An HD video for under £500: how?

Video can be expensive. A high-end promotional video can easily run to a five or even six-figure sum, even if it is only a few minutes long. But there are plenty of businesses and website owners who need video, but don’t have anything like that sort of budget.

Cheap video, on the other hand, often looks cheap, with low production values. Is there a way to produce quality video at a more affordable price?

Well, yes, there is. In fact, we can produce an HD video in our studio for under £500. Of course, this does mean tailoring the production to the budget.

Here’s how we produce a video at that cost:

  • Dedicated facilities. We have two in house studios, for audio and video. This means our location is controlled, it’s quick to set up, and it’s repeatable. This maximises time in front of the cameras: on a location shoot, setting up can easily take three times as long as filming itself. Using the studio also cuts out crew travel costs too.
  • The right crew and kit. We have regular camera operators who know our set up, and the latest camera gear, which takes out a lot of the manual processes. We even have cameras that can be controlled from an iPad! We can also record multi-camera videos “as live” for clients to take away on the day.
  • Planning to make the best use of shooting time. Most audio and video production costs are charged by the day: that includes equipment rental, studio time, and crew costs. By far the best way to keep video production costs down is to shoot several videos, or content for different videos, at the same time.

Most costs in the broadcast industry are calculated either using day rates, or by the minute of transmitted material. But most clients want to buy video (or audio) per piece, so we’ve packaged up video services in a way that’s easy to buy.


A studio day for £950 — and a complete video for £475

As a producer, the most common advice I give to clients looking to control video or audio costs is to record as much material as possible in a day.

It’s almost always better to film interviews with two or three executives, customers, or business partners than just one. It’s the most efficient use of crew and equipment, and it means the whole project won’t fall apart if one person has to cancel. Having several “talking heads” makes for a better video too.

The same thinking applies to studio video shoots. At our studio in Teddington, SW London, our rate for a day’s filming is £950. That includes cameras, crew, studio, lighting and sound, tea and coffee and parking!

But to make the most of the budget, we recommend planning the day to record two pieces. That brings the cost below the magic £500 mark.

If you’ve experienced “talent” on screen, or the brief is editorial-style interviews, it’s possible to film more, but two pieces in a day is a good starting point, and allows enough time for adding titles and graphics, and making the clip ready to upload.


What sort of video can you produce for £500?

The short answer is almost anything that can be produced in our studio. But these type of videos work well:

  • pieces to camera or “talking heads”
  • vox pops
  • interviews with the interviewer on or off camera
  • simple panel discussions and Q&As
  • product demonstrations
  • training or educational videos

We’ll give you the use of the studio, a camera operator and producer, and either a single camera or, for interviews and discussions, a couple of cameras connected to our vision mixer for “as live” recording.

Of course, there are a few limitations, as well as additional services we can offer, and we’ll discuss these when you book.


What else can we do?

At the studio, we can add in:

  • A professional presenter or interviewer to “anchor” your piece
  • Chromakey (green screen) backdrops and virtual sets
  • On-screen graphics
  •  Webcasts, webinars and live streaming
  • Provide voiceovers, or a studio for you to record yours
  • Animation and graphics

We can also provide a full video editing service, and recommend editing, rather than recording “as live”, for any video that needs to meet the technical standards for broadcast HD video. Editing starts at £350/day.

We also produce audio webcasts, podcasts and radio content; producing a 20-minute programme starts at £500.

We have slightly different rates for editorial clients who want us to work with their journalists; details on request.


Need a single video, or need us to come to you?

If you really do need a single interview or piece to camera recorded, we’re very happy to do so, and we’ll always see what we can do on price.

If you need us to film a video at your event or premises, or include footage of specific locations alongside studio interviews, contact us for a quote: we’re happy to help. We can produce single interviews, or documentary-style films: the choice is yours.


The small print:

Sorry, but there has to be some:

Multi-camera “as live” and livestream videos are produced at SD or 720p HD resolution, with 1080i or 1080p as options. Edited videos are produced at 1080p HD 35mbps. Broadcast video is produced at 50mbps 1080p by arrangement.

Standard production prices include a “practical set” background (white or black) or chromakey green but do not include chromakey post production. Delivery is as a video file to client supplied media (eg a hard drive). These costs are production/post production only, please contact us for on-camera presenter options. Provision of idents, graphics, audio stings or music beds — and copyright clearance for these – is the client’s responsibility. All prices exclude UK VAT at the prevailing rate. For all bookings 50% of fee is payable in advance. E&OE.


About stephenpritchard
Freelance journalist specialising in business and technology, based in London (UK).

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