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3 ways to spend more on filmed video - the good, the bad, and the ugly

3 different ways to spend more on filmed video.

Learn the Good, the Bad & the Ugly of paying more.

If filmed video quality matters to you, this is where to go.

One of the PLAIN ANSWERS series by Producer Kevin Rossiter

  • plain answers


Three ways to spend more on filmed video -  the good, the bad, and the ugly.



As we say, there's three ways to spend more:

The good way is to add more resources to your video, to make it clearer, more effective and more impressive. This'll persuade your audience better.
The bad way is to mismanage the video in some way, so it leads to additional unbudgeted costs.

The ugly way we’ll discover together.

Let's see what this means in the real business world.



Now, you can add more resources to your video.

The basic video you see is usually a point and shoot camera work with a crew of one camera op and a video director.

You shoot for one or more days.

This is filmed to an agreed script and storyboard.

It's edited cleanly with basic animated titles and captions to help tell your story.

Now, this can be fine for many productions, but sometimes it's just not enough.

To explain, it's going to be easier to show you some real world examples of why you want to spend more on filmed video - why you might need more resources.



You might need

- A presenter to introduce your video and narrate as they walk and talk you through it. Now, a presenter can cost you £500 to £1000 a day, or more for a big name, but their good looks and easy manner will make a big impression on your audience.

- You can use two camera ops for filming your CEO or a VIP or a customer, which can add a few hundred to the bill, but it makes that person look more impressive. Two cameras always does.

- You can have a custom animation sequence in your filmed video to explain an invisible thing like an idea, or the inner working of a machine or a process, and this can cost you £500 to £1000 or more.

- You might want to hire a celeb to present your video. We paid £3000 a day for an aging but much loved rock star. He was brilliant. He was a real pro and he was just so exciting, he fizzed everywhere. He added pizzazz to the video. We couldn't have done that with just point and shoot, no way.

- You might want a small cast of actors to dramatize common work or product-use scenes.

Any scene that helps the audience connect more deeply with your message, seeing and hearing real people. Well, they're not real, they're actors, but nonetheless, real people with real feelings, issues and questions - it works, it makes an impression.

Now, good actors from an agency can cost you £750 a day, on average. You can get cut price bargains and shop around a bit. You can even hire the local am-dram group for much less.

- You might want a cast of non-speaking extras to simulate your workforce, because your workforce aren't available because of shifts or holidays or general availability. You mightn't have many people working for you. Extras come relatively cheaply, think rent-a-crowd.

- You might want a drone for overhead footageof your plant or internal footage inside, if its big, or inside your facilities. But it will cost you £500 for a day for a licensed drone op.

- You might want more stylish, better designed and better animated graphic captions than just the basic ones that come with the video. These reflect your superior brand or the quality of your proposition.

This is extra design time and extra animation time, which you pay for. It might not be a lot, but it's still a cost.

- Extra shoot days to film in multiple locations.Now, more filming days push your budgets up quickly. You might need special hired-in props, like a dummy gun or a pile of glass to smash, or a posh car.

- You might need to hire a special location like a beautiful kitchen or a lounge in a house, or an office or a shop or even a stately home.

- You might want extra shoot days to go and film your customers or VIPs at their place, not yours. They won't travel to you ... you have to travel to them.

Now, the thing is even if filming is just for an hour to go in and out, or an hour and a half, you still have to pay the crew the full day rate, because crews don't work half days.

This pushes cost up but you get priceless footage for it.

- Live interviews with your workforce or customers take longer to shoot and they also require extra editing. People don't always understand this. If you film 10 interviews and edit it down to maybe five minutes or less of brilliant sound bites, it takes work, it's time.

This is because every interview word has to be listened to really closely, often loads of times, so the resulting edit is really clean and persuasive and crisp.

- You might need special equipment like a crane, which’ll give you spectacular exterior views, and it's only £70 a day. This is quite reasonable, but still an extra cost.

- Some video companies may charge extra for time lapse cameras or GoPro cameras or special camera track to capture smooth movement during filming. Some don't, some do.

- You might also need a green screen studio hire and subsequent dubbing. You can have a portable on-site green screen but it still takes more time and work so expect to pay a little bit more for it.

Unless your video concept is inherently brilliant, deeper persuasion often requires deeper pockets.



Now, let's look at the bad ways you can spend more, and it's really it's about mismanagement.

Mismanagement is a bit of a cruel word to use, but look at it like this. If you've got a poorly organized shoot, and it leads to some things being unavailable or filmed wrongly on the shoot day, you'll need an extra shoot day to return and finish the job.

And that's an unplanned cost.

What I'd suggest is that it pays to plan diligently and be abnormally thorough with all aspects of the shoot

- like the filming schedule for each day

- the props and the cast that are needed each day

- and that all the locations you're filming in are suitable and available.



Now we get onto the ugly. The ugly is safety and cleanliness.

Now, having to reshoot because of some unsafe activity in the background is the commonest cause of shoot overruns. For instance:

You might have an operator in the background without proper PPE or with loose hair dangling over a machine. No one noticed, but there we are, it came out on film.

Or you might have an unnoticed rubbish bins spilled in a walkway

You might have the wrong logo seen in the background of an important shot. Maybe it was your old brand before you were taken over two years ago.

We could just have a simple thing like messy office desks, it just looks scruffy.

Now, these little things are what trip up managers who are not used to video disciplines.

To get around this, everything needs to be scrupulously checked and inspected in advance of the shoot.

This is how you avoid the ugly.



It's you that has to decide whether to spend.

You might be a marketer in a tough market and you need to make a lasting impression.

It's really important.

You could be a safety or a training manager and you need to get under the skin of your workforce, you need to reach their hearts and minds.

Or you might need to address an audience that expects a high standard of video from you, like big customers.

Sometimes it can be smart to spend the extra, there's no question. The results can easily pay for themselves in terms of increased sales, or a more progressive, motivated workforce attitude. It's not a lot to pay for these things.

What you have to decide is, one person's costly frill might be an essential for someone else.

We're all different. You decide.

It's often worth spending more if you're certain a more expensive video will deliver more and better results.

Now, your video producer should be your friend here. They should explain all these pros and cons to you in as much detail as you need. That's where you'll find help.

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That's it, the good, the bad and the ugly ways to spend more on filmed video.

Okay, back to work.


Author Kevin Rossiter has been producing business video for 30 years, won 14 awards, worked in many countries around the World, and is a regular blogger on business video topics.


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