Every business — regardless of industry or size — has the bandwidth to produce conversion-driven video ads, yet there is a misconception that good video production is only possible for large creative teams with even larger production budgets.
In reality, there are less barriers to entry now than ever before.
Whether you plan to distribute video ads on social media, television, Google, or other channels, you have options when it comes to staying under budget during the production process.
This guide breaks down five of those options and offers specific strategies for reducing production costs without sacrificing ad quality.
The Costs of Corporate Video Production
For 52% of marketers, video has proven to be a valuable tool for building trust with prospective customers. And for an even greater majority of marketers, this type of content directly improves lead generation, traffic, and sales.
The cherry on top, so to speak, is that video is 1200% more shareable than text and images combined.
These stats prove that video really can deliver the desired outcomes your agency is looking for, but they leave a lot to the imagination when it comes to the production side of the process.
What goes unsaid is that video production costs will vary — typically between $500-$10,000 per minute on average. And these expenses are subject to change depending on the ad itself, the people involved, the music licensing, etc.
There are five main things to account for when producing video ads:
- The script
- The gear
- The lighting
- The music
- The location
Let’s take a look at how you can reduce production costs in each of these areas.
5 Ways to Lower Video Production Costs
1. Start with a doable ad concept and script
The ad concept and script are foundational to the production process. It’s what informs everything — from the amount of actors you need to hire to the set design and special effects.
If you have a tight budget and small team, it may not be feasible to create a video ad that requires a lot of expensive gear, crew members, and technical expertise.
And even if you have more room in your budget and more team members involved, bigger productions aren’t always better from a ROI standpoint.
Take the Dollar Shave Club, for example.
The video above was the then-startup’s first video ad, which was simple in design but highly successful. (We’re talking 12,000 orders in the first 48 hours of its release.) Today, the ad has more than 27 million views on YouTube.
Rather than hiring a cast of actors and creating a complex storyline, Dollar Shave Club’s team opted for a more minimalistic approach. By centering the ad on the company’s founder, and amping up the humor, the team saw big results in a short amount of time.
The takeaway here is that you can run a highly successful ad campaign with a startup-sized budget. You just need to be creative, strategic, and budget-minded when planning out your agency’s ad concepts.
2. Invest in gear that is user-friendly and affordable
Making sure that you have the resources to turn your ad concepts and scripts into video ads is the first step in reducing production costs. The next step is choosing your gear.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when reducing equipment expenses:
The gear you already have on-hand could be enough.
You’re no stranger to video ads and marketing strategies, which is to say that you probably already have a few essential pieces of gear.
That could be a video camera, a camera stabilizer, a couple boom mics, video editing software, etc. And if you’re producing video ads for social media, you can do a lot with a smartphone and a few accessories.
Before you invest in new gear, take inventory of what you have and assess whether or not the new gear is a necessary expense.
Level of expertise differs from team to team.
Top-quality gear is great, but a mistake that many teams make is spending thousands of dollars on equipment that is too difficult to operate. If the learning curve is too steep, your team will struggle to capture the footage you need for the video ad.
That’s why it’s important to know your team’s technical strengths and weaknesses when it comes to production gear.
The last thing you want to do is spend money on gear you can’t use, so take time to research new purchases well before you click “Checkout.”
3. Know a few lighting basics and low-cost solutions
With savvy lighting techniques and good equipment, you can cut costs in a major way and significantly improve video quality.
Whether you’re filming a video ad on a smartphone or a high-end camera, here are a few lighting basics and tips that you can use in the future:
- Mixed color temperature in lighting (i.e., when outdoor light blends with indoor light) can give your footage a blue or orange tint you don’t want. To fix this, you can adjust your camera’s white balance setting and/or use CTB and CTO gels.
- Motivated lighting instantly improves the lighting on any set. You could invest in light boxes and equipment, but you could also purchase some cheap work lights from a home improvement store, order some China Balls, or find other affordable DIY options.
If you want to see firsthand how affordable and strategic lighting techniques are implemented on a production set, check out the video below:
4. Opt for affordable music licensing
Videos with music perform better than videos without music, according to 81% of marketers.
Music adds value to video ads, so it’s a worthwhile investment for any team to spend time and money licensing music. However, it’s not always easy or budget-friendly to get the licenses that you need.
Licensing music in the traditional way involves one-on-one negotiations with copyright owners. This process can take weeks — sometimes months — and the expenses can rack up quickly.
As an alternative, your agency could take a more affordable approach and license music through a stock media company.
These companies usually offer unlimited access to a music library for a monthly or yearly subscription, so you can spend less time searching for songs and no time (at all) negotiating for the right licenses.
5. Book multiple ad shoots at one location
The fifth and final way that your agency can lower video production costs is by scheduling multiple ad shoots on the same day at the same location.
This requires careful planning on your team’s part, but when done right, the savings are well worth it.
Instead of spending thousands of dollars to book multiple filming locations over the course of several days, you can get two or more video ad shoots done in one day. This allows you to streamline video production and get the most out of the money you spend.
A common theme and major takeaway in this guide is to optimize the resources you already have and look for creative, and even unconventional, alternatives that your agency might be overlooking.
Doing this can go a long way in reducing costs and streamlining video ad production, no matter the size of your budget or your team.