Investing in Paperworks Videos

If someone told me back in March of this year that we'd be making videos as our full time job in July, I would have said it was preposterous. What do we know about making videos? Such is the current state of affairs - we're booked through the summer doing paperworks videos on commissioned basis and feel 100% confident that this is the right direction for us.

Of course, having people paying us to make videos means we have to learn fast and make some investments in our equipment and software.

It was obvious with the RSS video that we 1) had little idea of what we were doing and 2) lacked any real hardware for making videos of reasonable quality. The RSS video was made with 75watt desk lamps, a built-in microphone, Windows Movie Maker and our Sony Handycam - and it shows.

Since that time we've been learning on a need-to-know basis. For instance, in between the Wiki and Social Networking videos, we made the switch to a Mac, Final Cut Express (video editing software) and GarageBand for audio. We also got a professional microphone and preamp. This was all-new territory for us both.

Since then, we've been focused on two important and difficult aspects of video: light and sound. Like most other situations, we tinker until we find something that works.

As a case in point, we became more educated about shadows recently. Creating enough light is easy, but the right kind of light is quite hard and we've declared war on shadows. 2000 watts of lighting makes a lot of shadows. We recently experimented light deflectors made out of posterboard and aluminum foil to help diffuse the light, but the war wages on.

Audio - I never knew it could be so hard. Here's a valuable lesson we learned: If you record something in a sitting and then, a couple of days later, try to re-record a section and add it to the original, it won't sound right. Consistency is the holy grail and until just recently, we had no way of creating a consistent sound. Now, thanks to some creative uses of bedding, we have our very own sound studio. Maybe one day we'll have an uber-studio like Jay.

 It's tiny and stuffy, but it works quite well for us. It reminds me of building forts in the living room when I was a kid. Remember how the forts would get all stuffy? It's same feeling.

For our style and format, there comes a point where significant investment doesn't make sense. We big believers that our success in the future won't depend on technical perfection, but the quality of the concepts and ideas. That being said, we'll always be looking for ways to improve and finally win the war against those darn shadows.
If you have ideas, we'd love to hear 'em.