2020 in Review

What was 2020 like for our video production company?

2020 will be the year of retrospection. There has been enough craziness this year to keep historians, writers, filmmakers, artists – and anyone else whose job is to reflect and interpret – busy for years to come.

COVID, Black Lives Matter, the election – everything short of war has happened.

And for each person, many stories to tell – ones that even children will remember for the rest of their lives. Lay-offs, remote working, canceled life events, failed businesses, and most tragically, lost loved ones.

So, what was it like for a video production company in 2020?

Like most small businesses, here in Silicon Valley and the San Francisco Bay Area as well as rest of the world, it was a challenge. But overall, it was a roller coaster ride. Here’s how this year went for us here at Picturelab.

January through March

January is usually a slow month for us. Clients return from the holidays and start planning their marketing projects in January. We address inquiries, perhaps do a few kickoff meetings, but no real shoots or post work during the first month. So, the slow start was expected. We had a few mid-sized shoots in February and March. Besides that, several interview videos and other corporate projects. Nothing big. Again, all of it was anticipated. But of course, no one expected just how heavy the novel coronavirus would hit.

April through June

By April, we were in lockdown. Shoots and other projects got canceled. We had a trip to Toronto that was indefinitely postponed. As we got into May, many of our marketing clients were adapting to the new normal.

May and June are usually very busy months for us, but this year, we were operating at about 30% capacity. Our focus became more on animation than live action. In-person interviews became Zoom calls. Live action videos became animated. Large productions with big crews were canceled or put on the shelf.

By end of the second quarter, deep into the COVID crisis, we were getting concerned like thousands of other small businesses across the country.

July through September

For most of July and August, we were focused mainly on small editing projects and animated product demos and explainers. We had a couple of labor-intensive 3D projects that took a significant amount of bandwidth, but we were nowhere close to the capacity we should have been before Labor Day.

By late August, we became immersed in several internal corporate videos for a large client. September became our busiest month of the year.

October through December

In October and November, we wrapped up the corporate videos and started work on our one and only large shoot of the year. It required a dozen actors, two locations and several crew members on set. COVID was intensifying and we had to be exceptionally cautious about distancing and safety. We realized even though it was definitely doable, it required extra budget and time for everything.

By Thanksgiving, we had wrapped most of our main projects. We delivered on several of our smaller gigs in December.

Overall, it was definitely a down year for us. But knowing that many other small businesses have closed doors across the world, we are very thankful to be where we are, and hopeful for a revival in 2021.

How was your 2020? Share in comments below.

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