How to make the most of your video production budget

By | Published August 25th, 2015 | in UPM

How to make the most of your video production budget

Everything costs money. 

So how can you make sure your video productions come in under budget and still look good? 

Any video project, big or small, has to contend with budget limitations.

When researching video production services, you’ll need to plan ahead to get what you need for the budget you have.  In order to maximize your budget, you’ll need to consider how much money you want to spend on the three main stages of production:

1. Pre-production

2. Production

3. Post-production

Video services will fall into one of these three categories.  

Let’s go through them so you can learn…

How to make the most of your video production budget

First up, let’s dig into pre-production. 

Pre-production

The pre-production stage includes conceptualizing, planning, and scripting.  Depending on the type of content, this may be a large or minimal part of your project.  

Live-streamed events, for example, don’t require a script, typically, but do require a knowledgeable person to handle the technical set-up.  

When planning your video production budget, consider how much of this you want to hand over to the production service, and how much you want to do in-house.  Don’t cut corners on this, however, a badly planned project may go over budget if the production company you hire has to scrap a bad script and start over. It may be wise to allow the professionals control over the process at step one to ensure a quality product.

Production

The Production stage is where the actual content is made and recorded, and may also include graphic design, and other skills.  Depending on the type of content, you’ll need to be clear on exactly what you expect from the production company you hire.  

Make sure there’s a clear timeline included in your agreement.  

Past the deadline usually means over-budget.

Post-production 

The Post-production stage includes things like editing, adding music and credits, animation, revising, re-shoots, etc.  This is where the raw footage gets sculpted into its final, polished form. This can be the most difficult aspect of the entire production, make sure you have clear communication with the company providing services to guarantee you’re getting exactly what you want. 

Be clear on the purpose of the video production…

Before contacting a video production services company, have a solid and well-defined idea of what the video is for, not necessarily what it will have in it, but what the message is you want to convey.  

Keeping the purpose of the content at the forefront at all times will make the stages of production run much more smoothly.  

Too often projects get bogged down because clients want the content to be everything to everyone.  

To clarify what the video is about, answer these questions:

  • Who is the intended audience?

  • What message do I want to give that audience?

  • What is the best form that message should take?

Keep the answers to these questions short and direct, then at all stages of production planning and execution check the content and direction of the project against those answers.  

If you’re getting off track (which is very easy to do) communicate that with the production service company, and figure out how to bring it back to what you need. 

After you decide what the purpose of the video is, this will help you clarify what needs to be done in the three stages of production, and from there you can allocate your budget accordingly. 

Be realistic with your production budget…

You’re not going to get an A-list celebrity testimonial for your business for a $5,000 budget.  Once you know what the message is, be creative about how you’re willing to express that message.  Begin with your goals first, then see what kind of money you can devote to the project.  

The rest of the process is a matter of filling in the details and setting a timeline for completion. 

Summing up how to make the most of your video production budget

Now that you understand what goes into every budget, you’ll know how to bookmark enough money to go around. You always want to add in a few lines to spread around too. 

Don’t forget to have at least 10% extra in case of overages, and go in with realistic expectations for whatever you’re planning to shoot. 

Still deciding which way to turn when budgeting your next video shoot? Here are some great additional resources that will help you organize your efforts and be more prepared for your next production.

Create a closed loop system that feeds your video budget

How to start a corporate video budget template

3 ways to cut corporate video budget corners

Who Are We?

Ambient Skies is a full service entertainment production company focused on creative storytelling for commercials, documentaries, and narratives.

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About The Author:

John Schaus