Last week’s post on The Three Cautions Of Technology actually started as another post, this one. In fact, the original title was Balancing Video Risk with Reward. So, I’d like to pick up where I almost left off.
I began last weeks post by sharing how video “use to be” and how the advances in technology now mean it’s “smaller, faster, easier, higher quality and less expensive than ever before” making video available to the masses. We also explored the reality of those advances.
Most people are quick to think of the higher exposure that comes with higher costs, but the opposite is also true – especially in video production. For example, lower costs and smaller crews have the potential to expose clients to significant risks as well. What do I mean? Let’s look at 3 areas which beg for the balance of video risk and reward.

Teetering Quality

It’s impossible for a “crew of one” to be wholly focused on picture, sound, lighting, make up, wardrobe, etc. 100% of the time. That’s why having dedicated crew, focused on a single task is so invaluable. Take a dedicated audio person. I know all of their energies are focused on making the sound as good as it can be. Yes is costs a little more to have a dedicated sound person, but we never have audio issues that we’re paying money to fix in post. You really do, “get what you pay for.”

Seesawing Speed

When I get that call from someone who is out of breath speaking 200 words a minute and telling me how they need their video “Now!” my red flags begin to wave. Maybe I’m old fashioned, but I have found that rushing headlong into a job always costs more both financially and in actual time spent. Are there times that a project is needed quickly? Absolutely, but one should always be aware of the potential risks that accompany the potential rewards. In the end, time invested determines cost and high quality always costs.

Pivoting Cost

We can usually tell how a project will end by the way it begins. If a client doesn’t have the budget to do it right and is fixated on cutting every cost possible, we will almost always decline the project. Why? Because my experience tells me that those apparent cost-savings on the front end, (“Save a few hundred bucks and cut the audio guy”) almost always in reality, costs more money and time on the back end.
I think this whole conversation is about mindset. There are those who see video as spending (something that should live on the P&L) and those who view video as an investment, (something that shows up on the balance sheet). Or as Carol Dweck says in her book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success

“People with the growth mindset know that it takes time for potential to flower.”

If you can begin to think about your video as an investment in your campaign, client or business, (one that yields returns for your campaign, client and business), then you’re more likely to reap rewards. The parable of the talents is a good reminder that buried talents benefits no one but invested talents always yield rewards.

Determine Your Acceptable Risk

All investments comes with risk and no two video projects are the same. So I’m certainly not saying that all video projects have to have a big crew or big budget in order to be successful. Depending on your market, time, budget and quality of the production, a small crew may be “just what he Dr. ordered”. All I’m suggesting is you should go into project knowing the potential downside of any project. What I’m cautioning against is going into the project with unrealistic expectations – assuming there is no risk, only the upside of reward.


We have an entire eBook on the subject of saving money which you can find here.
We also have a similar post on the Project Triangle called My First Ferrari.

A Closing Thought

A few years ago I shared a post about one of the few clients we heard back from who didn’t select us. Here’s what they said:

“I apologize because perhaps out of embarrassment I did not stay in touch, however, I’ve always wanted you to know that I wish so much that we had gone with your company! You were out bid by $50,000 and that’s why you didn’t get the job. However, saving $50,000 came at a terrible cost to us and shame on us for not knowing better.”

You can see the full post on Saving 50k here.
If you’re comparing apples to apples, we’re always competitive but we’re usually never the cheapest. Why? To lower costs we have to cut corners which opens the project up to more potential risks and less rewards for us and the client. I’m not a gambler so we play it safe by trying our dead level best to do it right the first time around.
Everyone has to find the place where they are most comfortable with the downside of risk and the upside of reward. Everyone has to balance their video risk with reward.

QUESTION: What’s Your Take On Video Risk and Reward?