Professional video production

Professional Video Production

It’s so easy these days, in any number of fields, to hang your sign on the door and call yourself a ‘professional’, and video production is no different. In fact it may be easier in video production than in many other fields. Buy a cheap camera and tripod, download some free editing software and presto, you’re a video producer. Add a colourful website that ranks well on Google and you’re in business.

There are a thousand backyard operators with a camera who’ll make you a video ‘on the cheap’. So what is it that differentiates the amateurs from the professionals?

Professional video production is about a number of things:

Good video producers have sophisticated and well developed communications skills and a sound knowledge of the subject matter they’re working on. The best way to evaluate these skills is to invite potential producers in to your offices to discuss your project, and their previous work, with them. Interrogate their credentials and their experience. Good producers should give you a strong sense that they understand your business and your subject matter. In the process, ask yourself some questions: Are they articulate? Do they understand your business? Do they understand commercial imperatives? Can they articulate what you need?

Good video producers know that video production is really about the audience. It’s not about making pretty pictures, it’s not about showing off, it’s not about the technology; it’s about creating a clear message that persuades the audience to respond in a way the client wants them to respond. At Sydney Audio Visual, two of the key questions we ask our clients during the initial briefing process is ‘What are you trying to achieve?’ and ‘what do you want the audience to do or feel having watched the video?’ The answers to those key questions form the basis of concept and script development, and inform every step of the project from genesis through to completion.

Good video producers are like good journalists; they ‘interrogate’ ideas until they find the truth. Good video producers can interpret the client’s needs, break down the brief, and crystalise what it is that the client really wants. If you can plug in a camera and light a scene, but you can’t interpret a client’s brief or, more subtly, crystalise the client’s vision, then you’re wasting their money.

Too often, there’s somewhat of a divide between what the client wants and what they end up with. Too many people in the video production industry focus too much on cameras, lights and microphones and neglect the fact that technology is nothing more than a tool for communications, and not an end in and of itself.

Obviously, no self-respecting professional in any field goes into the job without being able to provide professional grade equipment and experience, but anybody can buy the equipment and call themselves a professional. True professionalism is about more than the equipment, it’s about experience, real skills, and an understanding of how the medium can serve the message.

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