By Mat Choat

Smart alternatives to video shoots: maximising impact and minimising costs

May 22nd, 2024
2 min read

Making the most out of marketing budgets has never been more important. Producer and Head of Broadcast, Mat, is back to discuss whether you need a video shoot, and sharing some tips on clever alternatives to maximise your impact whilst minimising costs.

While video shoots offer unique opportunities to showcase products or services in action, they can also come with significant costs and logistical challenges. Let's delve into some alternatives that can help you achieve impactful content without breaking the bank or enduring lengthy timescales.

Here’s the elephant in the room: Do you even need a shoot?

Pros of a shoot include the ability to create bespoke, interactive content that truly demonstrates product usage. However, the cons can't be ignored: shoots can be a substantial financial outlay and require time for organisation. 

The average production cost of a 30 second TV SD in 2023 was £271,000

As reported by respondents to an annual survey of commercial production companies, Televisual Magazine Commercials Survey.

The alternatives to a video shoot

So, what are some of the possible alternatives to doing a shoot?

  1. Use of Existing Assets: Before diving into a shoot, consider what assets you already have. Repurposing photos or videos from previous shoots can breathe new life into your content at a fraction of the cost.

  2. Stock and Library Footage: Tap into the vast reservoir of stock image and video libraries offering affordable, royalty-free clips. By combining these with motion graphics, you can create visually striking content without the need for an expensive shoot.

  3. Animation or Motion Graphics: Explore animation as a cost-effective alternative to live-action shoots. While certain styles can be pricey, animation can be a budget-friendly way to convey complex ideas or stories.


Only 35% of marketing videos are created from scratch

 Source: https://www.g2.com/articles/video-marketing-statistics 

Tips for a cost-effective video shoot

If you’ve decided that you do still definitely need to do a video shoot, then here are some top insider production tips to make sure it’s cost-effective:

  1. Avoid Over-Production: Challenge the notion that every shoot requires a large, commercial-style crew. Consider a smaller crew working over more days to strike a balance between efficiency and cost.

  2. Camera Tech and Equipment: Don't fall into the trap of always needing the latest, most expensive camera equipment. Advances in technology mean that quality content can often be captured with more accessible gear, especially for social media platforms.

  3. Real Locations vs. Studio Set-Builds: Use real locations to save on set-building costs and set dressing. Lighting and filming a location can be significantly more cost-effective than replicating the same environment in a studio.

  4. Green Screen and Virtual Production: Embrace green screen technology to avoid elaborate set designs. Virtual production (typically filming against large LED screens with backgrounds viewable in-camera), though still maturing as a technology, also offers a sustainable and flexible alternative when you may need lots of backgrounds, or have complex location requirements.

Getting the most value from your production

If you are doing a shoot, then also make sure you get as much value as you can from your production:

  1. Invest in One-Off Costs: Production is a one-time investment—make it count! Consider capturing additional content during your shoot, such as high-resolution stills that can be used for print media or promotional materials.

  2. Behind-the-Scenes Content: Commission a behind-the-scenes video during your shoot to provide engaging supplementary content for promotional purposes. This could be as simple as employing an extra camera person to shoot a ‘making of’ video during your main shoot, or it could even be done more informally, shot on iPhones, and used as teaser content before the launch of your main video production.

  3. Adapt for Social Content: Reformat your video to suit various social media platforms and aspect ratios. Plan for shorter cutdowns and different framing to maximise reach and engagement across different platforms. Make a matrix with all your desired deliverables and discuss this with your production partner way in advance of the shoot, to make sure everything is planned in properly.

  4. Subtitles: Enhance accessibility and engagement by incorporating subtitles, ensuring your content resonates with a wider audience. Remember that most people watch social content without the sound on – so your video needs to work without sound too. 

By considering these alternatives and strategic approaches, you can create impactful video content (with or without a live-action shoot) that aligns with your budget and marketing objectives.

Happy creating!

Mat Choat

Producer and Head of Broadcast

Mat is an award-winning Producer with 2-decades of experience working in production for advertising and creative agencies. He has produced TV commercials and online video content for hundred of clients.