How to Produce a High-Quality Video on a Low Budget
August 2, 2021
Video tells the story of your company, getting exponentially more shares on social media than text and link posts, driving more customer engagement, and helping you capture more leads. Your marketing videos create the first impression for potential customers about the quality of your products or services. If your videos have a low production value, what will your customers think about you?
In the past, high-quality videos were very expensive (and cumbersome) for small businesses to produce, limiting opportunities for brands. Traditionally produced videos required scriptwriters, camera crews, studio sets, professional video editing, and graphics, and even paid actors. Companies with little to no budgets simply could not compete.
But today that is changing, thanks to the advances in digital technology making the production of marketing videos easier and more affordable than ever before. There are more options for cameras that shoot excellent video (including smartphones!), making it simple to capture footage. Online tools are also available to help you edit, create graphics, and even animate. No matter the size of your company, great video marketing is achievable and should be part of your communications plans. Here are the steps you need to produce a high-quality video while keeping costs low:
STEP 1 – Determine your video budget.
Having an established budget, whether it’s $0, $500, or $5000, will help guide your production decisions. The more you can invest in the video, the more options you will have for it. But that doesn’t mean that you cannot create an impactful video on a minimal budget. In fact, you can make a completely free video using PowerPoint slides or shooting with your iPhone on a tripod in natural light – and distribute it at no cost on your website or social media platforms! Regardless of budget, there are options for you.
STEP 2 – Know your goal.
Before you start recording, map out what your goal is for the video and how you intend to reach it. Who is your video’s audience and what action do you want them to take after watching? Are you making the video to increase awareness of your brand or to sell a particular product? Once you have nailed down your message, consider the simplest (and most budget-friendly) way to convey it in your video.
Also, think about the distribution strategy you will use to make sure your intended audience actually sees your video! Will you publish it on your website and social media channels? Will you use it for paid advertising? The answers to these questions will guide the type of video you will need, helping you eliminate unnecessary production costs and communicate your marketing message most effectively.
STEP 3 – Put it on paper.
Begin with a script that outlines every scene, voiceover, dialogue, and transition. Try to keep it short and keep the message focused, limiting dialogue to 125 to 150 words per minute and aiming for an edited video that is under two minutes. Generally speaking, the simpler and shorter the video, the less expensive it will be to produce (and the easier it will be to hold your viewer’s attention)!
Then, using your script as a guideline, create a storyboard (or graphic organizer) to help you to visualize each scene and the production requirements for it. The storyboarding process will allow you to detect and correct any issues before you start recording, which will save time and money!
STEP 4 – Invest in equipment.
If you are planning to produce a series of videos, consider investing in basic equipment. There are four main tools for video production – a digital camera, a microphone, a tripod, and a lighting kit. With a DSLR camera, available for as little as $500, simple studio lights, and a clean, white background, you can achieve a simple, professional look for your production.
However, if there is no room in the budget for equipment purchase, you may be able to rent what you need or leverage what you have to create your video. As we mentioned earlier, you can shoot your video on your smartphone, and this is a good, low-cost option if you intend it to be shared on social media.
STEP 5 – Hire strategically.
If your goal is to create your marketing video in-house, make sure to identify the strengths of your team. Do you have a talented writer on staff, or could your company’s graphic designer help with visuals? If your script utilizes actors, can your team fill those roles, or do you need to hire professional talent? If you are producing the video on your own, can you shoot it yourself or do you need a camera crew? Do you have editing capabilities, or do you need an experienced editor? Knowing what you can accomplish in-house can help you save money in your video budget – and allow you to allocate funds to areas where you really need help to create a high-quality final product.
If you find that you do need to outsource, you can find freelance professionals through online resources like Fiverr and Upwork. If you are looking for a more turnkey production solution, Red House Streaming, a subsidiary of CP Communications, was developed specifically to help make video production and distribution accessible and affordable for businesses and individuals. With a 5,600-square-foot studio and network operations center, as well as a complete family of mobile production and streaming packages, Red House Streaming works with content creators to bring their vision to life, efficiently and cost-effectively.
STEP 6 – Production day!
With all the planning complete, it’s time to shoot your marketing video! Make sure to check all cameras, lights, and equipment to ensure they are in working order – and always have extra batteries on hand. Plan time in your production schedule for set-up, testing, talent preparation (if you have actors), and any final rehearsals. Shoot your video with editing in mind, making sure to capture enough footage. Be sure to check your audio and video quality regularly, understanding that it’s easier to reshoot than to fix it in post-production. A partner like Red House Streaming can help ensure that your production day goes smoothly, from start to finish.
While it can be challenging, it is also very possible for your company to create a compelling marketing video on a tight budget. Having a clear plan, along with the right tools and vendors, will take your company’s videos to the next level!