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1, 10, 100: behind the scenes on budgets and commercials

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Mark Suszko
1, 10, 100: behind the scenes on budgets and commercials
on Mar 6, 2019 at 4:23:00 pm
Last Edited By Mark Suszko on Mar 6, 2019 at 4:27:39 pm

I wish I could make every client I've ever had, see this show! The premise: you watch a creative team do the same video promo three times; once with a budget of a thousand bucks, then with ten grand, and again, but with all the toys and talent affordable on a 100K budget. It does for video promo production, kinda what "Project Greenlight" did for indie film-making.

Drop what you're doing right now and go search Amazon for One-Ten-Hundred-Adam-Lisagor

You can probably already imagine the main lessons learned, about being creative within constrictions, and that higher budgets can inspire creativity, but conversely, limit flexibility in it's execution... but the thing these three examples communicate to the uninitiated in dramatic fashion is, where the money goes and what limits your choices, based on budgets.

You can see it in the levels of detail in production design, lighting, camera use and composition and motion... It clearly demonstrates the roles of various crew members and their crafts, and what they add to the overall quality. And it even touches on the various relative levels of logistical concerns, the dreary practical things like parking and permits, insurance and payroll. In a secondary sense, it demonstrates how the writing of the program controls so many aspects of the budget. As an aside, I laughed my butt off at the fake example businesses referred to in the example pitches - they were dead-on parodies of new, experimental apps and platforms struggling to succeed. If anything, some of them might have been more conservative than the real pitches out there...

...and that frightens me.

A client that sits thru this would be a dream to work with afterwards, because they'd have an understanding of what's "affordable" in various budget scenarios. And it's presented in a very entertaining and accessible way, almost like one of those "flip a house" programs.

I have a small nitpick regarding the thousand-dollar example, shot with available light and minimal sound gear, on an iPhone, with the filmic pro app, and that nitpick is not about the camera but about the post production. They went with Adobe Premie pro CC on all three examples, where someone on that low of a budget might very well use one of the cheaper or even free apps. But assuming they only bought a month's access to APCC, seeing as they were using Premiere, they had a lot more graphics and effects firepower that they could have applied to the "cheap" video. They incorporated arts-and-craftsy practical props as an aesthetic choice, to push the DIY feel. And that's cute and kinda works to sell the underlying theme of the promo. But that was kinda like tying one's hands behind their back, when their NLE already comes with a lot of bells and whistles. And the one thing they might have delved into more deeply was, how much actual time was spent on each spot in post, with what kind of rate card. A lesson they stressed was; if you dont have money, you need time to compensate. And a HUGE factor in low budget production is how much edit time costs with a dedicated paid editor, versus the DIY person who's doing their own post and can leave the hours of editing line blank on *their* budget.

One other thought kept bugging me as I watched the low-end promo. The promo describes an app for Chrome that helps you make simple presentations that combine your laptop webcam and desktop graphics, with the options of alternating between full screen shots of the speaker, of the desktop, and a 2-shot PIP. For a very basic-level user, unschooled in ANY video production, who just wants to crank out *something* quick and easy, that's helpful. But anybody that had the ability to shoot the 1000-dollar video in the first place, already has much more powerful , flexible, and capable tools in their NLE to do that, whatever NLE that is. Personally I'd likely never produce a pitch video with the promo'd product. I might have some interest in using the back-end audience analytics of it, though. It would depend on my particular application.

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Alex Lorenz
Re: 1, 10, 100: behind the scenes on budgets and commercials
on May 15, 2019 at 2:20:48 am

Thanks, I did not know this existed until now.

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