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lpha Video Productions

So…you need a video but feel more like “Help, where do I start?”

No need to panic! That’s one place where Alpha Video’s experience and client service shine. We can come alongside you and walk you through the whole process, lending our expertise and encouragement throughout and making you—and the completed production—look good.

A Word about Video

Television is a “feeling” medium, alive with people’s gestures and facial expressions, as well as the natural sounds of their surroundings. It pulls the viewer right into the experience. That’s why moving pictures impact viewers more than still photos and slides.

Television is also a “close-up” medium. It works best when you can see “the whites of people’s eyes.” Today, with increased video streaming on the Web and distribution on CDs, it’s even more important to keep that in mind. A group shot of 25 people—or a very complex graphic--just isn’t going to have much impact showing in a small rectangle on someone’s personal computer. And snazzy camera moves that may look good on a VHS can give computer viewers “the blurs” or make them positively seasick.

Baby Boomers and their kids cut their teeth on a video diet. They digest information and emotions from television and act on what they see. But all age groups are bombarded with visual images these days, and your message needs to stand out from the avalanche. That’s one reason it so important to choose your production company carefully.

Choosing Qualified Professionals

Buying a camera and desktop edit system does not a videographer make! Skill, creativity, and dependability vary considerably. Experience is crucial. You usually get what you pay for. For example, those who ask Uncle Jake to take their wedding pictures will get a far different outcome from those who search for a qualified still photographer, ask to see sample portfolios, and get references from happy clients.

Your video is important to you. So it’s vital to find a professional you can trust with your message and who has the experience to carry it through--on time and within budget. Always ask to view a demo tape. Ask if this team planned, wrote, shot, and edited each project shown; if not, which parts of these projects did they do? In what areas are their skills strongest? Do they partner with other professionals whose strengths complement theirs? Look at several demo tapes to get a broader feel for the options. And most of all, choose a professional team with good people skills, someone you can enjoy working with.

Basic Steps

Know what you want to communicate. What’s the main idea? Do you need to teach or train, sell a product or service, distribute information, motivate or inspire, raise funds, or honor an outstanding person? What must be included to cover the subject (and perhaps meet continuing education criteria or even legal requirements)?

How To Produce a Video

Decide who your audience is. Corporate executives, middle-management, manufacturing workers, educators, volunteers, families, churches, foundations, students, members of professional associations, equipment users or installers…. What language do they speak? What spokesmen do they have confidence in? How much do they already know about the subject? What aspect of the intended program do you think would interest them most?

Plan for an appropriate length. If it’s for a meeting, how much time is reserved for the entire program—including introduction, video presentation, questions, and wrap-up. Generally speaking, the best rule is, “The shorter, the better.” People’s attention spans are getting shorter all the time! Try to cover the subject well enough while leaving the audience wishing for more. An executive may spare three to five minutes. Families are accustomed to commercial breaks after seven minutes of program content—or even less.

Draft a rough script. It may be as loose as three key concepts scribbled on a notepad, or a formal, double-spaced, two-column script with video on one side and audio on the other. Just remember to write as you talk, use simple vocabulary, keep the viewers in mind, and don’t tell things in a narration that you can show in pictures. (Let them figure out a lot from the moving images, and save your words for essential content).

Plan the ending well. People will remember the beginning and the end better than the details sandwiched in the middle. At the end, be sure to let them know how you’d like them to respond to what they’ve just seen.

How Alpha Video Works

For what we call “complete turn-key production,” Alpha Video will normally meet with you in person—or by email or phone if distance prohibits—to exchange information about your project and its purpose and deadline. After discussing the major questions above, we brainstorm with you to determine the most effective way of achieving your goal.

Then we prepare a written proposal/working agreement describing the project and including an estimate of costs. It spells out what we provide and what the client will do. For most projects, we split payments into thirds. When you or your company approves the proposal, work can begin when the agreement is signed and Alpha Video receives a check for the first one-third of the work, as described in the agreement. For example, scripting and pre-production planning can begin. Then another one-third of the total budget is due when shooting begins. And when the edited project is complete and approved by the client, the final one-third payment is due. Edited master tapes are released for duplication when final payment is received.

For “producer services” we tailor arrangements to the specific project (for example, shooting only or editing only).

We are happy to answer questions throughout the process and dedicated to customer satisfaction.

(Note: Some clients have footage already shot and need only editing services. If that’s the case, or if someone else is already hired to do the shooting for you, the tips we offer to missionary videographers may help you as well. The better the shooting quality, the better it will look when it is edited.)