Everything you need to know before hiring 360 video crews

Every latest and greatest innovation becomes old news at some point. With the last big thing—unmanned aerial vehicles or “drones”—more accessible than ever, the next frontier is 360 video and virtual reality. Are you ready?

 Here are 8 things to know before diving in to the world of 360 video:

 

  1. 360 video is not VR

Virtual reality is to 360 video what the Model T is to the vehicle sitting in your driveway. We think that this article from Wired describes the relationship perfectly when it says “It’s a decent first taste, but 360 video is as far from real VR as seeing the Grand Canyon through a Viewmaster is from standing at the edge of the canyon’s South Rim.”

   2. Viewers don’t need a special device

Put away the Google Cardboard. With the right browser or app, any old computer or phone screen works since you’re only scrolling through a standard video that just has more angles.

  3. It takes some getting used to for producers

To date, those behind the camera have been able to direct viewers’ attention where they want it. Effective storytelling is a whole new challenge when viewers can choose where they want to look.

Also, there is no “behind the camera” anymore. Unless they want to be a part of the story, everyone on set better hang tight to the shooter or get the heck out of the way.

  4. It also takes some getting used to for viewers

Viewers aren’t used to choosing what they want to look at and may not know what to do with that level of control. It might be helpful to include some ideas for how viewers should (and shouldn’t) interact with your video.

  5. It’s easy to make people sick

VR uses sensors to track your head’s movement and create a new reality around that. Ideally you won’t be able to tell the difference between what is real and what isn’t. 360 video isn’t there yet, so poorly-done video is sure to induce motion sickness. Get around this by making videos that don’t suck and including a warning (or a humblebrag!) anywhere you share a 360 video.

  6. Nature is calling

The great outdoors offer an amazing playground for shooting 360 video, especially if you’re ever wondered what it’s like to be surrounded by wild elephants or encounter a shark. It also provides unmatched perspective for things like being in the middle of a political rally, feeling like you’re on stage with a musician, flying in a hot air balloon, and more.

  7. 360 video best practices don’t exist yet

Traditional techniques for framing, lighting, capturing audio, and producing go out the window with 360 video. The new norms are being formed as you read this, but here are some basic tips on everything from shooting to directing to editing from a production crew who’s already diving in.

  8. It’s the new frontier

In any field, new frontiers are both challenging and exciting. Genres and techniques that don’t exist today will bloom from this new medium. Hiring any video crew is a big commitment, but hiring one with vision in a brand new speciality is a real leap of faith. Crew Connection makes it easier by offering only vetted crews with a solid work history and quality demo reels. If you’re ready to dive in, so are they.

About Crew Connection

Crew Connection logo

Crew Connection puts a world of video service providers at your fingertips. In just a few clicks you can search, chat with, and book vetted crews local to your shoot—all on your own schedule. Rely on Crew Connection’s team of media experts to organize the crews and gear you need for multi-day and multi-location video projects anywhere in the world. Our crew coordinators are on call around the clock if you ever need live assistance. Visit CrewConnection.com, call us at 303-526-4900, or shoot us an email at info@crewconnection.com.

5 everyday ways to appreciate overworked video crews

The video production industry is notorious for long hours, quick deadlines, and challenging working conditions. On top of being some of the hardest workers we know, video crews are also tasked with keeping productions running smoothly.

We all know some camera people or producers who run exclusively on coffee and protein bars or scoff at the idea of taking a break. But even video crews who pride themselves on their toughness appreciate an “atta boy” now and then.

Five ways to show video crews how much you value them

1. Keep crews safe.

It seems like it should go without saying, but it’s just so easy to take shortcuts without considering all the possible ramifications. Including safety in the budget shows you have your priorities straight.

2. Pay on time.
This is one of the most effective, simplest, and often-overlooked ways to show you value your crews. Some businesses have made net 90 the norm, but it’s bad for crews and bad for businesses. If you need help on this front, Crew Connection guarantees net 30.

3. Be up front.
Communicate payment expectations before the project even starts. Surprises are for birthdays, not for paychecks.

4. Feed them well.
Pizza that arrives at just the right time works wonders for morale.

5. Add a personal touch.
Send a handwritten thank you note (NSFW, but hilarious). It’s worth the extra effort.

 

There’s nothing extraordinary on this list, I know. But sometimes the simplest things go a long way. And by the way, showing your gratitude is about more than giving someone warm and fuzzies. It’s also good business. A video crew that feels valued will work harder for you and be more loyal.


About Crew Connection

Crew Connection logo

Crew Connection puts a world of video service providers at your fingertips. In just a few clicks you can search, chat with, and book vetted crews local to your shoot—all on your own schedule. Rely on Crew Connection’s team of media experts to organize the crews and gear you need for multi-day and multi-location video projects anywhere in the world. Our crew coordinators are on call around the clock if you ever need live assistance. Visit CrewConnection.com, call us at 303-526-4900, or shoot us an email at info@crewconnection.com.

Booking crews online doesn’t mean losing the human touch

We came across an article recently about the perceived drawbacks of booking freelance video service providers online versus directly through a booking agent on the phone or in person. The article argued that online services will never be as good, which I couldn’t disagree with more. Below are our responses to the article’s common misconceptions about online booking from the company who revolutionized it.

Online booking doesn’t work on-location

The first argument was that online services don’t translate well particularly for on-location shoots where a local crew is preferred. We’d agree with this one only if said online service only offered a one-crew-fits-all service. However, Crew Connection offers hand-picked (Your hands or ours, dealer’s choice!) crews local to each and every shoot. This sets us far apart from the rest. The whole wide world is flocking to the world wide web, including businesses. The only way we can expect to meet customers’ diverse needs is by going where they’re going—online.

Online booking doesn’t tell you what the crew does

The article does rightly argue that you can’t determine a crew’s value and quality by the equipment list on their website alone. Nobody wants to depend on Google to find a high quality, on-budget crew local to wherever your shoot takes you. That’s where the behind-the-scenes human touch comes into play on Crew Connection. Our seasoned team of in-house crew coordinators reviews each crew to ensure their gear, people, and final products are as great as we promise they are. With experience in everything from broadcast design to working on set for documentaries and reality TV productions, our experts know their stuff and that value is passed directly to you.

Online booking doesn’t tell you who the crew is

Among the article’s chief concerns is that it’s hard to find crews tailored exactly to your needs without the “human element.” One of our favorite features on Crew Connection is the filters that allow you to narrow down your crew search by gear, services, location, and even insurance coverage. You can read a crew’s bio and watch their demo reel right on their profile. And if you still need to talk through what you see, our crew coordinators offer white glove service around the clock. Reach our team at 303-526-4900, via email, or online chat (look for the red box) anytime. We’re friendly—promise!

Online booking means expensive surprises

The article also offers a fair warning about billing processes. We couldn’t agree more that surprises surrounding payment are a deal breaker. That’s why Crew Connection makes sure that never happens.

Crew Connection messaging encourages clients and crews to chat about pricing and also generates an official estimate that both parties must approve before the shoot can more forward. We pay crews out of pocket within 30 days of their shoot even if the client hasn’t paid us yet. Even if the client never pays. Our crews get paid on time. Every. Single. Time.

Our staff also handles all invoicing to make sure that receipts for little extras like parking fees don’t slip through the cracks. The crew gets paid quickly, the client gets one easy invoice to pay on their terms, and we keep a paper-free record online for easy reference.

Believe us, we totally understand the concern about losing the personal touch in the media industry. We thought about that every day during the development of Crew Connection. That’s why we give you access to a world of video service providers on your own schedule while also offering white glove service from our always-on-call team of media industry veterans. And so, for once in your life, the answer to “Can’t we have it all?” is yes. Absolutely.  


About Crew Connection

Crew Connection logo

Crew Connection puts a world of video service providers at your fingertips. In just a few clicks you can search, chat with, and book vetted crews local to your shoot—all on your own schedule. Rely on Crew Connection’s team of media experts to organize the crews and gear you need for multi-day and multi-location video projects anywhere in the world. Our crew coordinators are on call around the clock if you ever need live assistance. Visit CrewConnection.com, call us at 303-526-4900, or shoot us an email at info@crewconnection.com.

Four ways to build a studio

*This article was originally posted to productionhub.com. Read the original article here.

 

What better place to go for advice on how to build a successful production house than where competition is the stiffest? Mike Levy started Levy Production Group in 1987 and succeeded where many others failed—Las Vegas. We figure if you can make it in the entertainment capital of the world, you can probably make it anywhere. Here are our top four takeaways from Mike on how to build a successful studio:

Get experience

The best thing young, aspiring editors, camera people, and future business owners can do is get experience. If you want to become the go-to person in your field, take online courses, college courses, and even unpaid gigs as opportunities to learn the ins and outs of video production. Learn the industry overall, not just your position. Understanding everything from production through post makes you a well-rounded teammate or team lead. Not all jobs offer glamour, but all jobs offer experience.

Be nice

Being talented isn’t enough. Don’t just learn to be good at what you do, but also at how you do it. This is not your typical desk job. Our industry is famous for long hours, late nights, and many consecutive days on set. Tough conditions can bring out the worst in people. Those who can communicate clearly, listen well, and stay level-headed are invaluable. You’ll be remembered as much for the way you conduct yourself as for the work you produce. Be humble. Look to learn from people rather than to be right.

 

4 ways to build a studio

Behind the scenes with Levy Production Group.

 

A warehouse is just a warehouse

You can’t just call a large, open building a studio. Having enough room to shoot properly is just the beginning. If you really want to do it right, you have to be ready to invest in heating and cooling, overhead and floor lighting, and soundproofing, for starters. If clients have to redo a take because they hear an ambulance in the background, they’ll be taking their business elsewhere next time. You also need creature comforts so you can accommodate not just the shoots, but the people, too. Clients want to go to a facility that feels good—with nice dressing rooms, kitchen areas, restrooms, etc. Fresh-baked cookies (a Levy Production Group signature), goodie baskets, meals, snacks, candies, sodas, and gourmet coffees and teas go a long way toward making people comfortable and earning repeat business.

Find your niche and do it well

It seems simple, but most of the important things are. When you have the best resources and do the best work, you’ll get return clients. Word of mouth and reputation are irreplaceable.

After starting as an ad agency and outsourcing to local TV stations, Mike Levy decided to invest in a small stage to facilitate smaller projects like ChromaKey insert shoots and single-car shoots. Realizing that they were good at something and that they could get paid for it, Levy Production Group bought their first camera and editing package and have grown along with Vegas ever since. In their current 14,000 square-foot facility, they do everything from everyday interviews to shoots with big-name celebrities, athletes, and musicians.

Building any business can feel like a gamble, but with these key practices it’s a sure bet.

 

4 ways to build a studio

A peak inside the top-of-the-line studio at Levy Production Group.

 

About Crew Connection

Crew Connection logo

Crew Connection puts a suite of marketing tools at your fingertips. Get your demo reels, stills, gear, awards, and more in front of the biggest clients all over the world—for free. At Crew Connection we pay video and post production providers within 30 days of receiving your invoice so your work and your life are never interrupted. Need live assistance or want to add quality jobs to your pipeline? Our crew coordinators are on call around the clock. Sign In to Crew Connection, call 303-526-4900, or email info@crewconnection.com.

Do you crave Inbox Zero?

If you’re one of those people who drools over email folders and dreams of Inbox Zero, we have something that’s going to knock your mismatched socks off. (It’s OK, we’ve had those kinds of mornings, too.)

Crew Connection’s Archived folder helps you organize the shoots in your Projects tab any way you like. Our most prolific bookers often archive projects once they’ve been paid up so that they can focus on projects that are coming up or in progress.

Do you crave Inbox Zero?

Simply click the icon of the file box next to the name of the project you want to move into the Archived folder. That’s it!

Do you crave Inbox Zero?

Once a project is Archived it can’t be undone. However, you can still view it in the Archived folder if you need to generate a PDF.

Just because you archive a project doesn’t mean that it’s been archived for every other user involved in the project. If the crew hasn’t archived it on their Crew Connection account, they can still make changes as long as the date of the shoot hasn’t passed. This action will revert the project back into an estimate that you will need to accept or reject before moving forward. This ensures that you don’t miss out on any important developments even if you have archived a project.


About Crew Connection

Crew Connection logo

Crew Connection puts a world of video service providers at your fingertips. In just a few clicks you can search, chat with, and book vetted crews local to your shoot—all on your own schedule. Rely on Crew Connection’s team of media experts to organize the crews and gear you need for multi-day and multi-location video projects anywhere in the world. Our crew coordinators are on call around the clock if you ever need live assistance. Visit CrewConnection.com, call us at 303-526-4900, or shoot us an email at info@crewconnection.com.

Get the insider scoop on Crew Connection’s finder’s fee

If you’ve been in the video production industry for more than 30 seconds, you’ve probably noticed that there are a million different ways that a million different companies define their finder’s fee. Allow us to break down Crew Connection’s finder’s fee in one easy peasy set of lists.

As a general rule of thumb, we take a 15 percent finder’s fee on labor and gear. We don’t take any cut of travel expenses. Here’s how those buckets break down:

Items with a finder’s fee

  • Day(s)
  • Half Day(s)
  • Hours
  • Gear
  • Travel Days
  • Additional Item

Days, half days, and hours all fall into the labor bucket. If the crew chooses to charge a labor rate for travel days, which they usually do, we will take our finder’s fee on that item as well. We also take a finder’s fee on gear, including hard drives and computers in addition to cameras, lights, etc.

Items without a finder’s fee

  • Travel Expenses
  • International Items
  • Miscellaneous
  • Adjustments
  • Other Items

Travel expenses is a big bucket that includes things like mileage, per diems, hotels, airfare, cab fees, meals, etc. Miscellaneous, Adjustments, and Other Items all sound pretty similar, so if you have any questions about how to use those buckets, just contact a crew coordinator at 303-526-4900 or info@crewconnection.com. Just remember that if you’re using them, it needs to be on an item that doesn’t qualify at labor or gear.

Put your new knowledge to work!

We’ve built the Expenses section of your Crew Connection estimate to be quick and easy to fill out. The drop down menu under the Item column includes the items with and without a finder’s fee as described above. Choosing the right Item will determine what options you see in the Description drop down menu and whether a finder’s fee is taken.

Get the insider scoop on CrewCloud commission

To get a refresher on creating an estimate from beginning to end, read our step-by-step guide by clicking here.

Though we aren’t heavily involved in each job booked on Crew Connection, we do review every single invoice. We will make adjustments as needed to make sure items are categorized correctly before sending the final invoice to the client.

Automated finder’s fee calculation is just one of the many benefits of using Crew Connection to get in front of some of the world’s biggest clients. Don’t believe us? Our crew coordinators are on call around the clock to share more. Sign up to become a video service provider on Crew Connection, call 303-526-4900, or email info@crewconnection.com.


About Crew Connection

Crew Connection logo

Crew Connection puts a suite of marketing tools at your fingertips. Get your demo reels, stills, gear, awards, and more in front of the biggest clients all over the world—for free. At Crew Connection we pay video and post production providers within 30 days of receiving your invoice so your work and your life are never interrupted. Need live assistance or want to add quality jobs to your pipeline?