Lean Productions: Creating Video Content Without Breaking the Bank

Video camera lensYou don’t need to break the bank to produce value-driving video content.

Video is great for marketing. We all know it’s true, so we won’t rattle off any statistics proving its effectiveness or why your marketing is in trouble without it.

Okay, maybe just a few, courtesy of Hubspot:

  • 90 percent of consumers reported that video content was helpful in decision making
  • 92 percent of mobile consumers share mobile video with others
  • 73 percent of B2B marketers using video strategies report an increase in their ROI

video-marketing-statistics-infographicStatistics demonstrating the effectiveness of online video.

Despite the bounty of benefits, video content is more complex than an image or a blog; many factors come into play when producing video, and when the creation process is approached willy-nilly, the costs can add up quickly. This is the primary challenge facing video marketing: how to maintain high standards of quality without depleting your entire marketing budget on one type of content.

Let’s review how to get the most mileage out of your budget across equipment choice, talent scouting, and editing software:

Camera Tech

Video requires equipment. Only a few years ago, this meant buying or renting expensive recording devices, but with the advent of powerful smartphone cameras, costly rentals are no longer necessary. Most mobile devices these days have built-in cameras that put old-fashioned camcorder technology to shame.

Now, it’s true that mobile cameras still can’t match the quality of cutting-edge video cameras, but most content producers (not counting you, GoPro) can get by without the expense of ultra-HD, 4k resolution capture technology. Unless you’re in a highly visual market wherein the popularity of your content is dependent on how crisp the image is, you can probably get by with mobile camera technology.

But remember, your goal here isn’t the cheapest video possible. According to a 2016 report by the Content Marketing Institute, 79 percent of B2B marketers and 82 percent of B2C marketers are using a video content strategy. That’s a lot of video, and cheap content won’t make an impact. We must reiterate that you should be aiming for a blend of cost-efficiency and quality.

Finding Talent

Now that the hardware is nailed down, we can move into the actual substance of your video: the talent. The type and cost of video talent will vary greatly based on what type of content you’re producing.

Classic whiteboard explainer videos need little more than somebody to write the script, a voice-over narrator, and a marker. Intel’s five-part “Meet the Makers” series uses a blend of visual-guided narration, carefully crafted scripts, and a pinch of acting to showcase its brand.

Talent comes in many forms. Just ask Google—their video “Friends Furever” was the most shared ad of 2015, featuring nothing but a veritable Noah’s Ark of animals frolicking with one another. This is your next step: identifying what type of talent to showcase.

But before you can assess the costs of said talent, you must analyze what your content requires and who you have at your disposal.

Is there a script that needs to be written? Do you need actors? Voice-over work? If you have a talented creative team behind you, you might be able to source these roles in-house, but be careful. If you try to save a few bucks by going cheap, your message may suffer. This is true of all content production. Sure, you can act the whole thing out yourself for free, but if your voice doesn’t carry well on camera or you’re uncomfortable with eyes on you, your message won’t resonate with your audience.

Outsourcing talent doesn’t have to be expensive. Consider scouting for talent on sites like Upwork or Freelancer where hungry up-and-comers are willing to perform for reasonable rates.

Putting It Together

So, you have your camera, your microphones, and your talent lined up. The last step is the glue that brings it all together: video editing software.

Editing software is essential for any style of video production. However, you don’t have to go top shelf. Just like your hardware, most content producers can get by with basic functionality. You’re not filming Casablanca here, and it just doesn’t make financial sense to shell out for industrial editing software to edit your three-minute video clips.

Many companies, like Apple, Google, and Adobe have moderately-priced software platforms that may suit your needs. Apple’s Final Cut Pro X or Adobe Premier Pro are great options for subscription-based services, but you may even be able to find the features you need from free online editing tools. Depending on how much of your budget you have left, this may be the way to go.

Video on a Budget

Compared to just about every other type of content in your marketing arsenal, video is expensive. Aside from the needed hardware, software, and talent, video takes up precious time and manpower. Naturally, you don’t want to approach the process without budgeting beforehand. Assess your goals for your video against your available marketing spend. It might be the most expensive content marketing option out there, but when approached with a strategy, a frugal mindset, and a little creativity, value-driving video will be well within your reach.

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