By Keren Haynes
You’re in a PR planning meeting, thinking about an upcoming campaign….But suggest producing video to support the story and the chances are someone will say there’s not enough budget.
So how expensive is video production really? And how do you make sure that your client sees a good return on their investment?
The cost of producing video has come down dramatically in the last 10 years. It’s a classic case of supply and demand. The kit costs less whilst the number of graduates training in media technology has shot up. But reader beware! Although nearly anyone can knock out some sort of video in a back bedroom, successful video, used as part of an integrated PR campaign, needs careful thought and most likely at least a modest amount of budget.
With the exception of videos that are just so hilarious/outrageous/unique they’ll go viral no matter what they cost to produce, other PR videos need to jump over a certain quality threshold to ensure they see the light of day.
Back to the question though, is video expensive? No, it’s not if you get good use from it.
Ask most clients if they’d pay a couple of thousand pounds to get on TV and most would say yes.
Generally with PR generated video it’s only B-roll footage that is ever going to get on television. B-roll is around 8 minutes worth of roughly edited footage that broadcast PR agencies like Shout! Communications produce on behalf of clients, then distribute to journalists free of charge and any copyright issues, to support a particular PR generated story.
There are two golden rules when shooting B-roll, to guarantee your video gets used: give broadcasters something they can’t easily film for themselves and shoot it in a news style. The latter is particularly good when you’ve got a budget in mind. News footage is generally shot pretty quickly – broadcasters often don’t decide what stories they’re going to cover until the day, so when they go somewhere to film it’s nearly always with a deadline in mind. They don’t want glossy, highly produced content from you and me because it will stand out like a sore thumb against their own material.
It depends of course on the complexity of the story, but if you shoot in a news style you’re unlikely to spend more than half a day tops, doing it. We charge for video production by time (in half and full day units) and the majority of our B-rolls will be shot within this timescale, and edited with a similar time. In most cases you’re looking at around £2,000 – £2,500.
I’ve been producing B-roll for over 10 years and every client who has followed our guidelines has seen their footage used on UK television, more often than not national news. So is video expensive in this situation? In my view, given the potential and in comparison to advertising, it’s an absolute bargain.
But, as the co-owner of a broadcast PR agency, I would say that wouldn’t I? So let’s have a look at how you can get even more bang for your buck….
Online video packages
If you’ve shot video material for B-roll you probably only need an additional half-days edit to repurpose the same material into an online video package which can be sold into websites editorially.
You’ve already extracted the best interview clips and pictures for the B-roll, so it’s just a case of structuring them into a video package that flows.
As with B-roll our producer will have asked the questions so that the clips make sense in themselves – so when you come to put the online video package together the interviewees can tell the story, with no need for a scripted voice over.
Check this video out as an example – it started life as a B-roll too.
Cost wise, with the shoot and the B-roll too, we’re now clocking up a bill of around £2, 500 – £3, 000, depending of course on what the story is, how and where the shoot was and so on.
Clips for news
Finally, if the story is newsworthy, you could also extract some clips for news. Some newspaper websites have an appetite for this – and we sometimes take the audio and send out to radio too. Cost for this? We’d just do it as part of the edit so that’s got to be the bargain of the week.
So, is video expensive?
Good quality video does take time and effort to produce. When you see the coverage well produced video can result in I think the answer to the question has got to be: it’s money well spent.
For more about video production check out our E-book: Missing and Easy shot – why brands lose out by failing to make their PR video broadcast ready.