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Video Production Budget (Part 2): Get the biggest bang for your production buck.

money_filmPart Two: The Lean Production Philosophy

You’ve decided that a product video is exactly what your company needs. You’ve found the right independent production company to help with the project. Now what?

If budget is a concern—and when isn’t it?— there are ways to lower your overall costs and get the most bang for your production bucks.

Rule No. 1 (there’s not a Rule No. 2, but this is important—pay attention): No matter who you hire to write and produce your content—and even if you self-produce your programming—don’t try to save money by “under producing.” This is a case where more is definitely better!

In corporate production, while it may seem counterintuitive, producing more can actually cost less. I always recommend to my clients producing (or at least filming) with more than one end product in mind. It is simply more efficient in the long run.

When a customer comes to me with a video project in mind, I always consider what other content might be useful. Not because I want to sell the client more production. I want to add value. “Added value” and “lean production” are business philosophies that were engrained in me as a young producer working for an independent a business television network.

One of my mentors instilled this idea in all his producers. He even wrote a handbook: The Lean Production Handbook, a guideline which outlined the most cost-effective ways to produce quality content and add value to every shoot. Among the time and money saving tips, we were encouraged to collect “bonus footage,” shoot “evergreen stock” and think of ways to “repurpose content.” These philosophies help me bring added value to the clients I serve today.

As a production manager and content developer, one of the first things I suggest to clients is to create a “programming wish list.”  We brainstorm a list of all the video programming that would possibly be needed or benefit the company over the next one to two years.

We consider content for marketing, sales, training and human resources. We note milestones, new product development and anniversaries so that we can take advantage of key marketing opportunities.

We discuss any inefficiency or pain the organization may be experiencing. Often we discover video solutions that can solve key issues, save valuable time or impart meaningful content.

In fact, some content can even provide a level of protection from potential lawsuits (a topic for another time.) Once we have the “wish list,” we prioritize the content, noting which videos will bring the most value to the organization.

Taking note of the big picture allows us to maximize production and to be forward thinking in planning and filming so we acquire footage not only for content at hand but also footage that may be relevant in future programming.

By carefully planning production, we are able to acquire bonus footage and clients are able to amortize their production budget over several video products. Maybe most important, we get ahead of the distribution game by developing a pipeline of content that can be edited and disseminated over time across various distribution channels. This approach saves corporations time and money and helps position them ahead of the competition.

Besides looking at video assets simply as video assets, I encourage clients to consider the other ways these assets can be used. For example, still shots captured from video can be used on social media channels and in print materials. Transcripts of interviews may appear in magazine articles and newsletters. Customer sound bytes could be included in radio commercials or appear as written testimonials in collateral materials.

In this way, video production becomes even more cost-effective because the content serves multiple purposes.

Keep this “Lean Production” philosophy top of mind as you contemplate video content. Big-picture planning and repurposing video assets helps corporations stretch their marketing dollars and get the biggest bang for their production buck.

About the Author:

Kristin A. Pelletier is an award-winning writer and executive producer with more than 20-years of experience in script-to-air television production and is the president of Blue Truck Media, Inc. Blue Truck specializes in the writing and creative development of original screenplays, television programming and books, and offers customized marketing and video production services to corporations, worldwide.

 

 

 


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This is article two in my content development series entitled, The Big Picture.  In the first article I suggested three critical questions that can help you to define and understand your audience in order to craft targeted, effective video content.  Now that you have a good understanding of your audience, it’s time to pull out your keyboard and start pecking away your first draft script.  Or is it?  Novice or not, before putting pen to page, first consider the raw tools of the trade: the elements of production.  At a top level, that is sight, sound, and motion.

Sight Sound Motion

Before I ever begin to write, I start to form the big picture: how the program  will look, sound, and feel.  What is the message and what are the various production elements that can help convey that content in a dynamic and memorable way?  Of course, in the end, the specific elements will be somewhat dictated by the script content itself (and of course budget), but considering the production elements can help broaden the creative process in how you bring substance to the screen. The perfect mix of sight, sound, and motion all come together to form the big picture. But each of these elements also plays a critical and independent role, so dissecting them is a worthwhile endeavor.

Sight, what will be seen. 

Give some thought to how the program will look. As the old saying goes, there are many ways to skin a cat. Fact is, there are even more ways to tell a vision. Will you incorporate on-camera interviews; use a host or moderator; incorporate actors; voice-over talent; photographs; tell the story completely with animated graphics; or use a combination of styles to create your own unique look?  Consider examples of videos that you like. What captures you about the way they are built?  Great. Now break the mold.  Use unique sets, environments, lighting, and composition to bring a fresh view.

Sound, like a plan. 

Never underestimate the power of audio.  Movies have it right.  The music and sound tracks are one of, if not the most important production elements responsible for how your program will feel.  Just try editing a serious piece of content with the circus music.  Or, put elevator music under a marketing video. You’ll immediately hear the obvious difference.  In planning your script, make notes about how you want the audience to feel throughout the program. Later when you’re selecting music tracks, use these key words to guide you in customizing the perfect music bed for your content to rest comfortably.

Motion, what moves you. 

What goes up must come down. What it comes down to on the screen is emotion. Motion evokes emotion. The way the program is edited is the motion behind the emotional footprint the program leaves on its viewer.  The pace and duration of the images and the use of transitions (dissolves or cuts, for example) all affect the motion of the program.  You can have a thirty-minute program that drags on and feels like an hour, or you can have the same length program that feels like its only fifteen minutes.  That’s the difference been “real time” and “feel time.”  No matter the content or the length, with the shortening attention span of today’s audience, you never want a program to feel like it drags on.  Before writing, think about how you will keep the pace – the motion – moving in order to bring your audience along for the entire ride.

Preplanning the sight, sound, and motion of your program prior to scripting is all part of The Big Picture in crafting engaging content.