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Preparing for a Video Production Tip #9: Lowering Costs

lowering costs

Lowering costs for video production

The first thing you have to decide is on what level of production value your video has to be. You don’t want to over or under produce your video.

For training/educational videos

If your video is for staff training or other in-house use, it’ll probably need to be very content-based. But it still needs to be entertaining in order to retain their attention. In fact, that’s job number one for any video. If you lose the viewer’s attention, nothing else matters. So keep that in mind.

For corporate event videos

If it’s for a trade show booth or other marketing purpose where professionals will make a snap judgment based on the looks of your video, it has to be really good. And as you probably have deduced by now, good isn’t cheap. But there are creative ways to produce an excellent video and still keep your costs down. That’s what we’ll focus on here.

It all depends on your audience

As we mentioned, the first thing is to decide what level of production value your video needs to be. And that will be largely determined by your target audience.

Do you absolutely need motion graphics?

Do you absolutely need motion graphics or can animated text from a professional editing program work just fine? Custom motion graphics are, of course, better than pre-generated ones, but you have to decide what’s most important for your video. This can be a big factor is lowering costs.

Actors in videos

We discussed the actors or no actors decision in an earlier email. Actors cost money, even if you go through a non-union agency. If you can use your employees for stand in roles, great. But if you need someone to emote and say the lines professionally, actors are the way to go. Just remember that you’ll also be paying for whoever auditions the actors before they’re hired, plus a fee to the agency that supplies the actor(s).

The number of cameras in your video

Also covered in a previous email, the number of cameras will affect the price. The more cameras, the more cost for production and editing, as it takes longer to cut the material from two cameras. But the positive tradeoff here is that you’ll get a nicer looking production.

Scrip writing for your production

Who will write the script? If you can write the first draft, all the better. The production company can then massage it and make suggestions. This was covered more extensively in a previous email, but the three steps to script writing are:

  1. Identify your 3-5 major talking points or assets of your product, service or company.
  2. Develop an outline around these talking points
  3. Put meat on the bones of this outline in the form of complete sentences, which comprises the voice over narration for your video.
  4. Visualize the voice over. Identify the visuals that the viewer will see when they’re hearing the words.

The cost factor: editing

We saved the best for last! The edit. Here’s where you can save big bucks. As the adage goes, preparation is the key to success. The same goes for editing: the more prepared you are for the edit, the better!

The cost of an edit is determined by the amount of time we need to spend on the project. If you can supply us with an edit decision list (edl), we won’t have to search around for the best shots. Here’s how that one goes:

  1. Have us upload all of the raw footage to Vimeo so you can view it.
  2. Watch it all and pick the best shots that were made for each take.
  3. Your edl should look like this when we get it:

Shot#      In      Out            Description

1            6:43      6:50            Establishing shot of our company

           7:20      7:45            CEO welcoming viewers to the video

Essentially, the edit decision list follows the script. If you select the best takes for each shot in the script, that will speed up the editing process.

Another thing you can do to cut the time is to identify text you want inserted. This should already be there with the script, but make sure those decisions have been made.

You should also have your music chosen by now. The edit room is no place to be making music choices.

Lowering your production costs

To wrap this up, the edit is based on time. And the time is based on the number of edits we need to make, the length of the video, special effects, graphics, how organized things are when we get the project and how decisive you are. If you ask us to see how a shot looks with 5 different transitions, that takes time. We’re happy to do it, but as they say, there’s a cost for everything. Just make sure that as your lowering costs, you’re not compromising the quality of your video.

If you need advice on lowering costs of your production or need a video production company to shoot or edit your video, contact us at (773)252-3352 or at

Video Production Chicago

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