So, you’ve got the budgets back from each video production company. and it’s now time to review them. The first thing you’re likely to look at is the final cost at the bottom. That’s fine, just remember that video production is a complicated process to budget and what’s more important is being able to see what each item costs, whether that’s studio, camera hire, crew or post production fees. You’ll want to compare the different budgets to see where the money is spent.
Have they listened?
When you read the proposal or budget, see if they’ve really listened to your brief. Have they understood what audience you’re trying to reach? Have they included the number of cameras? Did they suggest an approach for the kind of film you’re trying to make? Have they included the costs to travel to your office if that’s the location? Did they make suggestions relating to how you should approach writing the script? We always make sure we try and interpret the brief, and in the proposal raise any points we feel the client has overlooked or hadn’t thought of.
Some lines like “Camera hire” can look expensive, but remember you’re not paying only for the camera. You’re paying for the lenses, tripod, memory cards and consumables like batteries and gels. When recording a voice over, you’re not just paying for the voice over microphone – you’re paying for the sound suite, the engineer operating it and the director taking the session.
Editing and animation are very movable feasts; you can spend a day and get a quick edit, or spend a week and get something much more developed. With animation, in a day you can map out some text and simple shapes and icons, but with a week you can do more complex movement and bespoke artwork. So when you’re comparing budgets make sure you take these into account. If the company doesn’t budget enough time, they’ll ask for more money later if you want more rounds of changes. We try and give a reasonable amount of time, and highlight to clients where there might be need for additional hours.
Along with the costs, you should get some ideas from the company of the style they want to make the project. Even though we produce something new for each project, we tend to send links to previous jobs to show a style. We sometimes create a moodboard to show the style. That way, you can see what we’re thinking. We also tend to offer two or three styles, so you can give opinions on what feels right for you.
It’s always interest to see if within the proposal, the company has mentioned any kind of re-versioning, or other uses for the project. We always suggest ways you can reuse the footage, to get better ROI on the project. For example, we completed a film for Kaplan Law School, to encourage law firms to send their trainees there. All the questions they wanted to ask the students were about their studies and the facilities. We suggested they ask some more general questions, then they could potentially re-cut the footage later.
Sure enough, four months after we delivered the law firm version, we were asked to re-work the footage for a student recruitment company. All they had to pay was for another day or two’s edit to change the focus of the film. So do look for whether the proposal includes how you could re-use the project for different audiences or platforms.
Cost shouldn’t affect your choice of Video Production Company
If you like one company’s work, but their budget is higher than the others, ask how they would work on a lower budget. They may well be able to film in a different style to get in on the budget you’re after.
So once you’ve taken these factors, call up your chosen production company and commission your video!