Affordable Video Production: How To Keep Costs Low

During the first half of 2023, Connected TV ads accounted for 76% of all video ad views in the U.S. Like traditional TV advertising, Connected TV (CTV) gives you access to a captive audience, but it also lets you target certain viewers. If you’re not already using this medium (along with other video platforms) to connect with audiences and build brand awareness, you’re missing out on millions of views — and sales. Interested in running ads but worried about the cost of producing memorable videos that resonate with your audience? Worry not — affordable video production is possible! 

Here, we’ll explore how brands can make the most of their video production budget, keep costs low, and share high-quality videos with their audience. 

How Much Does It Cost To Produce a Video? 

Decades ago, automotive companies reported spending upward of $500,000 to produce a single television ad. Yikes. But with advances in production techniques and an abundance of resources, you no longer have to shell out hundreds of thousands of dollars to a top agency just to get one 30-second spot. 

That said, there are still important elements to consider when you’re creating a video, including the costs of: 

  • Pre-production, including scripting and storyboarding
  • Art and animation
  • Locations and travel
  • Equipment
  • Talent
  • Video editing and other post-production elements 

In the current digital landscape, you can create shorter videos using streamlined production techniques and spend significantly less on an effective ad. There is no set price for video production, but there are plenty of ways to cut costs and fit your budget without sacrificing video quality. 

In-House Video Production

In-house video production allows you to coordinate your production team whenever you need it. This option gives you more control over your shoots and allows you to create consistent videos with the same quality each time. 

If you’re producing a significant amount of video with the same style or format, this might be a better option to save money. There will be significant overhead costs as you’ll be onboarding new employees to your brand and purchasing equipment. To determine the average cost per ad in this scenario, you can factor in the monthly salaries of each member of your production team and divide it by the number of ads you produce in a month. 

With this option, you’ll still need to pay for locations, travel (if you’re shooting outside of your in-house studio), and additional video elements like effects software. You may also need to hire actors and directors at an extra cost. 

Outsourcing Video Production

If you’re shooting video content on an irregular basis or you want varying video styles, consider outsourcing video production. The average cost for this option varies based on what you want to accomplish with your video. Adding in more elements, such as special effects or top-tier talent, will boost the cost. With the right partner, you can have a successful outsourced video production that meets your goals and provides you with high-quality video content to share with your audience. 

Here are some ways to make sure your video stays within budget: 

1. Plan Everything Thoroughly

Planning everything in advance will save you from costly production changes later in the process. Consider your video marketing goals to plan your story, location, and creative elements. When you know what you want to say and which emotional heartstrings you want to pull, you can write a thorough creative brief.

Once you have your script and storyboard done, you can create a detailed production checklist to keep your production on schedule and within budget. 

2. Shoot the Video Yourself

Gone are the days when you needed expensive equipment to shoot a professional video. Most smartphones feature sophisticated cameras that rival the expensive standalone cameras. Pop singer Olivia Rodrigo shot her music video for “Get Him Back!” on an iPhone 15 Pro, for instance.

If you have a sophisticated phone, you simply need some mounting and audio equipment to produce a high-quality video for Instagram Reels, YouTube, or Connected TV (CTV). 

3. Efficient Scripting

Planning your video production process ahead of time makes it easier to write compelling scripts. When you’re developing your goals for each ad, determine: 

  • Your target audience 
  • Their primary needs or pain points
  • The features of your product or service benefit them most
  • How to communicate this in an engaging and emotional way
  • The channels where you’ll share your video 

By knowing this information at the beginning of the production, you can create an impactful script that tells a good story and resonates with your target audience. Plus, this can help make sure you won’t have to spend extra money on rewrites and reshoots. And when you’re aiming for affordable video production, it’s key to avoid those extra costs. 

4. Use Cheaper Locations

Unless you have an in-house studio or you’re shooting in your facility, you’ll have to pay for locations. While you’re location scouting, check with your local film office or commission to find affordable filming locations. 

Before packing up and shooting on-site, check with your chosen venue for permit regulations and costs. Shooting on-location with no permit could result in fines, so handle all of the paperwork before you start filming. 

5. Make Smart Equipment Choices

If you’re shooting multiple videos a year, you can save money by purchasing your own equipment instead of renting new gear for each shoot. You can save money by shooting videos with your phone, but in this case, you’ll likely need a separate microphone and additional audio equipment. A high-quality microphone can help filter out the background noise, making it easier for your audience to pay attention. 

You may also want to buy ring lights and other lighting elements to improve your production quality. In any case, look for affordable equipment that’s also durable and easy to transport between locations. 

6. Use a Minimalist Set Design

You don’t have to spend a lot to make your set look good. Depending on your story, you might be able to get away with a simple backdrop. Take advantage of what’s already on hand at your location. For example, if your ad takes place at a nondescript house in a suburb, you may be able to rent a furnished location that’s already decorated. 

7. Master Time Management

A thorough storyboard will help you visualize which shots you need and how to position your actors for each shot. While you’re creating the storyboard, lay out each step in the process and use it to establish a detailed timeline for the day of the shoot. 

You can save time by running a few rehearsals and doing test shots before you start filming. Clearly communicate your goals and vision with your director and production team, and shoot each scene of your video a few times so your editor has options. This will reduce your chances of having to reshoot later and help you stay within your budget. 

8. Streamline Post-Production

Post-production is an important component of creating a memorable video ad, so don’t skimp on this step. You’ll need video editors to turn the raw video footage into a memorable ad. They can also fix the audio, add visual and audio effects, and optimize different parts of your video to make them more appealing. Connect with post-production experts who know how to repurpose content and can tackle the process quickly. 

9. Use Stock Footage and Music

A wealth of royalty-free content is available for commercial use, including music and stock footage. When it comes to affordable video production, you’ll want to tap into these resources to save your team some money. 

Before adding music and images to your video ads, look at the usage rights. You’ll want to make sure the sound or image is free for commercial use and that you have the right to edit the raw footage. Clearing these hurdles allows you to fill time in your ads and add rich elements without paying for top-dollar content or producing it yourself. 

10. Set a Distribution and Marketing Budget

Distribution and marketing are the last steps in your video production journey. Once you’ve produced your video, you need to decide how you’re going to roll it out to your audience. You may choose to post it on social media or use it as a CTV ad

For social media, you might create a series of promotional videos to generate hype. This is a good strategy if you’re unveiling a new product or hosting a live event. Before you distribute and market your video, set a solid budget so you can reach the widest audience for the lowest price. 

Creating Affordable Videos at Scale

The video production process can be overwhelming, especially if you’re just getting started. Instead of tackling everything on your own, QuickFrame can help. We can connect you with creative professionals from across the globe for every step of the process, from post-production editing to overseeing the entire production process. 

Our network of makers has the experience and skills needed to create impactful videos within your budget. We know what it takes to create high-performing videos that help you meet your ad goals. Contact us today to learn more. 

Affordable Video Production: Final Thoughts

Video ads are an effective way to reach millions of potential customers. From social media to CTV, you have plenty of avenues for distributing your video ads to the right audience. With proper planning and advanced technology, you can create effective ads that are well within your budget.

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