Video Production: Budget Tips

One of the most significant changes in the way we consume digital content was introduced by mobile technologies: Smart Phones and tablet computers. Before this, video was relatively "immobile" - bulky and expensive devices like computers, TV's, DVD players, laptops and portable DVD were the playback options available. Today, all these functions converged in small devices like cell phones, always on, and always with us. These devices "liberated" video from dedicated, bulky accessories and made it as portable as a photograph in your pocket.

This has led to an explosion in the popularity of video. All online visitors expect video and most business activities lends itself to video: Products, offers and services. But messages, offers, and products change constantly, forcing you to update your online video assets on a regular basis. The demand for online video is growing rapidly can drain your content budget very quickly. However, with the right content strategy, you can tame your video content budget.

One of the most significant changes in the way we consume digital content was introduced by mobile technologies: Smart Phones and tablet computers. Before this, video was relatively "immobile" - bulky and expensive devices like computers, TV's, DVD players, laptops and portable DVD were the playback options available. Today, all these functions converged in small devices like cell phones, always on, and always with us. These devices "liberated" video from dedicated, bulky accessories and made it as portable as a photograph in your pocket. This has led to an explosion in the popularity of video. All online visitors expect video and most business activities lends itself to video: Products, offers and services. But messages, offers, and products change constantly, forcing you to update your online video assets on a regular basis. The demand for online video is growing rapidly can drain your content budget very quickly. However, with the right content strategy, you can tame your video content budget.

Until recently, video often required specialised skills, fancy equipment, big budgets, and lots of effort. A super-slick video could cost anywhere from R 700 000 to R 2 000 000 or more to produce. Video production involved scores of gaffers, lighting technicians, camera crew, grips and makeup artists. Although impressive, You don’t always need Hollywood production values to make a video that delivers value.

Three Tiers of Video

Video Showpieces

Attention grabbing, highly stylized show pieces for use at for example, trade exhibitions and sales meetings. These productions could involve extensive use of photo realistic 3D animations and sophisticated special effects, or aerial shots, dolleys and jibs on a location shoot. Typically starting at around R 250 000, pending on what your ambitions are.

Video Case study: South African National Space Agency

A promotional video produced for use at international space trade exhibitions. The video is designed to be played at a trade kiosk and is aimed at the buyers of international space agencies like NASA and the European Space Agency, as well as commercial operators such as Intelsat and Space One. This is a big budget production with extensive use of 3 D Graphics:

However, not all your videos have to blow minds away. Does it make sense to go to the Antarctic or Patagonia just to take shots of penguins looking up at the sky because the Johannesburg zoo just doesn't have the right background? Or spend three months sitting by a pond waiting for a humming bird to hang upside down from a twig and look at it's reflection in the water? Or deplete your budget on one big production with cranes, dollies and drones where you could achieve a similar result with one competent D.O.P?

General Purpose Video

Videos to highlight your key value propositions, explain your most important products or services, and introduce your most visible people to help move prospective customers or sponsors to do business with you. These videos are important because they show and explain at an advanced level. They are crisp, clear, and typically the videos that get passed around when a group is involved in a buying decision.

You don’t need to be cute or splashy — just focused, authoritative, clear, and in a style that conveys the personality of your organisation. And this will at the fraction of the cost of a show piece.

Video Case study: APD, Nelson Mandela Bay

A short, focused video informing about the job creation and economic development initiatives of the Association of Persons with Disabilities, Nelson Mandela Bay:

Niche audience videos:

Video is great to provide potential customers with a much deeper understanding of your products (and the thinking behind them), and to answer frequently asked questions. The subject-matter experts in your company — the people who invent your technologies and support your customers in the field — can really add value here. The topics covered in these videos typically apply to more of a niche-based interest, like, for example, D.I.Y videos, software tutorials or educational videos.

These different content categories constitute an effective content marketing strategy; the key is utilizing the power of video without breaking your budget. Allocating your marketing budget among these three tiers — and making sure you spend appropriately for each video you produce — is an important step to get value for money.

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