Content is king, as the marketing industry mantra goes, but forget blogging – video is where it’s at now, with statistics compiled by sales software company Hubspot showing that online video accounted for 50 percent of all mobile traffic in 2015 and video estimated to take up 79 percent of consumer internet traffic by 2018.
However, the focus on producing video content poses a problem for many brands: do they spend a fortune on production costs, or do it cheaply in-house and end up creating video that no one wants to watch anyway and end up back at square one?
Sydney startup Shootsta looks to have the solution. Founded by Mike Pritchett and Tim Moylan, it’s essentially a production company that works by distributing easy to use camera kits to clients, providing some training, and then letting them shoot. The clients then upload the footage to Shootsta via an online hub and provide a project brief, and Shootsta’s editors then turn it around within 24 hours.
Pritchett, who had founded a more traditional production company in 2007 specialising in corporate videos, said the idea for Shootsta was born from the client’s side, with his clients telling him that while they loved his work, the costs were too expensive. Shooting for the likes of Rio Tinto and Red Bull, Pritchett was creating lots of explainer videos and regular interviews with CEOs and other company executives, which cost between $2000-$5000 per video.
“One of my clients in particular kept pushing me saying, you need to find a way to make these cheaper, and I basically just said no. Then I got over myself and worked on them, tried to find out a way to make it more cost effective for the client, and we worked on a range of different concepts and approaches for over two years and finally came up with Shootsta and went from there,” he said.
“Since then we’ve done tests in the marketplace and seen that it is a massive hole in the market really where people are wanting this type of content more and more, consumers are wanting to view this type of content more and more, but no one’s set up globally to do it.”
Launched at the start of the last financial year, Shootsta was funded out of Pritchett’s original business. Much of the process of setting up the business focused on the development on the online hub and the tailoring of the camera kits to make it as easy as possible for clients to shoot. The kit includes a DSLR camera, LED light, tripod, microphones, autocue, and an iPad, which Pritchett said they are quickly able to master with some training.
“They run through everything from shot composition, lighting, audio, all those sorts of things, as well as actually how to use the camera and a bit of strategy on what kind of things to shoot and how to use natural light, for example,” Pritchett explained.
“It doesn’t make someone a DOP overnight, but what it does do is get them started, and from there our clients quite often say, okay, we’d love to have a bit of a deeper dive, so this week we’ve got one of our clients coming out to our warehouse studio and they’ll be working with us on a deeper dive on how to really nail their videos, because they’re at that high level where they’ve got a bit more creativity to put behind it.”
Packages start at $2000 per month on a 12 month plan, which gives clients two videos per month with a 48 hour turnaround and various editing features, through to $9800 per month on a 12 month plan, which gives clients unlimited videos with a 24 hour turnaround and various editing features. Each plan includes an upfront fee of $7000, which covers the cost of the onboarding process, and things like initial branding design and logo animation. There is no specified cost for the camera kits, which are technically owned by Shootsta while with clients. Clients can also choose to hire a camera operator from Shootsta for specific videos.
The startup has been embraced by corporates, with the likes of Toyota, KiwiBank, Adobe, and Qantas signed on thanks to the team’s existing connections, word of mouth, and “just shouting it from the rooftops,” said Pritchett. Shootsta helped Qantas create its ‘Running Man challenge’ response last month, effectively going from idea to finished product within 24 hours.
“They’ve really engaged with the idea and the concept. They’ve had us out to shoot, and they’ve shot internal comms videos and training videos themselves too, things like how to de-ice a plane in a regional area, how to pour champagne in first class, things like that that we wouldn’t have expected necessarily when we started out that those would be the kinds of videos we’d be creating,” Pritchett said.
So far, Pritchett said Shootsta hasn’t seen much push back from traditional production companies. With Shootsta itself born out of such a company and still operating in the industry, he said he is “sensitive” to the issues in the industry, but believes that Shootsta is operating in a different space rather than competing for those same client dollars.
“We’re doing videos that large corporates wouldn’t be able to afford to do professionally otherwise. So if you’re talking about your interview with a CEO once a week, they’re not going to do that, they might do an interview with a CEO once every couple of months, or once a quarter, but once a week just doesn’t happen,” Pritchett said.
“It’s an interesting one, but I don’t really feel that we’re sabotaging that market, because we’re not trying to do the same thing at a lower cost, we’re taking a very different approach and a different model. There’s going to be guys doing that space that having us may make it harder for them to compete, but it’s the same thing that happened to us when we worked in the production companies with uni students coming out and saying, ‘I can do that’ and companies going with them instead.”
The majority of Shootsta’s clients are currently Australia-based, but as the startup begins to look to international markets Pritchett said it will be moving to a virtual training model so it can service everyone, while also considering whether to open up international offices through which it can offer camera operators.
Image: Mike Pritchett and Tim Moylan. Source: Supplied.