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How to Video Record Your Dog’s Life Story or a Pet-Related Video/Documentary as a Celebration of Life

How to Video Record Your Dog's Life Story: Writing, Financing, & Producing Pet Documentaries, Drama, or News - Anne Hart


How to Video Record Your Dog’s Life Story or a Pet-Related Video/Documentary as a Celebration of Life Each scene in your video is a celebration of your dog’s life as part of your family and/or your dog’s workday. It’s simple to video record your dog’s life story.


You frame the picture so that the dog is in the center of the ‘shot.’ Make a video clip (or a movie) highlighting significant events in your dog’s life, and include it in your annual family video newsletter. You can video record any pet to include in a time capsule, digital scrap book, or gift box of memorabilia usually reserved for family history updates, reunions, or periodical newsletters. Save the stages of your pet’s life on disc or flash drive, and mail the event to your family, friends, or students.


After you produce your video, you then edit the video to show the dog as the main focus. You hold the camcorder so that the sun is not in the lens, and you keep your finger away from the lens. Since you can’t interview your dog to ask for the highlights, turning points, and significant events of your pet’s life story, you can make a skit focusing on your dog’s life stages, play, performance, agility, tricks, or interaction and connection with members of your family or yourself.


Then put the video in a time capsule so you will remember the happy and memorable times as a celebration of life of your dog. Think of the video as an adoption event, the inclusion of the dog into your own family or household. Then treat your dog as an athlete. You can even make videos of dog massage techniques or focus on one area of your dog’s life story and interaction or connection with you and the dog as family.


Video record your dog every few weeks from the time you bring the dog home as a puppy to the precious time you spend with your dog in the dog’s golden years. Video record your dog’s life story in the same way as you would record a relative’s life story and save the video to a DVD and other technology. Then upload the video to a Web site or save it in the hard drive of your computer.


The best way to video record your dog is to use your camcorder for close-ups and pull-backs, zoom ‘ins’ and zoom ‘outs’ while the dog works with a trainer or handler—either yourself or a professional trainer. Record your dog at some dog shows, in the park, on vacation, at home, eating, playing with other dogs, performing agility work, doing tricks, retrieving, rounding up sheep, or doing what your dog breed does naturally. The proliferation of dog camps, training, and daycare are burgeoning genres for making DVD documentaries on working with dogs.


You can make a wide variety of deals with videographers and others that train, record, photograph, care for, treat, entertain, or supply dogs—either for no fee or a very low fee, or for a percentage of profits.   The main fact about the budgets is they get you started and you can decrease or increase the line items according to your own requirements.  It is not expensive to produce your dog training, dog camp, dog daycare, or other dog-related DVD. Because dog training is so wide spread, if done right, you could make a healthy profit on this idea (think series of DVDs).  But make sure you have a name trainer if you can get one or a name dog.           


In the book titled Film & Video Budgets, Deke Simon with Michael Wiese, 4th updated edition, Michael Wiese Productions, Studio City, CA (http://mwp.com). 2006, you’ll find in the book the Web site address for several excellent downloadable free budgets in Excel format that you can customize as part of the book purchase. The appendices also contain a wide variety of film and video budgets.            


If you produce your dog-training DVDs using digital format, you should know that there is a lot less signal loss (actually no perceptible signal loss) to the average ear even after a few generations away from your original master recording. Professional recordings are done using Digital BetaCam also known as DigiBeta, with four channels of audio, which in digital tape format, means industrial quality. It’s a high-quality tape used to make master recordings. Your master tape is duplicated for safe keeping and also saved to a master DVD. Then the DVDs are duplicated. Editing can be done on your computer or on various digital editing machines made to work with industrial-quality tapes.      


A decade ago numerous video producers used DigiBeta tape, which is not expensive, for a few minutes more than an hour of recording time. Another type of recording tape popular a decade ago is Sony’s MiniDV or DVcamcorder tape or VTRs. When buying DV camcorder tape, look for brands that present fewer visible dropouts, such as Sony’s DV camcorder tape. Or check out what technology is currently offered as times change recording methods. So check what's currently in use as technology changes every few years.


Corporate Sponsors, Dog Book Publishers, and Advertisers: How to Find a Sponsor to Underwrite the Marketing Costs for Your Video               


First look for corporate sponsors, dog book publishers, and advertisers. To find financing for your dog-related videos, also contact various documentary associations, specialized dog-care, food, and health-related groups, dog camps, hotels that allow dogs with guests or have separate dog-related facilities at the hotel, dog-related groups, and film and video financing groups. Sponsored DVDs, and other entertainment or instruction on disks provide a chance for producers and writers to have their special digital video proposals and scripts financed by corporate sponsors before they produce them.


To get your video sponsored, you'll have to approach an advertiser or a corporation. Ask the corporation or advertiser to underwrite the marketing effort for your video. Or ask your sponsor to buy many of your DVDs, videotapes, flash drives, Web-based training courses, or other videos and documentaries on a variety of viewing devices to give away with a contest, an offer, resell, or to sell prepackaged with another product, or to sell in some other way, as with corporate advertising on the back of the package. If you're in a beginner's position where you can't sell your videos the old fashioned way, ask corporations or advertisers to sponsor your video with full or partial financing.


Try making a video about enhancing the corporation's image in some way. Make sure your video allows the corporation's merchandise or services to be shown in a favorable light, promoted, or sold on the video. If the video will in some way help the corporation or advertiser to make a profit, chances are, the firm will finance or sponsor your video. If you make a sports video about golf or golf instruction, ask a golf bag manufacturer to finance your video, for example.            


Let a restaurant chain sponsor your food or eating for fitness video. Ask travel, outdoors, automobile, adventurer/explorer, or geographic subject matter magazines or book publishers to finance or sponsor your travel, auto trip, or visual anthropology videos. Feature celebrity narrators or hosts.            


Query consumer publications on how to buy smarter, cut expenses, and get higher quality for less money. People want to learn how to save money and find hidden markets for better merchandise at lower prices. Show in a documentary that you get what you pay for.            


Target a niche market of cautious consumers seeking the best-rated products at the lowest cost.  Contact men's and women's interest magazines to finance your videos on career tactics, the singles scene, and success stories aimed at a specific audience such as upscale career women, young male professionals, or downwardly mobile unemployed middle-aged college graduates cut loose by corporate downsizing.           


  Pick your own audience. Then pick a chain of magazines or book publishers catering to that market. Finally, ask them to finance your video and sponsor it.            


Ask book publishers to finance your how-to videos adapted from their most successful books. For example, if you want to make a how-to guide video on a subject such as a reality video series, bar tendering, or how to pick the right date or mate, approach the publisher of books on that subject and/or the author, and ask the publisher to finance your videos adapted from the books.            


Focus on corporate image and marketing techniques, not on what the video program will be about. Sponsors are interested in how you plan to make a profit for them by financing your video. Effectiveness is evaluated only in terms of cost per thousand videocassettes. Your financers are well aware that only a few people will buy the tapes.


It really is cheaper for your sponsors to purchase newspaper and television ads. Your only selling point is in aiming at a very specialized audience who will buy the sponsor's product with the tape, and the summarized point that your video will be priced very, very cheap.            


The way to get over the hurdle is to convince sponsors that only your tape will demonstrate a zillion ways your sponsor's product will be of use to the viewer. Connect socially with other video producers by joining documentary producers and videographers’ associations. Show corporations how many different ways their products can be used, new ways--on video.            


Find as many new ways to distribute your video as you can. And while you're doing that, find more ways to show how your sponsor's services or merchandise can be distributed as well. If you really want to find a corporate sponsor to finance your video, your best marketing tool is a profitable enticement.            


Whatever genre you choose, making money with your video camera is open to new developments in other fields, such as computer software, teleconferencing, or distance teaching. Bring together two completely different fields and form a whole new third genre, story, technology, niche market, or use for your video camera. Develop your negotiation skills.            


According to what comes most naturally, choose one or more of these best ways to make money with your video camera. They are the best businesses in terms of their potential for financial success and work. In the mid-nineties, Texas Instruments introduced a set of chips that it hoped would make video compact discs as common as audio CDs. The company produces VHS-quality video and CD-quality sound for the emerging Video CD standard developed by JVC, Matsushita, Philips, and Sony.      


 So as technology changes, so does a writing career. Now you can use your video or digital video camera to build on the popularity of audio CDs. Use the emerging technology to create full motion video and VCR-like features.            


You can fast forward, freeze frame, or reverse. The chip uses compression technology to bring forth video images as good as videotape, but with better sound quality. Where do you use the new video CDs first? Make music videos or full-length movies with your video camera and transfer your results to Video DVD or for short lengths, CD.       


Play your full-length movie from one or two five-inch CDs. You'll have the same random-access digital technology quality as you get from audio CDs. The Video CD doesn't provide as sharp an image as the laser disc, but the CDs cost a lot less.       


Video CD uses the major cost reductions that apply to audio CDs. It’s these types of subjects that freelance writer can research and write about as new technology emerges to create art and science. In the mid-nineties, big-name movie companies, such as MGM, Paramount, Columbia, and major record companies began planning to offer Video CD products.          


Today, writers watch for the hardware in stores and write all types of reviews and articles about how art meets technology. For example, you can write about how video DVD players and recorders, audio CD players, camcorders, and TV recorders let anyone publish a book, a Blog, a diary, or make a documentary video.


Write about the technology that lets anyone publish anything online or put a life story on a DVD, CD, or the Web. Use camcorder tape when you are making low-budget videos or documentaries. For example, if you record a one-hour video using Digital Master DVCamcorder stock, it would cost about $18-$20 on average as a ballpark figure.


Regular DV Camcorder stock cost less for the same length than Digital Master DV Camcorder stock. Sony also makes HDCAM, which is Sony’s high definition digital tape. An hour recording time’s worth of Sony’s HDCAM stock costs about $60-$62 at this time.


Panasonic also makes high definition stock called DVCPro. You’d pay about $67-$68 at this time for 46 minutes of DVCPro stock. Check out prices as they may change as technology changes or as the years pass.          


If you ship your video outside the USA, you need to transform it to a different standard. NTSC and PAL are but two standards used around the world for recording and playing back videos. The standards may not be compatible in various countries. The USA uses NTSC. PAL is used in the UK and in some European nations.             


PAL runs at 25 frames per second with 625 lines of video data per frame. NTSC runs at 30 frames per second with 525 lines of video data per frame. But PAL has better resolution than NTSC. Actually, it’s the film producers who more often use PAL for editing and production so they can enlarge their edited videos for theatrical release and turn a video master into a 35mm film.            


Always keep duplicates of your master tape and master DVD. There are far more details involved in making a film than in writing a book on the same subject. To sell your DVDs on dog training, care, camping, travel, or health, you might want to combine writing travel guides with producing dog-centric videos for people taking their dogs on trips or for training anyone interested in opening a dog daycare center, dog camp, or training dog trainers and pet sitters. One idea might be travels through Europe or across the country by RV with your dog.  


Before you begin to write a script or a plan calling for a voice-over narration of your video episodes, you need to plan your budget to see how much you can afford to spend on making a dog-training DVD. You’d have to plan a budget for the software needed to turn a master tape into a DVD using your personal computer. It’s called desktop video. The first step in planning is to work up an easy-to-follow budget.            


Here are two low budget format samples you can use to write, finance, and produce and duplicate your own dog-related DVD. The first assumes you won’t hire a writer to write a script for your documentary. The second sample budget includes a $1,000 fee for a writer to create a one-hour script. Most dog-related DVDs run from one hour on one DVD disc to four hours on two DVD discs.


Secure a good sound system. The average camcorder doesn’t pick up sound that good for industrial-quality training videos. Get yourself a sound package. Your camcorder or video camera needs a separate microphone. You’d wear headphones so you can hear what the camera is recording. You can rent equipment if you don’t want to buy microphones and cameras. You’ll need a permit to record video in an area on a particular day. It’s part of location expenses.


What to Include in Your Budget       


Your budget should include sound, mixers, booms, microphones, rentals, transportation, gas/oil, tripod, field monitor, cables, narration or voice over, background music for emphasis, and permits. Below is a video low-budget courtesy of Michael Wiese, Michael Wiese Productions. Create your own budget.       


For a simple training or dog-camp video, the average budget costs around $7,445. For a student film budget, according to the Michael Wiese online site of film, video and documentary budgets, the average cost rises to $12,443. If you want to produce a digital low-budget (no-budget) feature, the cost, according to the Wiese site, rises to $19,771.       


For an industrial/training film budget, the production cost rises to $76,366, according to Wiese’s site, and the production cost for a digital feature, rises to $ 215,967. If you want to see the other budgets with specific details for film or video, I highly recommend looking at the excellent film and video budgets at Michael Wiese’s Web site specifically for the budgets, which is given in his excellent book titled, Film & Video Budgets, 4th Updated Edition, by Deke Simon with Michael Wiese, published by Michael Wise Productions, Studio City, CA. 2006. Also view Wiese’s general informational Web page and http://www.mwp.com.       


When you produce a dog-training, dog-camp, care, or health-related video, you want to see budget costs in detail—specifics. The costs are different if you write the script yourself, don’t use a specifically written script for narration, or hire a scriptwriter. For example, on a simple low-budget dog-training video, the cost of a scriptwriter would be zero if you wrote the narration yourself and narrated the video.       


You can train the dog yourself or show video clips of others training various dogs. Or you can do a reality-television montage of clips or interview people while the dog is the center focus of the video. Another technique is to video record dogs at play at a dog camp, an exercise or yoga studio, or in daycare. You can focus on interviewing veterinarians and veterinary technicians on nutrition preparation or send out marketing questionnaires to see what type of dog-related videos people from a general audience will buy compared to what veterinarians, guide dog trainers, or nutritionists will buy.        


One concept might be “treat your dog like an athlete.” Another video might focus on massage as therapy for dogs or dogs performing tricks, such as participating in a basketball game. Before you write any script, narration, or take any video clips, first do a marketing research study to see what type of dog-related videos currently are in demand and what will be in demand next year when your video is completed.       


Are you going to produce a dog-related video to show to vendors and conventioneers at a trade show for dog-related products? Is your video emphasizing how to build dog houses or sew costumes for dogs? Or are you making a promotional video for a dog camp or hotel that caters to people that travel with dogs?


Let’s discuss the low-budget documentary, which most beginning producers will want to emphasize. You’ll need to know what type of camera and tape or DVD to record on and how to edit your work using your personal computer versus and older-style editing machine that uses tape. Most video cameras today are made for educational/industrial use or for amateurs to record personal videos that are not yet of industrial quality to show on television.


Your digital high 8 tape-based camcorder is still amateur quality, even though home videos made with this medium are sometimes shown on the news or on television programs that purchase or use (free) home-made videos that have recorded with digital high 8 tape. Using DVDs to record your video may pose editing problems in your computer. So check out the methods that your video recording device offers to make sure you can edit in your computer what you record.