“I was told the production world was dead. They were so wrong.” Film Construction Group executive producer Patrick McAteer has distilled his experiences into “four things the ad sector needs to know about our rapidly evolving industry” …
While arguments about the future of broadcast television rage on, film production itself is bigger, better and more accessible than ever. More and more companies are using video to tell their brand’s story, and every time you access your fibre you are awash with smart and targeted messages about products and services.
Consequently, the advertising world is full of video production and content.
The requirement to produce video for all these different screens (mobile, computer, and television) has kept the world of production busy, although not always prosperous. Here are a few things I’ve noticed recently about the production world.
1. Just because you call it ‘content’, that doesn’t mean it’s cheap.
It certainly can be. And because we all have powerful filmmaking tools readily available on our phones, there is a lot that can be captured with a sniff and an oily flannel.
But it all begins at the concept and script stage. We’ve had numerous examples of clients with a mismatch between the script they want and the budget they have. “Oh it’s only content,” they explain, as if that were somehow a way to make it cheaper. When a script calls for cast, crew, locations, permits, musical composition, editing, grading and animated graphics – the individual elements just add up.
So watch out if your champagne-sized script has a beer-sized budget.
2. Craft is king, not technology
We’ve got a great little collection of old cameras and film paraphernalia at our office. It’s a constant reminder to our filmmakers of the heritage we built the company on. As conversation starters they inevitably elicit comments about a Go-Pro kit having the same resolution as that quarter of a million dollar Arri 435 we used to lug around the country.
But while we are gear heads, the essential craft of film is storytelling – taking a concept, an event, a character, or a script, and bringing that to screen to delight an audience. And we’ll use whatever technology and people to help us bring it to life.
3. The tyranny of the 30-second workout is ending
Our filmmakers are very good at distilling the essence of a story, and pulling out every technique to squeeze some very big concepts into a short screen time. With online content these stories can breathe a little more – and can run to their natural duration, whether it be 33 seconds, 65 seconds, or indeed 65 minutes.
This allows for more story and message, but of course we never want to become undisciplined, indulgent, or lose the art of smart, snappy communication that years of TVC making taught us to value.
4. There has never been a more exciting time to be in this industry.
One of the last questions we ask in a brief now is, “will this be used for broadcast television?” because today that’s no longer the key question. Of more importance is the question “How can we most effectively tell this story?”
So, bring it on. Big or small, complex or simple, we love shooting and bringing stories to life. When I see our filmmaker’s eyes light up with passion at a new project, I remember why we are in this business.
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