How To Stay On Budget Shooting Multi-Location Video

Video is a great marketing platform for explaining and promoting your brand, product, service or message. You’re likely already using video to maximize brand recognition, impact and reach which justifies your marketing spend. You know this, but whoever approves your marketing budget is hesitant to allow too much video content because of its reputation of high production costs.
In reality, producing stunning and effective video content can be realized on a surprisingly low budget. So let’s say you’ve cleared that hurdle only to face the next challenge: you need to shoot in several locations for your next video. If you think more than one location for your video sounds like a tall order, or at least a very expensive one, read on. Clearly for this you will have to break out the big bucks, you think? Challenge accepted! In the following, we’ve outlined how to approach a multi-location shoot and still get all your footage on a budget.

Planning A Cost-effective Multi-location Video Shoot

Whether you’re shooting just in various spots within your company, in different neighborhoods of the city or in different countries – multi-location video done cheap starts with the planning phase. To stay on budget and get your footage at an affordable cost, concept your video with a realistic understanding of what’s possible. The type of video you’re producing will dictate some of the terms here: if you’re covering three events, you will have to actually attend them all, of course. However, while location is key, think creatively to overcome technical limitations and keep costs down. To illustrate a point, outside shots of a building or event can be enough, as well as cheaper than dealing with inside permits and entrance fees.
Consider which of the following scenarios fits your project and your locations best: Do you assemble a crew with equipment and send them to all locations? Or do you rent equipment and hire crew for the shoot at each location?

Video equipment sounds like a costly investment, but the truth is, high quality recording devices for 1080p video are ubiquitous. Many professional YouTubers shoot with their everyday devices, and so can you. GoPro, iPhone, or video-capable DSLR, pick the best of your available options. Depending on how often you shoot, you might invest in a decent tripod for your device. As for lighting equipment and microphones, do your research on rental prices and then crunch the budget numbers. But chances are, renting will be your better bet. Standup lights and a reflector will enhance the quality of your shots. Audio recording needs depend on your environment and shots, but low-cost choices are a zoom mic or a lap clip mic (for interviews) instead of booms.
You don’t need to hire a producer to keep track of things and make sure you get your material. Apply your management skills to your video production just like you would to any other project. Your message and script are all cleared, now develop a shot list for each location. Ideally, each location acts autonomously to deliver the footage you need. If you’re not on location itself, make sure someone is in charge of sticking to the list. It helps if each location follows the same approach.

Shooting Video At Multiple Locations On A Budget

To keep things simple, lean and cost-effective, limit the number of crew members to the absolute minimum. Whether you’re hiring or looking for talent within your company, pick people who have more than one specialty. Your videographer could also be your editor, or a director can also be good with lighting and sound.

At the location, take your time to set up properly. A tight schedule and long shot list will have you anxious to get going, but it is crucial to prepare audio and lighting. Bad or barely passable audio can ruin a shot, and especially for interviews, you have to ensure quality audio. The microphone needs to be as close to the subject as possible. Test the levels and see that you get a high signal-to-noise ratio. At noise and crowded events, picking a quiet spot that guarantees good audio is more important than ongoing action in the background of your picture. As for the basic of lighting, you need to shoot away from the light source, with your subject facing the direction of the light. Too strong light might need to be diffused by a shade. Check in the viewfinder to see that your subject looks good, and adjust your white balance if needed when shooting with a DSLR. Lastly, frame up your shot following the rule of thirds. Interviewees should be off-center to the left or right, with their face above the horizontal middle of the frame.
Taking the necessary time to properly set up your shooting makes your editing process a lot smoother as you will have better material to work with. Try to avoid having to go into overtime because you need to re-shoot bad takes that are inacceptable because of easily avoidable audio, lighting or framing issues. If your shots are a majority of interview questions, plan in advance to elicit the responses you’re looking for. Being able to coax an interviewee into saying what you want is a skill. Don’t expect them to deliver amazing material all by themselves.
As an added shooting tip, don’t let the day-to-day needs inflate your budget. Depending on the deal, your crew will expect you to take care of their lunch. Take a short moment at the beginning of each shooting day to figure out your cheapest option that will satisfy everyone.

Editing And Publication Of Your Video

The time you invested for setting up your shots pays off in editing. Not having to clean up audio, digitally enhance low-lit shots or hunt for a better-angled shot helps keep post-production efforts and costs minimal. As for editing software: yes, the pros use Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premiere. These tools are powerful but come with a steep learning curve and a huge price tag. Your low budget needs are much better served by apps like iMovie, Filmora, Blender, OpenShot or Lightworks which are low-cost or free. For animations, there are also VideoSCribe and PowToon. YouTube has rudimentary online editing, and Loopster and WeVideo are other online editing tools.
The best and most successful videos are only as long as they absolutely have to be. So don’t forget to keep it short in editing. Anything over three minutes will only deliver a doubtful return on your investment. Your online audience is really unwilling to invest 5 minutes into watching a video, so don’t waste their time or your budget with inflated video length. A majority of online videos are too long and the audience loses interest.
When publishing your video, YouTube and other video platforms allow you to mark certain points in the timeline so allow for easier skipping and jumping to sections. Think about your different locations and consider what makes sense for your video. If your locations appears chronologically (as might be the case for events, a tour or a showcase of facilities), give viewers the chance to quickly jump around. Maybe it would even be appropriate to additionally publish locations as separate videos?
When it comes to publishing your video, remember to optimize it for the respective video platform(s). You want your video to be found and viewed to get the best return on your efforts. YouTube uses ranking factors such as views, shares, and viewer retention.

  • Ideally, your video receives likes for answering a question, solving a problem, teaching something or making the audience feel good.
  • Engaging and interesting videos achieve a good average view duration. If viewers click away before the halfway point, it sends a bad signal.
  • Research your title and description and target relevant keywords. Competition is a factor, so long-tail can be more favorable than high-volume.

Hand It Over To The Professionals

As you can see, it is entirely possible to tackle shooting multi-location video footage on a budget and achieve great results! Follow our outlined approach and your video marketing budget won’t blow up even when you have to shoot in more than one place. Does producing your own video content still sound daunting to you, or do you simply cannot dedicate your efforts to multiple locations or video marketing at all? We understand – and Stark Crew is here to help! As a creative global video agency, we can offer video crews in many locations around the world. Thanks to our creative services, you don’t need video production knowledge to realize your branded content, business documentaries, non-fiction videos or video storytelling. See our case studies to find out how we’ve helped companies with their global audience!
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