7 things small business should consider when making a video

So you’re a small business and ready to dive into a video for your business. When you begin to search for a talented video production company here are a few consideration to make beforehand. Read on for more info on small business video.


What are you trying to tell your audience? What is your end goal when someone finishes watching your video. This also includes questions such as: What are you doing? and Why should people care? If you have a solid answer for these questions be sure to bring that up in your initial call with your potential production company. Not only will you end up with a better product, but you’ll end up strengthening your relationship with your video team.


Online is a vague answer. If your a small business, chances are that online is one a few options available. Local TV might work, trade shows are an option, Social Media, too. All of these distribution platforms present their own criteria. Your TV spot is likely 30 or 60 seconds exactly. Trade shows have the option to loop a video via DVD or AppleTV or similar. But you have to remember all the noise at those events. If trade shows are a big distribution for your video you may need to consider having your story told with visuals only since people most likely won’t be able to hear over the atmosphere.


What is this video suppose to achieve? Is it overall brand presence, launching a new product or product line. Is it educational?


Is there anything in your organization that might make this process harder? (i.e. Office politics, locations, budget) Do you foresee any big challenges?

Video pre production checklist


Whatever you do, do not underestimate the thumbnail for your video. This is one of the main advantages of the Vimeo player over YouTube. Vimeo lets you use any frame from your video as the thumbnail or the option to upload your own. If you have high end photography you can upload directly to Vimeo and wherever your video is shown/embedded this custom thumbnail will be shown.


It’s best to define your budget. Video technology is advancing rapidly, and you’re constantly able to do more with less budget. You might be surprised what quality production you can get for a smaller budget. However, the video production industry is not racing to the bottom. If you want professional quality, and someone to tell a great story, you’re going to need a professional production crew. I will post a more detailed blog post soon about budget transparency.


If there’s a hard deadline for your project please say so early on. What’s driving your deadline? Timelines effect other aspect of your production. From how long we have to prepare our story, number of shoot days (not only the days we’re shooting but the available days we have to shoot, weather permitting), and time for post production. All good things take time, and video is no exception.

Afternoon Delight

One of the most interesting facets about production right now is the feasibility and accessibility of quality production equipment. One of our recent videos was partially shot on an iPhone 4S – and matched up pretty well, too, with a range of 3-chip cameras and DSLRs. The availability is only going to increase production value, whether is be to add a second (or third or forth) camera angle, the intimacy provided without holding a large camera setup, or the sheer number of people who can call themselves digital filmmakers. GoPro has been pushing the boundaries since their inception, along with a slew of others, such as camera phone makers Nokia (N8) and Apple (iPhone), Contour HD and various lipstick cameras.

Cody Caldwell has taken his GoPro and combined his cinema and surfing talents together around his home break and has recently caught the attention of some big outlets (both Vimeo and GoPro themselves). If GoPro’s reel, and Vimeo’s prestigious HD channel is anything to go off of, this is no small feat.

The other empowering facet is leveraging the marketing potential. While Cody and several others are simply recording their everyday life magic moments are being captured and potentially used in new marketing techniques that are in their infancy or have yet to be discovered. Somewhere, sometime, the right person will see a shot and contact the artist/owner directly to assist in the marketing creation. If the infamous Car Ollie and subsequent copycat campaigns provides any insight, then my guess is that it’s going to happen sooner rather than later, and at an increasing frequency.

Here’s Cody Caldwell’s Afternoon Delight.

Website Face Lift

Hello, and welcome to our new site! While it’s not a complete redesign, we rebuilt it from the ground up, keeping the same basic layout and style, but updating the design. The site now runs much faster, is sleeker, and more intuitive. We’ve simplified the overall feel, with less clutter, putting an emphasis on the projects themselves. (Which is why we call it a website face lift). Speaking of which, we’ve added a completely new player. The new player works across all browsers and mobile, too. It will run HTML5 if your browser supports it, with a built in Flash player as a backup. We’ve optimized our compression specs to bring you great quality videos in true High Definition. There are several other little things we spend days on to make your overall experience better on our site, like the new Contact Us form and slideshow on the About Us page.

Happy 2012, we hope this is the best year yet for you! Welcome to the new TAR PRODUCTIONS.

Fundamentals of Design & Branding

The fundamentals of design and branding are of the upmost importance for a company. It is invaluable to your consumers to be able to recognize your brand – and the look, feel & mood that goes along with it. Look, Feel & Mood are three of the most important elements that we discuss with clients during pre-productions, and one of the top focuses during the shooting and editing phases. For a production company, it is a great pleasure to work with a client who understands this and is willing to contribute in the process along the way. When it’s all added up, it makes for the best possible project given the scope of work. Erica Gorochow is out with a new explanation on the Fundamentals of Design, which is a quick and fantastic insight to your brand’s image. We thought we’d write down a few thoughts on branding, being one of our focuses, to further help our clients and prospective clients understand the production process.

Keep your brand image consistent. Make sure that it ties into your campaign. If your company has a internal Art Director or Creative Director, make sure that this person has a couple of one-on-one conversations to get a clear message of the goal at hand to the Creative Director and/or Producer on your shoot. Often times we’ll use the exact same files that are used in print collateral for motion media, or a song that is featured on your website will be used, in various lengths for the edits of your project. All too often we see campaigns that are related, but too far apart, leaving the consumer adrift in the brand & message.

Detail Your Needs & Goals
What is the message you’re trying to portray? It is the client’s responsibility to deliver this message to the Creative Director on the production team. Ask this person what he/she needs to know to understand the project at hand. The first time you work with someone you’ll need to be the most thorough. As times goes on, and more projects have been completed, this process will begin to streamline itself. If you can, develop a synergy with the production company you’re working with, create a workflow that is always helping to streamline the process. When in doubt, refer to the above paragraph.

Media Variety
Where is your media going to be seen? I’m not talking about TV, Internet… etc. but what type of environment. Will you have a captive audience? Or will they be passing by and only have them for a brief moment? Spread your deliverables out to cover what you’ll need. Do you need a shorter edit geared towards someone on his or her mobile phone? Or will you have them captivated for 10+ minutes. You can tell a story in :30 seconds, or in 10 minutes, but it’s how you tell it and what you choose to include.

The Fundamental Elements of Design

Mike Monteiro on Clients

A few weeks back I came across a very interesting video by Mike Monteiro and his lawyer Gabe. The two gave a 20-minute talk at Creative Mornings in San Francisco on the ins & outs of the business side of creative work and contracts. The video has since gone viral and blogged about many times and I knew I’d be writing my own blog post about it….just didn’t know when. The reason being is I knew I’d watch the video two or three times over again (and I since have done so) and would take away new understandings each time and use the video as a point of reference while doing my SOW and proposals. The talk brings up several important points for creatives AND clients. Although the talk is given from the point of view of the creative it is straightforward and will shed light onto both parties on what to expect when hiring a creative agency for your company or being hired by a company if you’re a creative.

Recent Spy Optic Videos

Spy Optic

A few months ago we were asked to put together a couple of videos for Spy Optic. Leading into the new year Spy is poised to overtake some market share as the economy begins to resurrect itself. To get the brand, distributors, retailers and partners we put together this short clip of what everyone at Spy has been up to lately. Hope you enjoy.