Frequently Asked QuestionsHave a question about hiring Vanilla Video? We have 54 answers across 10 categories.
Do you have wireless lavaliere microphones for audio?
Yes, each videographer is equipped with wireless lavaliere microphones. Each camera is able to handle two wireless lavaliere microphones — if you require more than two monitored mics, we will need to bring additional cameras and / or a sound-mixer to handle those inputs. We have hardwired microphones which record separately from our cameras; so, while we are technically able to record multiple speakers without a sound-mixer, these channels would be unmonitored and would require some level of post-production to mix the sound into the final video.
How many microphones are you able to bring?
Our videographers typically bring at least two lavaliere microphones — one wireless, and one hardwired in-case the frequencies are all taken. Our cameras have four audio tracks, but we are only able to accept two external microphones. The remaining two camera channels are for our shotgun microphone (directional) and on-camera audio (ambient). This ensures we have a solid range of audio tracks to choose from, in-addition to the wired and wireless microphones. If your project requires more than 2 microphones, we will need extra cameras and / or sound mixers to accommodate. Adding a sound mixer will require an additional person on-set for monitoring.
What kind of audio inputs can your interface with?
Our videographers are outfitted with standardized camera and audio kits. These kits include adapters to nearly any sound connection, including: XLR, Quarter-inch (1/4-inch), Eighth-inch (1/8-inch) Auxiliary audio, RCA and some other lesser known connection types. We've handled over 4,000 projects and never run into an issue with our audio interfaces — you will just want to ensure that your venue or sound person can output sound for the videographer.
Are you able to ouput sound to speakers, or do audio mixing?
Yes, with some caveats. We do not provide speakers for sound amplification; however, we are able to provide microphones, sound-board and mix-down the sound to output speaker(s). This is most often the case in hotel or venue settings where there are multiple speakers, and a single XLR input. Please note, we will likely need to bring an extra person for sound management.
What does an average video shoot schedule look like?
We arrive at least 30-minutes early to setup gear and review project details with the customer. This helps us stay organized and allows for some last-minute changes if necessary. This early setup time is for both our videographers and the customer or talent to prepare. For larger or more equipment-heavy projects, we sometimes arrive 60 to 90 minutes early for setup.
How long does conducting interviews and gathering b-roll take?
A typical interview requires at least 15 to 20 minutes, with exception of best wishes and one-liner performances. Most often, a typical interview will run between 30 to 90 minutes, with 45 to 60 minutes being most common for key individuals. After about 90-minutes, most talent, i.e., the person on camera, starts to show signs of fatigue. We recommend keeping interviews or single-person video(s) to a maximum of 2-hours for better results.
In what ways should we prepare prior to filming?
Our team will normally provide insight into how to prepare or what may be required from you prior to filming. Usually, you will want to clean your office, workspace or any areas where our cameras may be so that when we come to film, your "set" is ready to go. If you have created any questions to be asked or responded to on camera, you should practice answering those questions or discussion points beforehand. Scripts for teleprompters should be submitted at least one day in-advance to avoid additional setup time during production.
Who should we have appear in our video?
Most companies use key people from their organization, including top executives, customer-facing employees within the office and legitimate employees or customers. This helps your customer connect with real people, and create a more natural connection rather than using actors. You can choose anyone to be on camera; with post-production we can easily (a) use their voice over b-roll in certain segments, or (b) drop their part within the video entirely.
We aren't ready, can we reschedule?
Yes, we can accommodate most schedule changes. However, please provide advance notice if possible. There may be a rescheduling fee if post-poning a project or event to a popular, high-demand day (e.g., Saturdays, Holidays.) Most business projects can be rescheduled without fees if we have not already arrived on location. Upon arrival, there are additional costs.
Do you come up with video concepts or branding ideas?
Yes, upon request. By default, our pricing is designed around showing up to handle the video production and does not include pre-production or post-production services. We transparently list pricing for both creative / pre-production services and editing / post-production services. If you are interested in having Vanilla Video put together brand concepts, ideas, storyboarding, or pitching suggestions — this is something we can do, but it only provided upon request.
Do you offer storyboarding and creative direction?
Yes, upon request or if necessary. Our videographers and creative directors are extremely experienced, each having completed several hundred projects. Our videographers will typically provide creative direction to talent during interviews, b-roll and other moments. We frequently work alongside marketing firms which provide on-set creative directors, and internal marketing departments which may have their own preferences. In any case, our videographers can step-up to direct — or, take a back-seat to another. We have experience in various hierarchies.
Do you offer professional lighting, backdrops, etc.?
Yes, by default we bring lights to most business shoots. Backdrops are available upon request, in various colors or patterns. In the case of weddings, we will not bring lights unless specifically requested. Our cameras are capable of filming in low-light, and we typically strive for candid videography when it comes to personal events. Please note, that for certain backdrop colors (e.g., green screen) we may need to bring additional lights, one set of lights for the talent and one set of lights specifically for the backdrop — again, depending on the backdrop selection.
Do you have a professional video studio?
No, we have found this counter-productive across our 4,000+ projects. In most cases, filming on-location (e.g., in-office, outside, at homes, or similar) is much preferred than using stages or studios. In the case of highly-controlled productions for product videography, modeling, or any other scenario which requires a studio, we have relationships with various studios for rental.
How do we receive our videos?
Customers receive their video online through WeTransfer, DropBox or Google Drive. Previously, from 2012 to March 2020 we delivered video through our website. In the future, we may build another system, but we are focusing on rebranding our business at this time. Customers going forward will receive a download link for approx. 4 weeks, with re-delivery for up to 90 days.
What is your turnaround timeframe?
Our typical timeline for delivery is 2 weeks after filming. However, this is based on our average project and can vary dramatically. We try to provide accurate delivery estimates upon booking to set expectations. Some projects require no post-production on our part, in which case we usually deliver video next-day or almost immediately. Our team is able to bring memory card readers, external hard drives and laptops to transfer footage immediately if necessary.
Are you able to redeliver our videos?
Currently we are only able to re-deliver customer videos for 90-days past video finalization. I.e., once your project is closed or finished, we will continue to re-deliver the video(s) for up-to 90-days. After this, a re-delivery and / or unarchival fee may be required. Re-delivery is available for customers with future bookings, purchasing additional editing or starting new projects.
Do you keep backups of videos?
Yes, although you should not rely on us for backups. We have systematically created archival backups for thousands of projects. Our protocol has been to store an active copy on our local servers which scans for data integrity. This system is able to handle multiple disk failures at once. We further safeguard project data by creating two off-site copies, both of which are stored off-line in weather-shielded data backups in distinct geographic locations.
Equipment & Gear
How many cameras are you able to bring?
We can bring up to three cameras per videographer, but we typically only allow two cameras per videographer. Our kits include a DSLR Photo camera capable of shooting video; we often use this as a B-Camera, but do not treat it seriously as a main-line camera. Videographers are able to bring two actual video cameras, and one DSLR B-Camera for good measure. The B-Camera is mostly used for stabilizers, highly mobile / discrete settings or special scenarios.
What camera equipment do you typically use?
We primarily use Canon equipment for training consistency and maximal interchangeability between gear components. We use the Canon XF705 (Standard), Canon C200 (Cinematic), Canon EOS R (B-Camera) along with a variety of specialty gear; e.g., stabilizers, laptops or teleprompters, drones and much more. We are familiar with major brand cameras, in-case customers ask us to rent gear, or use specific gear for a project.
Can you accommodate specialized video settings?
Yes, in most cases we can adjust our cameras to specific frame rates, bitrates, color profiles or similar configurable settings upon request. If you require settings which our cameras are not capable of reproducing, we are able to rent cameras from local equipment warehouses.
What if I need you to use a specific camera?
We have arrangements with local video equipment rental houses and can accommodate most camera specific requests. There will be a procurement fee for picking-up, renting and returning this equipment. We also typically perform some basic training on the equipment to refamiliarize ourselves with that specific camera. We are similarly able to "show up" to studios and use any equipment you have rented, brought or otherwise setup. We are videographers, after all.
Do your cameras film in 4K UHD resolution?
Yes, all of our cameras capture video in 4K resolution. The only exception may be reference cameras, used for capturing slides during presentations — we use reference cameras for a variety of things, but reference cameras do not typically show up in edited videos.
What settings or frame rate do you use?
Our protocol is to capture video in 24 frames per second for most projects, and 60 frames per second for sports or high-action content, unless specifically directed otherwise by customers; our cameras are able to accommodate various frame rates, including 30 frames per second.
Do you need power outlets for any gear?
Nearly all of our gear is portable — including cameras, lights, teleprompters and laptops. We do require power for certain situations, like sound mixers and backdrop lights if applicable. In most of our work, we are completely mobile. Although, we may plug into power if capturing full-day conferences or long events with static shots. We also recharge batteries on location, in-case customers or the situation demands we stay longer than originally planned.
How long can your equipment film?
Most of our camera kits are configured for up to 12 to 15 hours of filming without charging; but, this does not consider normal wear-and-tear on batteries or circumstances where a kit has not fully recharged from a previous shoot. We do have charging stations and multiple kits, and do our best to fully recharge kits prior to re-use. Our batteries can typically charge fast enough where there is never an issue, and we try to recharge batteries on location, just in-case.
Do you bring additional lighting?
Yes, each of our standard camera kits is equipped with camera-mountable lighting. Most of our cameras have infrared as a last resort, but our camera low-light capabilities fairly decent even without lighting. For events, we do use our camera-mountable light. In controlled productions we often use 3-point studio lighting with light-stands and portable power.
Do you film my event or project type?
Yes, more than likely. We can film just about anything — big or small. With 4,000+ projects in our portfolio, and thousands of customers, there are very few things we cannot do. Browse our website to see our capabilities; or, call support and talk with us directly about your project.
How far in advance should I book my project?
We prefer to know sooner than later, and ideally at least two weeks in advance. Although you can hire our team at any time, and we will make accommodations. Across our 4,000+ projects we have frequently been called into action at a moment's notice. However, there is a nominal short-notice fee for all projects scheduling within 72-hours of filming. To avoid a short notice fee, simply plan ahead and give us a heads up. Even tentative timing is much appreciated.
What if my event or project runs longer than expected?
Going over the contracted time usually is not a problem; and, in most cases we are easily able to accommodate events or productions that run longer than expected. Projects running past schedule by more than 15-minutes will incur additional costs in-line with standard pricing.
How many videographers can I have on my project?
Most of our projects involve one or two videographers, but on occasion we have had up to six or more videographers and editors on single projects. Larger crews are more common when staffing a studio, live-streaming events or doing complex video(s) — but we can handle it.
What if I am located outside of the Chicago area?
We travel up to 300 miles by car, and nationwide or international by plane. If you prefer not to send our team physically, we can reach out to our partner network local to your area. It can still be beneficial to send one of our team members to a different geography. This allows our highly experienced in-house team to manage a local crew in your preferred geography. I.e., we send one creative director or videographer to manage 2-3 local crew from the partner network.
Can you film in the rain, snow, outdoors, etc.?
Yes, within reason. Our cameras are pretty sturdy and we do have weather-proofing materials in our camera and audio kits. There are certain circumstances where we must move to safety (i.e., tornados, hurricanes, etc.) but if other people are casually outside, we should be fine.
Do you offer multi-video discounts or any discounts?
Only if you are producing a video series that has a consistent format; e.g., producing multiple videos is great, but not enough for a discount. You must be producing a structured video, in a repeatable series format for any sort of discounts. E.g., 90-minute interviews that are largely the same, with different interviewees over time. Most typically we discount gear upgrades; however, we are not able to discount rental gear, our time or any incurred travel costs, etc.
Can you share the name and phone number of my videographer?
Yes. Our company phone directory is available at (866) 948-4336, with employee extensions, which forward to individual cell phones. Our entire team is able to see all incoming calls to our main number — including phone number, name, projects, call logs and upcoming order notes if you are an existing or future customer. This helps us respond to customers when someone is out of office. We prefer all customers use the toll-free number when contacting our team.
Can your services be used for depositions or legal documentation?
No, unless you decide our services are sufficient for your purposes. We generally do not offer any sort of guarantee or certification that our video production services will meet your legal or legal deposition requirements. We can probably handle it — but customers are responsible for certifications and / or any additional documentation, certifications, warranties or similar.
Is it possible to request an in-person consultation or meeting?
Yes, within reason. Since our team has handled thousands of projects, and we receive hundreds of inquiries per month, we must place reasonable restrictions on our time. We mostly limit client meetings to avoid unncessary travel and wasted time, which helps reduce our cost and service all of our customers faster. After talking by phone, we can determine if a meeting is beneficial.
Can we visit your offices and meet the videographer?
Our downtown office in the West Loop of Chicago closed in March 2020 due to circumstances beyond our control. Videographers work from home, and you may request a virtual meeting by teleconference. If absolutely necessary, we can visit your office, or meet at a public location.
Do you do photos or offer photography services?
No, Vanilla Video does not provide photos and does not offer photography services. While we do have b-roll cameras capable of photos, our workflow, lighting and main-line cameras are for video. Everything we do is tuned for video production, and is not suitable for photography.
What is your policy regarding filming nudity?
Non-sexualized nudity is permitted; e.g., medical demonstrations, legitimate documentaries, clothing (or similar products) for advertisement, or reasonable situations where nudity may be necessary and / or present. Our videography services must not be used for obscene, illegal or objectionable content — including lewd content, and cannot be used for any adult content.
Payment & Billing
Which methods of payment do you accept?
We accept personal checks, money order, cashier's check and major credit cards including: Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover. Some projects require a non-reversible payment, like cashier's check. Payment terms are listed on invoices when booking.
What if my organization has special payment terms?
We usually accommodate organizations without credit or debit cards by accepting checks. All payments should be mailed to our official mailing address listed on our Contact page. In some cases, organizations may have a net-30, net-60 or similar payment scheme which we are able to accommodate if made aware beforehand. Please note, there may be additional charges for proprietary payment platforms — e.g., PayPal or Bill and Invoicing Management platforms.
Do you offer any financing or alternative payment plans?
We do not provide financing for video production or any services. For large projects, we provide weekly, bi-weekly or monthly payment terms to square-up editing and production costs. These payment schedules will be negotiated prior to beginning projects; however, we most typically do 50% / 50% split payments for projects up to $50,000 in value. For large projects, or those performed on longer timeframes, schedule-based payments may be available per the terms.
Will pricing change after receiving an estimate?
Typically, no. Our quotes are always honored by our team if mistakes arises due to our oversight or miscalculation. We have experience and data completing 4,000+ projects that give us insight into highly accurate pricing. That said, we will adjust the pricing if customers change the project scope after the quote. But, our pricing is transparenly listed and will not be artifically inflated.
How will we know if changes will cost extra?
We will notify you when revisions or requests extend beyond the originally quoted project scope. You will only be charged extra when the project scope changes, or there is an obvious fee incurred by our staff; e.g., if a customer asks us to handle catering, make other impromptu purchases, music licensing or editing changes, or similar material changes to the project.
Can I talk to one person throughout the whole process?
Yes, absolutely. Vanilla Video is made up of multiple employees, but we aim to keep the same videographers and editors across customer projects. We also route customer service inquiries to the employee whom our customer works with most — this provides a consistent experience for you, and improved responsiveness when employees do go on vacation or have days off.
How quickly do you respond to emails and missed phone calls?
Our team sees emails almost instantly, so urgent requests will be handled immediately. In most cases we respond within one business day, and sometimes within a few minutes. Our goal is to get our inbox to zero by the end of every business day, and to return all calls by the end of each business day. Sometimes we get a little busy, but we try our best to always remain responsive.
Are you available, and how do I check your availability?
Since we have multiple videographers, we are typically available. If you need to be sure — get in contact with us by calling or emailing us by using the contact form on this website. In 2019 we handled 600+ projects; our videography team was available for most availability inquiries.
How do you get sound at a wedding ceremony and reception?
Our videographers have mutliple sound options, and part of our early arrival is determining the best configuration for your particular situation. Most often, we use wireless microphones on the groom and / or officiant. If you have a sound person managing the ceremony, we can plug into their system. We also record on-camera sound as a backup. Our cameras have 4-channels of audio — up to two for wireless lavaliers or external sound feed(s), and then our internal audio which may or may not include a shotgun microphone mounted on our camera depending on the situation. Our videographers are trained to make the best decision at that situation.
My wedding is a black-tie event, can you accommodate?
Yes, with limitations. Our standard dress code for weddings is business casual — this typically means no jacket or tie, but dark trousers and button-down collared shirt. This is most often not a problem, with exception of certain venues. We can obviously wear ties and jackets, but it may impede our ability to film and can sometimes become a tripping hazaard. If business casual is okay, that would be our preference since it allows great mobilitity and flexbility while filming.
What do videographers typically wear to weddings?
Business casual is our preferred dress code. Men wear dark pants, along with dress shoes, belt, and a buttoned-down collared shirt. We typically choose neutral to dark colors, and typically do not wear jackets or ties since they can become tripping hazaards or otherwise get in way of the camera. In some cases, wind and / or movement by our videographer, may cause ties to touch microphones or get in front of the camera, etc. Similarly, suit jackets often get caught on walls, poles, chairs or random objects while moving quickly to capture moments. We can wear suit jackets and ties upon request, but it may impede our mobility during crucial moments.
Do I have to tip or purchase a meal for the videographer?
While tips are not necessary, we do ask that you provide meals for videographers at events over 5-hours in length. This gesture is greatly appreciated, and refreshing your videographer throughout a wedding day goes a long way. Again, we very much appreciate it — thank you!
Are you able to customize wedding coverage?
Yes, within reasonable limitations. Our pricing compoenents can perfectly tailor to nearly any scenario. Our team has completed over a thousand weddings, and we are happy to tailor the project to your request. Please talk to our support team about project customization.
Can guests talk to the camera and give best wishes?
Yes, but you must notify us beforehand. All of our camera kits do include handheld microphones for best wishes — but, please let us know you want "Best Wishes" so we can set aside time to handle and interview guests. Otherwise, guests may not realize they can give best wishes.
Do you offer any wedding discounts for certain days?
Our brand does not offer discounts since we practice transparent pricing. You can find pricing on our website, and this same pricing will be used when generating quotes and estimates.