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The Varying Costs Of Promotional Films

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Once upon a time, not too long ago, the question was more along the lines of, "Why should I have a video for my business?" Oh, how times have changed, writes Craig Morris Company Director/Cameraman/Editor Tatu Pictures Ltd.

Businesses small and large are realising that in this digital era, most of the work is done online, not face-to-face. Online video humanises a business, giving a face that clients and customers can connect with, without ever meeting them. They also realise that online promotional films help them stand out in an endless sea of similar businesses.

There is no denying that video marketing is exponentially increasing, especially because of video recording equipment being so readily available; these days your phone can record in definitions so high that your TV can't keep up.

So, why are there so many film and video production companies around, if you can make a video yourself, right?

The answer is simple; it's the same reason there are many companies and businesses in every sector. If you wanted to build a house from scratch, you could learn to do it by yourself by viewing YouTube videos or you could even go to a library and look it up in countless books (I'm pretty sure they still exist). I'm sure your house would turn out amazing and considering you have not done it before you would stand back and marvel at your wonky accomplishment. Though, the bottom line is, having a professional helping you to create your vision; who is exceptionally skilled, having dedicated countless years, days, hours and minutes to bettering themselves in their craft, knowing all the pitfalls before they happen because they have built countless other buildings with a team of professionals they know and trust, means you would inevitably end up with a better building that is rain proof and won't fall down when the wolf comes to huff and puff on it.

The question now is, "How much will it cost?", and the honest answer is, "How long is a piece of string?"

In other words, it depends. Not much help, eh? Let me elaborate...

There are many variables that will have to be taken into consideration before a quote can be given for your film.

A production company will need to know from you:

• What is it you want to showcase? E.g. A product you sell, your business services, etc.
• What type or style of film do you think you would like?
• Who is your target audience?
• Will there be more than one location for filming?
• Where will the film be used i.e. online, internal, cinema, TV, DVD?

Then with that information, the filmmakers will figure out:

• Time spent? How many days or hours will be spent on pre-production (planning, organising locations to film, script writing etc...), production (actual shooting of the film) and post production (putting the footage together, adding music, sound and graphics)
• What talent needs to be involved? How many camera people, sound people, script writers, story boarders, producers, directors, researchers, voice over artists, graphics team, actors and so on.
• What tools will be needed for the job? Would you need the latest and greatest cameras or something simpler? Does your film need aerial footage? What lighting and sound equipment will be needed?
• Travel and possible accommodation/food?

Then they will get back to you with a quote.

Now do you understand why it's difficult to put a price on your film?

The better question is more a question you should ask yourself, "How much am I willing to spend?" or "What is my budget?"

There is literally no limit to what can be achieved in film; the only limit (unfortunately) is your budget. A good company will do everything within their power to accommodate your budget, though it would be good to keep in mind these pointers when coming up with your figure:

• A film directly reflects your business, or in simple terms: High Quality Film = High Quality Business
• The ROI (Return on Investment) for a film can be astronomical
• As with most things, you get what you pay for
• There is a production company out there to suit everyone's budget

Here is a rough pricing list I created to help you budget for your film:

This is where you throw caution to the wind, decide to do it yourself. You've got a camera on your phone, you have a movie making app, go for it! Price: Free

You hire either students studying film or a part time videographers/hobbyists to create the film for you. Price: Free – £200

Hire a company who will more than likely come along on one day, film everything and churn out a completed film by the end of the day; their films are all rather samey and notoriously lacking in creativity, due to time constraint. Price: £250 – £600

The company gives you a bespoke service, spending time getting to know you and your vision; you get the feeling that they care. They make every effort to keep to your budget and work out creative ways to make the most out of your budget. They spend time planning so you know what is going on, you feel safe in their hands. On the day of shooting they make it an enjoyable experience for all involved, as they have spent time getting to know you and your team. Your film will be delivered on time and will literally blow you away. Price: Usually £1,000+

See professional. A good video production company will have access to 'The Best of the Best'. Price: Meh! Money is no object.

So the best thing to do is just contact a local video production company and meet up with them for a chat and a cuppa. When you meet them, ask yourself, "Do I connect with this filmmaking company?" and "Do they understand my vision?"

A good production service will befriend you, get to know you and your company and what your needs are, start suggesting ideas and come up with an initial quote. Remember, they will see your business or products differently to how you see it; they see with fresh eyes (much like the new customers you are aiming to attract), they can shed new light on things you had not considered and appreciate things you have taken for granted.

Collaborate with them, take on board their ideas, they know what works.

If you have a budget in mind, do not be afraid to disclose it, because having a limit to what producers can spend out on, will give you a more accurate estimate and rein them in. It can also save disappointment for you further down the road, when you were expecting a swooping aerial shot with CGI explosions and you get something quite different.

By Craig Morris Company Director/Cameraman/Editor Tatu Pictures Ltd.

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