A lot of times clients will come in and they will already have in mind what kind of look that they are looking for in a project when it comes to video. That could be a beautiful, cinematic image, certain things in focus, certain things out, nice shallow depth of field. Then there are some clients that know they want to have everything in focus, a very flat look, rich colors, and deep blacks. And then there are clients that have no idea the difference between a cinematic DSLR look and a typical HD video look.

A lot of studios and production houses will feel that they have the professionalism to decide for the client and don’t even bring it to their clients attention or ask them what kind of look they prefer to have. Here at Safehouse, we believe that giving that option to the client can accomplish two things.  Consider that  you’re teaching the client between two different types of looks, and letting them know that we can do either or. On top of that, you are also giving them the creative decision on how they believe things should look and come across to the project that they have hired you to do.

Sometimes the cinematic DSLR look is nice to have when you are telling a story or you might be doing a short film.

It could be a teaching point for a Pastor at a church that starts his sermon with a video of someone that is down on their luck, and you want to create that movie feel or movie look–you will choose a DSLR or kind of camera with that shallow depth to field.

Then if you are shooting something that needs to be very informative and a teaching piece, such as a tutorial or maybe an instructive piece where they are showing how the process is done, that should be handled differently. One project that we have done in the past was Daimler busses.

If we came to the table and decided we wanted to shoot it with a DSLR look on this particular project–we believe that two months later after the project is done and we go to show the corporate office what we have done, then the first thing that they are going to ask is why the dashboard or certain components that are shown in the video are out of focus and certain things are in focus? Granted you might be talking about that certain thing, but sometimes getting that pretty look isn’t necessarily the objective that a client may want. On projects like that, we chose to go with a traditional video, deep colors, deep black look where everything is in focus. Understanding the difference between the two types of looks is what the client needs to learn or maybe advised on.  This is something that we truly believe helps us in building a working relationship with our clients. That is something that we take seriously and we take full attention to. We don’t take it from a point of view that we know better, and the client has hired us for this project, and we are going to do it this way. Granted, there have been a couple of times where we have lost a job, lost an opportunity, lost a bid, because we have given too many options for the client and it became overwhelming.  But I believe that when the client can understand what their final goal is then they are going to have a better idea of what it is that they want and what to expect at the end of the project. We might have not worked with particular clients because we have overwhelmed them with too much information, and given them too many options but, I would rather give them too many options in the beginning and really dive in to what they are expecting in a project then for me take the assumption that I knew better and this is the way it should have looked.  A lot of times with clients you don’t know what the outcome is or what it is going to look like. They are not going to know what the final product, what the final look that comes across is going to be. By then, the project is well under way and it’s pretty much too late. I, myself don’t want to have to do a bunch of rework because I didn’t take the courtesy of addressing a simple thing like, “What is the look that you are going for on a video project that you are doing?” “Is it a DSLR look or is it a traditional video look?” Then there are some clients that say that they don’t care and want me to choose and do it.  At that point I take the point of view of  is this an informative video, or is this video telling a story? It’s just like taking a picture of a product, it’s the same thing. If I am taking a picture of a car, and I am taking an angle shot of it, then I am not just going to highlight on the front light, I want to get the entire car in focus. Then again, if I want to highlight a Mercedes Benz logo at the front of a car and have everything else beautifully out of focus then I am going to go for that shallow depth of field and the DSLR look–the cinematic eye.

These are just a few things that I like to consider before diving into a project, and before starting one–getting that communication going and really developing a good working relationship between us and the client–or should I say a friend, because that is how involved we like to get with our projects and with our clients. We want to understand the depth of where they want to go with the project. We want to understand the creativeness that they want to pull out or the angle, the look, and view that they are trying to get across. Whatever is in their head is what I am trying to find out. Whatever they envision is what I am shooting for. We are there to help solve the problems or challenges that our clients may have and get that goal across for them. What normally might be considered a daunting task is exactly what we are trying to accomplish for them.