The Specifics of Video Budgeting

By | September 15, 2014 at 4:48 pm | No comments | Multimedia in Business | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Here’s a scenario we hear all the time: A client reaches out to several production vendors, asking for a quote to produce a commercial for them. They describe the general concept and the vendors reply with quotes. The quotes are all over the map. But why? Are some vendors just trying to rip them off? Are some secretly outsourcing the work to India? Why the huge discrepancy?

The answer is that video is SPECIFIC. No two videos are alike. And so video producers must either consider and cost out each element of the concept or quote a broad number that covers almost any creative scenario.

In order to simplify the bidding and contracting phase, many producers will bid a flat cost that covers most any scenario. This streamlines the process and focuses the project more on the creative and less on the money. However, unless the producer is inexperienced at bidding, the client is usually going to pay more with this approach than a more specific a la carte approach. The producer is simply covering its bases for any creative challenges that may arise.

At Rapid Eye Digital, we work with a lot of small businesses and budding start-ups where budget is very important. So therefore, we typically like to take the specific approach. We ask lots of questions and consider each portion of a video concept in order to arrive at a cost that realistically covers the time needed to produce each aspect, while at the same time, saving the client money. In this approach, the client has freedom to include or remove portions of a video that cost more. We are able to offer alternatives to a concept that save money as well. Ultimately, our goal is for clients to get a video that they are proud of, at a cost that doesn’t break their budget; and produced at a rate that allows us to pay our talented team what they deserve as professionals in their field.

Why So Specific?
When you go to a mechanic to ask about fixing one specific part, they give you a quote based on the cost of materials and the labor to complete it. Generally speaking, there is one correct way to complete the work and the variance in cost is either based on the quality of the parts or how much their hourly rate is. With video production, how long it takes to produce a 30 second animation might vary from 1 hour to 1 month, depending on the content being created. Let’s break down a scene: How many characters are animating at once? Are they human characters or animals? Four-legged creatures take longer to animate because it requires animating 4 legs instead of just 2. Is the animation realistic or cartoonish? Creating realistic animation requires a greater attention to detail to replicate the subtleties of motion that trick the viewer into thinking something is real. What’s happening in the background? Are there effects like explosions happening in the scene? Do the characters talk or is there narration? Is there text or other graphics on screen?

So on one extreme, you might have a single character sitting in a chair reading for 3o seconds. On the other, you might have a realistic army of aliens merged with live video footage of human soldiers as a battle takes place in the background with special effects, and a title sequence swooping in on top; all within the same 30 seconds.

Our approach entails providing a broad quote first, then producing a creative outline from which a final cost is determined. The creative outline breaks down the specific details of the production, including the overall look or style of the video, what happens in each scene, and what all types of media will be employed.

Other Factors
Other factors that influence cost can include the turnaround time for production, the region in which the video is produced, and the usage rights or other contractual details. If there is less time to complete the production, then either the cost must go up or the quality must drop. Basically Cost = Time + Quality. With a video shoot, the Director may opt to use a more expensive camera to best capture the footage for a given situation. In this case, it is a direct correlation between cost of production and cost of the equipment being used. The cost can be reduced but at the expense of quality. Labor costs are greater in some regions, as well as the cost of renting studio space, equipment, and other overhead costs. These play into the total cost of production. How the video is ultimately being used can influence cost as well. For example a Superbowl ad is going to obviously cost more than a YouTube video.

Communication is key. Clients should take the time to detail their ideas and goals for the video to the Producer at the start. This not only allows the Producer to create a final product that meets the client’s expectations, but also allows the Producer to offer their services at a cost that more closely reflects the actual work being done.

The R.E.D. Team



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