Producing videos and estimating their costs is a lot like building a house. I’ve come to this conclusion through many years of experience. Consider the similarities:
- Start with a blueprint: For a video this might be as simple as answering these questions: Who is my audience? What is my message? What is the delivery method? Oh yeah, a script is a good idea, also. So maybe writing isn’t your strong suit and you decide that your production will be driven completely by interviews. In that case, make sure you know what the subjects need to say to convey your ideas. It can turn into a real struggle to edit together interviews that only tell your story in fragments. Have the answers to your questions written out. If the subject doesn’t cover the material needed to tell the story, keep rephrasing the questions until they do. And be prepared to fill in any necessary gaps with a few lines of voice over.
- Find a professional: Do you want your homebuilder to have another full-time job that is his main focus? The brother-in-law deal can be great, if he truly knows what he’s doing. But since he can’t dedicate all his time to your project, it will take much longer to complete. There’s no substitute for experience. A professional offers efficiency and quality that will reflect in the final product.
- Be flexible, but not impulsive: If your builder says they will have to import the shag carpet you want from Ecuador and it will cost $95 a yard, recognize that it’s an excessive cost and settle for something else. Similarly, be aware that the cool effect you may want for your video will take many hours to produce and may not be essential. When building your house, if you make major revisions to your plans well into construction, it will be costly and you may not be happy with the results. If you shoot with one concept and suddenly decide to pattern your video after the latest viral sensation on YouTube, the outcome might not be pretty, or meet your budget.
- Fast, good, or cheap (pick two): This old adage still rings true. Just like houses, video production can land in all price ranges. If you’ve got a small budget, try to do as much work as possible before the camera starts rolling. This will save time and money in both the shoot and the edit. Maybe you think you’ve got a simple little video to put together. You’ve got a pretty good camera; you’ll just do it yourself. That’s fine, but estimate the time you think it will take you and triple it. No, quadruple it. How much is your time worth? And no matter how talented you think you are, the final product will not have the polish a professional can give it.
Just remember, I’ve got a hammer in my garage at home, but that doesn’t make me a carpenter.
Have you had experience producing videos for your business? Tell us about the experience in the comments below, or tweet your responses using the hashtag #mcgblog.