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Feb '18 | How to Stretch a Medium Video Budget

Budgeting for High Stakes (Yet Last Minute) Video

We get it: event video production needs pop up last minute with associated costs that don’t always trace back to your yearly marketing spend. But these needs are important and can involve some pretty high stake players too.

This was the case for DocuSign. With only a week before their yearly Momentum conference in San Francisco we were brought in to create two important videos:

  1. A keynote video that would play during their main stage presentation and tee-up their Tesla giveaway
  2. A follow up video showcasing the winner receiving the Tesla used to drive registration for their next conference

The Challenge

We were working with a modest budget, yet our main characters were bigwigs: the CEO of DocuSign and a brand new Tesla. There was absolutely no room for error.

Tips for Marketers Who Skim

  • Don’t ever underestimate the importance of charm
  • When you hire highly skilled technicians, you only need two of them, not a flock
  • The right stock footage and match cuts can elevate production value

The Patina Charm

It doesn’t have its own line item in the budget, but we’re fairly certain its one of our most valued assets.

It’s also a quality that makes us stand out when compared to other event video production companies. You see, Patina doesn’t just supply expert camera technicians. We supply expert producers.

Producers who have been known to:

  • Sweet talk the car dealership into mounting cameras all over their new $100,000 car.
  • Make the CEO so comfortable that he happily went along with all our video shenanigans.
  • Direct traffic, pedestrians, car buyers, employees in a way that makes people smile and say “How cool is DocuSign?”

All that, without causing one single smudge (on the car, or on our client’s reputation.)

At Patina, we believe producing isn’t all about budgeting and coordinating, it’s about working miracles. Ask any of our clients and you’ll likely hear a similar phrase– she worked a miracle.

In High Stakes Situations, Spend Money on the Experts

Bay Area Production Company

For Docusign, we only had a short window of time with both the CEO and the car. We needed a team who could get the shot, and get it in the first take.

We chose one of our steadicam operators because the camera style we wanted called for constant circular movement. A steadicam operator requires a second camera assistant, someone who pulls focus as the main operator moves the camera.

But this dynamic duo is well versed in all aspect of production– including lighting and sound– and thus we were a small yet mighty crew: Producer, Steadicam Operator, and Camera Assistant.

The cost of steadicam may be slightly steeper than average, but the results you get, and the time you save, makes the investment worthwhile.


Stock Footage Meets Match Cuts

Do you notice any difference between that white Tesla rolling up and down San Francisco’s beautiful hills and the white Tesla that the CEO got into? Because they’re actually two different cars, and two different Tesla models. This is called a match cut. And if you can secure what you need to make this work– in this case, a second white Tesla and a driver (which is not too hard to find in the Bay Area!)– then it can save you a lot of time and money.

And that beautiful drone shot at the end when you see the Tesla driving into the countryside… well, that was stock. And I believe that stock was shot, not in the country, but in Los Gatos. They don’t call it “Movie Magic” for nothing!

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K'Dee Miller is the Founder & Creative Director of Patina Pictures.

Her feature films have premiered at Sundance Film Festival, AFI Fest, Newport Beach Film Festival, among others. Her corporate video clients span from technology companies such as Microsoft, RingCentral, DocuSign and Adobe, to Bay Area nonprofits such as Team4Tech and Hamilton Families.

She's studied her industry from every angle, receiving production training from The Juilliard School, an MFA of Writing from University of San Francisco, and a BFA of Acting from Marymount Manhattan College.

She is currently in the process of writing a memoir about growing up in the wilderness of Alaska.