When marketing teams think about their video production budget, they tend to want as little of it as possible. They know the brain has a hardwired bias towards images and against text; they know it’s important to do it correctly; they know it’s an essential part of any halfway decent modern marketing strategy. But they also know that video costs money, and they’d often prefer for it to cost as little money as possible.
Now, there’s certainly an argument that non-essential costs should be kept down. A production that doesn’t need to be in 4K and doesn’t need copious visual effects shouldn’t have them for the sake of it.
But if you’re looking to commission a video, you don’t want to immediately go for the cheapest option available. Here’s why.
the cost of doing business videos
Two factors influence a video production budget.
The first is the sheer physical resource required to bring a project to fruition: hours in preproduction, number of people working on the project, quality of any equipment used – you get the general idea. A 4K shoot might use an Arri Alexa or a Red Epic Dragon; a budget shoot might use a DSLR camera designed primarily to capture still images. The difference between five days of editing and half a day of editing can be the difference between something sleek, professional, and well-paced, and something that looks cobbled together from stock footage in Windows Movie Maker. For an animation, a higher budget means better graphics and more detail.
The second factor is the process. It’s less tangible, but it’s just as important. A significantly cheaper video might be visually indistinguishable from a more costly one: it might use the same grade of camera or the same style of animation, and it might have the same sound quality. However, corners will inevitably be cut in pre-production, production, and post-production. A skeleton crew (and no, not the fun Pirates of the Caribbean kind) will be used instead of a full five-person team, and it will be populated with newbies and graduates instead of veterans. Mistakes and delays will happen, and whatever you think you’re saving in raw cost, you’ll pay for in sheer hassle.
breaking down budgets
With the right video production budget, you’ll get a complete, experienced crew: a director, a producer, a production assistant, an editor, and – of course – a camera operator. In other words, a well-qualified, well-oiled filming machine.
The crew will do a comprehensive location recce to figure out where to shoot and how before the day of filming arrives: they’ll try every angle, they’ll figure out the best lighting, they’ll check every room and corridor for the best possible locations. For a case study, a production team will interview several times as many people as they need to – figuring out who’s charismatic enough to sell the message and who should never under any circumstances appear on film.
But beyond that, the right video production budget gives you a deeper, more consultative relationship. With twenty hours of producer time, you’ll have many more options when it comes to crafting the video you want.
If you’ve changed your requirements during the storyboarding process, the producer and artist will work together to meet your evolving preferences. Scripting services will typically be included via freelancers or in-house writers – bringing your message to life with intelligence and verve. If something goes wrong on the day, there will be contingency plans in place to accommodate it.
In other words, you get what you pay for.
So what do you want to pay for?
It’s important to clarify that your video doesn’t have to break the bank: if it won’t be made appreciably better by 4K or a crane shot – as fun as crane shots are – then there’s no point in paying for it. Your video production budget should be determined by your priorities.
But quality videos don’t compromise on the things that matter: whether they’re tangible things like equipment or intangible things like experience and process. It doesn’t matter how low the price point, it always costs you more to buy something shoddy in the end.
Good work isn’t cheap – and cheap work isn’t good. If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right.