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Frequently Asked Questions

I want to make a video but I don't know where to start.  Can you help me?

I am willing to discuss your ideas with you and offer my thoughts  - for a while - like 30 minutes or so.  It's amazing what a short brain storming session can produce.  There's no obligation in doing this.  I'll even tell you if another video service company would be better suited for creating what you want.

What types of media can you use?

Most editing today is done using HD media files taken from memory cards.  I can handle some cards, but in some cases I will need your card reader so I can get the files into my computer.  If it's something you have online and it is downloadable, I can use that.   I can also digitize DVCAM, Mini-HDV, and Mini-DV tapes.  And I can even use DVDs and VHS tapes.  I have software that lets me download video from my iPad and my Android phone.  I can also use GoPro footage.  The program that lets me download from my iPad should be able to download iPhone video as well.  For other formats I go to a video service that can digitize for me.

How long does it take to edit something?

That is like asking, "How long is a piece of string?"  It totally depends on how much media you have, how well you are organized, how well you have planned the edit, and frankly how "picky" and you are.  I think I do pretty well on my own, once I know what you are after.  I used to tell the internal customers at Lockheed Martin that were always in a rush that if they helped me it would take twice as long.

How can I get an idea of how long it will take to edit?

I would like to charge $75 an hour for however long it takes.  But people always want to know how much it will be.  For that I use a guide, based on my perceived complexity of your project.  The guide gives me a value of <1 to 5.  This number is how many hours per finished minute the project should take.  The rate for editing is $75 per hour which I have not changed since 2007.

Post Production Complexity Levels
<1 Simple assembling of footage without much editing or graphics.
  1 Talking heads or very simple training videos with a few graphics.
  2 More complex training videos with cutaways, transitions, titles and music.
  4 Fast paced corporate videos with layering, transitions and effects.
  5 TV commercials, PSA's, etc. with lots of transitions, graphics and music.

NOTE:  If I give you a flat rate estimate based on the above chart and it actually takes less time, then you just pay that.  Only once in 18 years did my estimate on how long something would take, actually take less time.  In every other case the flat rate was economical for my client, but I ended up making a LOT LESS than $75/hour.  Rule of thumb: It always takes longer.  I don't charge anything to briefly look at what you have and discuss your project.

Do you do all the videography yourself?

No, I don't do all of it today.  I did all the videography in all the samples on this site, and I still do the shooting in a some cases, but I am finding it better to hire other shooters.  They have newer production equipment and they will work for the same rate I would charge.  DV Post has a Panasonic DVC-200 full-size DVCAM camera, a Sony HVR-V1U HDV camera, two Lowell Light kits, Satchler fluid head tripod, Manfrotto friction head tripod,  Cobra Crane, straight track PVC pipe dolly system, SteadyTracker, Mic boom, shotgun mics, wireless mics, portable green screen and a teleprompter.  Equipment is getting smaller all the time.  I can travel really light if I use my tiny GoPro Hero 4 camera on a Feiyu-Tech handheld 3 axis gimble and my little Zoom H4n audio recorder and get outstanding results.

What is the DV Post facility like?

In a word, small.  It's an 11x14 foot office, where I have a desk with a PC, some file cabinets, a storage cabinet, a coffee maker and my editing bench with 3 Power Macs.  There is also a small client table with two chairs.  My office is on the 2nd floor of a 2 story building that has no elevators.  The building is lovely with a large open area with pools and waterfalls. There are restaurants and a UPS store on the same property.  I also have some storage space in the building where I keep my production equipment like cameras, tripods, lights, etc.

Is going to DV Post as good as going to a more expensive service?

In many cases, YES!  DV Post may not have a refrigerator filled with exotic snacks, but we have coffee, and a client workbench.  At a larger more expensive facility you might have bigger editing suites, but it still boils down to a one to one relationship between the editor and client.  I don't think you'll find a more easy going editor than myself.  Unless you are the type of person who is never satisfied with anything, we will get along just fine.  Larger facilities probably won't let you talk with an editor for free before starting the clock.  Nor are they likely to round off the time billed to the lower full number of hours.  DV Post is very flexible.  I'm not too sure if expensive post production houses will work with you from afar - without ever coming to their place.  I service a lot of customers just via the phone and e-mail.  A larger facility won't spend an extra hour or so on an editor's idea that would benefit the video, and not charge you for that hour.   I will do that.  I really want you to be happy.  To me, that's more important than the money.

How do I get my videos online?

This question is for those totally new to all of this.  I rarely make DVDs anymore.  Everything it seems, is going online and streamed.  You Tube and Vimeo are two of the most popular video streaming sites.  Their service is free for the basic type of account which lets one post videos.  They also have paid accounts that give one more features and and a higher limit to the amount of data one can upload.  For many clients I use my own Vimeo or You Tube account.  Then it is very easy for any web person to get a link so that the video becomes a part of his customer's web site.  It is probably best to get your own You Tube or Vimeo account which insures that you have control over it.  You may have noticed that after a video plays on this site that has come via Vimeo, it shows the DV Post logo and address at the end.  That is something I was able to add.  You Tube does not offer that option.  If you get your own Vimeo or You Tube account, then I can upload the video for you - if you give me your account information.  Or I can send you the video file using my Hightail account which allows you to download it to your computer.  Then you would upload the same file from your computer to Vimeo or You Tube.

What about narration?

I think it is always best to use a professional voice over artist.  It is well worth the cost.  It's the only way you can objectively judge how it sounds.  While DV Post can record a voice over in our office, and John is available to do the voice over for a reasonable rate, it is always better to hire a professional voice over artist and record in a dedicated sound studio.  One of the best sound studios in Orange County is CREATIVE MEDIA in Cypress.  They are great people and can advise you as to the best voice to hire for your project.

Do you do weddings?

No.  There's a zillion others who do that.  I prefer circumstances when there can be a take 2.

Do you do film transfers?

No.  Try ELECTRIC PICTURES in Lake Forest.  They are also really great people.

If there is a question that you think should be included, please let me know.

© 1999 - 2023 by John Primm

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