As the owner/partner of a video production company I have one critical piece of advice for anyone shopping for a video for their business: just tell the video producers what your budget is! You know what you have to spend 90% of the time and it’s in your best interest to tell us the exact number, give us a range, or say what you think the budget limit is. Quality video producers spend their careers coming up with creative solutions to make clients’ dreams a reality. As a producer, we have hundreds of options at our disposal that can drastically change the scope and size of a project. When you give us your budget you are allowing us to make crucial decisions like:
Who is writing the script?
We think it’s almost always better if we write the script, but some clients would rather write their own. If we do write the script or assist with the writing, this will, of course, be an added expense. If we know your budget and your needs we can find ways to ensure you get a great product because, in the end, the production lives and dies on the strength of the written material.
What camera and lenses will we use?
Your budget will determine what kind of camera and what kind of lenses we will be able to use in your video production. Camera and lens rentals can range from $100 a day all the way to $5,000.00 a day (or more). If we know your budget we can select the right camera package for the job, ensuring other areas of the video production get the cash they need to succeed. Without knowing the entire budgetary landscape, we are at best making an educated guess as to what package will be best suited to the job.
What specialty camera equipment will we use?
Production quality increases when you use additional camera equipment like cranes, dollies, a SteadiCam with an operator, etc.. Each of these items comes with a cost and your budget will determine if you can afford these bells and whistles or not. When we know your budget we can often allocate funds to this area to ensure your video stands out.
How many crew members can we have?
Crew members affect many things and the budget is just one of them. The more expert people on set the more can be accomplished in a day and the higher quality the production will be. Video sets work best when people are not wearing multiple hats. When we know your budget we can allocate the funds to the proper departments.
How long is your video?
The final length of your video will be one of the elements that will allow us to determine the number of days it will take to produce and edit it. Video editing is time intensive and the costs can vary greatly depending on what the final product is. Knowing your budget allows us to understand what kind of time investment we can afford in post production given the needs of the other phases of production. Everything needs to be balanced so you get a great final product. Spend all your money in production and you have none for post production, and vice versa.
Will your video contain animation?
Animation, depending on the type, can add a significant amount of cost to a video project. Knowing your budget can help us determine what type of animation to use or if we can use any animation at all.
How many rounds of revisions do you anticipate?
Revisions to a video can be efficient or a complete clusterfuck. If revisions are organized and into consolidated notes from a single source, the cost can be kept down. If the video or script is being reviewed by various parties who are all commenting individually (and often contradicting each other), then parsing, organizing and dealing with video revisions can be very time intensive. There are times when this situation is completely unavoidable. If we know your budget we can come up with a video editing and script revision plan that suits your exact needs, and also tell you if we are able to work within a particular feedback delivery scenario.
If you are using actors: What caliber of actors can we use in your video production?
The old saying “you get what you pay for” is typically very true when it comes to both on-screen and voiceover talent. Knowing your budget will allow us to find the best talent possible within your price range. If we do not know budgetary constraints, it will be very challenging to assign a dollar amount for talent.
The above questions are just the tip of the iceberg. There are literally hundreds of other variables that directly and indirectly affect the cost of a video production.
When we know your budget we can design a plan that works to achieve your goals. Not every budget is workable. If the budget won’t allow us to create a great video, we turn down the job. At ECG Productions it’s not just about collecting checks – it’s far more important to us that everything we send out the door looks & sounds great and effectively and engagingly communicates the intended message.
Do yourself a big favor: the next time you contact a video production company, be it in Atlanta or around the globe, clearly lay out your needs and your budget. This single act will get you a better video and will stop the budget back and forth that can waste valuable hours and cause massive frustration. When there is no budget information presented, or when we hear phrases like “just give us the best of everything” we know that, 9 times out of 10, the next step will be sticker shock. “But I didn’t know it would cost THAT much”. Everyone has a budget, at least on some level, and sharing it with your vendor gets you MORE value for your money, not less, because you’ll be able to move into production that much sooner with the confidence that you can get the product you want within the budget you have at your disposal.
It’s that simple. I promise!