Frequently Asked Questions

graphic of gold man leaning against big red question mark

Q?

Why Episode 11 Productions

A.

Why Should I Choose Episode 11 Productions?

We don’t pretend to be the perfect fit for everyone. The first thing to consider is if our process is right for you. Our crew members don’t have to justify their jobs. We aren’t going to waste time bringing extra, un-needed crew people who are just going to be in the way. We aren’t going to bring a Director to a one camera shoot. We aren’t going to bring a couple of production assistants to fetch coffee. Just like Hershel always said on The Walking Dead: “everybody has a job to do”.

If you believe that you need a 20-person crew to shoot your corporate video, then we probably aren’t a good fit for you. We have been on sets with crews that size and we have found that more crew members play on their phones than contribute to the overall production value. We believe in a practical approach and will use the right number of people to get the job done.

The next thing to consider is personalities. We are fun, down to earth, “reel” people. We aren’t pretentious; we aren’t arrogant; we don’t have haughty attitudes, nor do we play well with those who do.

We love collaborating with people to produce the most successful videos for our clients. We provide the creativity and psychology needed to invoke the needed emotion to move viewers to act, and our clients provide the knowledge of their industry. Together, it’s a recipe for a creative victory.


Q?

Video Production Timeframe

A.

How Long Does it Take to Produce a Video?

Our production crew is quite efficient. Ideally, it should only take about three weeks from the day of shooting; assuming that it’s a one-day shoot. Otherwise, it would be from the last day of shooting. But…(don’t you hate that word); it can take a bit longer.

I say, “should only” because some of the time-frame burden lies with the client. The size of the company and chain of command are certainly a factor. Clients, which need approval from different departments, can expect a longer production time than those who only need a manager or supervisor’s approval. The more people involved, the longer it’s going to take. To help minimize the process for large organizations, a storyboard will certainly help.


Q?

Video Budgets

A.

How to Manage Video Budgets

This question was sent in by a film student in Charlotte:
“How do you manage a budget for a new project and what are the kinds of things you need for a shoot?” My name is xxxxx, I am a student at the Art Institute trying to receive my film major. My reason for asking is because it’s for an assignment. If you don’t mind answering these questions, please contact me back. Thank you. No, I am not cheating my professor actually wanted “Real quotes” from local production companies.


Budgets can be very complex, if the client wants a huge production, or it can be simple. Contrary to what most students believe, most will never see an extremely complex budget. The norm for most will be creating a budget for a corporate marketing video, or for a film short. Either way, the process is similar to a grocery list.

Before you begin your grocery list (budget) , you need to know what foods (shots) will be prepared. To begin let’s list what shots are required for the shoot. In our simulation, let’s shoot a video to showcase two pieces of machinery, with five different areas to cover: sales, maintenance, service diagnostics, controls, and parts. To make things easy, we’ll break it down into three category needs: pre-production, production, and post-production.

What do we need to create before we shoot our video?

• Site Survey
• Scriptwriting
• Shot list
• Storyboard

Based on the script and storyboard, what is needed to create the shots?

• Personell
• Camera
• Lighting
• Sound Recording
• Items needed to move the camera
• Crafty Services

Using the storyboard as a guide, the editor will explain what will be needed.

• Footage
• Sound
• Sound Effects
• Motion Graphics
• Encoding


Once you have everything down, it’s just a matter of putting a cost for each of those items and adding it all together. Obviously, I have simplified this process, for example, the lighting category would include any lighting needed, plus C-stands, light modifiers, etc. My goal is to give you an overview of the budgeting process.

Once the budget is complete, it’s a matter of keeping the production within those cost parameters. For more complex budgets, I would recommend a software such as Movie Magic Budgeting. Programs like this one will help create extremely detailed budgets, but is an overkill unless you’re shooing a feature film, managing many actors, lodging, equipment, meals, etc.


Q?

Photo Copyright Ownership

A.

Do I own the copyright to the pictures that you took for us?

This is a very misunderstood aspect of the creative world, and one that plagues almost everyone who has ever contracted to have photographs taken. For photography, federal law states that the person who pushes the button on the camera instantly owns the copyright to that image.

It is possible to transfer that move that copyright to another individual through the copyright office, but cost can be a factor. Instead, we offer two different options for our clients:

1) We retain all rights and allow the client unlimited copy and usage rights, which means that all images may be copied, uploaded, transferred, printed, placed on a billboard, or whatever suits your fancy. We may, in turn use the images to help promote our business, use them in print collateral, etc.

2) You retain all rights and agree to pay for, not only our time to shoot the photos, but a rental fee for using our cameras, lights, lenses, tripods, cables, monitors, etc. This type of contract is called a “Work for hire” and equates to 1.5 times the initial price.


Q?

Cinema Style

A.

What Does Cinema Style Mean?

This question gets asked a lot and you may get different answers from different people, but we define cinema style as:

  • Moving the camera enough to add to the message, not be distracted by the movement. We move the camera by dollies, camera cranes, steadi-cams, and quad-copters.
  • Using depth of field (DOF) properly. DOF is the blurring of the background, behind the subject. Some people believe the more DOF that you have, the better…not so. It’s important to understand when to blur the background and when to allow it to be part of the scene.
  • Camera angles are a huge part of why a movie looks like a movie. Again, we use angles to enhance the message, not distract from it. This also goes back to moving the camera.
  • Composition is a perfect way to invoke emotion, and know how to frame the shot to acquire the desired result is a big part of that cinematic look.
  • Lens selection also helps tell the story. Using long lenses (telephoto) helps to compress the perspective-swishing the foreground and background closer together. Using short lenses (wide angle/fish eye) helps to exaggerate perspective, making the foreground and background appear far apart.
  • Last, but probably one of the most important. We don’t handhold the camera unless there is no other way to get the shot…even then we would prefer to knock down a wall and put the camera on a dolly (just kidding).

Q?

Video Production Style

A.

What is Your Style of Video Production?

The answer to this question is one that sets up apart from any other production company in the area. We want your viewers to watch the video that we’ve produced for you and forget about everything and be fully engaged. We do this through techniques found in feature films that you would see in the movie theater. We simply call it Cinema Style.

The style that we don’t produce is the unprofessional, shaky, crappy, nauseating handheld camera style. When at all possible, and sometimes it isn’t, we mount the camera to a dolly, tripod, or camera crane. We move the camera in a way that isn’t distracting from the message, but adds to it. When done correctly, each camera movement has a psychological effect on the audience.


Q?

3D Software Package

A.

What 3D Software is Used?

3D elements are used in every Hollywood feature films in theaters today. With such a high demand for 3D, software packages have gotten more intelligent and less expensive (if you consider $4,000 “less expensive”).

There are many great software packages available to create 3D files, but we choose to use Maya for a host of reasons. The main reason is that it’s the most robust package available. Below is a list of the films that have used Maya. After a quick glance, you’ll understand why we choose the best for our clients.

films-using-maya

Don’t be scared off by this list. Our artists are here to help make your production a success, not here to break the bank. Our prices are more than fair and we’d rather use some of those cool 3D titles in your production, just like Zombie Land, than to send you off with something that you could have gotten at another production company. We want you to stand out, not fade into the mass of other online videos.


Q?

Video Production Cost

A.

How Much Does a Video Production Cost?

The cost of video production is a question that is often asked, but the answer isn’t quite that simple to answer. Think of it as if you’re buying a car. You could buy a used Pinto for a few hundred dollars, or a New Farrari for a few hundred thousand.

Typically, for the average business “about us” video, the cost is somewhere in the neighborhood of around $2,000 per finished minute. If its just a two minute talking head video, then the cost is around $800. For more elaborate, special effects, match moving, green screen work, then the cost can easily be $10,000 or more.


Q?

Storyboarding or Previz

A.

Why Do We Need a Storyboard?

Not every production needs a storyboard or "previz" (pre-visualization). However, if your organization is tall, meaning that there are many levels of approvals needed, then a storyboard will save everybody time, money, and headaches. It’s important for everyone to be “singing from the same sheet of music”, and storyboards, or pre-visualization, as its sometimes called, is paramount for that purpose. Everyone will understand the vision of the production before the cameras begin to roll.

Storyboards are a perfect way to allow everyone in your organization to see the vision of the Video Director, and the flow-plan of the video. The Director will take measurements of the shooting location and map out where the lights, cameras, and other equipment will be placed, which is another huge time and cost saver.

Once the storyboard is complete and uploaded to the website, all stakeholders can view the project and make any necessary changes before approval. After final approval, the Director will shoot each scene based on the storyboard and the Editor will cut each scene to the storyboard. In the end, everyone knows the expectation and result.


Q?

Video Editing Software

A.

What Video Editing Software Do You Use?

We recently switched from Apple’s Final Cut Pro to Autodesk Smoke. While Final Cut is a great program, it wasn’t really capable of doing everything we needed it to do for us. Autodesk Smoke is fairly new in the world of editing, but it’s strengths make it very much like a Final Cut, combined with After Effects and a few other swanky tools. This means we can do everything all in the same application. Paired with Autodesk Maya for 3D elements, we have a complete package which isn’t used by many other production companies, because of the technical requirements needed to navigate through the software.

The Autodesk platform is unmatched in quality for feature films and now-corporate videos. Not only can we motion track, insert 3D elements, key green screen or blue screen perfectly, but we can also perform sophisticated compositing, along with primary and secondary color corrections. This is something that cannot be done in less robust programs like Final Cut or Adobe Premiere.

For more information about our transition you can find more about it in our blog, starting with the very first post relating to Autodesk Smoke.


Q?

3D Videos

A.

Do You Create 3D Videos?

No, we aren’t talking about that kind of 3D, where you wear glasses. Our 3D services are those animated models, and motion graphics where you create an image or scene inside three-dimensional space.

Demonstrating some products may be impossible with a camera lens alone. 3D is a perfect solution for those times when the medical devices, industrial processes, and new technologies.

• Medical Devices - Many times, medical devices have complex processes that cannot be effectively captured through a camera lens. By creating the device in 3D space, the viewer has a better understanding of the inner workings, and thus the benefits of the device.

Another perfect application for 3D is when it would cost less to create the scene in 3D, than to create the set from scratch.

Here’s a little unknown fact: most car commercials today are just 3D graphics and not the actual vehicle.