One of the goals of this web site is to bypass a lot of fluff and clichéd PR material you see everywhere. We want to provide you with realistic, bare bone answers to your questions.
Why should we use you vs. some other company? Look at our experience and talent level. Look at samples of our work. We are passionate about what we do, and we believe you can see it. It’s not always about the lowest price. We’re about quality, not being the least expensive. We are very competitive with our rates.
How can I tell the difference between your company vs. others? Visit with each company owner or producer. Ask to take a look at everyone’s demo reel and web site. The personalities and the quality of work should answer your questions. Our work speaks for itself…as they say….
How much does it cost? Probably the most popular question we get. There are way too many variables in each individual production to have a standard set price. Every project varies. It’s in your best interest to have a custom budget put together for you, otherwise you’ll likely pay too much. It all has to do with time and money. Better equipment cost more. Experience and talent cost more. The more time (days) it takes to shoot, the more it costs. Same with editing. Some projects are actually simple. Many others are not. Once you tell us what you are looking for, we can give you general price ranges fairly fast.
How do you charge? High-end production companies charge by the Full Day or Half Day for shooting. Hourly shooting rates are a sign of low-end production. If you’re looking for something good, stay away from people that charge by the hour.
Standard shooting days are based on 10 hours. Half Days are 5 hours or under. These charges usually apply from when the crew meets to load up equipment until the crew unloads equipment after the shoot. This is called portal to portal. The crew has to be compensated for their working time, and this reflects when they start and stop.
Editing is based on an hourly rate. We charge by the quarter hour. And we round down. Meaning if you use an hour and twenty minutes of editing time, we round back to the nearest fifteen-minute interval. So the charged editing time would be 1.25 hours. Some companies will round up, meaning you’d pay 1.5 hours instead of 1.25 hours.
Most projects are billed half in advance, and half after completion. Sometimes it’s billed in thirds. One third up front, one third after shooting, and one third after editing. And then others are billed only at completion. It depends on the project and the duration of time from start to finish.
Each production is discussed on a case-by-case basis. Pre-production charges vary from project to project. We do not charge to talk and visit with you initially about your production. That’s FREE!
After we hear what you want and need, we will provide you with a written proposal that details everything.
How long does it take? Another wide open question. It all depends on the complexity of the project. It’s best to call and discuss the project to get a realistic sense of what’s involved. We can give you a realistic timeline once we know what you want. It can take anywhere from a day or two, or many months or years. Just depends on what the project is.
Why are TV stations cheaper to make TV commercials than you? Simple. TV stations want your advertising money to air your spots. They basically give away the production cost as a token fee. They make their money from you buying airtime. TV stations can rarely offer the same high quality production as a true production company. That’s why most local TV stations make bad and cheesy commercials. Take a look and compare.
Should I shoot my project in High Definition? Most likely YES. HD production has become the standard.
But many times HD is overkill for what the final product is to be used for. You don’t always need the very highest resolution possible if you’re project is for web use or DVD release. If you have the budget for it, then it’s fine. But don’t pay for more than you need.
Keep in mind most web videos are highly compressed into a small file so it’ll work well on the web. Also, DVD’s are standard definition, not HD. HD projects have to be downcoverted to SD to go onto a DVD. To get HD on a disc, you must go Blu-Ray.
What kind of camera and equipment do you use? We try to keep up with the ever changing world of equipment. We own a Sony XDCam, a Canon 7D, a Panasonic SDX-900, a Panasonic 17” HD monitor, Arri Light kits, Shure Audio Mixer, Tram Lavs, etc. We also rent gear when it’s needed, such as a grip truck, telepromptor, dolly or camera crane/jib. We basically use what we need to accomplish what you need.
Can you still edit from video tape? Yes. While tape is certainly going away for most current video production, there’s still a ton of footage out there on tape. Whether professional tape or consumer tape, we’ve maintained a wide variety of VTR’s and VCR’s in order to still work with these formats. Our edit suite supports BetaSP, Betacam, DVCPro (25), DVCam, Mini DV, MII, ¾”, Super VHS, 8mm, Hi 8 & yes, even VHS. But eventually the decks will age beyond a point where they work, so archiving is something everyone should consider before it gets tougher.
What kind of projects do you do? Nearly everything. See What We Do.
Do you write scripts? Yes. We can assist in any phase of a production.
Have you won awards? Yes, we’ve been very fortunate through the years to win many local and national awards for our work. It’s always a team effort, and I mean that.
Do you write scripts? Yes. We can assist in any phase of a production.
Is RISEN out on DVD? If I had a dollar for every time I’m asked….. Our zombie movie RISEN is out on DVD in the UK and Japan among other countries. We’re still working on a US DVD deal believe it or not, so hopefully someday it will be. Keep checking our RISEN Facebook Fan site.
Will there be a RISEN 2? No, RISEN II: Zombies Gone Wild will not likely happen.
Is HDV the same as HD? No. Don’t be tricked. HDV records on a $5 Mini DV tape. If you’re thinking about shooting something on HDV, call us to discuss the reason. It’s basically HD-Lite. As a client it’s not something you would likely even ask about or think about. There’s no reason any more to go that route.
Is Avid better? The AVID nonlinear editing system is a leading, well regarded name around the world. AVID carries a certain amount prestige with it, but it doesn’t mean you are paying more. Bottom-line is that our setup will enable you to do just about anything you want. Our AVID HD Edit Suite is a fun place to be creative and see your projects come to life.
How long have you been doing film & video work? I’ve got over 25 years of professional experience in film and video production. Plus at least 8 more years experience as an amateur filmmaker making Super 8mm short films while growing up.
Why would anyone not hire you? Good question!!!
Do you provide still photography services? Yes.
What is Azbells? Azbell Electronics is the home of our AVID HD editing suite and the central location where most of our gear is housed. Azbells’ has been in business over 60 years and continues to offer a multitude of services, including video and audio equipment installations, electronic repair, TV & audio sales, sports video equipment, antique radio sales, DVD & CD duplication and much more. Check out the Azbell Electronics web site for more.
What is Empire Graphics? Empire Graphics is Freddie Aguilar. Freddie handles all our graphic and animation work, and works with lighting and sound on most of our shoots. Look under What We Do and Our Services on this site to get an idea of the wide variety of things Freddie does.
What makes a good video? A creative idea or concept, then a good script. Great shooting, lighting & sound. Properly cast talent and voice-over talent. Tight editing, proper use of music and sound effects. High-end graphics and animation. Good technical programming for DVDs, CDs, etc. And the time and budget to support these areas. Also hiring a crew with talent and experience that are easy to work with.
Do you hire actors and actresses? Yes. Sometimes we cast local, other times we put out casting notices to talent agencies and casting web sites. If you have a headshot, we do keep a database of potential talent.
Can I put my Power Point onto video? Yes. However, depending on graphic content, this may or may not crossover well to video. Power Point is designed to work on high-resolution computer monitors. Televisions and video monitors don’t handle small text and small graphics near as well as computer monitors. So depending on the actual content of the Power Point, it may or may not work well directly converted over to a video medium. We have had to rebuild many graphics and other components of Power Point programs in order to make them effective on a television screen. We can tell pretty quickly while watching a Power Point if it will work or not.
Can I use my analog video on the internet? Yes. It doesn’t matter how or what a project is shot on to get it onto the Internet. Don’t let the word “digital” affect your plans. That word is thrown around way too loosely.
Can you put my video on DVD? Yes, basically any video that exists can be converted to a DVD. It may have to be converted first, but it can be done.
Can I have $700? No, but good try.
Do you make copies of videos and DVDs? Yes. We do all our dubbing through Azbell Electronics in our edit suite. We can duplicate in mass quantity DVDs, CDs and even VHS if you need it. We also carry a selection of cases and sleeves, provide printed labels on DVDs and CDs, and can design slipcovers for cases as well. Prices vary on the quantity ordered.
How did you get started? It’s a long story.....
Do you shoot weddings? Yes, but only on special occasions…..Call to discuss.
Are you currently hiring? Our crew is hired as contract labor. Which basically means we have no full-time employees. Most smaller production companies work this way. Otherwise overhead would eat us up and cost our clients more. But if you have a particular talent or experience you’d like to tell us about, please contact us.
Do you use interns? Yes, we have taken on many interns over the years, mostly from Baylor University and TSTC. Internships are unpaid.
Do you travel outside of Waco? Yes. We basically work wherever we need to go. The majority of our work is done in Texas. It’s a large state. But we have worked on projects outside of Texas and travel internationally from time to time. We all keep current passports so we are ready to go anywhere in the world. In recent years we have had shoots in Oklahoma, Florida, Louisiana, Minnesota as well as Belize & Dubia.
Please contact us with any other questions you may have. Thank you.