Video production is complicated by nature.
You’ve got pre-production, shooting, and post-production — each stage with its interlocking series of tasks that need to be planned and executed.
So when you’re embarking on a new video shoot, it’s easy, perhaps even natural, to feel overwhelmed and get anxious about the budget.
Fear not, because there are tried and true ways to ensure your video budget goes the distance. Here’s a list of four really good ones:
1. Prioritize Quality
The internet is awash in content — some might even say drowning in it. Videos are no exception. The statistics for YouTube alone are simply staggering.
If you want to make the most of your video budget, you need to prioritize higher quality pieces. The more exceptional the final cut, the more likely you are to stand out from the legions of sub-par cell-phone recordings that crowd every corner of the internet.
When most people think about ways to save on video production, they immediately assume quantity overrules quality. Wrangle a posse of low-rent videos together, and the collective return will be greater than what a few stellar pieces could produce.
You could not be more wrong.
First and foremost, if you invest in a quality piece of content it should produce for at least several years. Duds will flame out in a matter of months.
Secondly, people don’t like rubbish videos. And they’ll judge you for it if you put your brand name on one.
Exhibit A: Brightcove found that 62% of people “have a negative perception” of brands that publish low-grade videos. And 60% said a poor quality video would actually “dissuade them from engaging” with a brand.
So yeah, not good. On the other hand, the evidence for investing in superb video is plentiful. Here’s one example:
Exhibit B: Purple invested (presumably a lot) of money into an excellent explainer video about their fancy mattress technology. And in just two years, the video has over 78 million views.
How much money do you think it’s made them since it was published in 2018? The answer is a lot.
2. Perfect Your Script
No one likes changes mid-production. Sure, small changes are probably inevitable, but large-scale pivots can throw a wrench into production. No one wants that. Not you, not the video crew.
There’s a lot you can do in pre-production to avoid turning the proverbial ship around mid-voyage, but the most important is perfecting your script. The script acts as the yellow brick road for the entire project. If you deviate too sharply from it, get ready for a swift uptick in cost.
The simplest way to avoid such a fate is to spend extra time up front to make sure the script is well-written and universally approved. If you’re writing it in-house, you should definitely consult with your video production crew about what’s possible and what’s not. That way there won’t be any surprises half-way through shooting.
3. Pick a Good Location
Once you have your script written, you should have a solid idea of the setting for your video. This might seem like a minor detail, but a good location has a direct correlation on production costs.
When we’re talking about location and cost, physical distance probably springs to mind. The further you and the production crew have to travel, the more expensive the operation will be.
So if at all possible, keep it local.
Picking a killer location will also add intrinsic visual interest to every shot, which means the filmmakers will have to do less work to make the whole affair look good. The setting will do a lot of the heavy lifting for them.
Finally, a solid location will be flush with natural light — either through windows or from shooting outdoors directly. If used to its full potential, natural light alone can provide 90% of the lighting needs for the entire production.
4. Utilize Affordable Stock Music
Quality background music can turn an average video into an exceptional one.
In days of yore, licensing decent music was a test of mental fortitude — and budgetary constraints. Not only would you need to track down and lobby every single rights holder to use their song, you would then have to pay some hefty licensing fees.
Unless you’re trying to license this summer’s latest chart-topper, the days of medieval music licensing are over. There are a slew of music licensing platforms that offer affordable access to radio-quality songs.
You’re almost spoiled for choice. One single library may offer everything from 8-bit electronic tunes to sweeping classical music to studio-quality sound effects. (Insert mind-blowing explosion noise here).
From a purely economic level, greater choice brings down the average price of a good or service. So your barrier to entry isn’t that high. And thanks to continuous optimization on the design side, almost every platform makes it dead simple to find the sound you’re looking for.
Less time searching for music means less time spent on post-production.
Maximizing your video budget requires a mix of approaches. When you’re planning your next big video investment, make sure to keep this list handy. Your budget will thank you.