Anatomy of a Video Production Budget

Part 2 of 4 on Budgeting for Video Marketing

Budgeting is a very straightforward process and if you are a small business owner or solopreneur, you are probably very familiar with it for your business. What’s new in budgeting for video, is some of the language and the anatomy of the budget. And even if you don’t budget yourself for video marketing it’s important to know what you are looking at.

Sample_Budget_Summary

A “simple” Budget Template Summary Section

The budget I’m looking at here, are focused on production, meaning the actual act of creating the video: From idea to finished product. The marketing part – all that goes around it like, integration into overall marketing strategy, SEO and analytics, social media dissemination is an entirely different animal.Traditional film budgets have a cover sheet with a summary section at the beginning. I still use that format because it gives me a quick overview of cost per section. The sections vary from a commercial shoot, to a feature, to a corporate video, to a TV show, but essentially they are all broken into: creative (above-the-line), pre-production, production, post-production (below-the-line).

Commercial budgets break all labor into separate sections by pre-production, shoot-days, talent (actor) days and post labor days. Most industries have their standard budget template, but for corporate video anything goes and over the years I have switched around from using the commercial production template for big productions, to quick, manual excel sheets, to self-made templates of varying complexity.

Today I mostly use the format that I’ll be working with here. It’s an excel worksheet that allows for a budget per tab. Each tab can be stand alone, but if needed the individual tabs link back to the first ‘master’ tab for multiple video budget at a glance. This will come in handy if you are planning a video marketing series with videos of different formats that you need to budget individually, but you need to keep an overview over the entire budget.

My extended template is set up as follows:

  • A few quick identifiers: name of project, job#, what it is: studio, location(s), shoot dates, how many dates, etc.
  • Budget Summary
  • Budget Detail by sections (see below)

Sample Budget Full Cover Sheet

(If you wonder what a “Pass Through” is here’s a definition).

If the sections listed above seem a bit excessive – they’re not. As I mentioned last week, the budget is your blueprint for your production: it’s your checklist. By starting with a full-on budget template you are forced to think about every step, every eventuality, and every thing that goes into your video. You can choose to not put items into the budget, but I learned this very quickly: Just because it’s not in the budget, doesn’t mean you’re not going to need it, or spend money on it. Short cuts always turn out to be costly detours!

Next we will look into a simple budget template and discuss it section by section so you know what to look for. And lastly we’ll look at some video samples and their corresponding budgets.

Here a link to the other blog posts in this budgeting series:

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