March 31, 2011 \ Geoff Birmingham
Video can be affordable

A Boston hospital called us, asking us for a proposal to do a training video.  After we delivered the proposal, my partner, Rachel, had a follow-up call with a woman who is managing the process.  She wanted to know why our estimate had come in lower than the other two she had received.

It’s not clear why.  Perhaps it was because Rachel asked what money the organization had allotted for the video, the other companies didn’t, and we tailored our proposal to meet that budget.  The main point, though, is that video can be scaled.  In this instance, we knew that the budget wasn’t high so the crew is reduced, the set-ups for shots are simplified, we use “actors” from within the organization, and we don’t rent a teleprompter.

Her next question was “Will the quality of my video be compromised?”  This is a very fair question, and the answer to it was “no.”  Based on her description of what she needed the video to do, it was pretty clear that including the bells and whistles was unnecessary.  So it may not have the degree of polish that a video with a higher budget would deliver, but the gloss wasn’t necessary.  The actual filming of the material would also be less efficient using amateur actors and with a smaller crew, but that’s simply a compromise that must be made if the budget is lower.

The project becomes a smaller, less-profitable one for the producer, but if it meets the client’s needs then there’s no reason to create something that delivers more.  Video does not, by definition, always have to be expensive.

Photo: zombieite