How to Budget for Video

How to Budget for Video

It’s that time of year again. It’s time to budget and plan for 2017!  Time to reflect on your priorities, wants, and needs for the coming year. Though video content is in huge demand for both internal and external audiences,  this critical line item often gets left off of annual budgets because costs can range considerably and you may not have enough insight to know how much to set aside. One thing is for sure, when the need arrives there is an inevitable scrambling to find the money, get champions on board, and to justify the cost and effort.

A simple way to prevent that stress and chaos is to budget for  video from the start even if you’re not sure what you need yet. Video costs can vary drastically, but it’s much easier to adjust a budget that’s in place than to pull a budget out of thin air. Here are some strategies for developing a realistic budget for a variety of video needs:

• New products need marketing videos. Look at your product roadmap and see what’s coming down the pipeline this year. You may not know the details for your video right now (like if the video is in studio or on location) but you know you’ll need something. While we’re at it, what about product photography? Are other departments doing something for the product release? You can leverage product shots for the website, e-mail campaigns and presentations? Chances are, those other departments would like to share the costs and the assets you gather. Collectively, you can get more bang for your budgets.

• Break down your year by quarters to make it less overwhelming to identify when you may need video. Large recurring events are a great place to start. A video budget can be stretched to the limit during an event and it’s the perfect time to produce something memorable, like an opening video. Video also adds value to the event itself. Many tech companies already know they’ll be at at CES. Large events and trade shows like this are a huge investment and usually need videos before, during, and after the event. Make the most of your time and money being there, and plan ahead to capture video now. Will any key customers be there? Budgeting and scheduling a crew now makes it so much easier to ask for that on camera endorsement at the show next year. 

• Internal videos are a valuable way to explain changes within the company, reorganizations, urgent announcements, and critical business updates. Internal video makes for a great training and awareness tool. With that in mind, think of all the internal audiences that you want to reach and what kind of video would be useful. Training videos are an effective and cost efficient way to get employees quickly up to speed on company initiatives, new products, policies and strategic direction. This sort of real-time communication is key for effective management and employee engagement. Budgeting now, and investing in a training and communication videos, will save you resources in the future and help the company be more nimble in the marketplace.

• Fresh videos can be an integral part of your website, and should be updated at least once a year.

• Company culture is critical today to recruit and keep talent. Video can help promote a fun work environment by capturing and sharing special events such as company anniversaries, kids at work day, talent shows, VIP guests, etc… These videos help recruiting efforts and can be fun PR tools for your company culture.

These are just a few of many reasons you should budget for video in 2017. So now that we’ve identified opportunities, it’s time to figure out how much money to set aside. Each video is unique and costs can vary depending on the requirements and the type of video being made. Budgets can range on the low end of $5000 to the higher end of $100,000 or more.  But your standard corporate video is usually in the $25,000-35,000 range.   Why such a broad range? There are many factors that go into video production and impact the budget. Things you can see like image resolution (HD vs 4k), securing specific locations, actors, graphics, animation, and lighting. Then there are the things you won’t see like permits,audio, stationary or moving cameras, etc… 

If this is unfamiliar territory, consider how you want your video to look and sound. It’s a great way to determine what elements are needed. We pulled together some examples to help you see the difference:

 

Here are examples of budgets in the $5-10k:

Here’s an example of a budget in the $50-100k range:

 

Still confused about how much to set aside for video in 2017? Well, we’re here to help. My partners, Charlyn, Keith and I have spent years planning and budgeting for companies of all size and we can help you get a handle on the best budget for video for your company.