DVMG  Fact Sheet Number-5

Fact Sheets Index

How to Commission a Video
Eric Kenning


Where Do You Start?

 Most people planning to commission a video are suprised to learn that the actual camera shooting time represents less then 30% of a production and from the producers' point of view is only one step in the production process.

Often a company will hire a camera crew to shoot an event only to discover later that the material is unsuitable for editing into a production. The key point is, it is not just a matter of viewing moving images, it is the way each image is edited into a sequence that is important. It is the unfolding of the story that makes a video a powerful communications tool.

One long take of a seminar or speaker is as interesting as watching paint dry and I am sure we have all been subjected to this type of torture by a relation or friend. Another important point to keep in mind is the high cost. If you hire a camera crew to film an event, that is what they will do. You cannot expect them to think about recording shots that will edit into a story. That is not their job.

Production Proposal - the Starting Point

The proposal is the business plan for your production and is vitally important for its success. A client reading the proposal should be able to get a clear idea of the whole production. If there is disagreement, it will be much easier to make changes at this stage rather than after the program has gone into production. The production proposal will also act as an agreement, as once everyone agrees on the proposal it's difficult for someone to say later "this isn't what I had in mind".

The first step is to write what is called a "story treatment". This treatment will be part of the proposal and will identify the type of production: corporate, documentary, promotional, training, drama and a story outline will show how your ideas will be presented. The proposal will also include the cost and give you a clear idea of what you can expect from your budget. Most importantly, it will also identify your target audience and include any demographic research. Although video is a visual medium it is still based on the written word. The ability to write an effective treatment will ensure the success of any video, television or multimedia program.

Finally, the proposal or treatment must engage the interest of readers, especially sponsors, and convince them of the probable success of the production.

Notes from Script to Screen Seminar. ( Eric Kenning. CVMC@bigpond.com