I manage a corporate video production house in Singapore. (Bamboo Pictures Tel:96961157) My clients include Fortune 500 multi-nationals like Hewlett Packard, AC Nielsen, Cisco Systems, Visa. etc. But I also serve a large base of local Small and Medium-sized Enterprises or SME in Singapore.
Through the years, I've worked on projects of all sizes with budgets ranging from pro-bono $0 to $40,000. Many companies think that producing a video is a costly affair. Well, they are both right and wrong.
In Singapore, the cost of producing a 5 minute corporate video can range between $3,000 & $30,000. That explains why video is seldom used in the marketing mix of companies here.
But times; they are a changin' and marketing executives will be surprised to learn that they may already have a undiscovered video production unit in their company. Here's how to get it into operation.
Finding Mr Producer
The most basic production house will need a producer, a scriptwriter , a director, a cameraperson, a sound engineer, and a video editor. So the one-man in-house video production unit needs to be a jack-of-all-trades. He/She should enjoy watching movies and understand how shots go together to make a coherent narrative. A film school graduate would be perfect but anybody with a love for making beautiful things is a good place to start. He/She should also be a brave experimentor who's not afraid to install and tinker with new cameras, mics and software.
Finding a Camera
Many of today's consumer devices are capable of capturing video. These include digital still cameras, webcams, and lately cellphones. Depending on the company's budget you would do well to select the most efficient video camera you can lay your hands on.
By efficiency, I mean the time it takes to shoot footage that both looks & sounds good; plus getting that footage into a computer for editing.
If your management is supportive of your little experiment, do recommend Direct-to-Edit solutions for your own sanity. (Unless you enjoy working overtime with pay)
"Direct-to-edit" means recording video onto a harddisk instead of tape. You plug in the harddisk into your PC and start editing. Ideally, you should get a 3CCD miniDV video camera like the Sony VX2100/Sony PD170; with a FS-4 Firestore harddisk. The Sonys give professional results in available light conditions. An extra table lamp is all you need for a real glamour shot.
If you only have a sub SGD2,000 budget, go with the http://Sony-DCR-SR100 which records in MPEG2 mode. The concession is: (A) you would have to invest in better lighting equipment; and (B) you can't do fanciful video compositing in post-production.
A tripod is a must for any camera. If you've purchase the heavier VX2100 / PD170, the lightest tripod I recommend is the Libec TH-650. But if you are using the DCR-SR100, then any fluid-head tripod will suffice. Take care to use a LANC remote controller to eliminate shakes if you're using a lightweight cameras like the DCR-SR100.
Never use the on-board mic of your camera unless you are recording only the cameraman's commentary. Since you are a one-man production house, you will need the talent to be her own sound recordist. The best way to do that is to make your talent wear the Sennheiser's G2 lapel microphone. These are wireless, lightweight, virtually interference-free and last 9 hours on 2 AA batteries. Yes, they are expensive (SGD750) but I would NOT recommend ANYTHING else!!!!! In fact, you should have two of these so you can shoot conversations and set-ups with two or more talents. (use a minijack splitter and you can share the G2's transmitter between two mics)
The other microphone you MUST have is the Coles commentator 4104lip mic. This is for recording voiceovers (hire radio voice talents if you can afford to )Hold it to your lips and it won't pick up any unwanted office noise (telephone, typing, air-con etc) It needs to be powered by a mixer or a pre-amp though. So Behringer's UB502 is the cheapest and smallest solution.
Again, you should choose the most efficient software that your computer can run. The feature you should be looking for is realtime preview of effects and transitions. Sony's Vegas+DVDis an example of a NLE (non-linear editor) that has this function.
But if your boss gives you carte blanche to buy any new computer/software combination that suits your new responsibilities, then buy the new MacPros by Apple. They run Final Cut Studio and any Windows software!
Of course, if budget is an issue, you can always download Avid's free DV editor. Take note Free DV works only with DV, so if you are shooting on the DCR-100E's MPEG-2, then you'll have to buy Vegas+DVD or Adobe Premiere Elements.
Now that you have some idea on how to assemble a video production unit. I will tell you in my next post the kinds of videos you can produce in your own office.
10 Anson Road
Tel: (65)96961157 / (65)64463788