Maximizing Your Creative Resources

One of the key ways to save money on corporate video work is to take inventory of your creative resources, just like an independent film producer would do for a project. For instance, if you have a place of business, you already have one free location. If you have a marketing department or a marketing specialist, you already have someone who can help with your key branding and messaging goals. While major companies hire advertising agencies, major companies also have hundreds of millions of dollars for marketing; you probably are looking to save money over such expensive options. Your customers may be a great asset, too, depending on your business. Could you interview key customers about their experience? Could you showcase what you did for other clients or customers of yours?

Another idea is to browse similar videos you like and draw inspiration from what others have done. Remember, ideas aren’t copyrightable, only the execution of ideas can be copyrighted. If you find another video with a similar style and structure and want to apply it to your business, feel free to base your video outline on something that already exists. Especially if the video is for another industry, then copying the general feel of the video will still yield a much different result and give you the benefit of knowing your creative concept is tried and true. I would never advocate stealing a video’s concept directly, but taking a similar approach to something you think works is never a bad place to start brainstorming.

When trying to save costs, your first consideration is avoiding what are going to be the most expensive elements of any production. In a smaller corporate video, your biggest expenses are the videographer, talent, locations, editing, and any creative or project management time. On a corporate video shot at the client’s place of business involving interviews with staff, two of the major expenses are already reduced to zero. With careful planning and research, you can be the creative impetus for the project and use the production company’s resources but without incurring a bunch of creative time and thus costs. There is no avoiding the cost for a talented, creative videographer and a skilled editor, but at least the overall costs will be more manageable. The production company’s time managing the project then only involves fairly simple scheduling coordination, discussions about the client’s goals, a producer deciding what gear the videographer should bring, and fine-tuning in editing to match with client discussions.

Even the videography can be made more affordable through careful planning, though. If you know you only need a few key comments from staff, and you can keep the list of interviewees to three people instead of 6-8, you may be able to fit the full shot list into a four-hour day instead of an eight-hour day, which makes a large difference in costs. Not only will a shorter shoot day incur fewer videographer expenses, but it will also lead to reduced editing time because there will be less footage to sort and cut. Interviews usually also incur transcription costs, or even worse, additional editing time to find the best soundbites. Fewer interviews can save time on set and save costs. Of course, at some point you have to decide what you really need in your video and be careful not to trim costs back just to make a cheap video if the ultimate quality suffers.

As with almost all video production, the pre-production and planning process is essential to figure out what you need to make the video a success. As such, careful outlining of the content of the video will help guide your decision-making process and allow for creative thought. The better the outline, the more exacting the schedule can be and the more you can figure out how to bring all of your resources to bear to save costs. The production company will also be much less likely to pad the budget because you’ve made your vision clear and they already know you won’t be a nightmare client with time-consuming overages and last-minute changes. The producer will be able to save time in planning because you’ve already done much of the planning, so he or she can focus on bringing together the team to make it happen.