Hurricane Images Inc. | Photography | Videography | San Francisco | Oakland | The Video Production Process


The Video Production Process

16 Jan 2016, Posted by in Life

Initial Consultation

We meet you; you meet us. The initial consultation is an opportunity to discuss the goals of your media campaign, and desires for your video. After which we’ll develop a preliminary budget, timeline, and draft contract for completing the work. We offer individualized, customizable productions tailored to your specific needs. The initial consultation is free with no obligation to move onto the next level. You get to meet us, and we get to meet you– and that’s all you’re on the hook for.


Getting expectations on paper is so important. After our initial consultation, we’ll send you an estimate for production and a contract to look over and customize if needed. The estimate will include a range of options you can tailor to fit your budget. Our contracts include pre-production time for goal-setting and script development, as well as two rounds of edits based on client review. Once the budget and contract are approved and signed, we’re golden. We require a 30% deposit at the time of signing.


Your project is of the utmost importance to us, and we want things to go as smoothly as possible. We accomplish this through an organized schedule. We will sit down with you (or correspond via the telephone/ email) to map out a timeline that works best for both parties. This makes expectations concrete, and ensures success.


Once the contract is signed, we start the process of discovery. It’s our chance to ask questions and better understand your story, your audience, your goals, and needs. This phase includes conversations, research into your brand, your market, your products, and any inspirational material that made you say, “we need a video!” This is also the time for us to evaluate what your competition is doing, and to make sure that we differentiate you from them.

Concept Development

Armed with a strong sense of your brand, audience, and goals, we start to develop concepts that we feel would best tell your story. The questions we ask are:

    Goal: What’s the goal of the project? What do you want audiences to do and feel?
    Audience: Who is your audience? Ages? Where do they live? What gets them excited?
    Information: What’s the bare-bones info they need to know to be activated?
    Medium: How will they see your film? YouTube? Facebook? Website?

We’ll write a draft “treatment” that loosely define our story and stylistic approach. We often accompany the treatment with relevant links to help see the idea more concretely. Treatments serve as conversation starters to really narrow in on the concept that will guide us through the rest of the process.


Whether you have a thousand dollars or 50,000, we’ll work with you to make sure you get the best results for your money. We provide a detailed, item-by-item budget so you can see exactly what you’re getting, and if changes need to be made how to make the best choices. This budget is always within the estimate we originally provided, but provides more options for adjusting your budget to maximize your results.


Winner of an International Larry Corse Prize, the John Golden Prize, and a San Francisco BOA Award, our scriptwriting services are unparalleled in the Bay Area. We work closely with clients to develop an outline that provides structure for your script. As we write, we bring together all that we’ve learned about your company, your story, and your product or service. This is where we generate the emotional investment that helps you to connect with your unique audience. The format can range from animated text and graphics with voice over, to dialogue to highlighted interviews with owners and customers, to short narrative story-telling with dialogue and action. We do content marketing, social marketing, branded content, tutorials, open-boxes, testimonials, short narrative films– anything you can imagine. All of these components serve to deliver your messaging in a style and tone that’s consistent with your brand.


Not every project needs a storyboard, but some benefit enormously from them. A story board is a set of drawings that visually tell, shot by shot, the script. For narrative structures, storyboards can be invaluable in planning for an efficient shoot. A storyboard allows you to see the video through our eyes before shooting even begins. “Vision boarding” is another, similar process. Rather than draw every camera angle in a scene, Vision-boarding uses existing images to show the overall basic shot. It’s a less time-consuming (and thus less expensive) way to communicate the story.


Will your video feature outside talent or highlight people from your company? With a 15 year history of stage productions in the San Francisco Bay Area, we’ve worked with literally hundreds of actors. Whether it’s finding real people for a documentary / testimonial piece or professional actors to create a particular look and feel to your video, our staff has 27 years of directing and production experience to make sure that the talent in a show will make it the best it can be.

On-Camera Coaching

Often times, you are the most important communicator in your film. But many of us don’t feel all that comfortable in front of a camera. With more than 20 years of directing experience on more than 60 projects, we know how to bring out your best, most relaxed, and compelling performance. In addition to the coaching we do in the moment as we’re filming, we also offer pre-filming coaching for folks that want a little more practice without the glare of the lights. We’ll work with you to help you visualize, relax, find your pacing– and just the right amount of energy. Pre-coaching is just one of the many “a la carte” options available to you.

Location Scouting

We’re so lucky to be in the Bay Area, which has some of the most stunning locations on earth. Location scouting can be as simple as visiting your workplace and determining the best locations to set up, to canvassing this amazing and diverse region we live in. We know how important the backdrop of a film is to bring style and power of your message. Whether it’s capturing the energy of downtown, the lifestyle of the Marina, or the glorious landscapes of the North Bay, we’ll find just the right angle, location, and moment.


Attention to detail. Your message is in every prop that makes it into the frame, in every camera angle, and in every placement of every light. Whether it’s a documentary approach with real customers and partners, a tutorial, a product demonstration, a tour through your shop, or a narrative production with a large cast of actors, we have the experience to bring all of the pieces together. In addition to having some of the most talented scriptwriters, videographers, designers, and editors in the business, we have ongoing partnerships with costume designers, makeup artists, and set designers and builders. Hurricane Images owns all of the equipment it uses, from a variety of 4K and HD digital cameras, to lighting instruments, sliders, and sound gear. Owning our equipment reduces the chance of cost over-runs when shooting schedules change. It also means we’re intimately familiar with the gear and its capabilities. The result is stunning, cinematic story-telling that is always on time and on budget.


The magic is in the cut: editing is where the story really comes together. Creative editing enhances the stylistic approaches we used in filming, bringing into focus your brand and message. As much as any other element, editing creates the tone and “identity” of your video. Our process includes professional color grading, music, and animated titles.


Music is HUGE. It can be the anchor to a piece that drives the pace and emotion. Choosing great music can make or break a video. We guide you through the options that best fit your budget to give you the best bang for your video buck. There are countless music libraries that offer decent tracks that can accompany your video for a reasonable price. We’ve also worked with composers who can cater a track to fit perfectly with your visuals — this is a wonderful option that will cost more but is often well worth it. If budget allows, bringing a known popular song can give it more punch than anything else. It’s the most expensive option and, again, is worth it if you can manage it.

Titles & Animation

Once we have a rough edit that is when the motion graphics and animating phase usually begins. Because motion graphics and animation are costly to produce, it’s best to have the overall edit defined as much as possible. When we are compositing graphics into live-action footage, we ask for a cut to be nearly final before we begin the process of incorporating graphics. We can always develop assets and even animated separately from the cut and then composite as one of the last steps to be sure the scene will not be changed or removed. It is during this graphics phase that we begin to really hone the style and look of the video.

Rough Cut Review

Once we have a rough cut, we’ll sit down with you and review the video, make notes on changes, and look for ways to strengthen our message. The rough cut is a near-complete version of your video, with sound, music, transition, and titling.

Final Cut

When your final product is delivered, you’ll receive multiple versions tailored to meet the specifications of your distribution plan. This can be social-media ready files, Vimeo and Youtube optimized versions, as well as HD cinema for large projection.


How Long Will it Take?

Every video is different. The amount of time is dependent on the complexity of the project, and the scheduling demands of both people and locations. Most projects take between three weeks and three months to complete.

Can you give me a ballpark estimate of what my video might cost?

In a word, no. But our past projects have ranged from as little as $750 for elegant company profiles $15,000 for short narrative productions that highlight a program. It’s a big range because there are so many possibilities. Explore with us.

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