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March 30, 2015

How to Make Your Video Production Budget Go Further

One thing I’ve learned about video production: it can be expensive.

Between the shoots and edits and approvals and versioning, you can blow through a lot of money very fast.  So, the question is: How do you create a high volume of high quality videos at a reasonable cost?

Some people say you should just shoot videos on your iPhone and edit them yourself in iMovie.  That could work well for some companies, but it’s very hard to maintain a high level of brand quality and consistency with amateur style video.  Also, if you’re targeting larger companies with your videos, you’ll want a more professional and polished video production.

In my role at PGi, we’ve created 150+ videos over the past two years.  You can see some examples on our YouTube page.  That’s a lot of production work, so we’ve figured out a process that makes our limited budgets go a long way.  I’ll share five of our key strategies below.

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1. Always do full day shoots

Production companies can usually work full or half days.  Some might even be willing to work for just a few hours for the right price.  My opinion is that you’re always better off doing a full day shoot.  Although the full day will cost more, it’s actually less on an hourly basis than doing the half day.  The production team usually has to rent the production equipment for a full day regardless, so you’re getting some efficiency out of your investment in a full day shoot.  Plus, you’re able to do much more with the extra hours, like interview more executives, get some b-roll footage, etc.  

2. Don’t waste any time

It’s critical to be highly organized when you’re doing a shoot.  You need the entire day planned out.  The last thing you want is to have the production team sitting around.  We usually have a laundry list of things we want to shoot so, if there’s a delay for some reason (ex. an executive is running late to his scheduled shoot time), we’ll just move to the next shot on the list.  That way you maximize your shoot time and get as much footage as you can.

3. Get lots of footage “in the can”

We do a lot of video interviews with our executives talking about our solutions.  When we do these shoots, we usually ask our executives a lot of questions that we can use in different ways.  For example, we recently did a shoot with our CEO to talk about the product launch of our new webcasting software.  As part of the interview, we asked him several questions about lessons learned being a CEO of a fast-moving technology company.  We were able to use that footage for thought leadership on our blog and YouTube page. 

4. Think about the b-roll

We use any down time to capture b-roll footage of people using our products.  This is great footage to have available to use in any video you’re working on.  We’re a software company, so we want to show people using our software in different settings and on different devices.   We’ll shoot a person using our web conferencing software in an office on a computer.  Then we’ll get another shot of a different person using our online meetings software on an iPhone.  This is usually easy footage to capture on the fly and will help you build your video asset library.

5. Get notes back to the production team quickly

One of the toughest things about production is reviewing the rough cuts of the videos and providing detailed notes.  You have to be disciplined about getting immediate feedback to your production company.  The faster you provide feedback, the faster you’ll have the final video ready to use in-market. I’ve seen people sit on rough cuts for weeks.  Then they have tons of revisions that need to be completed immediately.  That’s when you start to incur overtime charges from your production company and your costs can skyrocket.

If you follow these 5 tips above, I think you’ll find that you can produce more videos at a lower price.  What are your strategies to get the most video production value from your budget?  Join the conversation below.

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Jeff Perkins

Jeff Perkins

Jeff Perkins is the Vice President of Marketing and Inbound Sales at PGi (NYSE: PGI), a leading global provider of innovative audio and web conferencing solutions. Prior to PGi, Jeff worked at where he played a key role in building out the B2B marketing department. Earlier in his career, Jeff spent 10 years grinding it out in the NYC ad industry at Saatchi & Saatchi and Havas. Jeff is a frequent contributor to Ad Age and a speaker at many industry events. He lives in Atlanta with his wife and two daughters. You can follow Jeff on Twitter at @jeffperkins8.

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