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Low Budget Video: Top Tips for Marketers

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Video is everything now. Video is more noticeable, more compelling, and drives more interaction.

But not everyone has the budget to produce continuous high-quality video content. Or at least, they think they don’t. With a bit of improvisation, a bit of planning, and simplification, you can produce good videos without breaking the bank.

Here’s something you won’t see many agencies talking about: price. We’ve worked on a number of low-budget videos in the past. We’d consider anything under about £3K a low budget video, because you’re going to have to make some compromises and limit the possibilities in one way or another. That’s not to say in any way that the video won’t be great - it’s just that you might have to decide between your ideal location and the exact cast you want, the complexity of titles, the music and so on.

We do everything we can at Studio Gomori to keep the overall cost down. Tapping into our network of brilliant technical talent on a project-by-project basis means that you save money on overheads. In fact, if you are looking to produce videos without an infinite budget, it’s kind of a no-brainer to use a boutique agency. Just remember that if you don’t you’re subsidising the central London office, the Christmas party and everything else!

OK rant over. Here are some of our top tips if you’re looking to make something awesome without spending your company’s entire marketing budget in one go.

Be Flexible

You’re probably looking at a one-day shoot. That means that you have to move fast, and not imagine that each shot will be exactly what you originally thought. Make sure your storyboard isn’t too rigid and precise - because you may well have to change things on the fly. For example, if you haven’t ben able to spend hundreds of pounds on props, you might be surprised at how they look on camera. Equally a shot which seems great in your/your director’s head might just not work out, and in a one-day shoot you’ll have to think of something new on the fly.

Embrace the Everyday

Generally speaking, we prefer down-to-earth, well-told but honest stories to over-the-top, pretentious ones. When it comes to brainstorming a low-budget idea, there are far worse things to do than just uncovering a relatable, real-world story. For our music video for Reuben George, we filmed in a day-in-the-life kind of story in a flat in South London. The props were all everyday things sourced from normal shops. Similarly for OnSite Support, there was nothing more to it than nicely shot interviews and some B-roll footage captured based on angles we found and noticed on the day. Real, honest, human stories are often the best.

Spend money on cast and models

If you have a limited budget, remember that the most important part of any story is the people. Small companies often look to save money by casting friends who are happy to do a favour. The problem with this is that it’s much harder for you, and your crew, to nudge them into getting the right shots. It will be more awkward to ask them to express different emotions, or to get them to stop doing weird things with their face. And a pro will give you much more variety and know how and when to mix it up.

Talk, talk, talk

A short timeframe means less opportunity to experiment and figure it out as you go along. Keep talking to your crew. Make no assumptions. Check and double check. Be a bit annoying about timings. Everyone will be late so trick them into being early.

Be nice

Where your budget is small, you may need to ask for favours, advice or forgiveness. In anticipation, just be nice to people. Be understanding, take care of each other and find ways to support and promote your crew.

What are you in charge of?

Remember - if you don’t hire a director, your camera operator is the director and they’ll basically shoot what they want to get the job done. That’s not necessarily a bad thing as they know what they’re doing, but it’s not guaranteed to get you the output that matches your vision. A director is basically the bridge between your objectives and the creative output.

And if you don’t hire a producer… you are the producer. Again, that might not be a problem, but just be aware of it. Everything from how people are getting to the shoot, to what snacks you have, to whether there’s a line in the budget for music - it’s down to you. So just make sure you think about it all in advance!

Studio Gomori make videos and all sorts of other content. Clients have included the London College of Fashion, the Carers Trust and Cloak watches. Get in touch to talk about what you need.

Pete Gomori