Choosing a HD Production Company in Los Angeles

Los Angeles exports entertainment to the world and, as a result, attracts the best and brightest HD producers and high definition crew. As a producer, you can take advatage of this and either work with a high definition production company in Los Angeles or choose to travel abroad with your select experts.

The decision regarding which Los Angeles HD production company to hire is one of the most important decisions you can make as a producer. So, if you are looking to hire a HD production company in Los Angeles, where do you start?

This posting offers some step-by-step advice to avoid pitfalls, which can shut down a production entirely and can also maximize your chances of surrounding yourself with talented, sharp high definition crew:


Hiring Los Angeles based Saturnalia Productions
The employees of Saturnalia Productions have been exclusively focused on HD production since 1999. Although we are based in Los Angeles we have produced and shot thousands of hours of media around the world for clients including CBS, ESPN, Discovery Networks, BBC, A&E, TLC, Sony, Disney, Paramount and dozens of independent HD producers. Saturnalia Productions can service one, some or all of your HD production and HD post production needs.

You can choose to use one, some or all of Saturnalia Productions HD production and/or post production services. These services can be found on the HD Production, HD Post Production and HD Crew pages. In other words, if you have a line producer and a HD cameraman in Los Angeles that you love to work with, then Saturnalia Productions can simply fill all of your other high definition crew positions.

If you contact and hire Saturnalia Productions as your Los Angeles-based HD production company, then you can save the trouble of reading further. If you wish to hire an alternative HD production company in Los Angeles then continue to read the advice below in order to avoid pitfalls.


Determining your HD workflow
There are dozens of digital cameras in the marketplace, and each has a proprietary workflow. So how do you choose which camera to buy or rent for your project?

The first thing you should do is identify your distribution format:

  1. If it's a feature do you intend on a 35mm print or do the festivals to which you are submitting accept D5, HDCam. Of course, the distributor/buyer will want something which will look great when transferred to 35mm so you should choose your camera accordingly.
  2. If the distribution is HD television, then you should know if your desired broadcaster is 720 or 1080. Most broadcasters, and television manufacturers are 1920 x 1080, so you should choose a camera which captures in that resolution.
  3. If the distribution is web, then know the desired resolution and format of the distributor and choose a camera with more, or as much resolution, and clearly identify the HD workflow to get to the finished format.

Before you contact any HD production company in Los Angeles, do weeks/months of dedicated research on HD workflows. Remember, digital cameras are simply computers with a lens attached so you must consider HD post production workflow long before you shoot the first frame of footage. All too often, producers have sourced content first and then discover the horror of HD post production workflow associated with their HD camera of choice. Experienced producer, know the entire workflow and costs of everything before the first day of principal photography.

Backward engineer your entire HD workflow, or possible HD workflow(s), before contacting an HD production company in Los Angeles.


Advice from other HD producers
Many successful business owners will tell you that the secret to their success was surrounding themselves with people smarter then themselves.

However, the million dollar question is how can you separate the true experts from people who simply know a little more than you, if you happen to be a produce with little high definition experience?

One way to do so is to ask others, who have little or no financial interest in your decision. Call production companies, who have hired high definition crew in Los Angeles, and ask them who they used. What did they think of these people? Was there ever a problem in production and/or post production? Did the HD production company crew solve it in a timely manner? By asking intelligent questions, these production companies will separate the professionals from the talkers in Los Angeles and help you avoid mistakes.

You should also ask these producers about HD workflow you are considering as well. What were the "hiccups" they experienced during the course of HD production? What high definition workflow surprises did they encounter, which either cost them money or threatened to derail production? See out producers and HD production companies in LA who have worked in the HD camera format you are considering.


Consult an HD technician or video engineer
Contact a person who is a technical producer, digital imaging produce or video engineer in Los Angeles. Find these people through research or word of mouth, and assess their credits to gauge their skill (i.e. if they've been James Cameron's digital consultant for years you know they are good).

Tell the up-front that you are solely interested in hiring them as a HD consultant to evaluate the skill level of high definition crew you are considering hiring. If the relatonship grows and their is trust, then ask them who specificall they recommend. They will know the best people.


Have your post production house talk to your HD production company in Los Angeles. As mentioned earlier these cameras can be complex.

If you have the budget or the HD production company and HD post production company are willing, then shoot some test footage and run it through post production to your final distribution format. This will help prove that you have the proper HD camera and post production equipment, and have hired the right high definition crew. Pieces of high definition equipment are simply tools, after all, and they need to proper individuals to operate them.

The advantage of hiring a company, like Saturnalia Productions, is that your HD production company and post production company will be one in the same. This facilitates communication and, above all, nothing beats this first hand, start-to-finish HD experience.



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