How to make the best possible video on a budget

10.10.2014 11:52

 

How to make the best possible video on a budget
courtesy Vzaar 

Last week the brilliant Corrina Stegner from Casual Films joined us to talk about“How To Make The Most Of Your Video Budget”. In her 4 years at Casual Films, Corrina has produced hundreds of films with budgets ranging from £2,500 to £250,000. Whether it be a 2D animation, stop frame, talking heads or something more creative, she believes there’s always a way to make your budget work. Corrina’s client’s include EY, Bloomberg, Tesco, HSF, Roche, Rolls-Royce and Breakthrough Breast Cancer to name but a few.

Corrina walked us through 6 typical scenarios clients face when juggling budgets. Here are her tips for making sure you spend your money wisely (plus a video round up at the end)…

Scenario 1: “My subject is really boring and I don’t really have much to spend. What can you do?”

We get this question a lot from clients who are searching for a better way to engage their employees during health and safety training, for example.

The key thing here is that the obvious choice isn’t always the best one. It can be very tempting to try and cut the costs by just filming a talking head of your health and safety manager. But the thing is that’s still going to cost you money, plus it’s not going to be engaging – and this was the very reason you decided to go with video in the first place!

Something that works really well here is to use animation. This will bring a humorous visual to punctuate what can often be a fairly dry script. And, animation doesn’t necessarily have to cost a lot.

Top Tip: Use one character throughout the animation. This means you can reuse this single asset throughout the whole animation, instead of having to create new content for every scene.

Scenario 2: “The story I need to tell is really long, but I need to retain interest”

Generally speaking, we encourage people to reduce the length of their videos. As a rule of thumb we try to keep promotional videos to less than 90 seconds; otherwise people just don’t tend to watch all the way to the end.

That said, there are situations where a longer video might be necessary. A career video perhaps. Or if you’ve got a long company history. The problem is that if you use a talking head, while admittedly cheap, the reality is your video will get boring. On the other hand, a more engaging animation will just get really expensive because of how long it needs to be.

Top Tip: Vary the visual. You could, for example, use hand drawn illustrations which will bring the benefits of animation, without the associated costs of computer generation.

Scenario 3: “We just need content. We have gaps to fill on the website but we can’t afford to do anything too complex. We don’t want it to be rubbish though”

This is particularly common for businesses doing a website redesign. Their design includes video components, but by the time they are ready to make the video they’ve already spent a large chunk of their budget elsewhere. In this scenario we encourage people to use just one creative device in the edit to add a bit of interest.

Top Tip: Intersperse B roll with your main footage. Typically with talking heads we’ll do a two camera set up which gives us some behind the scenes type stuff which is really, really simple to get but instantly makes the video more watchable.

Scenario 4: “We’re a charity so we don’t want to spend a lot…but we need to generate maximum return”

The key thing here is that the video HAS to be functional. Before you start to craft the creative, you need to be really clear about what the goals are. Often you don’t often need a big glossy film to meet those targets. The video’s form really comes second to its function.

Top Tip: We tend to use the real people who work for the charities rather than spending money on actors. To get a relaxed performance out of these employees it’s really important to spend a bit of time chatting to them before hand and getting to know them as a human being. This will help them feel more comfortable when the camera starts rolling. And remember, editing can work wonders!

Scenario 5: “We’re a global business and we need to include everyone”

It’s not very cost effective to send a crew around the world to film everyone in all your offices. User generated content can be a great way to get around this. Give your employees some cameras and set them loose. But, beware! It is super important to teach your employees how to make good quality UGC, otherwise you might end up with completely unusable footage. And that’s just a waste of their time filming it, and your time reviewing it.

Top Tips:

  • Make sure there’s enough light
  • Make sure the camera is close enough to hear you over any background noise
  • Think about framing – the camera shouldn’t be too close, or too far away. Try and get the head, plus shoulders, in shot
  • Keep the camera steady. You don’t want to make the viewer vomit!
  • Tee up each shot – don’t just switch location without an explanation

Scenario 6: “We don’t have much money but we’d like to make a video that’s really fun”

The beauty of a brief that basically tells you to have fun is that you get to go a bit crazy with it. And quite often you don’t actually need a big budget for this – you just need to get a bit creative. In our experience, budget limitations actually breed creativity so it can work to your advantage in this case.

Closing Questions

If you’d like to make a video with Casual Films drop the team an email here.

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