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Pro Video Tips
Illustration by John Hersey

Pro Video Tips

with Anthony Q. Artis

Video: Four common budgeting mistakes

- When it comes right down to it, budgeting is an exercise in guesswork. But there's a big difference between blind guessing, as in the lottery and educated guessing, as in the stock market. Nobody knows what lottery ball will pop up but with stocks, you can see certain things coming if you know what to look for. It's the same with indie film making. So here are some things to look out for when trying to balance your film budget. Number one, excluding or discounting items you hope to secure. Your roommate's boyfriend is a camera operator for a production house and while you're out for drinks one day, he says he can get you a free Arri Alexa for a weekend but a week before production he has no idea what you're talking about and says he can't do it.
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  1. 5m 22s
    1. Four common budgeting mistakes NEW
      5m 22s
  2. 2m 8s
    1. Intro to Pro Video Tips
      2m 8s
  3. 17m 27s
    1. Controlling reflections in glass
      4m 7s
    2. Managing color with polarizers
      2m 32s
    3. Using a polarizer to adjust skin tones
      2m 0s
    4. Using polarizers when shooting landscapes
      4m 42s
    5. Ten polarizer tips
      4m 6s
  4. 14m 34s
    1. Supplies to get to hide lav mics
      2m 13s
    2. Hiding lavs in collars
      5m 16s
    3. Hiding mics in hair
      2m 17s
    4. Hiding mics in sheer tops
      2m 40s
    5. Hiding transmitter packs on talent
      2m 8s
  5. 34m 25s
    1. Canon C100 overview
      11m 33s
    2. Looking at the Atomos Ninja
      12m 20s
    3. Checking out the C100 menu options
      10m 32s
  6. 10m 28s
    1. Ten tips for set safety
      10m 28s
  7. 9m 18s
    1. Packing a truck
      9m 18s
  8. 19m 24s
    1. Putting together your lens kit
      1m 0s
    2. Normal lenses
      1m 54s
    3. Wide lenses
      3m 5s
    4. Ultra-wide and fish-eye lenses
      2m 53s
    5. Telephoto lenses
      4m 53s
    6. Super zooms
      2m 54s
    7. Macro lenses
      2m 45s
  9. 17m 22s
    1. The importance of exposure
      1m 31s
    2. Using waveforms
      5m 3s
    3. Using histograms
      6m 53s
    4. Using zebra stripes
      3m 55s
  10. 10m 20s
    1. Shutter speed overview
      3m 18s
    2. Different ways to use shutter speed
      7m 2s
  11. 10m 29s
    1. Tips for keeping your budget down
      10m 29s
  12. 10m 11s
    1. Working with batteries
      10m 11s
  13. 24m 39s
    1. External audio settings
      4m 2s
    2. Audio input menus
      9m 31s
    3. Audio output menus
      4m 6s
    4. Setting and monitoring your levels
      7m 0s
  14. 16m 33s
    1. Introduction to backlight
      1m 18s
    2. Types of backlight
      3m 51s
    3. Exposing for backlit shots
      5m 31s
    4. Backlighting translucent object
      1m 39s
    5. Avoiding lens flare and wash out
      4m 14s
  15. 13m 28s
    1. Booming techniques
      13m 28s
  16. 5m 42s
    1. Feeding your crew
      5m 42s
  17. 8m 36s
    1. Choosing between prime, servo, and manual zoom lenses
      5m 19s
    2. Running and gunning with prime lenses
      3m 17s
  18. 10m 55s
    1. Green screen lights and materials
      3m 47s
    2. Mounting the green screen
      1m 39s
    3. Lighting the green screen
      3m 8s
    4. Lighting your subject
      2m 21s
  19. 9m 28s
    1. What to look for when buying a tripod
      6m 13s
    2. Working with monopods
      3m 15s
  20. 23m 19s
    1. Choosing a camera
      3m 2s
    2. Preparation and supplies for a surf shoot
      2m 13s
    3. Dealing with lens fog
      1m 44s
    4. Mounting your POV camera
      3m 20s
    5. Tracking and shooting your surfer from the shore
      6m 56s
    6. Interview with Tony Cruz
      6m 4s
  21. 8m 37s
    1. Introduction to lens mounts
      1m 24s
    2. Canon mounts
      2m 0s
    3. PL mounts
      1m 59s
    4. Nikon mounts
      1m 24s
    5. Micro 4/3 mounts
      1m 50s
  22. 7m 30s
    1. Introduction to lighting ratios
      1m 19s
    2. Comparing ratios
      2m 52s
    3. Measuring light ratios
      3m 19s
  23. 10m 25s
    1. Ten Looks in Ten Minutes
      10m 25s
  24. 5m 36s
    1. Using camera height and POV to better tell your story
      5m 36s
  25. 9m 49s
    1. Tips for lighting an interview subject
      9m 49s
  26. 15m 5s
    1. Taking 10 pounds off your subject
      4m 1s
    2. Dealing with nose shadows
      3m 3s
    3. Lighting different skin tones
      2m 55s
    4. Putting makeup on your subject
      5m 6s
  27. 10m 4s
    1. Types of cookies
      4m 6s
    2. Making your own custom cookies
      2m 47s
    3. Controlling the look of a cookie
      3m 11s
  28. 18m 11s
    1. Introduction to shooting sports footage
      1m 15s
    2. Getting good coverage for your sport shoot
      5m 55s
    3. Camerawork for shooting sports videos
      5m 4s
    4. Gear to bring on your sports shoot
      4m 52s
    5. Wrapping up
      1m 5s
  29. 8m 34s
    1. Tips for using bounce light
      8m 34s
  30. 21m 43s
    1. Video portrait intro
      1m 51s
    2. Video portrait camera work
      13m 32s
    3. Considerations for a video portrait interview
      4m 11s
    4. Bonus: Finished video portrait
      2m 9s
  31. 9m 48s
    1. Shooting at 24p
      3m 2s
    2. Using depth of field
      1m 37s
    3. Lighting for a film look
      1m 18s
    4. Using filters
      2m 31s
    5. Getting a film look with software
      1m 20s
  32. 38m 57s
    1. Introduction to professional car rigs
      7m 41s
    2. Attaching a side mount rig
      12m 58s
    3. Mounting a speed rail rig
      10m 54s
    4. Hood suction mount
      4m 27s
    5. Car rig safety tips
      2m 57s
  33. 14m 3s
    1. Manipulating the size of people
      6m 12s
    2. Manipulating the size of buildings
      2m 59s
    3. Making crowds look more crowded
      4m 52s
  34. 12m 32s
    1. Introduction to lighting cars
      5m 13s
    2. Lighting the car from outside
      3m 10s
    3. Lighting the car from inside
      4m 9s
  35. 13m 46s
    1. Packing your gear for air travel
      6m 8s
    2. What to do at the airport
      4m 39s
    3. Getting on the plane
      2m 59s
  36. 15m 53s
    1. Why you should hire an editor
      1m 29s
    2. Working with editors during pre-production
      3m 33s
    3. Working with editors during shooting
      4m 3s
    4. Working with editors after your shoot
      4m 18s
    5. Final tips on working with editors
      2m 30s
  37. 7m 46s
    1. Tips on avoiding scam film festivals
      7m 46s

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Watch the Online Video Course Pro Video Tips
8h 22m Appropriate for all Apr 15, 2014 Updated Dec 16, 2014

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Pro Video Tips is designed for busy videographers like you. This series brings you a new tip every week, on everything from controlling reflections to hiding mics. Host Anthony Q. Artis covers shooting techniques for particular video challenges like portraits, tools to help you control light and judge exposure, and advice for the traveling videographer, such as putting together a great lens kit or packing a truck. Come back every Tuesday for a new round of tips.

Subjects:
Video Shooting Video
Author:
Anthony Q. Artis

Four common budgeting mistakes

- When it comes right down to it, budgeting is an exercise in guesswork. But there's a big difference between blind guessing, as in the lottery and educated guessing, as in the stock market. Nobody knows what lottery ball will pop up but with stocks, you can see certain things coming if you know what to look for. It's the same with indie film making. So here are some things to look out for when trying to balance your film budget. Number one, excluding or discounting items you hope to secure. Your roommate's boyfriend is a camera operator for a production house and while you're out for drinks one day, he says he can get you a free Arri Alexa for a weekend but a week before production he has no idea what you're talking about and says he can't do it.

The principal of an elementary school said you can shoot there for free but the day before the shoot, the school board president calls you demanding $500 a day for a location fee. These are what I like call phantom freebies and they can easily send your production into a panic tail-spin. My point here is unless you are extremely positive that this is a sure thing, done deal, rock solid agreement, you should leave that item in your budget at full price. Also, whenever possible, try to get things on paper or save a trail of email conversations so there's no confusion about what you're getting and when you're getting it and how much it will cost you.

The closer you get to your production without these great deals and favors fully secured, the harder it's going to be to change course and get another camera or school or whatever it was you planned on getting for free or at a discount. Don't let your budget be let astray by the siren called a "free" or "cheap" unless you're confident. Once it's secure then you can move that money elsewhere in your budget. And the second common budgeting mistake I want to talk about is not including enough contingency money.

Your contingency money is your what if money, it's your all-purpose slush fund for unexpected things that happen during production or items that run over their estimated budget. And unexpected things will always happen in film-making and it's a pretty sure bet that at least one category of your budget will run over. I can't over-emphasize how important it is to keep some contingency money in the budget on standby. Don't make the amateur mistake of eliminating your contingency as a line item in your budget to balance the final budget.

If you're truly desperate and the numbers still don't add up, you can cut that 15% figure down to as little as 10%, but anything less than that is opening the door to hasty compromises and a potential production shutdown. The number three common budgeting mistake that I see is not creating alternate budgets. Films rarely have just one budget. There's the 35mm film budget, the shooting on-location in Paris and London budget, the DSLR camera budget, the budget with name actors, the budget with unknown actors, etcetera.

Each of these budgets represent an alternate production scenario based on unfolding events and access to money and resources. Once you write out your initial budget, you should then save alternate versions with different sets of line items based on all of the most likely scenarios. The only thing these budgets need to have in common is the grand total. Making alternate budgets also further forces you to consider the true production value of each resource. They're also invaluable to your decision making if you do suddenly have to change your production plan midstream.

So put it on paper and think about how else you might spend your money. And the fourth and final budget mistake that I see get people into trouble is overlooking a hundred little things. Remember, the budgeting process is essentially brainstorming every cost you're going to incur to make your shoot happen. And every cost includes all those little things that so many new film-makers often overlook, I'm talking things such as the cost of taxes, permits, cab fare, photo copies, cell phone charges, insurance, overtime meals, and on and on.

All these little seemingly innocent things can add up quickly and eat away at your precious 15% contingency if they're not in the original budget. You can find numerous examples of documentary and other film budgets online on film-making sites like itvs.org, Women Make Media, wmm.com or documentary.org and sundance.org, just to name a few. Just because it seems insignificant or you don't write it down, doesn't mean that you don't have to pay for it. Estimate what it will cost and put it in there.

So in conclusion, I just want to say let's be real, it's show business. There's always going to be a certain amount of exaggeration, wishful thinking and maybe even a little bit of willful self-delusion when it comes to getting our projects off the ground and keeping momentum. That's all fine and dandy, you can tell other people whatever you want, but if we want our projects to actually succeed through the long haul, we have to be 100% candid and honest with ourselves in assessing and managing our resources and budget. Of course, there will still be some budgeting mistakes and miscalculations along the way but it's my wish that you will at least now be able to recognize and avoid the most common budgeting mistakes as you finally realize your vision on screen.

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