All about budgets!

You get what you pay for. This is true with everything in life and video production is no exception. My clients tend to be business owners, producers and agencies. Im often given a treatment and/or some sort of brief and then the client will ask me to propose a budget based on what they want. So in this video I wanted to give you an example of what separates a low budget video from a higher end video. The best way I could do this is by breaking it up into several categories. I have produced videos at a high level and at a low level. Does that mean you can’t create a great video on a low budget? No but it does mean your going to have to make sacrifices in production.

In video you pay a lot of money for the little things. Sure you can get a dslr or “4k” camera for short money but a camera is only part of the equation crew, lighting, camera movement, and post production play just an important roll if not more. Lets talk about camera movement for a second you have several options to move the camera 1. Handheld 2. slider 3. dolly 4. Steadicam 5. Jib/Crane and finally 6. Gimbals aka MOVI’s.  Each one of these serve a purpose but they can dramatically increase your videos budget with rentals and talented staff to operate. I recently came off a shoot in LA where we used a techno crane the rental on the crane was 4,000 with crew for the day. Thats just to operate the crane.

I wanted to create a post to explain to clients whats the difference between a $5000.00 dollar production and a $100,000.00 dollar production. Though we always want the best realistically we can’t always afford it however that s not to say you can’t get a great production at a low budget but understanding the limitations are important.

The major factors are shoot days, crew, equipment, talent and post production. Below I will list and example of what you should expect from a production company for the following budgets.

Entry level: 5k-15k

At this budget your looking at a basic shoot minimal camera crew (Cam op, Grip, PA etc) basic camera moves and minimal post production. Something like a dslr or an entry level canon cinema camera.

Mid Level: 15k-40k

This is where you start getting a bigger crew, better gear and much better camera movement. Your now in red camera level, wireless focus and video, Gimbals/ sliders and talented crew.

Top Level: 40k-up

Now your dealing with the best cameras, lighting, talent and camera support. Shooting on the best cameras. Your at a level where you can now have all the components Director, DP, 1st Ac, DIT, etc

Hopefully that gives you a basic understanding of why video productions range dramatically. If you have any questions feel free to email me. And have fun shooting!

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Video Workflow

People are always asking about my video shooting and editing workflow. I Often shoot with different cameras which means different file formats. However the process of shooting and post workflow are the same. I wanted to give you a basic rundown of my workflow this could be different for others but it works for me.
davinci resolve console
Filmmaking order of operation…….
  1. Shoot epic $h!t!
  2. Take raw clips create proxies (low res easy to edit files)
  3. Import and edit into editing software ie premiere, fcpx, etc
  4. Create an xml and open in Davinci. Make sure u link the raw files to the timeline not the proxies. So your gonna color the raw files
  5. Color and export from Davinci
  6. Vfx and cleanup. 
  7. Render final for web.
Softwares used:
Helpful color grading site:

Blog #1 Film $h!t w/JR (shooting for vfx)

Shooting with VFX in mind. So here we are another holiday and another holiday shoot! I love my job, everyday a different task at hand and theirs nothing more fulfilling to me than being able to work with teams that kick ass!!!! As budgets get bigger you typically get to work along side more talent an, I get SO excited about shoot! I was hired by the amazing folks at Ntropic to shoot a few products for Wal-Mart’s black Friday campaign.

I thought this was a great opportunity to explain the importance of shoot for vfx. They approached me wanting me to shoot a live cat that they were going to put in a 3d/photo-real environment. So they knew a few things …. They wanted it to fit the brands creative which was a neon feel. The other thing was they wanted to have the lights animate on. The overall creative for the campaign was a neon vibe…. right up my alley since I shoot a ton of music videos. So what we did was put the cat on a black plexiglass and black paper. Paper because it has some reflective properties to sell the neon light. A green screen wouldn’t look as real and we would risk some green spill in the cat who was white. Working with live animals is a challenge I have shot several dogs and cats and they typically do what they want as so in this case. We shot about 4 hours of footage for this 15 second clip lol but in the end it was worth it.

Heres a few tips below.

  1. Lighting: we creative the neon light by using astera 4 foot tube lights which where dimmed up and down to match the post. We then used a few litepanel geminis as key and fill light on the cat. You need to make sure your lighting matches whats being done in post or if will never match.
  2. Camera: We shot on the alexa mini with zeiss cp3’s mainly on sticks. we recored using 3.2k  prores 4444 so they could have a clean image to cut and animate.

check out the good work done over at NTROPIC They do some epic $h!t


Want more advice, $h!t ain’t free. Email me.