Landing.jpg
Site Pic-1-15BW.jpg
Site Pic-1-4.jpg
Landing.jpg

process


SCROLL DOWN

process


We make the filmmaking process as simple as possible while offering you the highest production values in the industry. Our experience being in business over a decade has allowed us to refine the process, keeping budgets low, while maintaining professionalism and reliability.  Our team is with you through the entire process, we do not hand a project from person to person, but instead maintain a consistent point of creative client contact throughout the making of each film. 

PRE-PRODUCE

  • Consultation The conversation starts with a free consultation, either a phone call or an in-person meeting, to discuss your video needs.  We like to get into these talks as early as possible in your thinking process to help you look at the best way to leverage your budget for video, what style of video is right for you, what the possible stories or visuals could be, and how to think about getting the video seen after it is made.  If we think you need a big budget agency or you just need someone  with a DSLR who is just starting out we will be the first to refer you to the best version of those options. 
  • Budget - For our typical projects we can give quotes very quickly based on our standard pricing, but custom creative commercials require much more planning to budget accurately.  We often like to figure out what your budget is first and figuring out the best film we can make for that money (rather than making a bid or pitch) because this gives you more options and helps you be a part of the process.  Please scroll down to see our basic pricing structure for our standard films to get an idea of how to budget for our video work.
  • Schedule - We determine the number of shootings days depending on budget and what the style requires, and we mutually agree upon production dates that fit within everyone's schedule.  We discuss any deadlines you might have and the turnaround time for production and post production.  It typically takes about a month from start to finish, but can be done quicker if need be.
  • Contract and Deposit - We both sign a contract that describes the production and expectations.  We then collect a deposit for 50% of the total budget before the work begins and any money is spent on the production.
  • Refine Narrative - Once the deposit is paid we can buckle down and dig into the story.  For a documentary based narrative this is often calling or meeting with the subject to understand the story and get familiar with them and integrating that story with our discussions with you about messaging.  For a creative commercial the process involves much more planning, scripting, and storyboarding. 
  • Location Scout- Scouting can be part of pre-production and/or production days, and usually depends on the budget and style of the piece.

PRODUCE

  • Call Time - All crew shows up on time or extra early. We typically schedule a shooting day to include one or both golden hours (around sunrise and sunset).
  • Crew - Our productions have from 2+ crew members, and are some of the best crew in the industry.  On a small project this will be a director and cinematographer team, sharing a lot of responsibilities.  On larger productions this team can incorporate director, cinematographer, camera assistant, gaffer, grip, sound mixer, hair and makeup, production assistants, and craft services.
  • Equipment - We offer a variety of equipment and our packages fit the budget and style of the film.  Our typical production has an A camera and a B camera, audio equipment, and lighting.  While we can film without lighting during golden hour outside, using other sorts of light modifiers is important, and lighting is essential for interiors.  This is why we never operate alone; heavy equipment can be dangerous if your attention is scattered and you do not have professional crew members on hand.  Be wary of any production company claiming to get quality production values without the proper crew and equipment because this is very common these days. 
  • Insurance Our productions are covered by $1,000,000 of liability insurance against bodily injury on or off premises as a result of business activities.  We have never had to use this insurance, but any professional production house should be operating with this.
  • Talent The "talent" is the character(s) in the film, whether it is a paid actor or a volunteer.  We minimize the burden on the talent, moving quickly, giving any needed breaks, and keeping the set safe and fun.  For documentary based subjects, we are typically scheduling the production day around their availability.
  • Shoot- Production days can last between 5-12 hours, with one or two breaks in the middle.  Clients are often on set, and can be provided with a client monitor if planned in pre-production.  For documentaries, especially those dealing with intimate subjects, we prefer to limit the total number of people on set to an absolute minimum.

EDIT

  • Rough Cut -  Consider this a sketch of the final film that is starting to take shape.  It can range from feeling very polished to feeling like a lot of work needs to be done. Watch the cut closely with an open mind, relax and have fun.  It is important that all decision makers on your side participate and give full feedback and nothing is left out.  It is much harder to incorporate structural edits later in the editing process.  If you have an issue with a line, or the music, a transition, or certain information isn't coming through, say so in this phase.  Specific edit requests should be made using timecode, and feel free to have phone calls to discuss things that are harder to explain.  Edit requests should be compiled into a single organized email so it is easy for the director and editor to digest and work into the film.  Focus on the narrative and the general feeling; do not worry about the sound mix (the volume of speakers and music) or the color grade (the way the colors in the picture match or feel), as this takes place later in the process. 
  • Revised Cut -  The film is starting to take shape and your feedback from the rough cut has been incorporated.  A revised cut should be getting very close to the final version of your film.  Review the film again with the same instructions as the rough cut.  Depending on the budget, there is often another round of revised cuts before the final cut.
  • Final Cut -  Your film is finished. All requested edits have been made and the film has been refined so transitions feel smooth, audio levels are perfect, and the color grade has added that final polish to the picture.

GET VIEWS  

  • Delivery - We provide you with whatever digital file you request.  This is typically a high quality 1080p .mov  compressed for the internet, but can also be a .wmv, an uncompressed ProRes file, or anything else.  Even when the film is acquired in 4K resolution, our standard delivery is 1080p unless requested otherwise.
  • Assets - Arrangements can be made (usually up front in the pre-production and budgeting process) for you to own all of raw footage shot.  We do not share the editing suite project file or licensed music files with our clients.
  • Exhibition - From the beginning of pre-production we look at how the film will be viewed.  Where will you host the video?  Even if you don't imagine people searching for your video on YouTube or Vimeo, you will most likely want to set up an account with such a service so you can embed the video wherever you want.  If you will be playing the video in a theater, consult with us and the theater's AV about the best way to do this.
  • Views - While we are not a PR or Marketing agency, we put in a lot of work to understand how video works in these environments and like to collaborate upfront with your team on how to leverage the videos to get views, shares, and the right kind of attention to your subject in general. It is important to consider this from pre-production on.  Please scroll below for much more information on getting your video seen..

 

Site Pic-1-15BW.jpg

budget


budget


THE STANDARD 1-3 MINUTE CINEMATIC DOCUMENTARY

Our bread and butter is our standard 1-3 minute documentary style video.  These can be basic brand videos, explainer videos, customer testimonials, patient experiences, portraits, etc.  They can be a single subject piece, have one subject with extra supporting interviews, or they can be a fast cutting compilation of many interviews.  The directing of these videos tends to be straight-forward and we can usually figure out with our clients in a phone call what the piece will be like; our clients can point to our examples and get something very similar.

For these videos Stout Film offers 2 different price points.  We realize it is often difficult for non-filmmakers to understand the difference between production values (and the expenses that go into making them) so we have made a table below to help understand it.  It is important to keep in mind that it is not one thing, but the combination of many things together, that determine the quality of a video.  In order to keep budgeting as simple as possible we have grouped these variables into 2 standards.  The prices below include all labor, equipment charges, editing suites, music licensing, equipment insurance and general liability insurance for the production.

CUSTOM PRICING

For any video that involves a lot of conceptualizing, writing, directing, producing, art direction, actors, complicated cinematography, a much longer/shorter length, etc., custom pricing is required.  We provide these services as well, but the variety of requirements is so vast that there is no way to give standardized budgets.  These films include much more client contact and care in pre-production, production, and post-production.  Custom pricing commensurately and fairly adds the cost of that time and equipment at each of those stages.  

PRODUCTION-ONLY

We are also available as a production team to be hired on a day-rate for your own production.  These prices are reduced significantly because we only work on the days of the production; any producing or directing that goes on before or after the production is the client’s responsibility.  In this case liability and equipment insurance is under the responsibility of the client (the true “production house”) and we do not store the files or manage the media after the date of production.  This can be a good option for saving money if you have an in-house editing team and a clear understanding of what goes into producing a video.

DISCOUNTS

Series - Save up to 15% when you buy multiple videos at once.
Non-Profits - Receive Gold production values for Silver pricing for your 501(c)(3)
Referrals - Refer a friend or another business. Once they pay for a video, you will receive a $1000 coupon to be used on any film production with us.

 

Site Pic-1-4.jpg

get views


get views


STORYTELLING

Video is the most direct and emotional way to reach your audience.  The most successful ads are content that people actually want to watch.  Forget the days of being forced to sit through a boring commercial in order to get back to your favorite TV show.  Nowadays skipping an ad is just a click away, so the industry has started targeting specific audiences and producing content based ads that they actually choose to watch and ideally share. Content is king, and in the world of advertisement, branded content is king. 

 

Audiences around the world are overwhelmingly open to mobile video advertisements that relate to their context and viewing patterns. Clearly, this is a real boon to global marketers that want to ensure they reach the audience segments most likely to be interested in their products or services.
— Joe Laszlo, Senior Director, IAB Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence
According to the research, video ads also performed better in terms of retention at rates of 34% compared to non-video ads.
— Anne Freier, Business of Apps

To push this concept further, reduce how much the viewer feels like they are being sold something.  Rather than have a CEO tell someone they should spend or donate money, why not depict someone whose life has been changed by the product or organization?  Consider if you even need a call to action. Sometimes you do, but other times the call to action is in the emotions someone is feeling at the end of a moving story as your logo and website fade in at the final frames.  Your story should be an offering and a gift, confident and secure.  Let your advertisement become the one you would share with a friend even if neither of you were interested in the subject at first.

VIDEO LENGTH

How long should a video be? It's a question we get from new clients a lot, and often when the question isn't asked clients are assuming the video should be longer than it should.  The answer quick answer is a video should be as short as possible.

 

 

The two graphs above  explain how to think about attention span on the web.  On the left you can see that people are much more likely to even start watching a video if they can see it is short.  On the right see that shorter the video, the more likely someone is to finish it.  How often is your main point, call to action or even clickable links at the end of the video?  Make short powerful video that people will finish and understand.

People often have a hard time being honest with this reality when it comes to their own company or organization.  We spend so much time giving our heart and soul to our work and we know how complicated and significant it is. It feels like to convey its world changing importance it deserves a feature film, or at the very least someone should watch a 5 minute video about it. But think about your own viewership on the internet.  Are you more likely to start watching a video that you see is 58 seconds long or a video that is 5 or 10 minutes long?  And if you do start a video, which length are you more likely to finish? Remember that when you are on the internet, leaving a video or skipping through its content is easy and sometimes necessary.  If someone is in an Uber they might be watching a video, let's hope it finishes before the ride is over.  Advertisers have to get in and out before the viewer does.

Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.
— Albert Einstein

The key is to distill and simplify your narrative so it is as short and digestible as it can possibly be while still getting across everything you need someone to know.  Work with your storyteller to figure out what is essential.  A video does not need to tell someone everything they could know. It does not have to be an essay.  It can function more like a moving photograph, conveying the emotion necessary to get your foot in the door to their attention, leading them to other media or conversations where they can get the full story.  A video can live on a page that has all that extra information, details, and statistics.  Let your video entice someone to find out more, leave them wanting more.

Does this mean every video should be under a minute?  Absolutely not!  A number of factors affect the length of a video. Sometimes you simply cannot get the necessary information across in a very short commercial spot.  Sometimes your projected audience is already interested in the subject matter (or seated in a theater) and would want to see more detail.  A commercial about sexy pants can be covered in 15-30 seconds, but a nonprofit's plea for donations to help save refugees is a much more complicated matter.  

Here are suggested lengths for different types of videos (these are not hard and fast rules):

Creative Commercials: 15-59sec
Explainers: 45-90sec
Crowdfunding Videos: 2.5min
Testimonials: 1-2

BE RELATABLE

Don't be afraid to address the viewer and forge relationship with them right away.  Research shows that just using the word "you" can increase the number of views your video gets.

YouTube videos that contained the word “you” in the first five seconds had view counts that were 97% higher than videos that did not mention the word...In addition to nearly doubling a video’s view count, the word “you”—or variations, such as “your,” “yourselves,” and “y’all”—increased a video’s likes by 66% and engagements by 68%.
— Emily Bruder, No Film School

This is just one example of a small detail that can have a huge affect on the number of views your video gets.  Not all videos should use the word "you", and some video require no words at all.  But we should consider these details when working on a script and an edit.  How can you maximize a viewers involvement and make them feel like a part of the story?

GO MOBILE

It is important to consider how your video will be seen. Is your production a TV spot? A film at an event for a captive audience?  Or is it part of an online marketing campaign?  The answers to these questions affect the length and style of the video.  In general, there is a trend towards viewership going mobile, and most of the work we produce is primarily watched this way.  Here are some statistics to consider about how people are watching video content these days. 

Google research found that video ad viewability on smartphones was higher (83%) than that on desktop (53%) or tablet (81%). Mobile ad viewability on YouTube was even higher at 94%
— Anne Feier, Business of Apps

In general, the more mobile the viewing apparatus the less attention span the viewer will have (see the section Short N' Sweet above), but the size of the screen also affects what the eye can pick up and these details make a difference to how filmmakers should frame subjects on screen.  Movies designed for a 5" phone screen have to minimize the amount of information in frame and make the people and objects bigger relative to the frame size.  Wide shots with small figures are barely recognizable on a small screen.  The same is true with text for titles and logos.  It is important to have a discussion with your filmmakers about how your movie will be watched before production has started. 

BE DIFFERENT

We understand that video production is expensive and a big investment, but this does not mean you should play it safe.  Safe is boring and nobody shares boring.  Even if you need to produce a video that is informational instead of narrative, let's think outside the box and make things new and fun for people to watch.  Remember how much media people are seeing every day and this film we will produce will be a small part of it.  Don't let it get lost in the noise. 

When Noah filmed the "DNB" scene with Ronda Rousey, the president of the UFC first wanted it on the cutting room floor because it was so provocative. Then they decided "what the hell" and we put it out on the internet.  It became a global phenomenon, went completely viral, and was by far the most successful clip in the shows history.  Women around the world completely connected with Ronda's audacity and her singularity, and Beyoncé even opened her concert with the clip.  This was all because we took a chance with the clip, and it stuck out against every other video.