Video Production: SparkNotes Style

Whenever I tell people I work at a video production company, I typically encounter one of two reactions: either they say, "Cool! But what exactly does that mean?" (This surprised me at first, as I incorrectly assumed video production was somewhat self-explanatory...my bad!) or their eyes light up as they picture a glitzy job that involves rubbing shoulders with famous actors and spending time on movie sets. As a result, I decided it was time to give a brief, SparkNotes version of what we actually do. 

The reality is we don't chill with celebrities (unless you count Alan Sader as a celebrity, the beautifully-bearded star of the ChildFund International commercials, in which case, yes, we do). Even though I'm not getting paid to deliver coffee into Johnny Depp's lovely warm hands, I have gotten the opportunity to do a lot of fun (albeit sometimes odd) things. I've put make-up on several CEOs, which is surprisingly scarythere's nothing quite like trying to blend powder onto the forehead of an extremely important man who probably doesn't want my clammy hands so close to his face. I've attended a government awards ceremony where my crucial duty was flipping a light switch on and off (I got to wear a headset and dress in all black, so I did feel really important). In addition, my yawn has been featured in a TV commercial. That's rightnot my face or even my voicejust my yawn. Additionally, I've had the pleasure of being a hand/arm model for a body wash commercial. I proudly held a sudsy loofah for several hours straight and it was glorious. 

                                                    The aforementioned body wash shoot in action. 

                                                    The aforementioned body wash shoot in action. 

     Decorating the set for our Christmas music video.

     Decorating the set for our Christmas music video.

Enough about me! On to the important stuff. Throughout the past 34 years, Metro has produced high-quality videos for a variety of industries, including government and healthcare organizations, non-profits, defense contractors, corporations, educational institutions, and more. We do everything from creating 30-second broadcast spots to two-hour training videos, although our niche is producing corporate message videos. We also produce fully interactive computer-based training programs.

As a client, first you'll work with our fabulous sales and marketing staff to get the basics of your project in the works, and then the process of making your video is broken into three categories:

Line Producer Tricia Dewey and I wrap fake presents                  to put under the Christmas tree.

Line Producer Tricia Dewey and I wrap fake presents                  to put under the Christmas tree.

   Senior Videographer Mike Karmolinski on a shoot.

   Senior Videographer Mike Karmolinski on a shoot.

Pre-Production

This is when all the planning takes place! Kick-off meetings, brainstorming sessions, script writing, content creation, shoot scheduling, scouting locations, arranging travel, gathering props, casting talent, etc., all occur in this stage. Pre-production revolves around working closely with the client so we fully understand their vision and goals so we can transform their intended message into a deliverable format, as well as ensure that the actual production process will go smoothly.

              Director of Photography Ryan Bedall  

              Director of Photography Ryan Bedall  

Production

Woohoo, now it's time to shoot some footage! It's not as glamorous as people may envision: our crew works long hours and they spend a lot of time outside, sweating buckets in the summer and freezing their buns off during middle-of-the-night winter shoots. Hours are spent carefully setting up for a shoot, packing and unpacking supplies, hauling around heavy equipment, and traveling from one time zone to the next. They work weekends, nightswhatever it takes to get the job done. An incredible amount of work goes into capturing each and every shot, but of course the production life is not without its rewards. Each day is an adventure, and instead of being stuck in an office or cubicle from 9 to 5, our crew gets to see the world and experience different cultures. Over the years, our team has traveled to thousands of locations, from France to Dubai to Kuwait to London. 

      Director of Photography Ryan Bedall with Senior Producers/Director Gary Shipman on a shoot in Maryland.

      Director of Photography Ryan Bedall with Senior Producers/Director Gary Shipman on a shoot in Maryland.

Post-Production 

Now it's time for the magic to come together on screen! We have a talented team of employees (editors, graphic artists, and an audio engineer) who work hard to carefully log the footage, create graphics, select music, and put together a rough cut of the program. A streaming link is shared with the client to review with their team. A revised cut is then completed. One more round of reviews and then we move into the final cut, which is when color grading and sound design are implemented. Finishing touches are put on your amazing video, and then the project is done! Metro routinely delivers hundreds of final products to our customers in a variety of formats, so whatever you need, we can take care of it.

                            Our graphic artists Joe Ryan, Deven Langston, and Mike Clinger hard at work.

                            Our graphic artists Joe Ryan, Deven Langston, and Mike Clinger hard at work.

                                                            

                                                            

                                                                          

                                                                          

Metro is made up of some of the most talented, hardworking people I know, and we're all exceptionally hilarious and good-looking to boot. So, while we're not changing the world or saving lives, we are having a blast making amazing videos for great companies, which is way better than schmoozing with Sandra Bullock or George Clooney, anyway.