Tips for Delivering Your Video Project On Budget

The country is in a recession, fundraising income is down and your budget has just been cut. But you've also just been asked to complete a new video project to a tight deadline and at the lowest cost possible but with professional results. What do you do?

Here are some general tips to assist you in bringing the project in as cost effectively as possible:
 
  1. Consolidate your video shooting days: instead of interviewing three people on three different days try to arrange the schedule to fit them all in one day. Let's say you need to interview people who have supported your organisation's work in the past. Well, do you have an event or conference coming up soon? These present great opportunities for interviewing several people, all of who should be already largely aware of the work that your charity does, in one location. This will obviously keep the costs of hiring a professional video production company down to a minimum of days or, if you are shooting the video in house, it will keep staff time alloted to the project to a minimum.
     
  2. Prepare your project outline thoroughly: prepare a brief outline of what key messages you want your video to project. After all, who knows your project/message better than you? This doesn't mean you shouldn't brainstorm with colleagues - and the video production company, if you are hiring one - on the creative and/or thematic substance of the video. But preparing a project outline will help lead the conversation to where you need it to go.
     
  3. Pre-interview your subjects: conducting your own brief telephone conversation with interviewees, or arranging for your production company to chat informally to them, beforehand can assess how articulate and passionate they will likely be on screen. Some people are natural soundbite machines, while others need a little more finesse to get the message across!
     
  4. Use real people, not actors: this is hardly a revelation (as you're probably not aspiring to be the next Spielberg here!), but it is still worth noting that, if you are doing a video to promote your cause/charity, it is incredibly rare for actors to come across as more believable than your employees/supporters/members of the public. Harness the passion these groups hopefully have for your work and capture it on video.
     
  5. Scrap the script: well, not entirely. Outlining your storyline and objectives makes sense, but insisting on sticking rigoursly to a page by page script can pigeonhole you and lead you to miss those magical moments of spontaneous creativity. It's better to shoot first and then tailor your script to the most compelling soundbites and visuals. It's also more cost-effective. Just get those interviews done first - and then weave the story together in the editing process.