The Cost of Video : Part 2

What Model Do You Want?

Gary ClineGary Cline | Producer/Writer/Director

Last week we started discussing how setting a video budget is a whole lot like buying a car.  This week we’ll talk specifically about how different car models equate to different video projects.


Base Model

Let’s look at four different examples.  At the introductory level, we’re in the base-model Chevy Aveo or Ford Festiva category.  These cars may not provide all the comfort and style of a more expensive model, but they will get you where you want to go.  If you have an intern who is going to record a product demonstration on their handicam and upload it, un-edited to YouTube, this is the type of project I’m talking about.  Nothing fancy, just basic communication.  There’s nothing that says this can’t be effective, it’s simply a low-cost way to deliver a message and travel from point A to point B.

Power Package

Higher up the scale, you’re not looking for basic transportation but something a little more refined.  At this level, power door locks, power windows, and an elevated sound system, aren’t luxuries, but necessities.  If so, a modest increase in budget can get you a much nicer car (probably greater reliability, structural integrity, and a much better ability to impress your clients when you drive up to your lunch meeting too).   At this level, your car will intangibly show others that you don’t skimp on important options and that you like to make sound purchasing decisions.  We’ve graduated into the Toyota Camry, Ford Edge, and Chevy Impala category – good, safe, comfortable cars.  Video-wise, you’ve added professional videography, lighting, sound, and editing that can make all the difference in the world when impacting your customer.  At this level, you can drive in comfort knowing that you are projecting a solid, professional image.

Advanced Engineering

Farther up the scale yet, maybe you require turbo, advanced engineering, and an in-dash navigation system?  Or, maybe you need a specialty vehicle for pulling a camper or going off road?  Here’s where a Dodge Ram, Volvo SUV, Lexus sedan, or Lincoln MKX appears on your radar.   More expensive, but you’ll get what you pay for.  Your video budget is now sufficient to wow your viewers, win awards, and show your customers that you know what you’re doing and you want them to take notice.  You’ll get a project that is tailored to your exact needs.  You’ll be possibly adding motion graphics, professional actors, multiple days of shooting, and post-production that allows enough time to make a few revisions and ensure you’re reaching your target audience.  This is the level where you have a product that is custom designed, just for you, and meets your exact goals and specifications.

Luxury Style

Finally, at the top of the scale, a very expensive car will definitely get you from point A to point B and it will do so with advanced refinement and style.  We’re in the Mercedes AMG S-Class, BMW, and Jaguar range now.   These are truly luxury models. Some might consider them extravagant, but others might not consider driving anything less.   Now you’re adding “nice to have” elements of refinement to your video like an original music score, in-depth multi-camera location shooting, and a film-style production crew shooting with prime lenses.  These are all options that set your project apart from 95% of the videos that people watch every day.  You will be positively noticed and talked about.


As one moves up the scale from basic to more advanced there’s a tendency to think that more expensive is “good” and less expensive is “bad”.  From the perspective of transportation, a more expensive car doesn’t get you to the grocery store any “better” than a less expensive car.  Even if your car is not a thing of beauty, it will get you to the grocery store.  Likewise, projects with lower budgets serve a purpose and can be very utilitarian.  But, projects produced with higher budgets can deliver intangible benefits like greater “watchability,” audience retention, creativity, style, and design.  A project with a larger budget might also win awards that garners mention in the local newspaper or trade journal bringing your company free publicity.  You wouldn’t get this if you’d gone a less expensive route.  A higher end project could also be produced with a creative theme that creates a buzz in your company and get’s people talking.   I once produced a music video for a large insurance company which generated employee requests for copies eight years after delivery!  A simple talking head behind a desk would not have garnered these results.  So, luxury is not the only reason to drive a BMW and not a Kia Rio.

Next week, we’ll wrap up our car/video comparison and show how to use this information to set the right video budget and ensure your project hits its mark.


Read more blog posts from Gary Cline