10 cost-saving ideas if your next marketing video is going to be shot on a limited budget
We've all heard the phrase “content is king”. Marketing teams have been touting this for years and they are right to do so - but you'd like to know what type of content?
Blogs are great at providing rich information for people who are looking to find the in-depth answers to their questions, but if there's a choice between reading a blog or watching a video - video always wins. A Digital Diode reports states that 60% of website visitors will watch a video before reading any text and video promotion is 600% more effective than both print and direct mail combined (source: Digital Diode).
YouTube alone boasts 1 Billion unique users per month and globally, consumer internet video traffic will be 80% of all consumer Internet traffic by 2019 - so you know video is important to your customers (source: YouTube Press).
But video marketing can quickly become expensive if you are not experienced and in the past a commercial would cost tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars to produce, not including marketing - however don’t let this stop you! Let me share ten video ideas that will help make sure you don’t go over your budget and still end up with great video content.
Below is an overview of the points usually taken into consideration when planning a video shoot.
1. Project Management
2. Script Development
3. Talent and Makeup
4. Video Assets which might include, photos, illustrations, 3D elements and of course the video itself
5. Special Effects/Animations
6. Location which might include studio rentals, fees and permits, location travel or building rentals
7. Music which may be a custom score or royalty free stock music
8. Crew - DP Director of Photography, Camera operator(s), Lighting technicians, sound technicians, grips
9. Editing, rendering and compression time
10. Overhead which include the studio equipment (cameras, lights, sounds, studio, computers, software), Insurance, rent, etc
1) Just do it
If you have the resources in terms of time and patience - manage the project yourself - this can be a super cost saver and you will have full control and responsibility over your vision.
2) Develop The Story Yourself
Hiring a script writer can get pricey but with some effort on you and your employees part you can probably create a decent script to follow. Begin by point-forming the main areas you want to cover and keep in mind that you should address a single theme. Remember that videos that lack focus also lack viewers.
Once you have written a script, you should pass it to employees or friends to give you an 'every person' opinion. Once your satisfied don't forget to check it for spelling or grammatical errors so that your talent won't mess up during the shoot. If you are unconfident, you might want to have an experienced editor take a look and if it's a short script, paying by the hour won't break the bank. Just be specific with how much time you want spent on editing and hire accordingly.
If you are really keen, there are numerous online blogs dedicated to the art of writing for the screen and in this article 8 ways to use engaging video in your marketing you can see how others are using marketing videos to enhance their brand.
3) Student and Amateur Actors
So you’ve sourced the equipment and the story is all ready to go and now it’s time to hire the ‘talent’. If you’re considering using your employees instead of spending money on outside talent, you may really want to reconsider. Unless your employee(s) has experience in front of the camera, you will likely end up with a really cheesy video. However, this doesn’t mean that you have to blow your video budget on actor, there are numerous student actors that will work for little to build up their resumes.
Posting for talent at universities or colleges that offer acting/film training courses can be ideal. Contact their job or career services personnel and they will help you post a flyer or informational bulletin on their website.
If you insist on filming untrained people, it might be wise to rent a teleprompter. This is the most useful tool for talent to get their lines right while looking directly into the camera.
And don't forget makeup, having a student makeup artist from a local beauty school will really help keep your talent looking their best as well as make the final video look more professional.
4) Just don't do it
Quality special effects or animation, beyond default settings found in editing software packages, is a very costly addition to any marketing video - don't even think about it.
5) Royalty free music and sound
There are numerous resources online now where you can get royalty free sound or music, and in many cases you can get it for free! YouTube offers free audio for your videos at their Audio Library and has an extensive collection to choose from. When you've chosen your ideal track, you can download it on the right.
(source: YouTube Audio Library)
Take your time reviewing the sound because it is as important as your visuals and can really make or break any marketing video.
6) Location shooting
Don’t think huge Hollywood ‘film set’, rather think guerrilla shooting ‘on location’. It's much less expensive to shoot outside even if you need a permit and permits are usually inexpensive.
If you choose an outdoor location, remember to take noise levels into consideration. Don't film in the loudest or busiest location - try to consider locations that can provide an interesting background but have the minimum amount of interruptions.
You might also consider an indoor business location and many managers will allow filming at specific hours for a small price. Be sure to let them know you are working with a limited budget so they don't get the feeling you're a big studio trying to take advantage of them.
Shooting on public transportation is complicated, so it's may be best not to waste time or money on that type of location.
7) Free Editing Software
A lot of professionals use Adobe Premiere, Final Cut or Avid video editing software, but with powerful tools like these, be prepared to spend lots of time learning the basics and also be sure to factor in the cost of purchasing these programs. A better software option may be the one that’s already on your computer.
For Macs, iMovie is a great option and for PCs Windows Movie Maker is good too. They’re both user-friendly and have all the applications you need to cut together your film. If you are new to editing and don’t know anything about the tools the software provides, check out some quick and informative YouTube tutorials.
8) Use a small crew
Hiring a big crew is the quickest way to blow a budget. Keep the numbers limited and when possible try to find people that are willing and capable to wear multiple hats - such as a director that will also handle camera duties.
If you have an in-house team that may be allocated for different organizational jobs, this can save a ton of time and headache as well.
9) Don’t Buy, Rent
If your company is just getting started with video marketing, don't buy any video equipment at all. In the beginning it's usually more cost effective to choose to rent your equipment and there are plenty of rental places that offer reasonable prices. Once you've realized a return on your initial video investment, then it will be time to get serious and you can consider adding resources to your video marketing department.