What’s the difference between an average and an exceptional film production company? In the first of a four-part series, you’ll gain insight into what makes a great film production.
Here are a few hints:
- It’s not the amount of productions they churn through the factory.
- It’s not about a large crew, flashy logo or catchy tagline.
- It’s not about who can meet your deadline yesterday.
You should never settle for an average video; if you are promised quality you should expect quality. What sets a film production apart is ‘the one percenters’: the attention to detail dividing the companies talking the talk from those actually walking the walk.
Gavin Carroll is the Creative Director at Lush – The Content Agency. Part of his role is to assure quality control across all productions and guarantee those ‘one per centers’ are present throughout every film production.
“Quality film requires planning, preparation, experience and outstanding skills at every stage of the production process, from pre-production to post-production.
Only then will a team achieve those ‘one percenters’ that take a film from average to exceptional,” Gavin says.
All production companies believe they have high standards, so how do you ensure they meet your expectations? Attention to detail is crucial from initial pre-production through production and post-production. Here are a few considerations any good production company uses to maintain quality control.
Our in-house Animator, Davide
Filming must be planned prior to pressing record. ‘Shoot for the edit’ means preparation and planning is based around the requirements of the brief. When you shoot to edit, you know exactly what is needed well enough to film your scenes out of order. (You’re going to re-arrange them in post-production anyway.)
Here are a few questions that need to be answered before a shoot:
- Is a shot list necessary?
- What equipment is required – single or multi-camera?
- How many crew are needed? Do they need specialist skills?
- What does the post workflow look like? Is there a process in place to ensure the project’s objectives are reached?
PRODUCTION: It’s not that simple
Many people know how to use a video camera. There’s a huge market for user-friendly and accessible kits like the Go Pro or DSLR. You might have skills without being a professional camera person. But it’s the ‘1 per centers’ separating the professional filmmaker from the keen amateur. Here are a few fundamentals making a difference:
- Camera setup – Does the camera person know how to shoot with multiple camera picture profiles?
- Lens configuration – A good cameraman will have a selection of lenses and understand how to use each to expose the same scene differently.
- Direction – Does the producer know how to coach and direct the talent?
- Problem-solving – How will the crew deal with unexpected events? For example, weather changes or a last-minute change of brief can throw a production into turmoil.
- Experience – Does the crew understand the science behind all elements of filming, beyond just how to make a pretty picture?
- Composition – Many people can work out how to frame a picture, but do they know about composition? This is as important as the content and makes a huge difference to the storytelling capability of the end product. Composition includes elements like shot size, depth of field and ‘rule of thirds.’
POST-PRODUCTION: An editor requires the right habitat and exceptional skills
It may be the best post-production house in the country, fully capable of achieving that one per cent. But unless standards are maintained throughout planning and production, they’re at risk of falling short during post-production.
Here are a couple of points to be aware of when using the services of a post-production house:
- What colour are the walls? They should be a solid colour, usually grey, brown or white.
- What lighting do they have? Is there a window? Mixing types of light is playing with colour temperatures and that’s bad news.
- Do they have the right equipment and experienced editors in place? They may have the latest equipment, but the team must have the knowledge and experience to give you that extra one per cent.
Here is one of our favourite productions from a series called ‘Heart of a dancer’ produced for WA Ballet:
Heart of a Dancer: Discipline from Lush – The Content Agency on Vimeo.
Creating a top-quality film production takes time, knowledge and a talented team. Over the coming weeks, you will learn more about what makes a great film production and how you can ensure your next investment in video provides an exceptional product. Feel free to pop in for a chat and check out our ‘1 per centers’; our doors are always open!
Feature image credit: ‘Tower 42 fill the sky’ – London city office life’ by Simon & his camera