OPINION: How much to spend on film?

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How much to spend on film? The BIG three production costs explained

Film is becoming the most effective way to engage with an audience. The big question all companies are asking is: how much should we spend on film? This is a difficult question to answer for companies who have never invested in this medium. Cost of film production varies dramatically. The below contains some insight into what drives production costs, as well as providing tips to achieve an effective and cost friendly film process.

Production costs – the BIG three

Many elements drive the cost of film production, below are the main three:

  • Time: A lot of time is taken up in preproduction, production and post production. Time is money in film production and the amount of time allowed for directly impacts the quality of the output.
  • Team: There are many options for the production team selected as well as the models/actors.  The level of professionalism is strongly linked the budget and the desired quality of output.
  • Location: The more remote the shoot location, the higher the cost.

Explaining the BIG three

  • Time

    Preproduction:
    Preproduction is all about taking the time to evaluate what you want to achieve and how best to achieve this. Taking time to evaluate the brand strategy and then develop a film concept that compliments this is invaluable. The creative strategy takes time but gives you the best chance to develop a concept that is unique and truly captivates your audience.
    Note: Different types of films require different levels of preproduction. Some need very little.
    There are many elements to evaluate and organise for a superyacht shoot, including location, helicopter, models, styling, dressing of the yacht etc. Again, the more time you allow the better the final output. For example, allowing a good amount of time for location scouting means you will have the best areas and best shots possible for the film.

    On Location Shooting:
    Allowing an appropriate amount of days to shoot is very important. If you reduce the amount of days, you limit the amount that can be shot - it’s as simple as that. You also risk limiting the quality as there will be less time available for setting up each shot.  Less shooting time often either requires reducing content expectations, increasing the size of the team or both.

    Post Production:
    It is important to allow enough time for post-production of the media. The biggest opportunities for saving time come in the form of the initial brief and feedback. If a solid brief is provided as well as quick/collative feedback, then the postproduction is smooth and timely.
     
  • Team 

    An experienced film crew and experienced models/actors will significantly benefit the final output. Saving money on both of these will be reflected in your final outputs.

    The more professional the film team the more certainty and peace of mind you have regarding quality of output as well as making entire process easier. Professional teams come with the best equipment for the job, market knowledge and production experience to ensure a high-quality film that communicates the right message.

    Despite what some think, modelling/acting is not an easy business. It is well worth spending money on professional models to ensure you get the level of professionalism that will deliver high quality results with as few re-takes as possible.
     
  • Location

    Generally speaking the further you travel, and more remote the location, the higher the cost. Beautiful, different and remote locations can increase the chance of a visually amazing film and will also help widen its audience, but that comes at cost.  If aerials are needed, then the cost of the helicopter with an experienced pilot can be significant the more remote the location. The wrong helicopter and inexperienced pilots can limit what can be achieved. So, while remote locations are great and produce impressive backgrounds, they need to be evaluated carefully.

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PROJECT: Khalilah - Be Legendary

CLIENT: Camper & Nicholsons International

BRIEF: To create a film showcasing the unique superyacht lifestyle for an owner or a charter guest. To concentrate, less on the actual yacht, and emphasise that life aboard is fun and relaxing. A place where guests can chill out in a unique environment. 

CHALLENGE: The biggest challenge was to achieve the brief with only one model. We also wanted to move away from the often static use of a single person onboard.

CREATIVE STRATEGYTo overcome the challenge we focused on two elements. One: the music. We chose a powerful track that is unconventional for this industry. It commands attention. Two: we had the model work with the camera as if she was looking at another guest, and enjoying the company. The viewers feel involved in the film, like they are present with her. This instantly helps engage the audience. 

OUTCOME: Film: A flirty and fun film that appeals to the lifestyle of being aboard a superyacht. For our client this film is a great success with over 100,000 views across four social media channels and the website within the first month. Photos: Over 300 lifestyle photos were produced for the client. These are being used throughout their communication strategy.  

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PROJECT: Yalikavak Marina

ONE MARINA WITH SO MUCH TO SHOOT

CLIENT: Palmarina, Bodrum Turkey. (Recently changed to Yalikavak Marina)

BRIEF: The objective was to create video and photo content to help communicate the experience superyacht owners can enjoy while staying at the marina. To achieve this, we needed to show a couple experiencing the benefits of the marina’s location, guest amenities, and attractions. The results would be for use across digital, print and social media platforms.

CHALLENGE: This marina has a plethora of amenities. There are 620 berths, a beach hotel, a boutique hotel and eight restaurants and bars. There is also a mall with 102 shops, a museum and gallery, nightclub, morning health clubs a gym and a spa. Not only that, there is a lot to do in the surrounding area. So, the challenge was how to incorporate so many locations and elements into one shoot. It required a huge amount of pre-production planning including model selection, storyline development, and developing a shoot sequence. Palmarina had many guests and staff at each location so we had to ensure that we only had the right people in the shot and did not disturb the guests.

CREATIVE STRATEGY: We worked with the client to develop a story involving a romantic couple. The story was to showcase the marina’s resort lifestyle in an interesting and engaging way. There were so many elements to incorporate and we needed to be mindful of keeping the audience's attention. For this reason, we aimed to only give a taste of each location. The shots needed to convey the experience of Palmarina, be artistic and captivate the audience.

OUTCOME: Film: The film shows three days in Palmarina condensed into four minutes. The film is ideal for web and reception use. We also produced numerous short films for their social strategy.

Photos: The client received over 350 photos of the location and the couple enjoying the services provided.

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OPINION: Drones VS Helicopters

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Drones VS Helicopters. Which one is best for a Superyacht shoot?

Each year our photographers and cameramen spend around 60 hours shooting superyachts from helicopters. Yet, we are often asked whether we can use a drone for aerial photography and filming instead. This can be for either budget or location reasons. So, we chose a few key factors relating to the photography and filming of superyachts and put the drone and helicopter head to head.

Please note, the drone in this review is the most practical and portable model for our kit, the DJI Phantom 4Pro. It delivers exceptional results for the intended purpose. There are some drones capable of carrying large camera payloads. But, in our opinion, they are not the best choice for the work we do.

RANGE

Drone

Drones generally have 20-30 minutes of flying time and can only fly up to 400 feet, as per Civil Aviation Authority regulations. This means several battery changes for the flying time of an hour. That eats up valuable time and interrupts the flow of the shoot. The controlled range of a drone is another factor for the pilot to keep in mind. No one wants to lose a drone into the sea. The pilot must always be aware of the flight time and battery remaining.

Helicopter

A typical helicopter will be able to fly for two and a half hours at 135 knots for 300-350 miles on one fuel tank. The flexibility of a helicopter for uninterrupted shooting, altitude, and composition, provides greater variety of photos for the client. A helicopters flight capacity also makes it far better suited for running shots.

The Winner: Helicopter.

FILM AND PHOTO QUALITY

Drone

A drone has the ability to shoot video in 4k and 20 megapixel, but it is the size of the sensor that delivers the results. The bigger the sensor the more information you capture and the greater the quality. The type and quality of the camera lens is also a factor. The drones we use have a one-inch sensor and a fixed lens. Our preferred drone delivers excellent results for the final use of most of the photo and film we shoot.

Helicopter

Like most things in life you expect more when you pay more. When you are flying in a helicopter with over £30k of camera equipment and lenses at your disposal, you get more. Here the sensor quality and size, image quality, sharpness, and details are all at the top of their game.

The Winner: Helicopter.

COMPOSITION

Drone

Composition from a drone can be limited. The photographer can only really view the subject and surroundings via the drone’s screen. What’s more, our clients require both landscape and portrait photos. The drone can only shoot landscape.

Helicopter

The view from inside a helicopter is panoramic. This allows the photographer, and others, to anticipate changes in the light and the scene. Our photographer will have a variety of lenses on hand. They will also have the capacity to shoot landscape and portrait images. This means the composition options are almost endless.

The Winner: Helicopter.

SUITABILITY FOR SUPERYACHT ENVIRONMENT

The Weather

Drone

The best conditions for flying a drone is when it is sunny with a moderate temperature and little or no wind. This ensures maximum drone control and range. As wind and heat increase the drone has to work harder, so the battery drains faster. It also becomes harder for the operator to line up the best shots in windy conditions. Unfortunately the environment we shoot in can be very changeable. This often places a limit on what we can achieve with a drone.

Helicopter

Helicopters also have their weather-related limits, but these are more extreme. They can handle more wind and rain than a drone. In our experience, the weather has rarely stopped a helicopter taking to the sky. However, at times they do get buffeted around by the wind. The wind can also restrict the pilot's ability to manoeuvre as we need.

Winner: Helicopter.

ACCESSIBILITY + TIME

Drone

Having a drone in the kit means that at short notice we can capture aerial photos and film. This allows us to take advantage of changes in the weather, light, and scene. The only limitation is that the use of drones is becoming increasingly regulated. We no longer take the drone to some countries.

Helicopter

Using a helicopter requires some forward planning. Booking the slot, time to get to the pickup point, time to fly to the boat, and time to get back after landing if needed. This can add half a day for just an hour of shooting.

Winner: Drone.

RETURN ON INVESTMENT

This is really what it's all about - what gives you the best result for the money you invest? To measure the return you need to go back to the objectives of the shoot. Consider how important the results are to the goals for marketing your business or yacht. Then you have to consider how and where you need to use the media to achieve your goals.

We believe, everything involved with marketing a superyacht has to be in keeping with the perception you want to create. A superyacht is the ultimate in everything. Therefore there should be no compromise in the media you use.

So it's no surprise, for us the winner is the helicopter.

But a drone is also a winner. It can be used for much more than aerial shots of a yacht. We use it on the yacht, in the yacht (try that in a helicopter), on the beach, on the streets. Anywhere we need to get extra creative angles. For us, that is when a drone comes into its own.

At the end of the day, whether its drone or helicopter, the result is only as good as the person taking the shots. :)

 

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Tune in next month for our feature: How your brands/yachts popularity can soar by placing people in photos.

For more information about regulations surrounding the use of drones see below:

Flying Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) or Drones in the US: http://knowbeforeyoufly.org

Dronesafe UK: http://dronesafe.uk

Commercial use in the UK: https://www.caa.co.uk/Commercial-industry/Aircraft/Unmanned-aircraft/Small-drones/Regulations-relating-to-the-commercial-use-of-small-drones/

Flying Drones in France :http://www.mlvdrone.fr/rules-for-flying-recreational-drones/