How to Control Your Video Budget

Let’s say that you work in the marketing department for a large business that has several satellite offices/stores all over the state.  It's your job to produce a promotional video that highlights not only the home office, but several of its operations at multiple locations.

The challenge is this: Gather enough footage so that your satellite offices/stores are well represented, while at the same time you must keep the production costs down. You know this project will require several shooting days and that the budget can quickly spiral out of control if you aren't careful.  How can you keep costs down while making sure you get all the coverage you need? The answer: pre-production. The more time you invest in this stage of production, the more efficient your shoot will be.

At this moment, you might be thinking, "Duh," but let me assure you that everyone does not put in their due diligence during pre-production. I’ve had a lot of experience coordinating and scheduling shoots for clients and I've seen shoots become disorganized and inefficient because time and resources were not used efficiently on the front end of the project.

Here are a few tips to keep your budget under control:

COMMUNICATION

Make sure everyone stays in the loop. I’ve arrived on location before, only to learn that the staff had no idea my crew and I were coming. If you are put in charge of producing a video for your company, make sure everyone is always in the know. You don't want to have your video crew on location and ready to shoot, only to find out you can't because someone at the satellite office/store wasn't notified.

DOUBLE-UP LOCATIONS WHENEVER POSSIBLE

Sometimes it's necessary for the video crew to shoot in different locations, but whenever possible, find ways to get multiple looks from the same location. That way, you don't have to travel too much from location to location when you can be spending that time shooting. 

DRAFT A SPECIFIC SHOT LIST FOR EACH LOCATION

Know the kinds of shots you absolutely have to have in order to tell your story.

HAVE A BACK-UP PLAN

What if you can't get the shots you planned for once you get on location? What if you find out the manager at your satellite office/store isn't available at the time he/she told you? Have contingency plan in place. Think of other things you can capture while you and your video crew are there, so time and money aren't wasted. Once my crew and I drove several hours to a location, just to shoot one interview because the client thought shooting something was better than nothing. Parsing out a video project like that will wreak havoc on your budget. 

In the days leading up to the shoot, things may start to go sideways and your pre-production plans may start falling apart. If that's the case, don't be afraid to reschedule to a later time when everyone is available. That way you won’t have to keep going back and forth to the same location, while paying your video crew for multiple shooting days.

Producing a video certainly has its logistical challenges, but your manager will be pleased when he/she sees that you have delivered a top-notch video that‘s under budget. If you invest the time in pre-production you won’t waste time while on the shoot. And it will save your company money too.

Do you have any additional thoughts or advice? Leave them in the Comments section.