Monday, December 11, 2017

Making Successful Video Productions On A Small Budget

One of the most wonderful yet overlooked aspects to video publishing is that you can produce a best selling special interest video with a very small budget – as Julie Clark, founder of Baby Einstein discovered. She invested only $18,000 in her first video and that was mostly spent on composed music and graphic design. She set up a table in her basement, borrowed a video camera, shot it herself and then edited it on her PC. That was back in 2000. A lot has changed since then with the advent of the internet making producing videos even less expensive and much easier.

We have never spent half that amount in our productions. In fact, one of our most successful videos, an award-winning educational film we did on a Florida author ( cost us approximately $3000 to make. Most of that was spent on travel to shoot B-Roll. (We turned that trip into a very nice shooting vacation, by the way). We spent about $250 on music and sound effects and since my husband has graphic design experience, he did all the packaging design. I did the DVD interface. (Julie launched her product line in VHS days so she didn’t have the DVD programming to worry about.) We already owned a 9-bay duplicator and printing equipment due to our DVD duplication business.

To date, we’ve sold over 5,000 of this title alone, to retail and wholesale markets, and grossed close to $100,000 on it. And this is a video targeted to a really niche market of fans of the writer, Patrick Smith.

The production was very simple yet effective, like Julie’s. We interviewed the author and then shot B-roll and added archival footage and photographs to illustrate his talk. Music rounds out the experience.

This again is well within reach of the average person’s budget even if you don’t want to do it yourself.

With the advent of access to so much talent over the internet, you are able to find graphic design work to fit any budget. This past year we hired a fantastic graphic artist to design DVD art and marketing materials. We found her through This was our first time using an internet provider for graphic design but we were really pleased with the caliber of talent we saw. In fact we received so many bids, we had to shut the bidding process down early. They came in from all over the world and we ended up hiring a designer from Ohio. Her rate was a third of the budget our local designers charge – we’re in California – and her work was fabulous.

You can also find some great new companies out there where you can get very good music at very affordable prices. We’ve recently worked with a new company – AudioGloss – who produced some nice work for us for around $300 per 20 minute program.
This again is well within reach of the average person’s budget even if you don’t want to do it yourself.

We’ve hired scriptwriters through eLance and web designers through oDesk. Through contacts and word of mouth, we found and work with local editors and shooters in our area. The best part is that we have more than recouped all of the initial investments in our video projects and now they are truly making money for us.

Next week – I’ll continue on my fourth point – – a video publishing business can be set up with low start up, cost of goods and overhead costs.

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