We’re familiar with the famous formula E=mc2 as created Albert Einstein in 1905.
That theory holds true today as we expand our knowledge of the universe. Whatever point in space we occupy, time is relative to our perception at that moment.
Einstein’s theory can also be applied to the world of video and film production by adapting the steps of production in a similar formula:
The Production Quality Formula
In this Second Golden Age of Television, i.e.; Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, Mad Men, and countless others, quality of production has evolved from theatrical cinema level styles. Viewer expectation for such quality has increased, as the audience eye becomes more discerning.
In the end, whatever your budget, viewers know quality (Q) when they see it. As with any theory, force majeure variables during any step of production, can impact the formula.
Not every production requires, or can afford, cinema-level production quality. With an experienced and talented production crew, higher quality can be achieved at lower price points, but the level of production quality is relative to your budget. More funding increases the amount of time spent on each aspect of production, thus improving the overall quality.
Technical Production (tp)
Capturing each element to cover scripted visual and audio, is part of the technical production. Quality at this stage is determined by the art of cinematography, recording crisp audio, and painting with elegant lighting. The on-camera talent, narration, and skill of the director also play a role. Being able to capture that perfect shot, provide the perfect read, or hit the mark with minimal takes. With so many moving parts, the technical production (tp) part of the formula, time is money, literally.
Thankfully, rapid advances in available technology, at a fraction of previous costs, make the technical aspect of attaining higher quality more accessible. Utilizing such technical advances with experience and skill, also plays a key role in technical production.
The amount of time invested in any production, no matter the finished running length, is directly proportional to the quality. For example, if minimal time is spent creating a script and concept, more time must be spent in the actual physical production and/or the post production, to achieve a specific level of quality. The less time spent, the lower the quality.
Scripting & Development (sd)
Investing time in the development and scripting stage of production is the most important part of the formula. Having a strong script with a clear narrative arc, becomes the blueprint for all subsequent steps of production. Having a plan, knowing where you’re going, allows the technical and post production elements to support and advance the story.
With a weak script, such as applying an outline of bullet points; focus must switch to quality cinematography, fancy animations and graphics, or using music as a crutch to compensate.
Post Production (pp)
Constructing the final production from the script blueprint and technical production puzzle pieces, requires clear organization. Crafting hundreds, sometimes thousands of elements through the art of the edit, can be a lengthy and detail-oriented process. Every frame counts when editing fluent pacing. Proper color balance, scene to scene, allows a production to flow.
To err is human, and production is no exception. Considering the many layers orchestrated to produce a quality video, chances of error exist. Every second, every frame, every layer must be considered when reviewing the visual, audio, graphics and animation. The finished video is the official final work, so perfection isn’t just expected, it’s required. Such high standards require time to review with multiple expert eyes.