Why do you take so long?

I had a recent shoot for a documercial in our fair city. The shoot went very well, the subject nailed the interview in two takes, and he let me roam freely to get whatever images I needed to tell his story.

Happily the business was busy and they had secured the proper releases so I didn’t have to worry about who or what I shot. His flexibilty and preparation paid off and they got a great video in the end. At one point though, I could tell he was wondering why it was taking so long. In this era of smartphones and iPads, laypeople sometimes think all there is to video is aiming the lens and letting it “roll”.

I could do it that way, but the client wouldn’t get their money’s worth and I would have a video I would never ever want to be associated with. That’s kind of a negative cost, in the end.

What I would say to someone that might ask about this is pretty simple. My job is to tell the client’s story in the most effective way possible. The client’s interview will be several minutes in final running time and there should be many points made about the business. Just looking at a single image or a few similar images will not tell a compelling story. I need to find an image for each part of the business story, and for certain kinds of videos I will need to find at least five great images for each part of the story. In some ways, this takes the place of the boards you would use if it were a scripted spot. Each idea has to have corresponding image, and if I don’t take the time to find those pictures, something will be missing.

I enjoy this work, but trust me, I don’t take any more time than I need to capture the images that tell the story. Please feel free to look over some of my recent work if you’d like to see how this plays out in the finished product.