With marketing professionals and companies often strapped for budgets and having many places to spend their precious advertising dollars, sometimes video production budgets suffer, but the quality — and your profit margins — need not plummet as a result. Companies looking to produce one isolated video and offering a small budget rarely leave much room for creativity or profit, but when a company wants to create a series of videos simultaneously, careful collaboration and creativity can lead to great results both for the client and for the production company’s bottom line. Sharing the workload in pre-production, maximizing the shoot time during production, and spreading out costs across videos in post-production can lead to low per-video costs for bulk projects without sacrificing quality or profit.
Whether a company needs a series of product videos, training videos, or videos aimed at different audiences, bulk video production can allow for cost savings in almost every area of the process while maintaining high quality standards. Because most videographers have a half-day rate and a full-day rate, shooting one product video that may only take 2 hours including setup and takedown could still result in paying a videographer their half-day rate. If pre-production is well planned, though, a company could shoot 5-10 simple product videos in a day and massively reduce the production cost per product. In post-production, where cost savings are important, using the same stock music track for each video (where licensing allows) can also provide some additional cost savings. If the product videos involve voiceover, negotiating a discount with a talented VO artist is easier when providing scripts for ten videos versus just one.
Not only can well planned bulk video production decrease costs, but it can also increase quality if planned accordingly. For a single video shoot, where cost is a significant concern, the production company may not have the resources to rent a high-end camera or hire a high-end videographer, but if multiple product videos can be combined into the same day of shooting, the camera cost and the videographer cost are spread over a greater number of videos. If a location needs to be secured for the production, similarly the location cost is spread across many videos instead of just one. Usually, whether a location is needed for a few hours or a full day, the cost is going to be the same, meaning filming multiple videos in one day maximizes the value for the location cost.
The same concept applies even more strongly when the number of videos requires several days of shooting. Many videographers have flexibility with their rates on multi-day shoots because of the reality of freelance work. Videographers would have less need to charge as much money per day if they could guarantee filling their schedules every single work day, but because of the feast or famine nature of the business, the work days have to provide enough income to cover the off days with no bookings. A production company offering three full days of work in a row may be able to secure a small break on the price, or at the least a discount on gear rentals, which are often cheaper per day when spread over many days.
In post-production, not only can a production company realize savings in music purchases and voiceover, but establishing a winning formula behind the videos — when they are similar enough in concept — can condense the per-video editing time. If each video is two minutes and focuses on a different product, the layout of each video will be similar and footage can be cut accordingly in an assembly-line fashion while still maintaining a strong creative focus and message. Elements like font for text, music selection, choosing a voiceover artist, and deciding on a color palette (saturated, desaturated, etc.) take a set amount of time whether the final project includes one video or ten videos, but spreading the editing time, and thus cost, over more videos reduces the per-video cost to a manageable level.
The biggest key to maximizing a budget and decreasing the per-video cost of a bulk video project is client collaboration. To save money, the client needs to provide complete scripts for what each video will demonstrate or showcase, what voiceover or text accompanies the video, and what props or products will be needed. Ideally, they will have a free location or be able to secure a location to help save the production money. The more pre-production work the client can accomplish, the smoother and less expensive the shoot will be for the production company. While filming a quality video for $800-1000 and having any money left over may be impossible, filming ten videos in a day for $8,000 to $10,000 may be perfectly doable. To borrow a term from product manufacturing, the concept is creating an “economy of scale” so that while the total cost is still significant, the cost per video is greatly reduced.
For one of our clients based out of Atlanta, the company wanted to film 17 training videos on medical and surgical instrument cleaning and maintenance, but wanted to keep costs below $20,000. We scheduled three consecutive days of filming with a local director of photography using a RED camera, paid to fly our editor out as a second camera operator and assistant, then negotiated a contract with our preferred voiceover artist for a bulk recording session. The client provided detailed scripts and worked closely with us in establishing the flow and progression of each video in addition to helping on the shoot days as well, which allowed for a quick, efficient production that finished early on the third day. The end result was a series of 2-3 minute videos that individually could have cost $3,000 each, but all together the per-video cost was reduced to just over $1,000.
About the Writer
Jonathan L. Bowen is the founder and owner of JLB Media Productions (JLBMedia.com), a national corporate video production company. He is also an award winning director with his music videos, short films, and feature film, Amy Alyson Fans, having played festivals nationwide. To learn more about video production and video marketing, check out our white paper.