Nobody wants to spend more money on a video than necessary, but nobody wants a video to look cheap, either. Fortunately, modern technology and old-fashioned planning allow for the creation of nice, professional videos even on small budgets. In days before digital filmmaking, options for low-budget filmmaking were limited and looked cheap, making a brand or company look cheesy in the process. In modern corporate video production, the talent costs more money than the gear, which leads to potentially great results when talented professionals can also work efficiently.
Pre-Production Scheduling and Planning
The key to low budget video production is to minimize the time that talented, expensive professionals need to spend on the video, which means maximizing the time invested in pre-production before even hiring a corporate video company. For a company overview video, for instance, know the basic message of the video, who will provide interview commentary or what the voiceover script will include, and which B-roll elements need filming. A tight, detailed schedule allows for minimal production time and thus saves costs for the most expensive part of the process. A low budget company overview video can be shot in as few as three hours if planned accordingly.
Besides proper planning, quality audio and video are essential, which means hiring a talented videographer with the right equipment. While many consumer camcorders take nice images, a professional videographer should have at least a “prosumer” option like a higher-end DSLR camera (Canon 5D, for instance) or another camera in the $5,000 range, give or take. Numerous options are on the market today from all major manufacturers. For interviews, professional audio is essential, which means using a lavaliere or boom mic recorded to an external audio recorder or directly to the camera via an XLR or mini-XLR jack.
Video production is very similar to computer programming’s saying, “garbage in, garbage out,” meaning without quality footage from production, the final result will be poor. Choosing a professional videographer is a necessary element of a quality video. Fortunately, any reputable production company will have many videographer contacts and skilled professionals who will make the most of a short shoot.
Post-production provides other opportunities for adding value to a video and making it appear higher budget even when the numbers say otherwise. Custom motion graphics work is expensive and often impressive, but also largely unnecessary except for the highest end applications. Numerous polished, slick motion graphics templates exist that can be fully customized by a skilled editor to work for a variety of purposes. Motion graphics templates are fairly inexpensive and affordable, especially compared to $50-100/hour for custom work. Many viewers will still be impressed with motion graphics work in general, regardless of whether it is a template; they won’t know the difference.
Other options during post-production may also add higher production values when used properly by a skilled editor. Kinetic text, or motion text, delivers information in compelling ways while also adding movement to shots. Stale, static shots with boring text are a staple of cheesy, old corporate videos. Kinetic text provides a way to deliver key information in memorable ways. Stock footage is often an affordable option for B-roll use where the subject is too expensive to record, such as a plane taking off from a runway or a far-away locale. Beware of overusing stock footage, but included sparingly it can work wonders for a low budget video. Finally, a variety of licensed music is available in all forms that is inexpensive and high quality. Choosing the right elements in the right mixture is where a talented professional editor shines.