We know that the costs for a professional video production project are nothing to sneeze at. We also know that for many companies striving to stay competitive with other businesses in their industry, video can be vital.
There are tips to lowering the production cost. And, as a video production firm, we know all the best ways to help our clients cut down on expenses without sacrificing quality.
1. Prepare Well
The secret to sticking to a budget lies in good planning. Sounds simple, right? You’d be surprised at how many people gloss over the planning phase with the mindset that creativity will just ‘happen’. While creativity loves a free reign, budgets don’t.
So, don’t wing it. Don’t wait until the last minute for anything. Whether it’s the script for a testimonial video, or a style board for a marketing video project, planning ahead is critical. Here are areas that you need to have ironed out pre-production in order to stick to that budget:
- Know the purpose of the video.
- Know the script.
- Know the content.
Once you have your direction ironed out, it’s time for you to play with your budget. Consider everything that you NEED (a video production team, a set, a chosen video style, etc). Then include everything that you’d like to have in your video. Multiple sets? How many actors? Live-action or animation? Off-site location?
This is your opportunity to tweak your budget without repercussions, so consider these details carefully now. Trying to make adjustments later on could cost you, and you’re already trying to keep production costs low.
To learn more about how to plan out this stage of a video project, check out our free downloadable eBook.
2. Prepare a Project Proposal
Now that you’ve got a plan, you need to have it approved. Create a production brief – a concise outline of your corporate video scope, with an explanation of the budget requirement for each part of the video project. Make sure this production brief outlines your:
- the key message
- the visual style
- plan for distribution
- production timeline
Now, get this brief approved. If you’ve already received the ‘thumbs up’ from the powers that be with this detailed outline, you will have significantly lessened your chances of needing edits or revisions based on their review of the project later on.
3. Be Choosy About Location
A big cost saver is to provide the location for the production. Studios and off-site locations are expensive to shoot in. Sometimes, a great way to keep your production costs low is to shoot your video in your own space or one that you can procure. Do you have a beautiful office space that could be utilized? A peaceful patio? A simple conference room? A creative video production team can help you come up with ways to make on-site shooting feasible. Whether it’s a fantastic location or green screen — solutions may be many and the savings can be huge!
And don’t just go for what’s easy; be sure you have an eye on what is going to look the best and be logistically feasible. Your location can have a huge impact on the overall look of your video. When searching for a location, consider the following:
- Is the size of the interior rooms large enough to fit a cast and film crew?
- Is there any background noise, such as a busy highway or other forms of sound pollution?
- Is there natural lighting?
- Is the state of the furniture or interior elements right for your film?
- Does the location look great when you take a still picture?
4. Choose a Good Video Production Team
Whomever you hire to produce your corporate film project is responsible for two things. First, the production of a high-quality, on-target video.
Second, excellent communication with a focus on partnership in production.
Your responsibility? Ensure the maximum use of your resources (your time and budget) that generate the best results for your company.
If you are constantly nagging your crew for information, waiting on emails, or seeing disorganization in their ranks, money is probably trickling out of your budget like a leaky faucet. The reality is that time is money and if fuzzy communication is draining your time, you may need to consider finding an alternative team. Additionally, a good crew will be able to help you come up with creative ways to negotiate a small budget, helping you cut corners without cutting down on quality.
5. Take Care of Coordination
Taking over the coordination of simple logistics can actually save you quite a bit of budget. For instance, providing catered lunch services for the crew will keep them from leaving the set to get lunch elsewhere. Anytime production stops, especially for a long period like an off-site lunch hour, it’ll cost time (and therefore money) to get things moving again.
If your production company has to organize lunch, transportation for the crew, and other itinerary tasks, you can be sure that you’ll be charged for it. Save yourself some bucks and work out the logistics among your own team.
6. Cast Your Own Talent
Have a charismatic co-worker that is extremely comfortable in front of a camera? Consider using her for the video shoot. Sometimes, you are surprised to find the talents hidden amongst your own team members.
No actors amongst your team? Sourcing amateur talent is a possibility. This can be particularly useful for films that require multiple backup or minor roles.
It pays to be wary, however, of amateur talent for key roles. If an actor doesn’t show up for the shoot, or you find that they don’t perform to your standards, you’ll have to bear all the costs that come with a reschedule. It’s best to discuss casting options with your Seattle video production team before starting an amateur actor hunt on Craigslist — they’ll be able to give you advice on whether or not you’ll be running too high of a risk.
7. Keep it Short
Generally, the longer the video, the more you can expect to pay. In many cases, shorter is better anyway. You have just seconds to capture someone’s attention. Consider, if you will, how much video is watched on mobile phones and how often we simply skip that 30 second video.
When it comes to video time, be thoughtful but ruthless. If a shot or sound bite won’t add strong value to the video, cut it.
Your film crew or creative director can also provide some assistance with knowing when to cut, what to cut, and how to provide a good hook for your video.
8. Optimize Your Time When Editing
The post-production editing process can sometimes stretch for weeks. It makes sense, after all. You’ve devoted so much time and energy to your corporate film, you understandably want it to be perfect! But understand that all those hours of editing footage, sending snippets of video back and forth, and examining each screenshot is going to eat up your budget.
A great way to save on your budget is to reduce editing time. We love to recommend our clients sit in on the edit. Clients are able to come into our Seattle office to work with our editor directly. Rather than going through multiple revisions via email and/or phone calls, you and your video production team can sit down together to edit the footage and create the base of your finished project. Most clients find that sitting in on the editing process is not only fun, but an excellent time-saver.
Also, keep in mind that any major changes you make that are outside the scope of the footage you already have will bring the project back into the production stage. This is almost never worth it.
9. Simplified Video Choices
Stay focused with your visuals. A good Seattle video production crew can create a high-quality, effective corporate video with stream-lined techniques and great design. By simplifying your video content, you can save a lot in extra work.
Animation can be a cost-effective option, but it’s best to special effects or lots of 3D animation. Other special effects and compositing, such as the green screen, can also increase your overall costs.
The best strategy would be to talk with your video production crew. They’ll have ideas and suggestions on what techniques can be used to deliver an awesome video without breaking your budget.
10. Seek Revised Bids
It can be challenging to encapsulate a general idea into an accurate budget on paper. If you see something in a proposed budget that doesn’t align with how you expected the project would go, (a teleprompter when you don’t need one, 3 days of production instead of 2) ask about it. Sometimes a production plan needs revision just as much as a script.
And if you still don’t feel the production team is establishing enough value, dare to step out and communicate with multiple corporate video production companies. But do your homework. Select 2-3 companies whose work you admire and ask them to quote. Asking 5 or more is a waste of your time and theirs.
Asking for a bid is not the same as signing a contract and, when it comes to juggling a tight budget, this can be an excellent way to get a good video team for slightly lower costs. Maybe they have a different approach. Just keep in mind that sometimes sacrificing costs means sacrificing quality so driving bids down for the sake of it will eventually cost you in other ways.
As you’re talking with possible Seattle video production companies, provide them with samples of videos that you like. This will save your production crew a lot of time in creative development if they know what you want.
Finding Your Seattle Video Production Company
Need to talk to a team about how to create your corporate production project without breaking the bank? We’d love to brainstorm creative ways to produce your video. Our Seattle-based corporate video production company is adept at working with small to midsize businesses that are working within a tight budget, and can create excellent options for your brand.
Give us a call at 206.466.4773 or fill out our contact form to get in touch!