If You Can Think It,
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Frequently Asked Questions

Do you rent videos?

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This is a surprisingly frequent question that we get asked. After 20 years, I'm still not entirely sure why we get this question over the phone so frequently, but the only thing that makes sense is if Information (411) for some reason has us listed in the video rental category. The answer to this question is simply, "No. We're a video production company, not a video rental store."

Why produce a video in the first place?

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Companies today have begun to embrace technology for various reasons. In particular is the ability to create videos that can be used by employees, prospects, and customers. There are numerous ways to take advantage of this technology as costs have gone down while technology improves. Why pay to print product or service manuals to train employees when they can be presented via recorded videos? If this will work for your employees, it will work for prospects and customers as well.  Video demonstrations can be shared live if you wish to solicit feedback, or recorded if feedback is not needed. We can pretty much divide videos into two categories; videos to save money, and videos to make money:

Videos to Save Money

Corporate Presentations

Many companies have salespeople and consultants working all over the world. The video presentation (whether it be streamed live, or recorded and the provided as a download or sent on a disc) is a money-saving way to bring corporate news to employees and stakeholders of the company. Smaller companies may want to consider this method in lieu of a shareholder meetings at expensive meeting center venues. Action Video has produced more of this type of video than we can even begin to count.


Training Videos

No longer do new employees need to sit through training classes as instructors try to make a topic interesting. Now, orientation classes can be held electronically, either in a live or recorded format. New employees need only to be instructed when to attend and then pass a learning assessment which can be done at home or at the company office. Using a recorded video production allows a new hire to review the information as many times as needed so they can comprehend and pass an assessment test.

If the trainer desires to have feedback, the video can be presented live to the new hire which gives them the opportunity to ask questions or make comments. This will allow for a tremendous savings since an instructor does not need to be present, and valuable office space is not taken up for training purposes.

Consider the restaurant industry (particularly national chains); when a new menu is being rolled out, produce a training video for the chefs/cooks so they know the exact process of how to make the food. Or consider a service-based industry that uses specific processes that must be carefully followed. Action Video has most frequently produced training videos for Hooters, Mr. Clean Carwash, and HTH Pools.


Recruiting Videos

Similar to training videos, new recruits can view a company overview video rather than talk directly with recruiters. This method is a great first-step screening process in which the company and its products or services can be introduced to a prospective recruit for minimal outlay. Before the hiring freeze was put in place during the economic recession of 2008 by the Cherokee Sheriff's Office, Action Video made thousands of copies of their recruitment video.


Safety Videos

For companies doing business in an industry with defined hazards, a safety video is the perfect way to conduct safety meetings. Again, if the safety manager wants feedback, they can elect to use a live presentation rather than a recorded one. Keeping records of safety training will also satisfy the insurance carrier that proper safety training is being conducted. Keeping accurate attendance records along with copies of recorded videos will serve as a layer of protection for the company as well. Again, Action Video has produced countless safety-oriented videos, particularly for companies that have manufacturing plants with machines that could maim, or worse. Really, the main goal here is less about saving money, and more about saving lives.


Product Presentation Video

Often, companies will hold a sales meeting to introduce new products to its employees. Unless the product falls in a completely new category, a well scripted video presentation will serve the purpose and save the company money. Salespeople will not have to come in from the field, be fed, and put up in hotels for the sales meeting. Using a recorded video, the sales force can view the presentation from the comfort of home and then complete an online assessment as an offer of proof they understand the new product.


Videos to Make Money

Product or Service Presentations

Well-scripted and produced videos can be used to broadcast your sales message all over the world. They can be created to present the features and benefits of the company’s product or service, and serve as a demonstration video at the same time. This type of video production will become a valuable asset to any organization and will serve many purposes.


Trade Show Presentation

Many companies offer their products or services at various trade shows across the country. Having a loop video playing constantly at the booth will act as an additional unpaid salesperson. Videos do not need to take a break, go to the bathroom, or eat long lunches. Let's also not forget the fact that the video is designed to attract the attention of potential buyers...and potentially quickly weed out those people who might take up the salesperson's time, only to find out that your product of service is not something they need. Action Video has produced many of these videos for companies like Diamax and HTH Pools.


PR/News Releases

When the company has a hot new item to introduce, or wants to announce that a mile-stone has been reached, sending a link to a company video acts just like a press release. This will generate excitement to your customer base prior to the new product introduction. The company can mail a DVD or send the link to the video by email. Action Video, through a collaboration with W. Morgan Communications, can even help you send this message out to more than 270,000,000 people in the United States, and that number can be sorted by age, gender, race, income, zip+4, political affiliation, and about twenty other metrics, so that you're sending your message to only your target audience.


Fund Raising

Nothing will work better for a company that wants to raise money for a cause it believes in than using a video presentation. The video presentation will result in lower costs for raising funds and allow the company to give 100% of the money raised.  Yes, it is easier to say “no” to a video but, at least you didn’t pay that video a salary for making the presentation!


There are many more examples of how a recorded or live video presentation can either save or make money for any company, whether small or large. The newer technology has greatly reduced production costs so that anyone can take advantage of this very important tool.

How much does it cost to make a video?

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Asking how much it costs to make a video is very similar to asking how much it costs to build a house.
It depends!
Does it have 3 bedrooms or 4? Does it have 2 bathrooms or 3? What is the cost of land in the area? Does it have a pool? Are you using granite in the kitchen? Marble in the bathroom? What about the garage? Videos are like that too. Will you use actors? Do you need to develop a script or are you going to improvise? Are you shooting in a studio? Do you have to travel to get there? How long will the video be? How many graphics need to be built?

The ultimate costs can range enormously. With expectations come price. Some videos can be made very, very cheaply. It can be as simple as shooting a speaker, making a clean fade in and out, maybe animate a logo, and use some music to sting in and out — then BAM! You have yourself a corporate video. However, this may not be the best way to show off your company or get your message though.

Action Video looks at your outline and works with your team to come up with a script and strategy that best accomplishes the goal of the video. Then we take a look at the budget and set up a game plan that matches your budget...and we do everything we can to make sure we come in under-budget.

The old adage ‘you get what you pay for,’ can be true. You can find people on Craigslist who will say they’re happy to give you a finished video for $500 or less (and frequently, Action Video actually CAN produce a video in the sub-$500 range, sometimes as low as $200). Sometimes that works or that’s all that is needed. At other times, you spend the $500 and the time to get a result that doesn’t really accomplish the goal.

Amateur videographers usually discover that it might be easy to get a camera and to learn what to do to make a video. However, learning the 10,000 things NOT to do only comes with experience. So working, experienced professionals might be what you want to get your project done right the first time, and let the amateurs make mistakes on other people’s projects.

So how much does that cost? Plan on paying around $1,200 for a basic communication video that includes a few hours of shooting, some basic editing, perhaps an animated logo, and several graphical element builds (although we can do the above for less money, under the right circumstances). Beyond that, just as anything else, prices go up from there. Add in pre-production strategy, script development, animated graphics, 3-d spaces, etc., and the prices can easily rise to $5,000. If you start adding professional actors and voice-over talent, studios, multi-day or multi-location shooting, special effects, and creative services, prices start to rise considerably to $10,000, $30,000, $100,000 and more.

How long does it take to make a video?

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We're often asked about how long video production takes. Some people want to know how long until their creative marketing tool is complete; others just want to know how much the total process will cost in labor time. There's no single answer to these questions. The truth is video production is a complex process, so it depends. I'll break down the major steps of production, and how much time they take, for the client and a production team.


This is typically the second most time-consuming part of production, simply due to the number of prepatory steps. There can be scripting, location scouting, casting, contract negotiations, fundraising, scheduling, shot lists, and a number of other time-consuming tasks that a production can require. Not every production requires all of these steps, but many do.

Common tasks that the client will undertake include: scripting, brainstorming, fundraising, and scheduling. These tasks require understanding the end goal of the project, but not necessarily a working knowledge of the production process, so they're ideal for the client. Naturally, the production team can pick up the slack if the client doesn't want to take on the responsibility, but this sort of involvement is an easy way for the client to gain some control during production, and cut down on final project costs. Other tasks would be difficult for the client to undertake, such as shot-planning, which requires increased experience and knowledge.

So, how long does all this take? Again, it depends. A simple interview can be narrowed down to writing a script, finding a location, and managing equipment logistics; adding up to no more than half a day's work combined. Other shoots require careful scripting, casting, gathering a crew, arranging catering, and more, amounting to weeks of work.


For this process, the crew manages all of the technical aspects: sound, lights, camera, makeup, and more. The client's involvement varies project-to-project, but often their involvement is limited to appearances in front of the camera and shoot facilitation, such as making sure the crew has access to locations they need, etc.

As for how long the shoot actually takes, most small to medium productions last a couple hours to a full day. At the low end, it can only take an hour to shoot a simple interview; conversely, commercials and narrative pieces can take a few days. The more involved the shots are, the longer it takes. Simple ideas make for simple shoots, grand ideas make for complex shoots.

Post-production work

This phase can be the graveyard for unprepared projects, because it can be so multifaceted and time-consuming. If a project goes into the editing room without a clear plan, it can get lost in post-production limbo, from which many projects never emerge. To help avoid this, it’s best to take post-production in chunks:

Loading The Footage - Getting the footage off of tapes or cards, and reviewing it to choose the best bits. This step can be time consuming, usually at least as long as the total footage, sometimes two or three times as long. Weeding out undesirable takes, mess-ups, and unusable clips speeds up each step down the line.

Editing - Although people often refer to the entire post-production process as editing, it is, in reality, a single step in the post process. Strictly speaking, what’s often professionally referred to as editing is the actual sequencing of clips, effects, and other visual aspects to effectively produce a narrative. The required time depends on the length of the final product, but for a very simple piece, it can take only an hour. For more complex pieces, it can be several hours per finished minute. The best way to speed it up is to have a good script ready, so the sequence of events is crystal clear.

Title and visual element creation - If the footage requires lower-third banners, intro slates, exit slates, etc, developing and implementing them is usually the next step. The length of time here is determined by the quantity and complexity of the graphics created, ranging from a few minutes to a few weeks.

Sound Mixing - In many videos, sound is more important than image, and we take more cues from audio than most people ever realize. Carefully balancing the different audio elements such as dialogue, music, effects, and transitions can be quite time consuming, but it often makes or breaks the final product. Without high quality audio from the original production phase, there is only so much that can be done, but elements like subtly mixed audio can really set the entire mood of a video.

Rendering and mastering - Once all of the above steps are finished, the final video has to be rendered. Rendering is the process of using a computer to create the finished piece. All of the different visual and audio elements we edited, graded, and mixed are blended together into a single video file, so that it can be put online or to a DVD or BluRay. This step is very time consuming, especially with HiDef composited graphics and video. It can take as much as a three or four hours for a final product that's only two minutes long.

Delivery - This is the process of getting the video to the client. It can take many forms, most commonly online delivery or DVD, with an increasing number of BluRay deliveries. Each of these processes usually takes a couple of hours, although as Internet speeds increase, the time for digital delivery has decreased. Additionally if you need a customized DVD/BluRay playable in a standard player, that is something that can be quite time consuming.

Video can be a long, involved process, or it can be something that takes a couple of days from concept to completion to get you a perfect picture; it varies from project to project. If you want to have the best final product possible, giving the crew ample time to take all of the appropriate steps will ensure you receive what you envisioned. Time is money however, and if budget is your primary concern, come in with a clear idea of what you want, and there are corners that can be cut.

Do I need a script before we start shooting?

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Technically, no. But you will save considerable time and money by having at least an outline and shot-list before shooting and editing begin. If you don’t have those ready before the shoot, you may not get that one shot you need to really pull the whole thing together; you'll end up “making-do” with something, or spending more money going back on location just to get that one shot that you could have gotten on the first day.

But for the ultimate success and cost savings, yes, you really do need a script. Action Video is more than happy to write your script, but if you'd like to write your own, this is a place where money can be saved, and where you have the most control over the final video.

The script is the way you can check that your video will provide the key messages you want to share with your viewers. It also highlights where you would like to include any supporting video, pictures, or graphics to emphasise your points. Our editing team uses the completed script to pinpoint where to change camera shots and angles during the recording, and when exactly to add your supporting video and graphics.

Before you start writing your video script, begin by writing the answers to the following questions on a piece of paper. “Who is my audience?” and “What do I want them to think, feel, and do as a result of watching my video?" Write down the answers to these questions on the same piece of paper and refer back to them as you write your script.

Most people’s script skills are likely a little below par. Since we're not playing golf, that is a bad thing. It takes a bit of practice, work, and advice to achieve success in writing the perfect script. It requires a lot of patience and a couple of drafts to get it right. But don't worry, here's a quick crash course on writing a script.

What does the consumer want?

The big mistake that businesses often make is they think compelling prospects to call you means getting your name out there, getting people to know who your business is. And that’s not it at all. Sometimes, the very best thing you can do is put your own ego aside and focus only on what they really want…without even any mention of you or your business up front. When you put your selfish needs aside and you’re able to focus just on them, that’s when the real magic happens. That’s when the real breakthroughs happen. They don’t see that there’s any sales involved in that. They see that it is completely and exactly what they’re looking for. So, they feel safe to act.

When creating a marketing piece you have to forget about what the company wants. Companies love to tell people what the company is good at, and most people love talking about their products. Consumers generally already know whether a company has a secret 50-step method to solve the world’s problems, and they know whether someone has a PhD or not, and the fact is, no one really cares. All consumers want to know is exactly what someone or something is going to do for them; how a product or service will solve their problems. As much as a company, and you personally, might love the script that was filled with valuable information about your company, the audience most likely will not like it. The last thing anyone wants is “decision paralysis” (customers are hit with so much information they cannot make a simple decision). Customers need to directly see how a product or service will solve their problems.

Simplicity: Find the Core Message

Simplicity is about finding your core message and sharing it in a compact way. The core message is the single most important thing worth communicating. The Army has a core message for its battle plans called “Commander’s Intent.” Smart companies like Southwest Airlines have core strategic messages, such as “THE low-fare airline.” Journalists use the “inverted pyramid” model to write stories, putting the most important information at the top of the article. Simplicity is about prioritization, and it’s also about saying a lot with a little.

Do the Unexpected: Use Surprising Points to Capture the Audience

The first requirement of effective communication is getting attention, the second is keeping it. In order to do this you use the unexpected: this is where we come in. Our amazing team will keep your audience engaged, but the script needs to contain some unexpected things like humor, facts, or flat out crazy pictures. These types of things will capture attention and keep people engaged.

Connect Emotionally

Tapping into people’s emotions is critical. If a company or product can hit a consumer emotionally, they will be much closer to obtaining a new client. Look at emotions like happiness, frustration, or sadness. Emotions are powerful, and the most important effective emotion is happiness. Your battle is won when you succeed in finding a way to make people feel good and smile. Credibility improves due to the person’s feelings of acceptance around you and your company. Boring, dry, information-packed scripts hurt everyone involved. Get creative! Tap into emotions! Serious products? Ya right! Don't make the critical error of thinking that since you have a “serious” product you can’t make it funny. Some of the greatest videos come from taking something serious and putting some humor to it. We once produced a video for Prudential Georgia Realty that was a Star Wars parody, complete with model X-Wing's flying around. Another example of this is found in the book “The Last Lecture.” Randy Paush had terminal cancer and was giving one last presentation before he died. Instead of presenting a serious presentation, he stood up and gave a presentation that had the audience smiling from ear to ear. Even if something is serious, it can always be made humorous.

Tell Stories: They are the KEY

1. The Challenge Plot:
This is the classic underdog, rags-to-riches, or sheer willpower triumphing over adversity. The key element of the Challenge Plot is that the obstacles seem daunting to the protagonists.
2. The Connection Plot:
A story about people who develop a relationship that bridges a gap ­ racial, class, ethnic, religious, demographic, or otherwise; e.g., the Mean Joe Greene commercial of the 1970s where he make friends with a scrawny young white kid. All connection plots inspire us in social ways. They make us want to help others, be more tolerant of others, work with others, love others.
3. The Creativity Plot:
This involves someone making a mental breakthrough, solving a long­standing puzzle, or attacking a problem in an innovative way.

By using a great story you can tap into emotions, past memories, and past ideas. Not to mention the fact that stories are engaging, memorable, compelling, motivating, and flat out more entertaining. Everyone is happy to pay money for entertainment! The key to making an idea sticky is to tell it as a story. Stories encourage a kind of mental simulation or reenactment on the part of the viewer that burns the idea into the mind. For example, when training a pilot, a flight simulator is much more effective than flash cards. The hard part about using a story is creating it. The best way to use a story is to always be on the look out for them. Most good stories are collected and discovered, rather than produced from scratch.

How long should the video be?

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It should definitely be shorter – attention spans are getting shorter and viewers want to quickly move on to the next shiny object.

It should definitely be longer – content marketing is the future of video. No one wants to be sold – they want to be informed, helped, and inspired by your video.

It… depends.

Asking how long your corporate video should be is a bit like asking if you should use animation in your video, or whether you should employ a cross-dissolve, j-cut, or dipsidoodle (I made this last one up) as a transition between shots. There is no "right" answer, and anyone who volunteers an answer to this question without first asking for context is likely misleading you. Some examples of contextual information required to answer this question:
- What is the purpose of your video? (The answer to this question should be crystal clear.)
- Who is your audience? (“Everyone” is the wrong answer.)
- What is your relationship with the intended audience? (This question is critical as it determines how interested your audience will be in anything you have to say.)
- What is the intended delivery path for the video? (If no one has given this much thought then you’re already in trouble.)
- What measurable outcome are you looking to achieve? (This should be self-evident. Often it’s not.)
- What do you want to say and show in the video? (What is the key message you need to deliver?)
- What style and format of video should I use?

There are many different types and uses of corporate video. Knowing what type of video you are producing, and answering all of the above questions will help to determine the proper length for your video. Being told that two minutes is the "correct length" is like telling you that being funny is the right approach to take with their next video.

There are two opposing trends in corporate video today:

1. Corporate videos are, on average, becoming shorter.

If you consider business videos in the aggregate (especially when you take into account the growing number of web-based ads), then the average viewing time for all corporate videos is definitely shrinking. “About 3 minutes” used to be common guidance for a Corporate Overview video three or four years ago. Then in the last few years "a couple minutes" became the standard. Today "somewhere between 60 seconds and 120 seconds" is the general guidance for Corporate Overview videos. Most other types of business videos are experiencing this same dynamic. There are many reasons for this change:
A) Attention spans are shrinking. This trend will accelerate as we continue to multitask and we continue to experience even more information competing for our attention. There is plenty of anecdotal evidence to back this claim, and there have been some studies done to measure this change in online behaviour.
B) Mobile video viewing is accelerating. More people are watching video on a mobile device every day, and short form video is a necessity for most mobile uses and applications. Some even claim mobile is poised to become video’s "first screen."
C) Very-short-form video is gaining prominence. The growth in popularity of this new format of video is going to have an effect on all business video. Some new, very-short-form video platforms: Vine (6 second videos), Instagram (15 second videos), Tout (15 second videos), Mixbit (16 second videos – because "15" clearly wasn’t enough…). Add to this the growth in 15 and 30 second pre-, mid-, and post-roll online advertising opportunities and it’s easy to see how shorter videos will continue to increase in popularity (and influence viewing behaviours.)
D) Video length can be a deterrent. Most users glance at the length of a video prior to viewing. If the video is perceived as being too much of an investment of their time they will simply move on.
E) Viewership drops off quickly online. All video hosting services have conducted research that shows a dramatic drop-off in viewership over time for all videos. Very few corporate videos are completed, and more than half are abandoned before the viewer gets half-way through.
F) YouTube has changed its algorithm to emphasize time watched. This is significant because the number of views (as measured by clicks) isn’t nearly as important of a metric as it used to be. Percentage completion of a video is a much better indicator of the value of a video. So the challenge is that the longer your video is, the less likely you are to have viewers watch your video all the way through.

So in summary, shorter is better. Unless of course, it’s longer – which as you will see below, might be even better.

2. Some video types are becoming longer.

The vast majority of corporate videos created today are promotional videos – basically you talking about you. The problem with most of these videos is that nobody really cares about you, or your product, or your building(s), or your people, or your methodology, or hobbies, or habits, or… whatever. What people do care about is their own problems. This is where content marketing is gaining a lot of traction. Content Marketing isn’t about selling, it’s about providing valuable information to your customers and prospects, and associating your brand with that content. The purpose of content marketing is to establish a relationship of trust over time with your prospects and clients. Providing your viewer with content that they are interested in is a great first step in establishing that trust. Longer-form content is well suited to this type of promotion. How-to’s, tips and tricks, industry updates, research… anything that provides value and helps the viewer in some way is what works with content marketing.

"Yes, but television commercials are pure promotion and they still work very well today," you might add. "Sometimes they do," I might respond, because most people are still too lazy to change the channel. Online is a very different story. Most online viewers have their index finger perched precariously over their mouse just itching to click away at the slightest hint of self-indulgent dribble. So while shorter is better, shorter isn’t always best. Relevant trumps shorter. (‘Short and relevant’ is a pretty powerful combination.)

Other longer form videos include:

A) Content associated with a subscription or opt-in service – something that someone has explicitly signed up to view. If people know you and already trust you then they will have more time for whatever it is you have to say.
B) Infotainment or branded/sponsored entertainment. It’s very difficult to make anything your company does entertaining (unless you're Victoria’s Secret or the NFL), so one option is to have someone else develop entertaining content that you can sponsor, or you might also consider developing infotainment content around your product. Infomercials still work very well today.
C) Great video. If your content is compelling, or inspiring, or thought provoking, people will watch it, regardless of its length.


The following are average lengths for different types of business videos today:
Corporate Overview Videos - 1 to 2 minutes
Online Promotional Ads – 15 and 30 seconds
Broadcast Promotional Ads – 15, 30, and 60 seconds
Product or Service Promotions – 60 to 90 seconds
Customer testimonials – 1 to 2 minutes
Recruiting Videos – 1 to 3 minutes
Content Marketing – 1 to 5 minutes (or longer)
Very-Short-Form Video – 6, 15, or 16 seconds
Viral Videos – 60 to 90 seconds
Video Case Studies – 2 to 4 minutes
Crowd-Funding Videos – 90 seconds to 2 minutes
Training Videos – 2 to 30 minutes
Product or Service Demos (not Promos… Demo’s) – 90 seonds to 3 minutes
Product Reviews – 1 to 3 minutes
Event Videos – 2 to 60 minutes
Vlogs – 1 to 10 minutes

Video Length Tips:

Tip #1 Your video should be exactly as long as it takes for you to get to the point. The sooner you get there, the better. (Don’t give people a reason to click-away.)
Tip #2 The type of video, audience relationship, and purpose of the video ultimately determine the length of your video. Never follow industry averages blindly. (120 seconds isn’t "right" and 85 seconds isn’t "wrong.")
Tip #3 Front-load your content. Build your content in an inverse pyramid just like you would write a press release. Most people will never get to the end of your video so make sure you include all the good stuff at the beginning.
Tip #4 Consider serializing your content. If you know your video is too long and you have a lot of important things to say, consider breaking your content up into smaller chunks. If you can’t do this, consider adding index references on the page where you host your video to allow people to jump to the piece of the video they actually care about. Don’t make the viewer wade through 4 minutes of useless information just to get to the piece they are interested in.
Tip #5 Measure your results. If you see people abandoning your video consistently after 55 seconds, it might be time for an edit.
Tip #6 Don’t bloat your video with message creep. "Script by committee" will ensure that your video includes everything anyone could possibly think of. The only thing adding a third, fourth, or fifth "benefit" will do to your video is confuse your viewer and make your video longer.
Tip # 7 Get help with you video. Look at other videos that are in the same caterogy. Ask a trusted client how long they think your video should be.

The bottom line – in corporate video (and in most other forms of communications) get to the point as quickly as you can.


About Us

A full-scale video production facility, our driving focus is to excel in the video production market by providing every single one of our clients with superior quality services, that are competitively priced, and delivered in the shortest time possible. Our motto is, "If You Can Think It, We Can Do It."