Tag Archives: video production

Seasons Greetings from DUO!

As 2016 draws to a close, we’re taking a moment to review the past few months and that we’ve been working on.  So, what have we been up to?

Attending the 2016 TIVA-DC Peer Awards for one!  It’s one of the big highlights, both recently, and over the course of the year and it was another resounding success for us; we took home another set of awards, including:

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L-R: Jim Pennington, Robin C. Farrell, Brian Pennington, DL Moody, Dave Garner

A Special Recognition was also awarded to Jim Pennington: the Distinguished Service Award!

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Congratulations, Jim!

Our appreciation goes out to TIVA-DC for another year of recognition.  We’re already looking forward to next year!

We also went back into the studio for our client SOLIDWORKS for a number of videos; some featuring their product, Draftsight, which was the first of many shoots at DC Visionaries in Rockville, MD.  

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For others, we got to work with Kevin Brennan again to announce the approaching event, SOLIDWORKS World 2017…

Continue reading Seasons Greetings from DUO!

Location: Why “Where” Matters

Choosing a location is a huge part of any project.  As stated back in our previous post, How Much Does A Video Cost?:

Location planning is critical to cost.  How many locations are needed? Is travel required?  Is a location fee required?  Is special licensing required?  Are accommodations needed for cast and crew?  What transportation requirements are there at each location?

Location is often one of the first corners to get cut when trimming a budget.  Why spend the cash on a studio space rental when you can just bring the camera into your personal office, or shoot an on-the-street style video just outside your office building?

Floyd Video Stills
Left: Game of CAD (see below) / Right: Floyd Prepares for Dallas 

The simple answer is “Because production is only one part of the project.”  More often than not, location is one of the biggest factors that affects post-production time and budget.  Factors such as sound, lighting, exposure, crowds, and passersby all directly influence your video simply because of where you put the camera.

Continue reading Location: Why “Where” Matters

Into The Nexus!

From elaborate, sophisticated studio production and hurdling across the full breadth of downtown Frederick, to fundraisers and Blu-Ray menus, June 2016 was one of our busiest – and most productive! – yet.

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As we mentioned last month, the “Floyd Series” has become one of our biggest and most expansive projects.  Our client, SOLIDWORKS, has continued to give us a great deal of creative freedom to explore unconventional approaches to their video marketing.  The Floyd Series started at the end of 2015 with It’s No Secret, in which Floyd (played by Kevin Brennan) is introduced.  Since then, he has appeared in A Game of CAD: A Song of Design and EngineeringFloyd Prepares for Dallas and SOLIDWORKS World Wrap-Up video (coming soon).  We’ve been developing a series of additional videos, which were far more ambitious than any that have come before; but we like a creative challenge!  We brought Jason Krznarich onto the team to lend his expertise to creating the vastly complex system needed to pull off our vision. We rented the space at BlueRock Productions & Studio (Baltimore, Maryland) to shoot two of the three videos.

Later that same week, we went on location to downtown Frederick, Maryland, starting and ending in Baker Park, but traipsing just about everywhere in between.  This video was shot entirely on a GoPro, with additional help from Jason and Brian himself.

Though difficult, all these shoots were big successes and we’ve been in post production since, delighted to see how the efforts are paying off.  We can’t wait to share the finished product.

SOLIDWORKS was not the only project we were working on this month.  The Foundation to Fight H-ABC hosted a fundraising event this month, for which the Manor Country Club hosted rounds of tennis and golf, a silent auction, great food and live music.  The proceeds are all going to research for a cure to H-ABC and the benefit of other rare diseases as well.  Check out the video below:

 

Lastly, DUO is now on Instagram:  @duomediaproductions.
Check us out and give us a follow!

How Much Does A Video Cost? (pt.1)

written by Jim Pennington

“How much does a video cost?”

This is the proverbial question asked of me by virtually every potential client.  My typical retort is, “How much does it cost to build a home?”  The comment is usually something like, “Well, I need to know how many rooms, how many floors, what type of construction….”

Precisely!  I can’t say how much a video will cost unless the parameters that go into producing a video are fully described.  This is rarely something that can be done “on the fly” unless I am using a similar project as a comparison.

So what are the factors that go into the cost of a video?  I begin here a two-part blog as we look at the three phases of producing a video: pre-production; production; and post-production.  Let’s examine some typical cost considerations for pre-production and production.

Concept.  Are we producing a simple testimonial, a training video, or a dramatic video? How long is the video?  What is the subject of the video?  Are there complex scenes?  Are there car chases?

Treatment and script. As we prepare the treatment and subsequent script, it’s once again important to know the complexity and length of the video.  More complex and longer videos mean higher writing costs.  Is significant creative writing needed or will we be working from existing marketing materials?  How many review/revision cycles will there be?

Location. Location planning is critical to cost.  How many locations are needed? Is travel required? Is a location fee required?  Is special licensing required?  Are accommodations needed for cast and crew?  What transportation requirements are there at each location?

Continue reading How Much Does A Video Cost? (pt.1)

DSLR vs. Mirrorless Cameras

In the ever-changing world of cameras and media production, how do you know what cameras to use?  There is still a general buzz around DSLRs and why they are effective, many of those reasons still being valid.  However, the mirrorless camera models are actually turning the tide and in many areas its still not clear as to why.  There are many similarities between the two, but the differences make quite an impact.  In this recent article, writer Caleb Ward breaks down why DSLRs are not the best way to go for your next video project.  His reasons include:

Overpriced.

DSLRs used to be the top of the line and their prices are expensive, but those prices made sense.  Now, they’ve become “incredibly overpriced.”  In fact, mirrorless cameras are about half the cost, according to Ward.  The reason for this can be explained by nothing more than brand name recognition; Canon and Nikon bring significantly more impressive face value than the mirrorless cameras, which are being manufactured by companies like Panasonic and Sony, which are “not quite as accepted in the pro photography community.”  The advantages of the Canon cameras and hacks, however, short-change production, but lead to a great deal more work in post, which creates a much longer delay in getting the final product finished and available to clients.

DSLRs are bulky.

The camera size doesn’t typically matter, but a highly portable camera, especially at weddings and other live events, can make a BIG difference.  One of the biggest selling points of DSLRs in their initial release was their compact size; but why?  What were some of those original selling points?

  • Allows for more coverage; to move more quickly between cuts.
  • Less attention is drawn to the camera operator, which is especially advantageous for guerrilla style narrative filmmaking, documentary shooting and, most of all, commercial video.
  • Comfort.  As Ward points out, “if you’re going to be shooting all day on a shoulder rig, Glidecam, or Steadicam, you probably don’t want to be using a gigantic camera like the URSA mini or even a larger DSLR.”  Comfort, too, is not strictly a matter of personal endurance.  If the camera operator does not tire as fast, he or she will be able to keep the camera rolling longer and capture more footage under less strain and, as a result, the footage itself will maintain the same level of quality from the start of the day.

So what separates the Mirrorless cameras from the DSLRs?  They’re not THAT different in size are they?  Actually, yes: because mirrorless cameras don’t have a mirror-box mechanism, they’re smaller and lighter than their DSLR counterparts.  This, again, brings us back to comfort, which, in turn, means overall quality of the work.

Mirrorless Cameras Are More Revolutionary.

There was a time when DSLR cameras were at the cutting edge of camera technology — but that’s no longer the case. Mirrorless camera manufacturers are capable of updating their cameras much quicker than DSLR camera manufacturers.  Just look at the Sony a7S series of cameras. In a little over a year, Sony was able to create the a7S, a truly revolutionary low-light camera, and create a second version that added 4k recording and increased frame rates. Canon and Nikon, on the other hand, have been very slow to update their cameras. For example, the Canon 5D Mark III hasn’t been updated in over four years.

Mirrorless Cameras Are Faster.

The interface and start up, especially.  Mostly comes into play for guerrilla style shooting; the difference between getting that perfect shot or missing it completely.  Lenses are a big part of the shot as well, and usually the lenses you’d prefer for DSLRs can be used for the Mirrorless cameras too.

Continue reading DSLR vs. Mirrorless Cameras

DUO Brings Home 4 More Peer Awards

1292974_1537446866471985_7796271075077338792_oPermit me to pat ourselves on the back for a moment. Normally on these blogs, I try to focus on the work of others, but I wanted to share with you some exciting news.  We won four TIVA Peer Awards on Saturday, November 8, 2014, and we couldn’t be more excited!

10649010_1537448056471866_3057171987498440790_oThe Peer Awards are coveted awards in the Greater Washington, DC area, because they’re different than a lot of other awards.  With many organizations you send in your project and your entry fee and then you wait to receive a letter in the mail telling you whether you won or not based on a panel of  judges you know nothing about.

10620200_1537448609805144_6327962120537911899_oWith the Peer Awards, you don’t wait at home. You get dressed up and head out for a lovely evening at the prestigious National Press Club right in the heart of DC. Not only is it held at a beautiful venue, but the evening contains delicious gourmet food, great networking, entertaining presenters, and of course, lots of awards. But perhaps the most unique thing about this particular awards ceremony, is that you know that each award you receive was judged by your peers, hence the name, The Peer Awards. That means that the certificate or statue you hold in your hand was put there because the people that do the same work you do, in the same part of the world you do it in, thought you deserved it. What could be better than that?

And now, without further ado, here are the awards we won with pictures to boot.
10688318_1537446363138702_1325312414141383250_oBronze Award:  NAE “Engineering for You” Promo 2D/3D Animation (Under $10K)  Photo of Brian at left.

Silver Award:  “Apocalypse Rock” Trailer Program/Series Promo (Under $10K)  Photo of Brian at top of page. Check out our film at www.ApocalypseRock.com

Silver Award:  Fundamentals of SolidWorks Electrical Public Relations/Marketing (Under $10K)  Photo of Karen at bottom.

Gold Award:  NAE “Engineering for You” Public Relations/Marketing (Under $10K)  Photo of Karen at bottom.

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How much does a video cost? – Part 2

by Jim Pennington

So, your video is “in the can” and all that remains is post-production. Not much to consider in terms of cost as it is all the same from video to video, right?  Wrong!  Let’s look at some typical cost considerations for post-production that can vary significantly from project to project (check ourservices page for a description of these activities).

Length.  How long is the video?  Will it be a one-minute “talking head” video or a feature film? Were the best takes logged so the producer and editor don’t need to review all of the bad footage to get to the good?

Number of cameras and complexity of the shots.  How many cameras were used during the shoot? Was there just one camera that captured the whole piece in a few shots?  Was there just one camera, but many shots were taken from different angles that need to be integrated? Were multiple cameras used and footage from each needs to be integrated?

Voiceover.  Will a voiceover or narration be required? What level of talent is needed?  How long is the VO/narration?

ADR.  Additional Dialog Recording (also referred to as Automated Dialog Replacement) is required when the originally captured dialog is in some way unusable. Perhaps there was construction noise in the background or some pesky summer insects were chirping loudly.

Foley.  Foley are the sound effects that go into a video/film. The sounds you hear in a movie are often not those collected on set.  Is foley required, and if so, how much?

Music.  Will a music track be needed? Will royalty-free music suffice? Are copyrighted pieces going to be used, and if so, what are the licensing costs? Does original music need to be composed?

Color correction. Does the video require color correction? Perhaps there is a need to make the video convey a certain mood through the tweaking of colors?

Computer graphics and special effects. Are computer graphics or special effects needed? These could be relatively simple lower-thirds or complex animations.

Stock photos/footage. Are stock photos and/or footage required? How many are required and at what cost?

Distribution. How will the video be distributed? Will a website need to be developed for both promotional and distribution needs? Will a DVD mailer be required? Will video streaming or other broadcast services be necessary? Will the video need to be encoded/compressed for posting on YouTube or Vimeo?

So, as I conclude this two-part blog on, “How much does a video cost?”, it is apparent this simple question does not have a simple answer.  Each project is different and budgets vary. Working with an experienced production company like DUO will ensure the available funds are leveraged to your best advantage.

How much does a video cost? – Part 1

by Jim Pennington

“How much does a video cost?”  This is the proverbial question asked of me by virtually every potential client.  My typical retort is, “How much does it cost to build a home?”  The comment is usually something like, “Well, I need to know how many rooms, how many floors, what type of construction….”

Precisely!  I can’t say how much a video will cost unless the parameters that go into producing a video are fully described.  This is rarely something that can be done “on the fly” unless I am using a similar project as a comparison.

So what are the factors that go into the cost of a video?  I begin here a two-part blog as we look at the three phases of producing a video: pre-production; production; and post-production (see ourservices page for a description of these).  Let’s examine some typical cost considerations for pre-production and production.

Concept.  Are we producing a simple testimonial, a training video, or a dramatic video? How long is the video?  What is the subject of the video?  Are there complex scenes?  Are there car chases?

Treatment and script. As we prepare the treatment and subsequent script, it’s once again important to know the complexity and length of the video.  More complex and longer videos mean higher writing costs.  Is significant creative writing needed or will we be working from existing marketing materials?  How many review/revision cycles will there be?

Location. Location planning is critical to cost.  How many locations are needed? Is travel required? Is a location fee required?  Is special licensing required?  Are accommodations needed for cast and crew?  What transportation requirements are there at each location?

Talent.  How many actors are needed?  Does the talent require special skills?  Are there special fees that need to be considered, particularly when working with union talent (e.g., SAG AFTRA)?

Crew. What are the crew requirements?  How many are needed and what are their talents?  Will crew be traveling to distant locations or will they be hired in these areas?

Equipment.  What equipment is needed such as cameras, lights, and audio gear?  Will this be a multiple camera shoot?  Are jibs or cranes required?  Is a dolly required?  Will this gear mandate special electrical requirements and/or staff?  Will gear be sent to distant shooting locations or rented there?

Set design.  Will any construction be required, and if so, what type?  What materials are required?  How many laborers and what related skills are needed?  Are special permits required?

Costumes and props. Are special costumes required, and if so, do they need to be made, altered or rented?  What props are needed?  Do props need to be built or rented?

Meals and craft services. Knowing that a well-fed crew is a happy crew, what are the plans for meals and craft services?

Insurance.  What are the insurance requirements?  Will there be stunts?  Are cars or other props being rented that require special insurance coverage?  Is  this an outdoor shoot where weather insurance may be necessary?

So, the cost of producing a video is not a simple question to answer. That’s why you hire a company like DUO who has the relevant knowledge and experience.  We know how to control costs, leveraging the most “bang for the buck” for your production budget.

Check back soon for the second part of this blog as we look at the factors in post-production that contribute to cost.