The Importance of Production Values
When speaking to video production companies, one of the phrases you may hear a lot is ‘production values’ and how important they are. So what are production values and why should we care about them? Are they just an excuse for agencies to bump up the budget or for filmmakers to play with all the whistles and buttons in their gadget box?
When anyone can shoot and upload video content on a decent mobile phone, what does a specialist agency add besides cost? We can all take high-res photographs, shoot video and edit with the apps that are available now. Does that mean you’ll be taking your product shots with your smartphone and designing a poster campaign yourself on your desktop? I doubt it.
A cheap-looking communication, whether it be an online video or a tv advert, puts across a poor brand image. So how do you achieve high production values? It all starts with the kit and crew…
When it comes to filming there are plenty of decent one-man bands that can turn up and be the cameraman, act as the sound engineer, manage the lighting and play director. But people specialise for a reason. Even for a simple interview video, different camera angles, lighting and direction will mean the difference between a cheap looking clip with a single camera angle, bad eyeline, murky lighting and muffled sound; to an engaging professional corporate video that fits comfortably within your brand communications strategy.
You’ll inevitably pay more for an experienced crew, but this will pay dividends down the line, time and time again. As well as getting the right people in place, you need the right kit; you don’t need to know what the most appropriate equipment is for your job, but what you do need to know is that the people filming for you certainly do, and will make recommendations based on ensuring the video turns out as fantastic as possible.
Post Production – Where the Magic Happens.
Once the shoot has happened we enter the mysterious world of post-production. It’s where the transformation of your footage truly takes place.
1. Creative Editing makes the film ‘watchable’ – putting the shots together so they flow seamlessly to tell a story, whether that story is a product ‘how-to’ or a TV commercial. Stylish, contemporary editing can make all the difference to how a video looks, feels and engages its audience. Any CGI or special effects come into the mix at this stage too.
2. Colour grading will make the film more vibrant and almost ‘pop’ out from the screen. (New blog on this coming soon!)
3. Sound Design. Good sound design usually goes unnoticed but bad sound design can have a big impact. Interestingly, your brain will automatically pick up on poor sound quality and mixing a lot faster than your eyes would pick up on any visual errors. Sound Design also encompasses sound effects; rather than using the sounds generated at the shoot (e.g. a ball bouncing or waves crashing), effects will be added afterwards to make them stand out and make you feel like you’re there – all helping to engage the viewer and keeping them watching to the end.
You get what you pay for with video – whether that video is for a TV commercial, an online ad or a corporate video – invest in the production values and spot the difference.