Photo by Rebecca Cabage/Invision/AP
Stats like this state the obvious: video is a wise investment.
But it can also be an expensive investment.
So, to reduce the cost, here are five ways to save money on your next video:
1. Prepare a creative brief
A creative brief is a summary document that details the business objective for your video, who you’re trying to reach, and the gist of what the video should say. It’s important because the more fleshed out the vision for your video is, the less research your production company will need to do to prepare for the shoot.
The best creative briefs contain the following information:
- Short background on your company
- Business objective for the video
- Target audience for the video
- Key message
- Reference videos
- Any other supporting information to help the production company understand your vision (e.g. location where you want to shoot, cast, budget, success metrics, etc.)
2. Find a reference video
A reference video is an existing video that gives your production company a sense of what you’re looking for. It can have a similar message, visual style, pacing, or anything you think will help them grasp the scope and magnitude of what you want. A video with a high production quality (e.g. elaborate sets, fancy clothes, special lighting) requires more preparation, more production time, more editing and graphics, and of course, a bigger budget.
For example, compare this commercial for Smirnoff Vodka…
…with this promotional video for CH Distillery Vodka…
Which video do you think costs more?
3. Know how much you’re willing to spend
With all the variables that go into your video, knowing exactly how much it will cost can be tricky. But knowing how much you’re willing to spend, shouldn’t be. Look at it this way: your video is part of your marketing budget, so how much of the budget would you feel comfortable shifting over to make one or two videos a month? Aberdeen found that video creates 27% higher click-through rates and 34% higher web conversion rates, so adding it to your marketing mix can be lucrative.
4. Write a rough draft of your script
Even if you don’t know exactly what you want to say, creating a video script rough draft can save your production company time. Sure, you still might want a copywriter to come in after you to clean up the language, add some humor, or make things sound a bit more pleasing, but if you start everything off, it makes the process much quicker. Same goes for an interview-based video: taking a first pass at the questions can save time and money.
When creating your script, use your video creative brief as a guide on what to say.
Also, check out this helpful video on scripting from Wistia:
5. Understand the post-production process
The post-production process is made up of all of the stuff your production company does after the shoot: editing the video, recording voiceover narration, adding graphics and visual effects, and the list goes on. Generally speaking, the more editing and tweaking your video needs, the longer it will take, and the more it will cost.
Here’s a list of things to consider to keep your costs low:
- Check how many editing revisions in the scope of work. Major revisions requested after the limit will cost you extra.
- For sound design and music, if the production company composes specific music for your video, it will be more expensive. But if they use sound beds or songs from a music library, then it’s less expensive. Also, having samples of reference music saves time and money. If there’s a specific song that you want to use, let your production company know in advance, but be aware that popular songs are subject to publisher licensing fees which can be very expensive.
- If you want your video branded with your company colors, logo, and other visual identity marks, have them ready to submit to your production company. If you want logos that you didn’t develop on your own, a production company might be able to create it from scratch, but that could add cost.
- The animation and visual effects process can be time-intensive. It requires upfront agreements and approvals. Always pay attention to the amount of revisions in the contract.
- Voiceover narration can be a nice touch to your video, but know that casting, recording, and changing voice actors all takes time and costs money.
Creating your first video is an exciting process, but if you want to save money, it’s important to remember a few things. Having a creative brief, knowing your budget, and finding references can all go a long way in reducing the amount of research that your production company will need to do. And even if you don’t know all the ins and outs of the post-production process, know this: the more customized your video, the more it will cost.
All these details can feel daunting. We understand. But don’t let it scare you. These tips are here to help you create the videos you want at the budget you can afford.