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todd_hickey

Out of time, over budget and exceeding expectations.

The Scenario: Time was running out and budget exceeded allocated costs.

A large pharmaceutical client had a big video project that needed to be completed for an important convention in a less than three weeks. Outside of a script, nothing had been started - no locations, no cast, just a script with adjustments to be made. Besides the time and cost constraints, as with any pharmaceutical video, we had to go through the company’s med-legal process. They had lost even more time with the holidays and needed nothing short of a miracle to pull this project off.

We had to make the shoot happen in record time and stay within a budget their current agency could not meet.

That is the situation that Main Gate was brought in to remedy. In our initial call with the client, we teased out more details. The video to be produced was not one, but in fact three videos for three different products. The storyboards depicted a theme of long-distance running and included many moving cameras, drone, and stabilized shots to tell the story. The runners in the storyboards were running on trails in the wilderness, or on a stadium track.

Initial Plan: San Francisco.  With only a week for pre-production, we had to lock down a location, secure location permits, and prep for a three-day shoot. Initially, we decided that San Francisco would be the ideal location; the wilderness area around the city had the atmosphere we were looking for, and, being on the coast, the January weather would be mild enough to shoot outdoors and not look too barren on film. With projected shoot dates less than a week away, the weather report was a week full of rain. San Francisco was scratched.

Plan B: Los Angeles.  Good weather. Sunny in January. A nightmare for obtaining location permits on short notice. Luckily, with Main Gate being bicoastal, we were able to reach out to our many contacts in LA. Our location manager worked magic in securing locations, pushing it all through mere days before shooting. We utilized our core team and sourced additional crew locally, including a camera car, drone operators, and a local production coordinator.  We arranged casting for nearly 30 acting roles, 3 different voice-overs, catering, transportation, wardrobe, and shot lists in less than a week. Since two of the three shooting days were in the wilderness, necessities like shade tents, generators, and porta-potties were also arranged.

The Client Experience:  Throughout the lightening fast pre-production period, we were in constant contact with the client, holding calls to share vision and get approvals. On the shoot days, pictures of wardrobe options were texted to the client contacts for final approval. We wanted to make sure the company colors were being accurately represented. We emailed production stills to show our progress and to bring the client closer to the experience.

The Results:  At the end of each shoot day, the day’s footage was transferred and hand delivered to the editor. This way, the editor could get a head start on editing the video from the day’s footage, since we roughly shot one video per day.

Our post team was set up to transcode, organize, and assemble, and edit through the evenings and weekend following the shoot. We had three days from our last shoot day to edit, add graphics and titling, and deliver three videos to the client for legal review.

Once delivered, the client was delighted. We went through legal review with no issues, which their team was amazed by. The final videos were packaged and pushed via FTP to their media team, who coordinated taking the final files and delivered them to the convention AV team for presentation.

It was an incredibly difficult challenge - but we wanted it and we delivered. We came in within budget, and we met their timelines (with two days to spare). The videos, shot on RED Epic Dragon cameras, exceeded client expectations, and were amazingly well received at the convention. We are very proud of the experience, giving our clients a trusted partner who can meet budget and timelines, even under difficult circumstances.

We look forward to providing you with the same service and success and tackling a good challenge together.