How to produce your own fitness video

Posted by | February 22, 2013 | Marketing | No Comments

After hosting and producing my own fitness video for kids, I recognized that had there been a step-by-step process to follow, the challenge may have been easier. For those of you aspiring producers, here are a few steps for creating, managing, producing and marketing your own fitness video.

The creation process
A number of steps are involved in the creation process, including talent identification, vision analysis and script writing.

Talent identification. If you are producing a video for profit, it is extremely important that you evaluate closely the talent you use. And since everyone wants their 15 minutes of fame, you may be saying, “But I want to host the video!” No problem, assuming you have the talent to host and produce. Producing a video, if done correctly, is a significant investment. If you’ve never been in front of the camera or have trouble speaking in public, you may want to investigate training options or stick to producing and find someone else to act as host. Most importantly, make decisions with your head, not your heart.

Just because you have dollars in hand does not mean you’ll be the next Jane Fonda or Richard Simmons. Evaluate the charisma and motivational level of the person or persons who will be hosting the production. These two characteristics can carry a lot of clout on the marketing end. Obviously, it goes without saying that technique and ability are extremely important during the talent identification process.

Vision analysis. The most difficult challenge for the producer is seeing the project completed long before the first word is ever scripted. How do you want it to look and feel? What do you want the audience to remember? How will the project accomplish its goal? What colors and music will you use to accomplish these goals? All of these concepts are extremely important during the vision analysis stage.

Script writing. Don’t assume that just because you teach a class three times per week, or know fitness backward and forward, that you can host/produce a 30-minute fitness video. In order to achieve the necessary 30 minutes, you may need 10 hours of film. Recognize that the script is vitally important. It will allow you to maintain continuity, as well as assist the potential audience in understanding how you get from point A to point Z.

As you are preparing the script, keep in mind that it will assist you in creating a “shot list” at a later time. The shot list is a checklist of scripted items to ensure you tape everything you need. The last thing in the world you want to happen is to realize you’re missing the transition step that got you from the right side to the left when you’re editing your video. Once the video is shot, it’s shot — unless you want to revisit the location/studio and attempt to recreate the energy level, lighting, sound and all of the other components. Besides the headache, reshooting is costly.

The production
OK, you’ve completed the leg work and you have a vision in your head of how you want to move forward with your fitness video. It’s time to select the production company and location.

The production company. Most metropolitan cities have production services that are adequate for a typical fitness video production. You don’t have to go to Los Angeles or New York to produce a high-quality piece. To begin looking for a production company, you must first identify your wants and needs.

You might be the type that wants to focus solely on hosting the production, while leaving the conception and actual production of the video up to the production company. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this approach; however, rest assured that the more responsibility you give the production company, the higher your tab.

I encourage anyone interested in hosting a fitness video to maintain, at a minimum, the role of producer. The producer is the person who keeps the budget in line and maintains the vision and integrity of the project.

In most situations, you’ll need a crew of about six, including videographers, a director, an audio/sound person, a lighting person and an electrician. Because you are often filming under time restrictions, I encourage everyone to use a two-camera shoot versus a one-camera shoot. This allows for two cameras to film two different views of the same activity. Not only will this allow for greater diversity in the production, it will be a great asset when editing the project, as most often you’ll need a number of angles in order to put the production together.

After you have researched a number of production companies and found one you feel comfortable, schedule a meeting with your potential crew. Describing your project to them, and ask them to describe it to you. If the description doesn’t match your vision, look for a new production company. The average production for a one-day shoot can range from $15,000 to $50,000; therefore, take the time to ensure you will be maintaining your vision throughout.

The production company can guide you through the editing process and assist you greatly. Don’t go into your first production meeting with a chip on your shoulder; go with the attitude of learning. Trust me, the production business is an industry in which you receive more assistance with honey than vinegar.

By the way, it’s always a good idea to have a still photographer on-site to take photographs of your production. Later you may be able to utilize some of the photos during marketing campaigns or on the video cover.

Location. The location is extremely important, as it will set the mood, direction and simultaneously serve as a constant backdrop. You may choose a studio, gym or beach. What’s most important is that you choose something that accents your mission.

Studio shoots are the most controlled environment for obvious reasons. Also, by keeping the production crew in their own environment, you can save a few dollars. I personally have found that “on-location” shoots are the most interesting to the viewer. However, keep in mind that they are more costly and require additional prep time. On-location, assuming it is outdoors, can also be unpredictable. Most production companies require a 24-hour notice to avoid cancellation charges. Unfortunately, you don’t always get 24 hours’ notice on torrential downpours.

Marketing your finished product.
If you thought the hard part was over — think again. The fitness video market is over-saturated. More challenging is the fact that every celebrity in the book is making a fitness video of some type. So if you’re a “no-name” trying to make it, how do you stand out? Find an angle that separates your video from others. For example, Richard Simmons markets fun. Jane Fonda markets celebrity. Tony Little’s tapes are high on motivation, while Susan Powter is stopping “the insanity.” In each of these examples, an angle was created that allowed the hosts to separate themselves from other fitness experts.

I encourage you to invest in a graphic artist’s time for the layout of your video cover. Although your front cover photo may be staged, pull photos from the shoot date allowing for identification with the video itself.

You can take a number of angles you to accomplish your marketing goal. You may opt for direct mail or point-of-sale at a grocery store or local mall. Whatever you choose, make sure you give it 100 percent. You may consider contracting with an agent to move your videos, or seeking the endorsement of a major sponsor who may utilize your product as a premium to the sale of some other product. There’s always QVC and the Internet’s World Wide Web; this opportunity is growing, and home shopping is an excellent outlet for video sales. If your video is good and the quality of the presentation is apparent, your success and marketability will simply be a matter of time.

Creating a fitness video looks a lot easier than it actually is. Most of us, prior to producing a fitness video, look at the polished person on video and say, “Hey, I can do that.” Well, the truth is you can, but be prepared for taking on a huge responsibility. Seek the assistance and guidance of other health professionals in your effort to bring the newest, safest and most motivational fitness video to market.

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