the better – because chances are it will always bother you unless it is dealt with.
But also be careful not to constantly “drip feed” changes to your production team.
It is often best to make changes in batches as quite often each change will effect other shots and layers and graphics and music tracks and sound bites. The editing suite operator can be much more efficient if they can plan ahead on how best to implement all the changes at once.
Imagine having to completely unwrap and then re-wrap a birthday present that is made up of individual wrapped boxes each stacked inside each other, every time you want to add something to the bottom box!
So take full advantage of the scheduled feedback / changes stages.
Without a trained eye it can be difficult to imagine what the finished product is going to look like – never just assume anything about the version that they show you!
If in doubt about anything ask your producer, good communication is key!
If one of your suggestions cause a production problem – it’s important that you be told so that a decision can be made on how to proceed
At these crucial stages there are no such things as stupid questions…
for example you’d be surprised how many clients go away from the rough cut worrying that the audio sounds terrible – not realizing that it has to be mixed and polished to sound wonderful at the very end of the production process!
The more you learn about the process the better you will be able to offer suggestions that will build your companies brand – after all – who know your brand better than you?
Try to avoid changes that are a major departure from what was initially agreed upon – as chances are the production process has been designed to be streamlined as possible, sudden complete changes in creative or narrative direction can cause the equivalent of 5 car production process pile up!
Very important!: Avoid any changes in duration after the final Audio mix has been done.
This is because all the separate music tracks that go into the final project have been all mixed together in to one stereo or surround sound project, a change of duration will often mean having to get this done all over again. This can be both very expensive and time consuming, especially if a professional Audio engineer and voice over artist has been used to do the final sound mix.
Quick Turn Around Vs Creative Control : A Trade Off.
If you need your videos done rapidly, then the trade off is a limited amount of changes that you can or should ask for. As a general rule of thumb, the tighter the deadline and/or budget the less scope to make changes during the draft approval and final approval stages.
The key to managing this effectively is once again good communication, (are you seeing a pattern emerge here?).
It’s important to lock in the style format and scripts as much as possible before launching the production process.
Managing Your Side of the Approval Process.
Even though most of the responsibility quite rightly lies with the Production company, the one crucial part on the client side that can make or break a deadline, is the time between approvals.
Many a production has become late due to a lack of timely feedback from the client as to changes required. A good Production company will factor in time for client approvals and make sure that you the client understands the time that you have to give this feedback without impacting the due date.
But are all the people that need to be part of the process on your side of the equation also aware of these approval time windows? Production schedules can become unstuck because the boss hasn’t made it a priority or just isn’t aware that their timely feedback is crucial to the smooth running of the project. Where possible book in time with busy staff ahead of time to make sure that everything runs smoothly.
Where possible, it’s recommended that only one or two people from the client side are given approval control – Video production by committee rarely works out in any way.
How to Spot the Warning Signs.
Let’s look at warning signs of a badly time-managed production.
Fortunately once you know what to look for it’s often pretty easy to spot a badly run production company.
If your production company does not give you a well communicated and structured timeline of what to expect and when to expect the various stages of production – then this shows that they don’t have the experience or foresight to think about how everything is going to come together.
This schedule should clearly include the client feedback and changes processes and the time frame that you will be expected to reply within.
Make sure that you are aware of exactly how many changes you can ask for and when the appropriate times are to do so. Never assume that these changes will not affect the budget or the time frame for completion – ask what if any impact there will be on these factors.
Beware of Yes Men (or Women)! – Corporate Video Production is a service based industry, but good service is all about giving you a great product in a realistic time frame, to a reasonable budget – beware of companies that readily say yes to all your wants without at least asking clarifying questions to find out what’s involved in achieving them.
This holds true just as much at the start of the production as well as during review and feedback time.
Remember that a well-run Production campaign is about giving enough time to make your product look and sound fantastic while balancing the resources to make it so.
Beware of overly complicated productions or cutting edge effects.
It’s nice to come to market as a leader and innovator – you can make a big impact, but often times breaking new ground means experimentation, unplanned and unexpected problems and mistakes. Big projects need larger time frames so plan accordingly.
Beware of Video Producers who assume from you without asking you questions.
Once again this comes down to good communication.
For instance, your Video Producer should ask you what you plan on doing with the videos and how you’d would like to receive them.
Do they ask you for all of the ways that the video/s are going to be played?
Appropriate formatting packaging and even graphic design requirements can have an impact on final delivery of the product.
How Long Does A Video Production Take to Get Made?
So how much time is a reasonable time frame and how long is too long?
We wish we could give you hard and fast answers, but the truth it can depends on the complexity of the project, the cost of the project, and the availability of all the needed resources.
For example, a project that had many different video effects or created complex 3d animation is likely to take longer.
Alternatively if you are getting your production for an amazingly reasonable price, then you may not be the top priority, your production may be “fitting in” when other projects are not using resources – some production companies believe that you if you don’t pay top dollar then you pay in time.
Finally are your video shoots split over many different days due to factors like availability?
This can slow a project down also.
Of course we cannot speak for other production companies, but here are the kind of time frames you can expect from Rockmans Creative Media .
In most cases we can deliver any type of video within 2 to 6 days.
Script and concept development (if required) takes 8 hours approx.
Our graphic package of a logo animation, background animation and title strap animation takes 2 days approx.
In most cases the production shoot will take a day. RCM offers half day shoots (4 hours) and full day shoots (8 hours)
Each video is different and so are the durations but on average editing takes between 4 hours and 3 days.
Outputs to various file types and DVD takes 2 hours approx.
Delivery for the web is only limited to speed of the internet connection.
Conclusion : It’s All in the Timing.
Did you realise that there was so much to think about to make sure that your production comes in on time?
The Good news is if you only take one specific piece of advice from this page you are 90% of the way there – the rest are just details.
Communication is key: Find a Video Production company that communicates to you very clearly what you can expect and what is expected of you as the client.
Know what you want as much as possible before you contact your Video producers, make sure you communicate to them clearly and never assume anything.
Make sure you get a detailed production schedule with clearly defined due dates.
If any of these elements are missing – then find a production company who will give you these things.
We hope you enjoyed this part of Video Production for Clients: Everything you need to know to get the most from your next Video Production.
Don’t Miss Part 7 !
Don’t Miss Part 7 !
In Part 7, we look at the best ways to leverage your completed video on the web.
You’ll Discover where are the best places to put your various types of video and why.
And you’ll learn the two big mistakes that most businesses are doing that you can avoid and give your video marketing a massive unfair advantage.
Video Production for Clients Guide Table of Contents:
Here’s An Index of Every Chapter:
So you can get the content that interests you the most!
Ready to Get Started ?
Why Rockmans Creative Media?
Rockmans Creative Media brings a professional skill set and over 18 years ongoing television experience to your video project.
We understand that we are custodians of your brand.
Our videos are unique, and are tailor-made to meet your company objectives.
We know how to produce engaging, attention grabbing and interesting videos.