Today we are going to discuss about custom video production and why knowing the details about this kind of videos can help you produce a better one. I imagine you have seen commercials in different forms on Youtube and you might be wondering what it takes to make one for my business.
Before we start, you should know that there are two (2) types of custom videos: Live Action and Animated.
What is a Live Action Custom Video?
Consider all Hollywood movies with actors and real environment live-action. Anytime we need to bring in actors, set up cameras and say “Action”, that becomes live action.
Because there is also live-action stock footage available for purchase, we use the term “custom” for those videos that are created from scratch for your business. Other than being fully customized to your needs, there is another significant difference with stock footage, which is the cost.
Normally a custom live action video production costs much higher than buying pre-made stock footage off a website such as Shutterstock, iStock or Pond5.
My suggestion is to first evaluate your budget. If it is between US$5-10k, you should consider stock footage. If it is above US$10k, you should be able to get a custom live action done. This is just a rough indicator and prices are vastly different from country to country. Of course, the quality of work is also very different from one production studio to another. You may follow the below steps as a general guide:
1) Set a budget. This is an industry that you get what you pay for. If you pay peanut, expect to get a monkey! As simple as that.
2) Search for full service live-action studios. You don’t want to get involved in managing the casts on your own as it is a time-consuming process, and you might end up spending more. Studios usually have partner casting agencies that offer them a discounted rate.
3) Set your expectation. Pick one or more samples of videos as benchmark and share them with the studios. Getting pricing based on samples help you understand the cost range and also helps the studio to understand what they are getting into. This allows the studios to better advise you and if your samples are not suitable for your type of business, they can suggest better alternatives.
4) Avoid micromanaging the production. I know, it is tempting to get involved in video production because who knows your business better than you right? Here are the reasons why you don’t have to:
A) You are not a director. It takes many years of study, experiences and talent to be one. You are spending significant amount of money to have these experts do the job, by interfering their process and ideas, you are hurting the final outcome.
B) Micromanaging the project will affect your deadline. If the team you hired have to go back and forth and change things constantly, they will require more time. It is likely to add additional costs to your final bill as well.
C) Remember I mentioned picking a sample video? Here is the time to check the outcome against the sample video. If the actors did not act well, the colors are off, the camera angles don’t make sense, this is the time to complain and request for a better work.
What is Custom Animated Video?
There are 3 types of animated videos. Custom, pre-made DIY and stock animation. Websites like Vyond, Explee and Moovly offer pre-animated characters and environments for users to step in and create their own animated videos. This is a DIY solution, and you are limited to whichever character and objects that are available in the mentioned websites’ libraries.
Another type of animated video available is the stock ones. Just like live-action stock footage, you can find websites that sell pre-made 2D and 3D animations. You pay a fixed price (or credit) per video and download the file to use. You will need an editor to put all the stock animations together and render a final output for you.
Unlike all the above, custom animated video is made from scratch. You will have full control over how the characters and objects look like throughout the animation. There are tons of styles available for you to choose from. The sky is the limit. There is a big drawback with this.
It comes at a much higher cost than the other two options (DIY and Stock). It takes a team of professionals to make proper custom animated videos which contributes to the end price significantly.
The general guidelines before proceeding with custom animated video are as follows:
1) Set a budget. Just like custom live-action, you will get what you pay for. So a low budget will most likely result in a poor outcome. A rough budget range between US$3k to US$12k is recommended (depending on the complexity).
2) Search for full service animation studios. First, by animation studio I do not mean Pixar or Disney or such. We are talking about small to medium sized animation studios, usually with 3 to 30 staff. The larger the studio, the higher the price range will be. A small studio does not mean you will get lower quality. Many small studios are formed by award winning artists that are capable of creating mind blowing animations. We have done our research and came up with a list of such custom studios here.
3) Set your expectations. Similar to custom live-action production, you need to find a sample animated video to share with the studios. This way they will know what you are looking for exactly and can quote you accordingly. This saves time, hassles and avoids nasty surprises. If you’re open to suggestions, the studios can also help you identify the right type of animated video for your line of business.
4) Say no to micromanagement. The animated video production is an artistic process. It requires artists from various fields to collaborate in order to create something exceptional. You are highly advised to let them do their job without much interference. Of course, this does not mean you should approve everything blindly. But instead demand for explanation as to why things are being done in certain ways.
If you think the characters are not suitable for your business, branding or the colors are off the branding guide, feel free to step in and demand change. However, the overall art direction is best left to the expertise of the studio’s art director. After all you picked them after reviewing their beautiful portfolio, right?
5) Choose an optimum duration. Netizen’s attention span is short. Research showed the best duration for online videos is somewhere between 60 seconds to 120 seconds. Don’t bore your audience with long videos as it will work against you and affects your video’s likeability.
The benefits of custom video
As a brand or business, your goal must be to stand out from the competition in your industry. The video you make will represent your business on the Internet. You want it to be watched by thousands of potential customers and shared among a large group of people. In order to achieve that, the video must be worth watching and engage the audience positively within a short amount of time.
DIY videos and pre-made animations cannot do this. Simply because they are accessible by anyone and frankly speaking, they are easily distinguished from premium custom videos.
In conclusion, although custom videos cost a lot more, they are your ladder to reach the top of the food chain. People’s expectation is on the rise and only the best of the best will get rewarded, so it is time to make the best custom video for your business and reject subpar qualities.
By the way, we offer premium explainer videos (animated and live-action). Feel free to get in touch with our team for a free video consultation here.