Making the Most of Your Video Production Budget
Scene Stealing (and Money Saving) Tips to Ensure Your Message Shines Making a video – any successful video, be it live action, animation or mixed media, can be summed up with one word: planning. Without proper planning, you’re going to waste time and money, guaranteed. By following a few simple guidelines, you can ensure that your video will make your message stand out and shine.
Start with the Right Production Partner
To avoid a potential money pit the answer to “where to start” is simple: hire a reputable production team. They know the questions to ask and have the know-how to get your project completed on time, and on budget. Go it alone and you’re very likely to find yourself in unfamiliar territory where hubris won’t save you.
Make (Critical) Budget Assumptions
So you’ve locked in your production company. Let’s now establish some critical assumptions about video and animation budgets.
Every live action video budget needs to include:
Script. Sounds obvious, but it’s your roadmap to planning everything else.
Shoot Day. A crew should include a videographer, audio tech, producer, and proper lighting gear.
Transcription. Don’t skip it. If you’re interviewing someone you’ll want this transcription to refer to, saving you oodles of time deciding what to put where in your piece.
Editing. If you’ve blown through your entire budget on the shoot itself, you’ve committed a cardinal sin of production, and earned the unenviable title of “rookie.” Whatever is shot is going to need some editing—usually a lot.
Distribution. Do you think if you build it, they will come? They won’t. You need to budget for a distribution plan to get your piece seen across multiple channels. Otherwise, what’s the point?
Makeup. Your talent might insist on this—find out now and then you can budget for it.
A Little Padding. We recommended every video budget includes at least 20% for unexpected costs. Maybe it’s crew OT or graphics your boss decided must be included. Or maybe it’s a scope of work change. Whatever it is, a little cushion can save you.
Every animation budget needs to include:
Script. Like your video budget, without a script you have no direction.
Style Frames. Defines the visual look and style of the piece.
Editing. This is when your animation editor brings it to life.
A Little Padding. Just like above, and no less important, even if the reasons may be different for adding 20% for a little budget breathing room.
Avoid Budget Surprises
Knowing what’s not automatically included in a production budget is just as important as knowing what is. Again, avoiding surprises is the goal here.
Any production might require these line items in your budget:
Custom Music. Stock music is inexpensive and available with usage rights. If you want music created just for your piece, you’ll need to hire a composer.
Teleprompter. For precise messaging, a teleprompter is a must and can certainly save time rolling on flubbed soundbites or nervous talent.
Set and/or Food Stylists. Usually not necessary for basic shoots, but if needed, expect an additional invoice.
Location Scouting. This may be needed to assess the space and determine if anything additional is needed to execute on the day of the filming.
Permits. Permits may be necessary if shooting in a public spaces.
Certificate of Insurance (COI). A document used to provide information on specific insurance coverage your location may require.
T&E. If your location means flying folks in, it’ll be extra and rarely included in the budget. Also, it’s really important to budget for meals. Lunch for your cast and crew if they are working a full day, but depending on the size of your shoot and the length of the shoot day, this may need to cover breakfast and dinner, too.
Be Clear on the Details – and Approvals
Now that you know what’s included – and what’s not included – in your production budget, the rest is all down to the details. You have to be able to walk into your production day with utter clarity into what you’re capturing. And to that end, it’s critical that everyone on the team signs off on the script. Having to go back later could result in costly fixes or completely missed opportunities.
Grab a Few Extras
So what can you accomplish on a shoot beyond the script itself? Well, there may be opportunities throughout the day that lend themselves to quick and easy add-ons that no one will fault you for.
A few ideas help take your message further:
Social Media-Ready Clips. Be ready to share clips and soundbites on these channels.
B-roll. Footage of the office, or someone doing some action appropriate work.
Shout Outs. Share a message to cam for your sales team, or a shout out to your client to say how thrilled you are to be involved in the campaign.
Maximize Your Budget & Shine
There you have it. Maximizing a production budget is all about careful planning. And when done well, you’ll avoid kicking yourself during the edit wishing you had gotten that one shot or soundbite for the company’s Twitter account. With enough planning on your part, your message will shine, and you’ll get the glory – because you’ve earned it!
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