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Feb '18 | If You Think You’re Too Small for Video, Think Again

A Conference About Cash, that Doesn’t Cost Cash

CashCon, a San Francisco event free to the public, was put on by the Economic Security Project to debate the benefits and complexities of a universal basic income.

When we were brought on to film the event, we immediately knew we had to represent the unique political climate and atmosphere of the day, while keeping things cost-effective.

Our Challenge

We had to provide comprehensive event video production on a non-profit budget. We needed to tailor our crew, equipment, and schedule to accommodate the budget, yet still capture a holistic view of the event and retain its emotional electricity.

For Marketers Who Skim

  • When you need to spend less, hire a talented camera man who costs more.
  • Combine resources from your AV team and your video team so that you’re not paying double.
  • Determine your event’s emotional quality before choosing camera equipment.

Small Budget 101

When the budget is tight, some video producers go the route of hiring cheaper contractors. We take a different path. We hire a cameraman who not only knows the camera, but lights, sound and editing. These talented quadruple-threats come at a high cost, but when you factor in the cost of not having to hire a sound or lighting tech, then it suddenly makes sense. Plus, having a cameraman who also edits means that you’re not paying another editor to get familiar with the footage. That cameraman knows the footage intimately, because they shot it!

In the case of CashCon, we were able to deliver 6 videos with only a 3 person crew.

  • Producer/Director: The creative director and laison between client, event company, and video crew.
  • Quadruple-Threat Cameraman: To run camera, sound, lighting and edit
  • Production Assistant: Brought on to support the team, and coordinate filming logistics.

Combine Your Resources

Often times AV packages include one camera to record the main stage keynotes. More often than not, these cameras don’t produce very high quality video, but to capture a secondary wide angle– they can do the trick!

In the case of CashCon, we partnered with their AV team and combined our resources. They captured a wide shot of all keynotes on their camera, and we captured the close up on our higher end camera. That way our scope only included one camera, but we still had that secondary wide angle to cut with.

Combine resources when you can. And if you don’t know how or what makes sense to combine, don’t worry, Patina can assist in these conversations. We specialize in finding cost effective solutions, without sacrificing quality.

Emotion First, Equipment Later

While budget is important, choosing the right tool in which to capture your event’s emotional qualities is more important. At Patina, we start by understanding the company. The key messages, services, products, and their internal goals for the event. Once we understand that, we can determine the emotional quality needed in order to reach those goals.

In the case of CashCon, we were looking to capture the dramatic political debate, the seriousness of what was at stake, and the hopefulness of future policies. So we chose camera settings and tools that helped capture this vision. We shot slow motion, did slow push ins, and used a stabilization device that gave us movement, yet for a cheaper cost than the steadicam.

Now this approach wouldn’t work for your everyday tech conference. For tech conferences, the emotional qualities might be high energy, cutting edge, disruption at every angle. And there are different tools and settings to capture that.

Which is precisely why Patina Pictures starts with the emotional outcome, then chooses a camera package and crew that are skilled in capturing those qualities.

“Your b-roll is GORGEOUS and I love the slowness against the realtime of people talking.
This is an extremely good first pass. You really nailed the narrative!”

~ Executive, Economic Security Project



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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.