Cheap, Fast, or Good. Pick 2.

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by on October 15, 2015 Featured, Marketing

Have you ever heard of the “pick two” principle? If you’re a former freelancer, you might be familiar. I first learned of it while working as a camera technician at Arri’s camera rental house in Manhattan. I was prepping an equipment package for a music video. The producer was on the phone with an impatient client who wanted to cut the budget by dropping some of the cinematographer’s more expensive toys. The producer countered: “Do you want it to be cheap, fast, or good? You can only pick two.” I’m assuming that “cheap” was eliminated because I didn’t have to restock the shelves with abandoned gear.

In higher ed video, the assumption is that the three options always come standard. It’s uncommon to have a budget that extends beyond existing salaries and equipment inventory. We’ll almost never sacrifice quality because we have a personal and professional stake in the final product. Ample time might be the rarest commodity of all, though we did learn of one such example while chatting with Cornell’s Micah Cormier, who had 10 months to create an 18-minute opus for his university’s sesquicentennial celebration. Makes sense. An event that’s 150 years in the making should come with more than a few weeks notice. Hear how Micah delivered “Glorious to View” on time and under budget. Coincidentally, this week’s featured video also got its title from school song lyrics.

I was already impressed to learn that the University of Notre Dame team produced their latest national television spot “Wake Up the Echoes” completely in-house. When I heard that it all came together in less than two weeks, I was tempted to delete our podcast interview with the video’s producers Cody, Ryan, and Tony, eliminating all evidence that the cheap/fast/good trifecta is the norm at ND. But since we have our own big project due in exactly two weeks, I decided to share their wisdom and experience rather than hoard it. I need all the camera karma I can get.

Tomorrow, you’ll hear how @videoND planned to cast and train an American bison with only a few days before the final cut was due.

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