Q. Describe the most common types of jobs you do for your clients.
A. Most common are tradeshow and sales videos. Typically 3-5 minutes in length. Also typical are the elements of each project. A combination of live video, 2D motion graphics and 3D animation. Accompanying text titles or bullets, music tracks and voiceover are also very common elements. The videos are usually centered around a specific product or service or a range of products. Also very common is the need to animated certain features which may be difficult to film due to location, environment or availability. My clients generally use these videos at trade shows, in house presentations, sales meetings, disc mailings or from their websites.
Q. What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A. Review samples, understand your options. Taylor project lengths accordingly.
Q. If you were a customer, what do you wish you knew about your trade? Any inside secrets to share?
A. Work with someone who fully understands video formats. With so many option and no standards you can end up with something that doesn't display as intended.
Q. What questions should a consumer ask to hire the right service professional?
A. What exactly are they paying for? stock content? photos and video? Custom Illustration? 2D vs 3D, who owns the source and project files?
Q. What important information should buyers have thought through before seeking you out?
A. What is the exact message they want to deliver through their project. Overall length should be optimized at 3-5 minutes. Use of HD to optimize quality and performance with todays displays. Should the project have music and or voiceover. Is the project intended for a specific region of the world. What mediums does the project need to be delivered in. Will the project require updates or additions in the future.
Q. Why does your work stand out from others who do what you do?
A. Before working in this field I worked for 17 years in the hitech industry working for companies that manufactured computers, hi-heat manufacturing equipment, test equipment, medical devices, wood working, audio equipment, lighting equipment and electrical/mechanical services. Those experiences gave me a great foundation for working with clients whos products and services matched or were close. My ability to sit with a technical person to design a video that best visualizes their need is a strong skillset that resulted from experience and a working knowledge of their products and services.
Q. What do you like most about your job?
A. I started my company Digital Media Design to take full advanatage of my skillset and creativity. The challenges of working with limited content, imagery or ideas is a huge motivator for me. Making something from nothing delivers a feeling of great reward. Also the aquisition of knowledge is a major component of my workday. What I didn't know yesterday I always learn today.
Q. What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A. Can we use 3D animation to create scenes that we can't film? Typically the answer is yes but this can greatly effect the cost of a project. Depending upon it's complexity, 30 seconds of 3D can cost as much as 3 minutes of standard video production. Working at HD resolutions requires more rendering time as well. But in all cases using that technology always ads visual impact to a video production.
Q. Do you have a favorite story from your work?
A. We were shooting HD video onsite at a client facility. The equipment being filmed was located in a fairly tight casing with minimal lighting. We setup and framed our shot and achieved the best lighting we could given the space to work with. We did several test shots and they looked fine. The process we were about to film was a one time shot due to availability of materials and supplies. We ran the shot then setup to view in on our laptop. The chemical reaction expected had failed to produce the visual representation needed. I informed my client I could recreate the environment in 3D and animate the process. I created the model and animation and delivered a test sample to the client. They were amazed and the realism of the shot and the process was perfectly captured and displayed.
Q. What do you wish customers knew about you or your profession?
A. Video production is a layering process. Making cganges to a near final video can be very time intensive. Also, outputting samples of lower quality along the way for review is helpful but again ads more render time, upload time, and delays. If the planning stage of the video is proper many of these things can be avoided.
Q. How did you decide to get in your line of work?
A. I have been artistic my entire life. As a young boy I drew pictures of dinosaurs, prehistoric worlds, other fantasy characters and places. I also sculpted with clay, paper machete and painted with oils. In my late teens I began creating prostethis make up appliances and dabbled in stop motion photography creating many posable characters to film. Through all o fthis I worked in the hitech field as a computer technician. By my mid 20s the evolution of the computer reached the point of computer graphics. Once day while workin gon a computer during a lunch break I created a ticket design for a Halloween party my band was playing at. From that moment forward I knew I had found my calling and needed a career change. In less than 3 years from that day I arrived.
Q. Tell us about a recent job you did that you are particularly proud of.
A. I received a request for a product video that a client needed in about 7 days. Typically this is about half the time I would normally want to create a video like this. We immediately drew up a timeline and began workin gon the project. I went onsite and shot the live video then we did screen captures of the software interface. I took all of the content home and within the timeline delivevered the project. The client was not only pleased but ecstatic with the results. More similar product video will now follow due to it's success!
Q. Do you do any sort of continuing education to stay up on the latest developments in your field?
A. Newsgroups, online support groups, forums and knowledgbases supply a huge amount of realtime information. This allows me to stay on top of technologies and software/hardware changes. I will say though that for all of the progess and advanced tools for editing video that 90% of the techniques used are the same as they have been since I started 14 years ago. It's just gotten faster and easier.
Q. If you have a complicated pricing system for your service, please give all the details here.
A. The projects I design are typically a combination of live video, animation, still images, audio and music. Pricing is custom however there is a basic pricing structure I go by.
$1800 per finished minute would get a client a nice 3-5 minute HD video for marketing, sales, web, etc. That price fluctuates based on the components needed. If audio or voiceover isn't required then it can drop to $1500-1200. If 3D is required then it can range form $2000-2400. Still very competative considering that videos like these in the past could cost 6 figures or more. When working with longer projects pricing is structured based on manhours. These types of project are typically straight video with no extras.
Q. If you were advising someone who wanted to get into your profession, what would you suggest?
A. Seek out good school programs for editing and design. But most importantly get behind the wheel and drive. Meaning get a good computer, get footage, shoot footage, and create your own productions. Use the support structure of the internet to answer questions, find a mentor and hone you skills. Nothing beats hands on experience for optimizing your skillset.
Q. What is your greatest strength?
A. My greatest strength is my core knowledge of digital imagery. Understanding pixels, vectors and how they can be manipulated and outputted, understanding image, video and audio file formats, codecs and conversion processes gives me a big advantage and allows me to optimize the look of the final project.