Clients of video productions should also be happy if they have to pay for things you don’t see, says Carlo Peer Olsson.
Film is like school: everyone thinks they understand something about it. And to a certain extent, that’s true. We all went to school once. We all consume and produce more moving images than ever before.
From the experience of broad sections of the population in dealing with video, two convictions have grown that every professional filmmaker has to deal with in commissioned productions:
On the one hand, clients are convinced that filmmaking is not a closed book. When your own offspring can shoot amazingly perfect 4K quality footage and mount cool clips on your smartphone for TikTok, making movies can’t be difficult or expensive.
On the other hand, technology has lost its function as a barrier to entry into professional filmmaking. For a few paltry dollars, access to the same editing software Hollywood uses is open. How to edit videos or add multi-track sound is explained on YouTube by some 10,000 free video tutorials.
Can we deduce from this that whoever watches movies can also make movies? Does going to school qualify the student to be a teacher?
Anyone who works with a professional video producer as a client today pays him primarily for his exceptional knowledge and experience.
True: In a standard situation, with a little skill and will, a narrow-minded filmmaker can achieve the same result as a professional video producer.
But the truth is also that when it comes to a commissioned video, 97% of the time the framework is not standard.
Messages, film locations, people involved in the video in front of the camera and deadlines force every commissioned production into a corset. Bad weather, unattractive locations, a nervous CEO in front of the camera and rote, bulky PR blah blah blah are not the take, but the rule. In such situations, the experience and professional equipment of the filmmaker, for example for sound recordings or to ensure a natural-looking lighting situation, tip the scales and are decisive for the video quality.
If you’ve never been on the fence with a video production, you might think it’s absurd that that’s why, as a client, you end up paying a video production for things you don’t necessarily see in the final product. Because they would only be noticed if they hadn ‘t been done. Almost everything that looks simple and authentic in a movie is anything but.
Staging and technique in a video film are one pair of shoes. Storytelling is the other. Preparing and narrating video content in a way that is suitable for the target group requires knowledge and talent. If these two pillars are missing, even the best technique and the most charismatic direction won’t help! Especially with a small production budget, it is tempting for both sides, contractor and client, to put the majority of the available funds into the production and neglect the concept in the script.
No sane person builds a house without planning. In a video, the script is the plan and the scriptwriter is the architect. If you don’t want new buildings collapsing, you need to get this through your head.
It can’t be helped: without adequate funding, you can’t create a commissioned video that conveys your message and has the authenticity or appeal necessary to do so. Those who believe that competence costs too much will quickly discover that incompetence in business costs even more.
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