You can do a lot with a little if you’re smart about it. It takes creativity, effort and planning, but you don’t have to throw quality out the window because your online video budgets are tight. Be realistic with what you want to accomplish, what you are willing to spend, plan ahead, and be efficient. By following these guidelines you will be well on your way to a successful production.
You know that the content and subject of your pieces needs to be important, fulfilling and attractive to your viewers. And you know that you need to produce content in a way that doesn’t have your viewers running for the hills with mistrust.
Here are a few ways to get the most out of your online video budgets.
Meticulously plan your shoot schedule.
Plan your strategy as far ahead as possible.
Focus on Accomplishments, not just your budget.
Take full advantage of “economy of scale”
Quality content takes time and effort. It requires a producer to think about a number of factors from script-writing, location-scouting, talent… the list goes on. Yet there is one single factor that will blow costs through the roof faster than a rabbit with a hot foot: inefficiency.
Get every shot needed in the shortest amount of time, and be painstakingly and meticulously planned before you proceed.
Two days of shooting can cost at least twice as much as one day. With a 30-second TV spot, the cost differences may not mean a lot in the big picture. When you’re purchasing millions of dollars worth of ad space on broadcast television, an extra $50,000 doesn’t look like a giant line item, and may be worth the expense.
With online video budgets, even though the production methods may be the same as a broadcast spot, doubling a budget to get an extra day of shooting is often just not possible. The money isn’t there. Which means two very important things need to happen: you have to get every shot needed in the shortest amount of time, and you need to be painstakingly and meticulously planned before you proceed. A schedule is never a “rough estimate” of time. It’s the be-all-end-all timetable of exactly when things need to happen.
Plan Your Shoot with Precision
Figuring out how to get what you need done in a short period starts at the brainstorming table. Deciding, after planning your shoot, that you want to squeeze two days into one is a recipe for disaster. You must put a budget on the table right at the start, and design your content and plan with that number in mind. You can adjust accordingly, if need be, and work to find additional budget to get bigger ideas in if they are just too good to pass up. Bigger ideas, usually make it necessary to find new dollars.
Think as big and as wild as you can within your budgetary limitations.
Involve your online video agency as soon as possible in the brainstorming phase. It is critical that somebody who has a sense of what things cost, and how long they take, is thinking ahead about the ideas that are flowing. This doesn’t mean forgo creativity to save a buck. Think as big and as wild as you can within your budgetary limitations. If you only have a few thousand dollars to spend, keep things simple. If you have a few hundred thousand dollars to spend, you can think much bigger.
Plan your Strategy As Far Ahead of time as Possible
Plan your video campaign as far ahead as possible. Don’t wait until the very last second if you don’t absolutely need to. Sometimes, you have no choice but to work in a reactionary way. This is advertising, after all, and we all know that things move quickly. But if you have a video strategy in place, you should have some idea of what you want to do that year, or quarter, etc… Waiting until the last second will always cost more.
Think about what you want to accomplish, not just what you want to spend.
A lot of companies set budgets for the year. This is a great start. But just setting money aside for an allocated ‘online video budget’ doesn’t address what you want to accomplish. Use actionable language when you begin to think about what you want to actually do this year.
“Introduce our entire product line, discussing technological advances”.
“Discuss updates to existing product features”.
“Show off our production facility in a very detailed way.”
These are some simple sentences that will give you something to work toward. Once you have a goal, and a budget, you can start crunching numbers and see how to attack. You’ll avoid wasting time looking for solutions to fit a dollar figure, and you’ll have a result that is qualitatively measurable.
Utilize Economy of Scale
One of the easiest ways to maximize dollars is to take advantage of the principle of “economy of scale”. The bottom line is that if you can get things shot or animated in blocks, rather than spread out over a longer period, it’s going to be more cost effective.
Your overall video strategy will dictate if this is possible, but a simple example might be that your goal is to feature 10 new products over the course of the year. If you spend five days in January shooting the content you need for the rest of the year, you will spend less money than shooting five separate days over the course of the year.
For example, if you shoot one block of five days, you would save on additional pre-production meetings and rates for crew. You might get discounts on art department rentals. You would save money on “strike” days on a set. You ensure that the same talent and crew are locked up for the entire production.
Planning ahead and packing your production days together is beneficial to the bottom line.
I you shoot five separate days over the year you will need to pay for four additional pre-production schedules. You may not get the same crew. You may have to fly talent in from out-of-town if they are already booked. There are a multitude of small details in the production process that work like this, so planning ahead and packing your production days together is beneficial to the bottom line.
The same principle goes for animation schedules. If you can block the entire production together to produce your content for the cycle, then you aren’t wasting hours getting animators and artists back together to get working again. Even more time-consuming would be getting a new animator or artist familiar with the style of previous portions of the project.
If you’re totally without ideas, but want to explore options… get help.
You may not have any idea of what you want to do or say with the budget you have set. That’s OK. Don’t stress if you can’t see the forest for the trees. We tend to get so close to our ideas we can become stuck and not see how best to proceed. It happens. If that is the case, then work with somebody to help you determine the best way to get the most for your money and stay on target with your messaging.