How To Get the Best Video Production Bang For Your Buck

As a video producer and Founder of a video production company I often get asked to provide budget proposals as part of a bidding process.  I’ll get a call or an email from a prospect inquiring about video production and if we can provide a quote based on a specific idea.  Or sometimes no idea at all.  ”Do you have an operating budget”?  I’ll ask.  Responses range from, “we don’t know”, to “no”, to “send us a quote and we’ll go from there”.

If I don’t know your operating budget, then none of the competing vendors know, so that means we are competing strictly on price.  That’s fine, I completely understand that.  But unfortunately creative and specifically creative solutions come 2nd.  When asking for a quote without providing a price point you are limiting your options in getting the best possible video at your price.  

I recommend you avoid asking  ”We want a video, we want it to be (your concept) please send us a quote”. But rather ask this way.  ”We want a video, we want it to be (your concept), I have a price range between three thousand and 4 thousand dollars.  I’d love to keep it closer to three thousand, what can you do with that price point?” 

That’s a huge difference.  What you are doing is keeping your budget within it’s range and at the same time vetting your vendors for the best possible creative solution.  That’s how you get the biggest bang for your buck.  Take advantage of our production knowledge by making us showcase our creativity, experience, resources, etc.

I got a call recently from a potential client inquiring about a video they’d like produced for their homepage.  She provided both an idea and price point.  The idea, was to shoot one person meeting another at a nice restaurant and then shoot various scenes with dialogue. Great idea, very doable. But when it came to price, she could afford maybe one-tenth of what something like this would cost.  On the surface you are shooting just a couple people at a restaurant. But here’s the reality.  You need actors, you need to rent out the restaurant so you have total control over your shoot.  You need to hire extras to fill the other tables as patrons.  Your other actors include restaurant host, server, chef, bartender.  You need to scout the location prior to the shoot, script your story, block your shots, have a production crew that’s able to reposition cameras, lighting etc.  A director, producer, director of photography. You need permits, catering for cast and crew.

Unfortunately in this case, the budget didn’t match the idea. You just can’t walk into a restaurant and start shooting.  It doesn’t work that way.  

Bottom line is your idea has to match your budget. 

If the client didn’t provide me with an operating budget, then I would have quoted way beyond what she could afford.  Instead she would have settled on a vendor based solely on price.  And I guarantee, her idea would not have come out the way she intended and possibly not even make it on her company’s homepage.

Because she told me her idea and operating budget we were able to immediately come to terms with the reality of the situation and shift our attention to a creative solution that matched her price point.  And believe me there are plenty of great creative video opportunities that fit her budget.

We had a blast brainstorming ideas, talking creative solutions.  She was relieved and confident in taking our new ideas to her colleagues.  Perhaps down the line she can increase her video budget and produce the restaurant scene.

A good producer or video production company will know how to work within your desired budget and provide more than a few ideas and concepts.  If they are insistent on only one type of creative, then run for the hills and vet a few more vendors.

I implore you to be open and honest with your video producer, production company.  The more you leave us guessing, the more unlikely you are going to find the best solution for your video.  

Bottom line here is that it’s ok to let your vendor know what your spending limits are.  There are creative solutions I promise.  Don’t subject your video production to price only.  Treat price and creative as equals and in the end you’ll get a much better deal.  Believe me when I say that people like myself love talking video production.  By opening more doors you are allowing us to get to know you better which allows us to provide you with the best possible video content that your money can buy.



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