Jargon-a-tor: Production Values

Our Firewater mantra is to do all of our projects at the maximum quality production value possible within the given budget. But, we also want our clients to understand the tradeoffs when it comes to increasing production value with a correlated increase in budget.

Production value is a pretty nebulous term, but one that is often used in video production. To explain it, it's easier to see it in action than to describe in words.

To that end, and no offense to the creators of this ad, but this is an example of low production values: 

The computer-generated monsters are unconvincing, the lighting is harsh, and visual effects are not composited into the image in a convincing fashion. You're taken out of the illusion by these failings and left with a lower-than-ideal opinion of Bisleri water. While it's true that sometimes low production value is intentionally aiming for kitsch factor, that's not what we're illustrating here.

On the flip side is high production value. In an attempt to compare apples to apples, the following ad contains many of the same elements: Live action actors, computer generated assets, lighting, and compositing.


The difference clearly illustrates a greater investment in production value. The computer generated assets are slick and clean, the lighting is well executed and flattering, and the visual effects are seamlessly integrated to form a cohesive whole. The result is one that keeps you in it, an experience unbroken by cracks in the illusion.

It's easy to see how confidence in a brand can be hurt in the Bisleri water case, and bolstered in the NFL's. But it's also safe to assume the NFL spot cost significantly more than Bisleri water, so production value isn't a decision made in a vacuum. That said, we hope this goes a long way toward untangling the broad concept of "Production Value".