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5 Ways to Use a $5K Video Budget for your Company Video

video production budget ideas san francisco bay area

For some reason, $5,000 seems to be the magic number that many clients can justify for a basic video. It’s a respectable budget and a lot can be done with that amount, but there will always be trade-offs. You’ll get the most bang for your buck if you have time on your side to plan and some bonus resources like: existing photos/video, a cool office to shoot in, a staff graphic designer who can create assets, a product that lends itself well to video or even people who are great on camera.

To give you some ideas, heres 5 ways you could allocate a 5K budget to produce content for your company.

1. Interviews and B-roll

This method is very popular because it works and can be pretty easy to do and yield good results. There will be limitations on production gear/time and editing time so plan well. Here’s how it works:

  • Shoot some interviews of your team/customers/partners and get  some supporting b-roll footage in one day. Split shoot time about 50/50 (between interviews & b-roll) and get a wide variety.

  • Get some good royalty-free production music from a site like Killer Tracks.

  • In your edit, you’ll ideally have lots of sound bites and b-roll to cut a 1-5 minute video telling your story.

  • Slap a “Call to Action” and your logo at the end and you’re in business!

2. B-roll, Voice Over and Music.

In some cases, seeing an interviewee on screen isn’t needed and the story can be told in voice-over only. In this case a video shoot of just a product, location or other subject may suffice. If a video shoot isn’t feasible, it’s also possible to use stock b-roll footage from a site like Dissolve.com. Here’s how it works:

  • Determine the main points for your script and explore options for what footage you may be able to harvest.

  • Write a draft of the script with that footage in mind and keep a log of shots you’d like to get to cover your script.

  • Harvest the best footage you can, by shooting or stock footage sites.

  • Then rewrite the script to go with the footage you actually were able to get .

  • Edit them together with great music and repeat rewrites if needed.

3. Scripted Studio Shoot

If it’s most important to see someone on-camera, then maybe making that shot and script perfect is the priority. Think of a “State of the Union” address, there’s no b-roll or music, just a scripted talking head. Here’s how this technique works:

  • Start writing the best script possible, perhaps working with a writer who knows the quirks of video scripting well.

  • Find a production company, studio and set that will work best for your budget.

  • For backgrounds, maybe it’s just a solid color background or green-screen (which honestly I think is usually pretty cheesy). This can get spendy so you’ll need to make some tough choices (referring to the studio, camera, lighting & background set options here).

  • You’ll also probably need a teleprompter so your on-camera talent can read the script while looking into camera.

  • You probably wont have any b-roll so the edit will basically just be taking the one take you like best.

4. Illustrations and Animation

A very different approach is to use animated motion graphics. This certainly be very time-consuming and expensive so unless you have staffers that can help with designs, you’ll have to do some serious expectation setting and compromises. That said, here’s what you probably can do:

  • Most importantly, keep it basic. That includes, script, designs and animation. They all can take a long time so simplicity is key.

  • For script length, you should consider a :15-:30 range, maybe a minute.

  • For designs, the more basic, the better. Try using icons, shapes even text to tell a visual story.

  • Find some great music and see how it works with graphics and voice over.

  • Animation can involve simple moves, spinning, popping, etc. Something should always be happening.

  • Sound effects are a key ingredient that helps bring this technique to life so don’t forget to save some budget for music design and mix.

5) Photo Montage with Music

One life-saving technique can be to use photos and music to tell your story. It’s probably the easiest way to engage emotions. If you have a bounty of photos already, then this can really work well. If you need to find photos or take them, getting great photos can be time consuming and expensive. Taking them may be just as complex as a video shoot. Here’s a few steps you can take to get the best results:

  • Do a quick search into what high res photos you may be able to get, either in your company or online.

  • Come up with a list of key search terms that will enable your team to find the right ones and see how much they may cost.

  • Keep in mind that for video, you’ll need a new photo to cut to every couple seconds in the edit, perhaps 2-5 depending on the feel you are going for.

  • Video is a horizontal rectangle aspect ratio at least 1280 x 720 pixels so you’ll want to try and find ‘landscape’ justified photos when possible, or cropping them to fill the frame can be hard if resolution isn’t very high.

  • You might look into animating the photos or even creating a 2.5D effect if you have time and budget.

Summary

All these techniques can be mixed and matched of course so this is just a start. The best thing you can do is plan, but know that no production ever goes perfectly to plan, it evolves. Try and give yourself options by having a variety (of takes/shots/angles/assets) and the creative space to develop the project as it’s happening. Many problems can be fixed in the edit as long as there are options and time.

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