In these times of financial uncertainty, receiving a quote for any services can make your jaw hit the floor. How much? Surely not! The figure you had in your mind was substantially less than the figure you got back, so where did it all go wrong and what do you do now?
Find Out Where the Money is Going
There is a big difference between a 5-minute video produced on a £10,000 budget and a 5-minute video produced on a £200 budget. If you could do the split test, the results should speak for themselves and the one with the larger budget should be far better. Of course, you can’t guarantee this. Throwing money at a project doesn’t necessarily make it good. There are plenty of Hollywood films that are flops and that’s not because they didn’t have the money. What money allows you to do is spend enough time developing the ideas and hiring the best team to make the production a success. That is why when you get your quotes, you have to know exactly what you are getting for your money.
The Best Videos Take Time to Produce
This is tricky because you are never going to know how long a company spends making a video for you. They may tell you one thing and do another! There are also thousands of approaches to realise the finished product, just as different people – depending on experience and creativity, etc. – will go through the process at different speeds and with varying results.
To add another level of complexity, if your project is managed well the production company will be aiming to keep your involvement to a minimum so as not to waste your time. Thus you may get a limited view of how much time it has all taken.
So what can you quantify? If this is the first time you have commissioned a video, it’s a really good idea to do something small that will allow you to learn about the production stages and what input you need to be giving to get what you want. No production of any sizeable budget will go ahead without a plan, which can be broken down into concepts, scripts, storyboards, schedules and so on. This pre-production is worth every penny because it should make the next two phases, production and post production, more efficient. Of course, if these steps are skipped then what you are paying should come down, too. The same is true of the other steps. You can rush the filming and editing, but this is likely to impact on the finished product.
Skill and Experience Comes with a Price Tag
As in any industry you get what you pay for. Anyone can make a video, but if it’s quality that you are after, invariably the people who deliver that have had years of hard graft to get to where they are. Quite rightly you pay more money for this experience. So you have to be realistic with who you can afford and how professional you need to go, which will be determined by the size of your business and the marketing budget available to you, etc.
What Kit Are They Using?
This is normally an area of the budget that you can examine. Your production company has invested a lot of money in the kit that will help them get the results they want. So how much would it cost you to hire that kit? Even if you shop around you may be surprised by how much it comes to (and none of this includes the skill of operating this equipment properly). While production companies may not necessarily have to hire equipment themselves because they own it, they will have to update it frequently to stay ahead of the competition.
How Many People Are Involved in This Production?
Making videos, films or television shows is a team game. The more elaborate you get the more there is to know, which is why people make a career out of mastering one area or aspect of the production. A one-man band may get your video made and at a low price but it is nearly impossible to get beyond a certain level of production. The flip side of this is that the more people – or specialists – you have on board the production, the more the cost increases.
Find the Right Balance
Only you know your situation, what you can afford and what you expect for that money. As a business owner you will no doubt be asking questions about the effectiveness of a campaign versus other ways of using the money. When you receive your finished video you should be happy with the results and excited about seeing how the video fulfils its objective. You don’t want to be disappointed or worse, thinking that you could have done better yourself. If that is the case, then you need to move on to another company or take things into your own hands! Maybe there is a budding film director waiting to get out . . . just make sure you are objective with what is produced. Quite often this will illustrate what is involved and when you add up all the time you’ve spent and reflect on the results, you may see the production company quote in a whole new light!
A Good Production Company Will Give You Pricing Options
Having explored why the costs start to add up, it’s worth remembering that the same production company should be able to offer you different packages (basic, intermediate and high end) to illustrate what different budgets can achieve. Think about how an architect might design you the biggest house within your budget when a smaller house might be nearly as good and leave you with some money in the bank! While the production company may want you to go for their preferred option, it must be what is best for you.