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Production Values

A critical question for a media producer is how high the production values need to be on a given production.  There’s no question that a finished piece should be as high quality as possible – no one wants to put out a grainy, badly lit video.

That said, there are times when production values should be balanced against other considerations.  There are times when other needs should outweigh the appearance of the video.  Some key issues include:

  • Time constraints
  • Cost
  • Audience
  • Subject matter
  • Talent (i.e. who’s being filmed)

The simplest way to manage these decisions is with a basic decision matrix to determine the relative importance of each factor.  It doesn’t have to get horribly complicated – some factors can be easily ignored in the right circumstances.

It’s one reason documenting the process through a production meeting and a written prospectus can be so valuable.  The old rule of “you can have it fast, cheap, or good – pick two of the three” becomes clearer to a client when they understand that higher production value leads to higher cost and longer time from conception to finished product.  Any number of desperately critical projects requiring a videographer, crew, and Hollywood-level graphics suddenly become less important when the cost factor and production time is explained clearly.

Alternative methods of recording can provide much more cost-effective means of producing media that would otherwise go uncaptured.  Integrated room systems connected to local or networked recording devices open up a world of opportunity, if you and the client can agree that their more limited production capabilities are acceptable for a particular event.  Likewise handheld video cameras can provide a quick capture of content without the need for a full video crew.

As I’ve said repeatedly, it’s the right tool for the right job – but it’s your responsibility to explain all the options to the client and make sure they understand the implications of their choices.

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