When it comes to scaling video production, every video producer says they’ll work within your budget. The conversation usually goes, “So how much do you have to spend?” Whatever your answer is, by some miracle, that’s what it will cost.
The truth is, that’s not a bad thing. Often it’s a good starting point, and I’ll explain why in a moment. But there are some other questions that should play a part in determining the budget for your video:
- Do you have existing videos with footage to reuse?
- What other marketing materials can be used in the video?
- How many ways can the new video be leveraged?
- What additional marketing materials and social media opportunities can be created from the new video?
- If this video (or series of videos) is successful, how much is the opportunity worth?
- What portion of that are you willing to spend on this production?
- How much does production quality really impact the effectiveness of the video?
For example, one client of ours needed to train one of their channel partners’ national sales team about their new, rebranded line. They decided the training video should look like their marketing video, which was shot in a large studio, with a white background and a set featuring their products on pedestals. A dolly was used to add a slight bit of motion separation between the presenter and the background.
Typically, that’s at least a $4000 shoot with studio, camera, lights, gaffer, etc. The client was aware of that, and that’s what they were willing to spend. But we asked, do you really need to? As a training video, we could approximate the look on our own pre-lit green screen, with a static background created by a graphic artist. The only compromise was the slight movement of the camera. And they saved over 50%. Take a look at an excerpt of that video here.
On the other side, we created motivational video about creativity. The presenter was a National Geographic photographer who wanted the video images to look as good as his photos. So we brought in the best Director of Photography in the Bay Area and got permits to shoot in several State & National parks. We had a large crew so each specialist could fine tune every aspect of every shot. We only shot early in the morning and late in the afternoon when the light was the best. Since it was summertime, that meant 16 hour days, which pushed us into double time for the crew.
In all, that 20 minute video cost fifty thousand dollars to make back in 2001. Was it worth it? Well, it’s recognized as one of the top videos of its kind and one of the all-time best selling motivational videos. Thousands were sold at a price of $500 to $795 each. If we’d cut corners, it may not be the best seller it became. Click here to see an excerpt from that video.
Scaling Video Production to Your Budget
Now, I promised I would address why matching the video to your budget is not a bad thing.
First of all, video budgets vary greatly. From our small business packages that start at $500 to the $50,000 bestseller I just described.
Our clients generally have an idea of what they want to spend on a video. And they have an idea in their mind of the quality level. For some clients, the budget they have in mind is low. For others, the quality they have in mind is high. Some are realistic, others need some advice.
So when you ask producers to bid on a project without knowing your budget, we have to guess. Guess too low, and you may think we’re low-end and don’t share your vision of quality. Guess too high and you may think we’re big-league and trying to take advantage.
Often the job goes to the producer who guesses closest to the mystery budget instead of how effectively they can maximize the budget you have to work with. Even on a small budget, Ludlow Media can produce a simple, professional-looking video that will make a difference. The question is how much better will a higher budget video perform? If another $5000 makes the video 7% more effective, are you leaving money on the table going simple? Perhaps a better answer is three simple videos. These are kinds of conversations we can have when you share your budget.
So here’s my advice when comparing video production companies: Share your budget so we can help you find the best solution. Before you hire any producer, be sure you understand what you’re spending money on, where you’re cutting corners and what that means to the effectiveness of the video. A producer that doesn’t discuss these things is probably just spending whatever money you put on the table.by