We have done every kind of video you can possibly imagine and many of them through various PR or marketing companies. Some of them have been done as simple outsourcing videos. We go in as Arthouse Video Productions, do our filming and hand over the video at the end of our shoot and edit. Others are done in a ‘white label’ manner. This means that we shoot and edit as if we are employees of the PR or advertising company – our company name is never mentioned.
Why, you might ask, is this an attractive venture for the PR or advertising company? It’s a simple dollar and sense decision. To have a dedicated video production division costs a fair amount of money. First you need the kit. To be honest, the kit is the least of your worries. The real issue is finding the right people to operate it. If you want to find a talented cameraman, they are expensive and this is where the attraction lies. It is very expensive to have the right person on the books – especially when you aren’t filming every day.
This is where you have to be careful about choosing the right production house. Many people who are filming in many of the production houses have not actually worked in the broadcast industry. When dealing with creating television ads or even quality videos for the internet, this is important. Some people can create videos, but not everyone is experienced. Working with experienced people actually cost less. If properly briefed, most things can be filmed and edited right the first time. Skilled cameramen have already experienced many of the pitfalls that can occur on a shoot and know the best way to solve problems before they become issues. With everything needed for proper shoots, a day’s filming can be costly. It’s not the place for a new cameraman to learn or even practice his trade.
We are very lucky in that with Matt Leiper on our team. As an ex-BBC cameraman, he has experienced everything from war zones to royalty, so nothing flaps him. He also has an amazing contact list for crews, which means we can get very talented people quickly in most countries, without expensive international travel.
The other plus about having an experienced cameraman on board is that huge crews are not needed. I am always amazed to see four and five crew operations out shooting relatively short corporate videos. We normally can manage a slick, broadcast quality film with two people – the producer and the cameraman. The upside to this is that the interviewee doesn’t have extra people watching from the sidelines, adding extra nerves to an already unnatural situation.
Also, because our guys, including Matt, still work for the networks, we only pay day rates and that is huge savings for our clients. No salaries to pay, no equipment costs and international film crews available instantly. It’s no wonder white labelling for video is so popular. It’s just a pity I can’t show any of our work in this regard because technically… it’s not ours.