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Rocky Izumi
07-11-2007, 05:39 PM
Well, I finally finished that training DVD on Hanmi that I had mentioned to some of you. We're selling it only through the website www.aikidoprinciples.com. I hope some of you are interested. It is the first of what I hope are 29 DVDs on various principles of Aikido.

We've kept the price as low as possible but still enable us to recover some costs and hopefully make a profit over the long run.

The DVD was produced as professionally as possible to make it a decent addition to your collection.

As the DVD is scripted along the lines of principles instead of techniques per se, I hope it will be useful to people from all styles of Aikido.

If we sell enough of these to recover the cost of producing the first one, we will begin work on the next five which include ones on the topics of The Third Point, Tai Sabaki, The 90 Degree Principle, Awase, and Sen No Sen.

I would appreciate if those of you who do get the DVD put up comments on the Aikiweb review site, whether they are good or bad. Good reviews will make us feel better but bad reviews will teach us what changes to make in the next DVD. So good or bad, any review will be appreciated.

Rock

Jerry Miller
07-11-2007, 06:01 PM
Cool, I like principles myself. It looks like you are up north now?

Rocky Izumi
07-11-2007, 10:22 PM
In Regina, Saskatchewan until a new contract tells me where I am going.

Rock

Michael Varin
07-12-2007, 03:28 AM
We've kept the price as low as possible but still enable us to recover some costs and hopefully make a profit over the long run.

No offense Hiroaki, but is that really as "low as possible"? Whether it's CAD or USD, $55.00 is a little steep for a DVD. A video has to look pretty interesting once it gets into the $40-50 range, and I have never been satisfied with a video when I paid that much for it. When I have paid $10-25, I have almost always felt good about the exchange.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with making a profit, it means you've got a good product, but we don't set prices to recover costs. If that were the case no businesses would ever fail. Prices are determined by consumer demand. Have you created something of that much value?

Just some food for thought. Anyway, good luck with your video series.

Nick P.
07-12-2007, 06:44 AM
Congratulations, that must have been quite the process.

If I may suggest, putting up 2~5 short clips on your site from the DVD would likely go a long way in inticing potential buyers; I know I was looking for clips when I followed the supplied link.

Best of luck.

SeiserL
07-12-2007, 06:57 AM
It is the first of what I hope are 29 DVDs on various principles of Aikido.
Compliments. It look great. Appreciate the principle aspect. Too often forgotten.

But, 29 x $60 ($55+$5) = $1740.00. A large investment for the series. Any chance at a single volume (or 2) that introduce the pinciples?

Best of luck in your Aikido and sales. I look forward to reading reviews.

Rocky Izumi
07-12-2007, 11:39 AM
Thanks to those who replied regarding the higher cost of the DVD. I appreciate your feedback. I'm not defending my position of the price here but am putting forward my reasons for putting the price at $55.00. I would like some feedback on my rationale. Perhaps I am wrong. We can always reduce the cost later. I know from years in business I can always lower prices but it is damned hard raising them later.

Unfortunately, producing a DVD costs a lot of money and I don't expect to sell that many of the DVDs since most will probably only go to the students of the dojos where I have taught. That means I will probably only sell about 100 DVDs. The wildest estimates would be about 300 DVDs. At a net revenue of $50 per DVD, the probable income on sales would be $5,000 and $15,000. So, we don't even expect to make cost which is about $10,000. I am hoping that we will make about $5,000 at the outside so that we have enough funds to start the next of the series.

The greatest cost to me is that I know most people will just copy the DVD instead of buying one. I've lived in a lot of places where the availability of pirated DVDs is better than the availability of legitimate ones. That includes, and is even more problematic with, training DVDs. I expect that 80% of the copies of my DVD that get out there will be pirated versions. I even expect a lot of my students to pirate the DVD since they wouldn't even be able to afford a $15.00 CDN cost if they were to buy one at that price. A number of my dojos are in places where buying anything from outside their country is extremely expensive.

I know that a lot of the martial arts stores will sell pirated copies of the DVDs. About 10% (conservative estimate from academic research) of the DVDs sold in legitimate stores are pirated DVDs (they may not even know that the DVDs are pirated). I expect that martial arts stores have at least 20% of their DVD and video stock as pirated copies. That is why I don't expect to sell a lot of DVDs.

We put a lot of money and time into the production of the DVD because I have to do a good enough explanation and good visuals for the students that don't have daily access to me any more because I moved away from their location. I hope that you find the quality worth the money.

I appreciate your comments on cost and hope you will respond to this message. I think this is a good discussion point from which I could learn something. While I believe somewhat in market pricing, I have also taught for many years about how to manipulate market price and how to determine market price in the business classes I teach so I am not stuck on letting the market completely determine the price of the product. To do so, it would be best for me to sell the DVDs on e-bay through the auction approach. On the other hand, market price can be manipulated to an extreme degree as in the case of Vlasic Pickles and Walmart.

So, just some thoughts on pricing. I would appreciate comments and discussion on this as well, even if it goes beyond just this DVD. We might look at pricing of all martial arts goods, including practice fees.

Rock

Rocky Izumi
07-12-2007, 11:47 AM
Compliments. It look great. Appreciate the principle aspect. Too often forgotten.

But, 29 x $60 ($55+$5) = $1740.00. A large investment for the series. Any chance at a single volume (or 2) that introduce the pinciples?

Best of luck in your Aikido and sales. I look forward to reading reviews.

Hi Lynn,

Because I am producing these for my students and I find that just an introduction is insufficient, I am trying to do a credible job on each principle. I find that even spending 45 minutes to an hour and a half is not enough time to cover the principle sufficiently (and I think that has been done much better by a number of other people). So what I have done is to spend a good 45 minutes of structured time and some further unstructured time on the subject. I will only be able to produce 3-5 DVDs each year. I expect the series to take me about 6 to 10 years to produce all of them so the price for the entire series is amortized over that period. That comes to about $165.00 per year to $275.00 per year at the most. I just can't afford to produce any more than that each year since I don't have the money and time to invest in their production at any higher rate.

Rock

Rocky Izumi
07-12-2007, 11:52 AM
Congratulations, that must have been quite the process.

If I may suggest, putting up 2~5 short clips on your site from the DVD would likely go a long way in inticing potential buyers; I know I was looking for clips when I followed the supplied link.

Best of luck.

Thanks for the suggestion Nick. I will see if I can get the production company to put up a short clip on the website. Actually, the website and everything is being done piecemeal with me spending only that amount of money that I have available for this project at this time. If we get some sales and some money in, I promise that one of the first things we will do is to upgrade the website with some short clips.

I'll be seeing the people responsible for the website in a couple weeks so I will mention this to them.

Rock

Rocky Izumi
07-12-2007, 12:01 PM
Oh, I do admit, one consideration in the pricing was what I pay for a night out on the town or for a game of golf or for a month of practice fees rather than what I might expect to pay for a commercial DVD. I priced partially based on what I thought was the value of the DVD's contents in relation to everything else I pay for.

Rock

SeiserL
07-12-2007, 02:28 PM
Osu Sensei,
IMHO, your analysis of the market niche, competition, pirating, price, and rationale appear accurate to me. Your content gives you a special niche and no doubt is worth the price. You fit well within the market norms.

But I can't afford most of them either. Too much good information in this information era.

Compliments and appreciation.

PS: You ever get to the Atlanta GA area?

Michael Zartman
07-12-2007, 02:41 PM
Thank you, Sensei, for sharing your knowledge. I bought one, so there's one less for you to reach your target.

MM
07-12-2007, 02:47 PM
I guess my only, limited, input would be the "piracy" issue. If the RIAA and the MPAA priced their products due to "piracy" concerns, then music CDs and movie DVDs would be at least quadruple what they are now. The RIAA and the MPAA complain that they each lose billions of dollars each year on "piracy".

Unfortunately, all those projected "losses" and numbers are imaginary. There is no hard evidence to prove any of it. Therefore pricing according to such things brings about a fictional base for one's product.

Please don't take that the wrong way. I'm not commenting on your price itself. I'm not in any way, someone who has a background on pricing products. I'm speaking about the model (piracy issue) behind your pricing.

There is a very good article on this "piracy" issue versus reality. It's here:
http://www.baen.com/library/

Mark

David Orange
07-12-2007, 02:59 PM
Thank you, Sensei, for sharing your knowledge. I bought one, so there's one less for you to reach your target.

Great! Could you burn me a copy?

:D

That's a joke, Rocky.

Good luck with it. I've self-produced a little fiction book. Marketing is a tough nut to crack!

David

Michael Zartman
07-12-2007, 03:17 PM
Great! Could you burn me a copy?


Nope! I plan to watch the DVD and keep all the secrets for myself. Making copies would just be stealing the techniques . . .wait a second, isn't that . . .? :blush:

Rocky Izumi
07-12-2007, 11:19 PM
I guess my only, limited, input would be the "piracy" issue. If the RIAA and the MPAA priced their products due to "piracy" concerns, then music CDs and movie DVDs would be at least quadruple what they are now. The RIAA and the MPAA complain that they each lose billions of dollars each year on "piracy".

Unfortunately, all those projected "losses" and numbers are imaginary. There is no hard evidence to prove any of it. Therefore pricing according to such things brings about a fictional base for one's product.

Please don't take that the wrong way. I'm not commenting on your price itself. I'm not in any way, someone who has a background on pricing products. I'm speaking about the model (piracy issue) behind your pricing.

There is a very good article on this "piracy" issue versus reality. It's here:
http://www.baen.com/library/

Mark

Thanks Mark,

Great article. One that I believe in to a point myself as the Internet based classes I produce on business management, I put for general distribution for free. I use the free Internet material to elicit the consulting work that pays my salary.

I guess the problem I face here is the cost of production of a professionally produced DVD and the actual market size for my DVDs. I estimated the actual number of the possible market to be no more than about 2000 people. That is a really small market to be doing a free sample. If I can expect 10% of the market to actually buy the product, my expected sales is only 200 DVDs.

And, unlike the situation where I produce classes on the Internet for business management knowledge, producing DVDs involves paying out hard cash. If I produced the knowledge only on the Internet using my own production capabilities and knowledge and time, I think I would the Baen Model and expect to make back my costs by getting people to put together seminars at which I could teach. Even though I have been a film producer and director at one time in my career and I probably could put together something on the Internet to help my former students, I found I just couldn't get the quality I wanted to, the cost of hiring a dojo to film in was too high and I just didn't have the time to do the editing in a way that I wanted. The last problem was that I couldn't film myself while doing the demonstrations. So, I had to go with professional production and face professional production costs.

I guess I feel that the difference lies in the cost of production, the small market size, and the fact that I don't really make much money doing seminars. In fact, I often end up paying to go to the seminars at which I teach, just like I pay dojo fees at most dojos where I teach. I've tended to take the view that the knowledge is free. What people have to pay for is the other things like the facilities, the professional quality of the DVD, personal coaching, good mats, nice atmosphere, my personal time. With the DVD, I figure what people are paying for is the physical DVD itself, the professional quality, and the ability to review the material over and over -- kind of like getting the paper copy of a book. If I did it as a self-produced project that I could put on the Internet, then it would be free.

In fact, we are looking at doing just that. We hope to be able to have enough profits from the sales to put together a better website on which we will put a page where you can view streamed video of seminars that are filmed along with things like chat rooms and articles on Aikido and other Budo-type stuff. It will all take time and money that is not available at this time. Step by step.

Rock

Rocky Izumi
07-12-2007, 11:22 PM
PS: You ever get to the Atlanta GA area?

Sorry Lynn,

Haven't been around Atlanta way for over 20 years. If the next consulting contract or other work allows me stay in Canada for a while, I will need to travel down to my dojos in the Caribbean every year. I suppose I could arrange to make a pit stop around Atlanta since it is a hub. What do you have in mind?

Rock

SeiserL
07-13-2007, 06:10 AM
What do you have in mind?
Osu Sensei,
Nothing concrete in mind. Just liked what I saw.
Until again,
Lynn

George S. Ledyard
07-13-2007, 11:47 AM
Well, I finally finished that training DVD on Hanmi that I had mentioned to some of you. We're selling it only through the website www.aikidoprinciples.com. I hope some of you are interested. It is the first of what I hope are 29 DVDs on various principles of Aikido.

We've kept the price as low as possible but still enable us to recover some costs and hopefully make a profit over the long run.

The DVD was produced as professionally as possible to make it a decent addition to your collection.

As the DVD is scripted along the lines of principles instead of techniques per se, I hope it will be useful to people from all styles of Aikido.

If we sell enough of these to recover the cost of producing the first one, we will begin work on the next five which include ones on the topics of The Third Point, Tai Sabaki, The 90 Degree Principle, Awase, and Sen No Sen.

I would appreciate if those of you who do get the DVD put up comments on the Aikiweb review site, whether they are good or bad. Good reviews will make us feel better but bad reviews will teach us what changes to make in the next DVD. So good or bad, any review will be appreciated.

Rock

Hi Rock,
It sounds to me as if this series will be extremely valuable. I think you are trying to do what I have also tried to do, namely make "instructional" videos.

I have virtually hundreds of videos. Seminars, camps, studio, etc. Almost none of them are "instructional." They are all just various people of various skill levels showing their stuff. The best of them organize the material thematically but there is almost no "instruction" as to how one goes about doing what is shown. It sounds like your series is designed to go beyond that.

There is a desperate need for principle based instruction out there. If these videos are as good as they sound, they'll be worth every penny.

People whine about the cost of these things sometimes... well, they need to take into consideration just how much the folks that made the videos have invested... Often, the "production costs" do not even include what you have put into the preparation in terms of time and effort, merely what you paid the outside production folks. Also, by the time you have the juice to do a video that people would find useful, you have an investment in your own training of many tens of thousands of dollars.

After 26 years of training, I finally put out my first videos. I've slowly developed a loyal customer base over the last five years and now, my video sales are paying for my training. In other words, I spend everything I make on the videos on my Aikido. I suspect it is the same for folks like yourself. It's not like anyone is getting rich off this stuff...

Anyway, people who make the decision to buy or not based on what other videos cost are like the folks who decide on what dojo to train at based on what the dues are... Myself, I look for the content. If it's there, I'd pay a lot more. It might take me a bit longer to acquire them but I'll pay if the value is there.

Nick P.
07-13-2007, 12:40 PM
It's not like anyone is getting rich off this stuff...


What? You mean the rumors of your private, gold-leafed jet with diamond encrusted satelite phone are not true?

Shocked, I am...... ;)

tarik
07-18-2007, 01:29 PM
Parallel example prices in USD: http://budogu.com/shopsite_sc/store/html/page5.html

I have DVD's I spent $90 on 10 years ago that I still watch and learn from, despite the frequent argument that one cannot learn from a DVD. Given how much the typical martial arts DVD is, I think your price is totally reasonable, even without knowing the quality of the instruction which certainly may make it worth more or less on an individual basis.

That's more or less a month's training fee depending on where in the world you train, and the material lasts much longer than a month. If the price is too high for some people, they shouldn't spend the money. It's a marketplace, not a required purchase.

Regards,

jennifer paige smith
07-21-2007, 10:43 AM
This is slightly off-topic, but I thought of it while reading George Sensei's post above.
It is about finances in general and teaching aikido. People often marvel at and ask me about my profession as an aikido instructor.And I 'spose it is a 'profession' because our society is set up this way; Amateur or Professional. They often say, "Wow, it's amazing that you can support yourself with that salary." My answer varies, but usually a little of this comes in to the conversation. "If I wanted to rent a $500.00 a month apartment and be single for my entire life without children, then, yes, you could call this supporting myself." But the truth is I work two other jobs to afford to teach. I know that our other illustrious Sensei have been / and are in the same position.

Now $500.00 a month was no problem while I was in my 20's and 30's, giving my time to the dojo has always been a labor of love . It is where I trained and learned my craft in trade. But it has always been my 2nd & 3rd job that has paid the bills; landscaping and building, both being very hard labor, are the real backbone of my finances. Any money I do make from Aikido goes instantly back into the dojo or to support my training and travel costs( Just like George Sensei said, I believe). The real resaon I teach Aikido 'professionally' is because I have to teach and now I teach outside of the dojo where I was raised. Teaching is an inner imperative, A phenomenon I relate to as the arts demand for 'return investment'. I have something special to offer and If I don't offer my training to others my life turns to $h!+ in an instant. And I came from deep do-do before I got to the dojo, so you can bet I'm into it on a deep level.

Anyhow, what I'm getting at is that mostly providing lessons and dvd's and seminars at a cost are not making the teacher an instant millionaire. If they finally make some cash, then God bless that person for sticking it out long enough to make it happen. Long enough to live through un-insured broken collar bones, un-counseled psycho-dramas by those who come looking for 'self-help' at the dojo, un-understood sensei perspectives that leave us isolated while others ease into social unions, unappreciated attempts at offering lifetimes of lessons carried in our bodies and hearts.
Not to cry here, because I'm glad to be all of this; the teaching and ancestral satisfactions are much deeper than any physical or explicit gain. This is just a perspective from a different angle.
So, Thanks to the people who stick their physical and financial necks out in the service of Aikido; all of y'all. (Even You, L)
Jen

"Daily practice in Aikido will make you grateful to be alive."

dalen7
07-22-2007, 05:04 AM
Hey, thought I would pop by and leave a comment or two. ;)

First, yes 10k is a lot.
You could have bought your own equipment and done it yourself.
(Trial and error and keep doing it till you refine it. - as well as a lot of resources out there to learn, basically for free, how to do your own shoot.) -

...of course equipment and long term goals come into effect. (ie. do you shoot HD for the sake of future proofing your material? I mean its here, HD that is.

Shoot HD, deliver SD, and then later when HD (through the likes of Blue ray) are common, you dont have to re-shoot...or have your SD look like crap on an HD screen, and trust me it will, go to the store and see some SD footage on the HD sceens...I think they stopped doing that for the most part a couple years back.

And now they are actually at 4k (film res - now with the 'red' camera from Jim Jannard...and 4k is a lot more detailed then HD...a lot larger, theatrical size...so people will be future proofing with that by shooting 4k and delivering SD, HD, etc..)

As you can probably tell, from what may seem like rambling, I was a video/New Media producer for quite some time (worked for large corporations which syndicated via web, radio, web, video etc.) so Im quite familiar with budgets both high and low...as well as what you can expect given each projects circumstance.

It may seem overwhelming, and I realize its for this reason people outsource..as well as they want quality off the bat...but its not an unrealistic expectation to 'do it yourself' if you are into it, and want to save money - and yes have it look fine to. (or you can combine some outsource while doing some 'in-house')

At the end of the day, you have spent the 10k already.
But in the future for a 25 DVD set, why worry about recouping cost...consider the other possibilities - sounds like my sensei & sempai now ;)

This way you can make lower cost DVDS...and check this out - as Apple realized with iTunes - with lower cost, you will tend to sell more...even to people who would pirate.

Lets not forget this crowd of pirates do so (whether right or wrong, I will not go into) because things are out of their reach, yet they want to be legal, so when its in their reach they pay for it.

So you may open up sales...not forgetting that there are a lot of students that take Aikido and dont have much funds to begin with - and as the case in America, already have 30k student loans...what a life to start out with.

So take that into consideration.

If you are curious of possible system/equipment configurations, feel free to U2U me - this is free, Im not a sales guy...just passionate about arts/media. ;)

Of course it will only be pointers to help guide you...but if you do choose to look in to some production work yourself, it may help you out.

Peace

Dalen

- of course add samples to your website - and here is another area...video compression.
If it looks bad, it wont help to entice users. Apple, I believe, usually starts out with film for compressing their movie trailers. - I used what we had at the company, which was...Digibeta and Dvcpro 50 (good broadcast quality...of course not HD)

- other pointer: whatever you do, if possible (and this probably can only be affordable if you do intend to buy your own equipment, otherwise it will cost you an arm and leg, and more, but I do want to be sensitive to the fact that your not coming from a video background, so it may actually 'make things worse' doing it yourself, if video, etc., is not your thing...) but either way, shoot at the highest res. you can afford.

If time is an issue, go HD. If not, then 4k is on its way, digitally that is - Peter jackson has already had his guy test out a new digi camera that will shoot 4k (red camera) - although its at the end of its testing phase and not quite on the market, per say, yet. (just fyi, you are looking at 25k for lens and the camera mentioned, which is good when you realize that cameras already utilized for film are quite a bit more expensive, infact some cameras you cant purchase...just rent for hefty daily fees.)

Of course 25k would blow your mind initially, but remember, Im not talking about SD, HD, but 'film' 4k which can be res down to 2k, HD, SD, and dont dare to VHS! ;)
Again, future proofing is important, as you have to count how much you invested in production.
10k seems like maybe a good price, perhaps...but if its SD...well, you see where Im going.

Anyway, the best to you, and peace

Dalen

dalen7
07-22-2007, 05:23 AM
I ran out of 'editing' time...so just insert this in what I was saying at the end.

- the 4k, 2k, or whatever footage can be edited on an apple final cut station...(of course pay attention to system requirements...and there should be a way for you to network in your area with people in production...they really are a helpful lot. They wont do the work for you, but they will help you on your way. Again, if you are interested in this route, I can try to send you links to forums to get you pointed in the right direction...but Im sure with a little homework, and networking with people that perhaps are in your dojo...you can find out who is available to help you in your area (and I dont mean help in the sense of you being the client.)

of note, I brought up finalcut and apple, as they were kind of like the Trojan horse in the industry to make things affordable to 'artist' and not just people with deep pockets, that at times, were not even talented themselves.

Peace

Dalen

dalen7
07-22-2007, 05:47 AM
Hi Lynn,
I will only be able to produce 3-5 DVDs each year. I expect the series to take me about 6 to 10 years to produce...

Rock

This is exactly my point, just to clarify.
If you shoot HD now...you wont be trying to sell out of style SD in 6-10 years, when by then people may be downloading HD movies via iTunes (arent they already downloading movies from itunes in some form of HD?)

Again, just trying to help you in the long run with your cost and project.

But HD is expensive, making it where you need to do it yourself - or connect with people 'intern/students' etc that may help/use the equipment (whatever the arrangement)

wouldnt take 'indies' for granted. Of course not the right use of the term...but in a large city (say Atlanta for example) you can find enthusiastic and very talented people making low budget films that arent bad at all. - the type of people that can help you make your training series. Now I have not idea of your situation in Canada...I always imagine Canada being empty - albeit there is Toronto, etc.
...so if your in a small city, this may be unfortunately a slight disadvantage for you in this regard.
- side note: but this may not work either....using intern/student type people.
Typically the best deal in that scenario is if you are part of the group, where there is no cost for labor, per say, as each person is pitching in - as they all have a stake in the project at hand. (whether it be for portfolio work for a better job, or a film festival)

Sorry if some of the info isnt helpful/relevant for you.

peace

Dalen

dalen7
07-22-2007, 06:02 AM
Even though I have been a film producer and director at one time in my career and I probably could put together something on the Internet to help my former students, I found I just couldn't get the quality I wanted to, the cost of hiring a dojo to film in was too high and I just didn't have the time to do the editing in a way that I wanted. The last problem was that I couldn't film myself while doing the demonstrations. So, I had to go with professional production and face professional production costs.

As Homer Simpson would say "Doh!!!"
Didnt read the full thread - forget all I said...now that I see you have been in production. Im sure you went with what it is you felt was comfortable for you... well, the info I gave is there none-the-less, it may still be of some use. ;)

Peace

Dalen

- although I stick by what i said about shooting at the best res.
And you mentioned about shooting in a dojo being expensive...but background does a lot for mood and feel and 'professionalism' per say (eye candy - video sales) ;)

Rocky Izumi
07-23-2007, 12:53 PM
Dear Dalen,

I think all of your advice is excellent. Yes, we did shoot in HD and convert down for immediate sales. And I agree with almost everything you wrote.

I think we should even start a new thread here with all this great advice and information we are getting here. I think a lot of people are thinking about doing their own DVDs for their students and all this information is a gold mine for everyone.

Since we started this thread this way, we could just probably keep on this one for now. So, I will throw my own two cents in on producing your own DVDs.

As I said, I think Dalen has some excellent advice on how to produce your own DVDs in addition on some different subjects:

1. Back when I was producing technical and commercial films, I found that about 50% of the cost was in the research, scripting, re-scripting, storyboarding, and other pre-production costs. It is worth setting up your DVD so that you can cut down on the time it takes to shoot everything. That means having a production conference prior to shooting so that everyone knows what the producer's expectations are and how everything should be shot. It means making sure most shots are planned and shooting at a 4:1 to 6:1 ratio of shot footage to usable footage. The stuff you don't use will be useful elsewhere.

2. It is useful if everyone from gaffer to producer knows and does Aikido so that they know what is coming without having to do a lot of explanation. We were lucky in that almost everyone involved in the production was an Aikidoist and probably shows up somewhere in the DVD doing a scene. It helps when you don't have to explain every shot and what the narrator is speaking about when doing the shooting. It is even more important that the editor does Aikido and knows the terminology used by the narrator. The narrator should have an Aikido background or the Aikidoist doing the narration should have a large amount of experience doing narrations. I've been doing it since the 70s and am still not what I would consider good. The demonstrators should have some film experience so they know about how to hit a mark. The director should know about Aikido so the director and camera person knows what angles to shoot for maximum clarity of the issue being discussed, etc. etc. etc.

3. Plan close-up and wide shots prior so that two cameras can be used for continuity. Shoot both close-ups and wide shots of every scene, you don't know where you will use the other material that can be kept archived. It will come in useful later.

4. Use a "clean" dojo without too much background but the background should be textured so that it is easier to see lateral movement. The dojo should also have light walls or too much fill lighting will be required to lower the contrast. Dark walls and dark Hakama make it almost impossible to see the movement of the legs. If the lighting is too flat, it makes it difficult to differentiate the arms in a light Keikogi.

5. Use studio narration or lapel mikes. The sound transmission quality with the usual cardiod mikes on DVD cameras is too poor for quality narration. If you have to use an on-camera mike, use a shotgun to cut out the extraneous echo and other extraneous sounds. The studio narration is, I feel, the best option.

6. Even if everyone contributes their work for free, make sure you account for their time at professional levels. If you don't, you will later have problems with the tax man if you sell your DVDs and produce some income. In Canada, make sure you account for the work at ACTRA rates or you may end up with distribution problems at a later date. And if you decide to go with professional crews later, they won't be able to work for you if you have gone around ACTRA prior. You will be blacklisted. You don't have to pay out the cash but you do have to account for everything at the usual rates, then say that you paid it out in kind. In other word, the job ain't done until the paperwork is finished.

Rock

dalen7
07-23-2007, 01:37 PM
4. Use a "clean" dojo without too much background but the background should be textured so that it is easier to see lateral movement. The dojo should also have light walls or too much fill lighting will be required to lower the contrast. Dark walls and dark Hakama make it almost impossible to see the movement of the legs. If the lighting is too flat, it makes it difficult to differentiate the arms in a light Keikogi.


First, good to run across someone in the film industry on aikiweb, and hear familiar terms kicked around!

Secondly you bring up some points of interest in #4 regarding 'visual legibility' in an aikido training video.

Lastly, its good to to know you were able to go HD. - I hope you have success with your DVD production project.

Peace

Dalen

Rocky Izumi
07-24-2007, 12:24 PM
7. Oh, I forgot another point: Slate, slate, slate! Good slating becomes even more important with video editing when you end up archiving materials. I think our slating cut our editing time by about 50%. We intend to improve our slating and archiving structure as well in the coming months so that we can use pre-shot footage for fill material or for extras or for explaining things again that were already discussed in a prior video. No need to shoot it again.

8. While we are guilty of not doing it well this time around due to lack of finances, I feel that at least one third of the budget should be allocated to marketing efforts. This would mean things like a good web site with plenty of streamed media; pre-distribution versions sent out to reviewers; advertising; links to the website; etc. We decided to spend the money on the production and will improve the website as the funds start returning through sales.

9. Use professionals with experience in this type of thing. Amateurs and volunteer personnel have jobs and other things that get in the way of a production where they are volunteering their time. You will never get everyone involved working together at one place at one time since someone will always have something like a sick baby come up. The cost in time and money of doing something with free labour will probably end up costing you more than if you hired professionals. It will especially cost you in time. To produce this type of thing takes between 120 to 200 hours of my own work time. At $250/hour, that would mean up to $50,000 of my work time alone. Then there is the work time of the camera persons, the editors, the graphics people, the gaffers, the sound techs, etc. The cost of doing it by volunteer work is extremely high for everyone since the cost for them to do this type of production without getting paid is to price it at the time it takes them to do it by the price of them doing their own work for which they get paid. I was lucky in that I made a deal with my boss that I would price this one out at one quarter my usual hourly rate and I was only billed personally for two weeks of my work time, i.e. $5000, which I paid out of my pocket to my company. The rest I took in vacation time.

Rock

dalen7
07-24-2007, 01:13 PM
Well Rock, just update us when you have video samples on your site - Im interested in taking a look. (and seeing exactly how you are trying to differentiate what your doing with explaining aikido 'principles.'...)

and your point about the website is all so true.

Peace

Dalen

Adam Alexander
08-02-2007, 09:39 PM
Some videos are presented in such an orderly fashion, while watching, you notice that you're impressed not only by the subject matter, but also by the extraordinary level of quality with which it is conveyed.

This video was so authentically and refreshingly cerebral, while at no time letting physical demonstration and application fall behind, that I would have enjoyed watching it's documentary-like presentation on any subject whatsoever. That the topic is Aikido served only to add to my enjoyment while viewing.

To say that I purchased this DVD because I was impressed with the website that presents it would be inaccurate. Had I relied on it, I wouldn't own the DVD at his moment. I purchased the DVD mainly because I've always been impressed with Mr. Izumi's opinions on Aikido and I have found a wealth of value in his essays. I took a leap of faith that the same insight and experience we find in his writing would be found in his DVD. I've confirmed it. It's there.

I do not have a great deal of disposable income. However, from a selfish perspective, I don't mind making coffee at home this month instead of stopping at the gas station in trade for profound insight into Aikido that will benefit me for the rest of my life. In addition, I experience it as a pleasure to buy from parties who are promoting a good way of Aikido.

A large portion of the video is Mr. Izumi seated and speaking to someone to the side of the camera just out of sight. It has a very personal feel. It's as if you're sitting next to the person he's speaking to.

Mr. Izumi is exceptionally articulate. He speaks with purpose and his dialogue is very polished. It's like listening to an audio book. It's a pleasure to listen to him speak.

During his intermittent dialogue, which moves between his conversational position to full screen demonstration, there is frequently a screen to the corner displaying the examples of the current topic. This is a very pleasant balance between discussion and activity. It's one of the things that impressed me most about the presentation.

Throughout the video, there was always a slight sense of excitement. Mr. Izumi is always calm, but there's a sense, even when rewatching, that you can't wait to see what's next because the last thing was so interesting.

An interesting detail I noticed is that his uke's are all wearing white belts. The effect is a very, very pleasing image in regard to colors. I suspect that the uke's are not white belts, but this video is so well thought out that they chose to wear white for image appeal. It's very gentle on the eyes like few videos are. It makes just watching a pleasure.

The topic is "Kamae". How well do I believe he delivered?

When I go to class and the instructor calls "Kamae!", I respond to the direction and create the shell of what I believe kamae to be. Hands here, feet there. I'm always concentrating on getting some detail right. However, that's not really kamae.

"Kamae" means something more than "stand in this position". It does, in fact, mean hands here and feet there, but those are just symptoms of kamae. I believe Mr. Izumi gives us every tool in the box to understand kamae and presents it in such a way that you understand how to use it.

I wish there was more to say about it. That so much clarity is offered in this video, two paragraphs of review about the subject covered seems inadequate. I can give no higher compliment than to say that this video hit the target dead-center. (This comes from a pre-war stylist.)

The extras are great. I don't know how frequently you have the chance to watch high level dans just loosen up when practicing techniques, but I never do. One of the extras is sort of a freestylish training session. It was a pleasure to hear Mr. Izumi tell his uke, who must be nearly a hundred pounds heavier,"Give me resistance. I like resistance." To another uke,"Come on, don't just fall for me."

The other extras are great. They covered a variety of very, very interesting Aikido topics. Things I had no clue about. Really interesting things with some really interesting discussion. Each extra (I believe there was a dozen) was a mini-video of sorts. Each gave enough understanding of the topic so that the principle could be applied. However, they were such interesting topics, I'd of been more than happy to see each of them full-length.

To say that "I got my money's worth" would not only be an understatement, but also an insult to Mr. Izumi. Instead I can only say,"Thank you."

SeiserL
08-03-2007, 05:38 AM
To say that "I got my money's worth" would not only be an understatement, but also an insult to Mr. Izumi. Instead I can only say,"Thank you."
Thanks for a complete review.
Perhaps I will stop at Starbucks less and add this to my Christmas wish list.
Thanks again and compliments to Sensei.

Rocky Izumi
08-04-2007, 11:53 AM
Hey thanks very much guys. Because of your comments, we have already changed the type of cases we use for shipping. I hope these ones will stand up. We try to minimize the size of the package as well to cut shipping costs.

We have already started working on changing the website. We will try to make it much more fancy and attractive with streamed videos for examples of what is on the DVDs. We will also be putting together a password controlled area with extra bonus materials that people who bought the DVD will be able to access for free. It will contain extra streamed videos from seminars, articles, a chat room, and a place for people to simply hang their hakamas, so to speak.

By the way, those Ukes are white belts. In the Canadian Aikido Federation, everyone below Shodan, or every Mudansha, still wears a white belt. That contrast thing was an accident but we will continue to use both Yudansha and Mudansha as both Uke and Nage.

Please continue to send in your critiques so that we can improve our production values.

Due to the strong demand, we have already started working of DVD number 2 on Tai Sabaki and DVD numbers 3 and 4 on the third point and the 90 degree principle. I am on my second edit of the script on Tai Sabaki and should be sending the completed script in a month. The first drafts of the scripts number 3 and 4 have also been sent in already. We should be able to get to them in 6 or so months.

We just had a pre-production meeting for DVD #2 at Kawahara Shihan's Atlantic Canada Summer Camp in Nova Scotia. There are some edits that still have to be made on DVD #2. The Summer Camp was held at Dorje Denma Ling and was a blast. If you can make a summer camp, you should think about one of Kawahara Sensei's camps.

Look forward to practicing with all of you.

Rock