5288 S. Commerce Drive Building B-150 Salt Lake City, UT 84107 · tel 801.747.1130 fax 801.747.1131

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to make a professionally-produced video?
How long does it take?
What is the video production process?
Who will write the script?
Does Avalanche Studios shoot in a studio or on location?
Should we use professional actors?
Is it a good idea to let the owner of our company be the spokesman for the video?
Can I put my video project on the internet?
Can Avalanche Studios make a video in Spanish or other languages?
What is the difference between video and film?
What video format does Avalanche Studios use and how good are they?
What is High Definition (HD) video and how does it affect me?
Can I sit-in during the edit session?
I have a camcorder and editing software on my home computer - why should I hire Avalanche?
What experience does Avalanche Studios have?
Is Avalanche Studios licensed and insured?
How much does it cost to make a professionally-produced video?

The costs of video production can vary widely depending on a number of factors. It’s kind of like asking how much it costs to buy a house. For a home, location, size, condition, amenities, quality of the builder, and a host of other factors can play into the final cost. Likewise, a video project, TV commercial or television production can range widely depending on what is involved in making it. Before we can determine the price and give you an accurate bid on a project, we need to know things like the length, finished format, locations, travel requirements, need for talent, lighting, special equipment needs (jib, dolly, teleprompter, etc.), graphics, 3D animation, DVD authoring and more. We usually meet with clients beforehand to answer all these questions so we can prepare an accurate bid.

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How long does it take?

Production times for each project can vary according to the needs of the project. For example, a simple 30-second TV ad may only take one day to shoot and another day or two to edit to have ready for broadcast. A 50-hour training course on DVD may take several months to produce. During initial meetings with a client, we’ll find out specific details about the project so we can prepare a bid and an estimated time of completion for the project.

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What is the video production process?

The video production process is divided into three main parts: pre-production, production and post-production. Pre-production is where all the planning takes place. This includes initial discussions with a client to determine what message they are trying to deliver, who their audience is, and what they want the end result to be. With budget considerations and other limitations in mind, the next step is to develop a script to make this happen. Once the script is written and approved, we begin making preparations to audition and hire talent, secure shooting locations, arrange for special equipment, making travel arrangements, determining the crew, getting props, and doing anything else that needs to be done before we actually begin shooting. The Production phase is the actual videotaping or filming of the project. On production days, our team of professionals will go to work. Depending on the production, a crew may consist of the producer, director, camera operator, audio engineer, lighting technician, make-up artist, grip, gaffer, production assistant and more. The crew may use any combination of various camera equipment, microphones, lighting, monitors, dolly track, jibs, tele-prompters, and more, to get the right shots. Production days are often long and grueling, but necessary to get the most work done in a day to improve efficiency for the client. After the shooting is done, the next phase is Post-Production. This is where everything comes together. The post-production step includes all the logging of the source footage, digitizing into our editing systems, editing, recording narration, creating graphics, selecting music and sound effects, and assembling it all according to the script. Once the final edited program is complete, we will prepare it for output or delivery according to the client needs. This usually means making a master of the program on videotape formats such as BetaSP, DVCPro50 or DigiBeta. We can then encode the program and author a DVD, or prepare digital video files such as Quicktime, Windows Media Files, AVI, MPG or any other format options the client may require. We can also make VHS and/or DVD copies.

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Who will write the script?

Either Avalanche Studios, the client, or an outside writer. Having a good script is critical to the success of any video project. I can’t emphasize this enough. At Avalanche Studios, we prefer to write the scripts for most projects since this is what we have been trained to do and understand how the script impacts the entire production process. Many clients feel that since they are expert in their business, that they should write the script. Sure, we may not know anything about how to properly deal with sulfuric acid at an oil refinery, but we can learn. In this case, we like to work together with the client to develop the script using their information, materials, manuals and other sources. Under the direction of the client, we can then organize the material into a logical order and present it in the most effective and understandable manner. We pride ourselves in taking complex ideas and information and making them easy to understand for the average viewer. If a client insists on writing a script or hiring an outside writer, we like to reserve the right to review it and adjust it as needed to fit our video production requirements. Either way, the main point is to make sure the client ends up with the very best script possible which will result in the most effective video production.

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Does Avalanche Studios shoot in a studio or on location?

Avalanche Studios has a small insert stage (1200 sq. ft) for shooting interviews, products shots, green screen, and other small productions. Depending on the needs of the project, we can shoot in our studio, on location, or wherever the project requires.

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Should we use professional actors?

Many scenes can be shot using your company’s employees, friends, neighbors, or others recruited off the street who may work for free. However, if your project requires anyone to speak or extensive acting, I would highly recommend using professional talent. Of course, this excludes testimonials, where it is often best to use real people, rather than paid talent. Otherwise, for on-camera spokespeople, or for just about anyone with a major speaking role, you will save a lot of time and money by using a pro.

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Is it a good idea to let the owner of our company be the spokesman for the video?

To be blunt, it is usually the worst idea in the world. Most company owners I have had the privilege of working with are great at running their business, but lousy at acting. There are a few exceptions, but as a general rule, keep the boss off the screen.

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Can I put my video project on the internet?

I don’t see any reason why not. Actually, we can take any finished video and prepare digital video files that can be played from your website or downloaded. You will just need to let us know what specifications you require by checking with your webmaster or IT guy. Then we can make files in formats such as Quicktime, Windows Media, MPG, AVI and many more.

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Can Avalanche Studios make a video in Spanish or other languages?

Si, Hablamos espanol! Well, we don’t actually speak Spanish that well, but we know just enough to function. Some recent Spanish projects we have done include a series of television ads for a furniture store, training videos for an oil refinery, and public relations videos for a natural gas pipeline company. We have even produced projects in Japanese, French, German, and Chinese.

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What is the difference between video and film?

The quick and dirty answer is that film looks great and costs a lot, while video has its own distinct look, but is less expensive to work with. The technical answer has to with the way an image is recorded. Film is a chemical process of recording an image that then has to go through steps of processing, color correcting, and transferring to videotape for viewing and editing. Video is an electronic recording process that records an image as an electronic signal directly on digital tape or other storage media. You can playback and view the images immediately. At Avalanche Studios, we have produced projects on both film and video, but seem to do the majority of our projects for clients who want video. The bottom line is, if your budget will allow you to shoot on film, we’d be happy to help. If you have a smaller budget but still want a high-quality project that looks great and can even have the look of film, we can shoot on video without breaking the bank.

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What video format does Avalanche Studios use and how good are they?

When shooting on video, we use primarily the DVCPro50 format. We also work with BetaSP, DigiBeta, and DV. Although there are several different video formats available, we have found the DVCPro50 format to provide us with exceptional video quality, be widely accepted in the industry, and is a stable and durable digital format. We also can work with tapes or footage supplied on other formats such as DV, DVCam, BetaSP, S-VHS, VHS, Digital 8 and more.

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What is High Definition (HD) video and how does it affect me?

For the last several decades, American TV Stations have broadcast their signals in Standard Definition. Using the NTSC standard, the SD image quality on your TV set is in the 4x3 aspect ratio and has about 525 lines of resolution, giving you a nice decent picture. During the last decade, with the FCC’s mandate for the digital transmission of television signals, we’ve seen the move to HD. HD images use the wider 16x9 aspect ratio, and greatly expand the image quality with up to 1080 lines of resolution. Many TV stations and networks have already made the change and are offering HD programming. Consumer demand for HD capable TV sets has been increasing, along with demand for HD DVD players. Although many SD TV sets and DVD players remain in use, the overall shift in technology leans toward the future of HD.

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Can I sit-in during the edit session?

Sure. All clients are welcome to come to our studio and sit-in with our editors during the post-production phase. We try to make each edit bay as comfortable as possible for our clients with a cushy sofa, cold beverages, snacks, lunch, and computer access. But some clients can’t stand sitting there all day watching the sometimes tedious task of editing and would rather just check in once a while, review the progress, give us direction or changes, then take off. Whatever your style is, you are always welcome to hang out with us while we make your video.

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I have a camcorder and editing software on my home computer - why should I hire Avalanche?

Because we are so cool and handsome. Actually, a lot of people have camcorders and editing software, but that doesn’t make them film producers. I have a toolbox in my garage but I would never try to fix the fuel injection system on my car. There are some things you need to leave to the pros. At Avalanche Studios, we have a staff of experienced, talented, and really, really cool producers and editors who do this stuff day in and day out. Plus we have broadcast quality video cameras, editing bays, and production facilities to get the job done right. When making something as important to your company as a marketing video, product demonstration or television ad that will be seen by the masses, you need to put your absolute best foot forward.

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What experience does Avalanche Studios have?

The producers at Avalanche Studios have been around since 1992. We have produced literally hundreds, if not thousands, of various projects for our clients. From the Universal Accounting Center’s Professional Bookkeeper Program DVD series, to television commercials for Comcast, Utah Olympic Park and Leath Furniture. Our crews have shot all over the state of Utah, the United States, Europe and more. We’ve produced shows here in our studio, and shot in locations from the tops of the snow-capped Wasatch Mountains to the scorching heat of Death Valley, California. The bottom line is that we’ve been around the block a few times and should be prepared to handle just about any project or shooting situation.

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Is Avalanche Studios licensed and insured?

Avalanche Studios is fully licensed in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA, and is registered with the Utah Division of Commerce. Avalanche also carries full business liability insurance and appropriate Worker’s Compensation Insurance. Should your project require it, we can provide the necessary certificates demonstrating full proof of insurance.

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Samples

corporate video

tv commercials

tv & film

movie trailers & ads