Crowdfunding · Costs

Typical costs of producing a quality product movie for a crowdfunding platform?

Stas Oskin

January 14th, 2014

Hi,

Considering to launch our upcoming product on Kickstarter or Indigogo, we have wondered what would be the production costs of quality movies, for example:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/omate/omate-truesmart-water-resistant-standalone-smartwa
http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/canary-the-first-smart-home-security-device-for-everyone

Thanks for any suggestions.

Stan SF Manager

January 14th, 2014

Stas, I agree with Albin's comment around developing your idea and storyboarding it before engaging a professional animator / videographer.  In my experience, the low end starts around $2k - 3k for a low end 1.5 minute video (with voice over included).  On the high end, I've seen as high as $20k for a very robust video that really drives home the point.

Again, to Albin's point, work on your idea and storyboard first.  I recommend http://goanimate.com as a good approach to start.

Albin Bajramovic

January 14th, 2014

It always depends. However, I recommend developing your idea and story boarding your video before you hire someone. That will save you a lots of time and money. Some producers will agree to do it for a small cut (2-3%) of money raised. 

Michael Hoffman Incubating a Revolution – Microsoft HoloLens

January 14th, 2014

I agree with the sentiments in the blog cited by Albin - a video is critical, it must tell a compelling story, and must convey basic professionalism that does not undermine confidence.  If you have an abundance of cash, by all means invest in professional video production and choose a great digital agency that can also help you hone your story (after you've done the best you can on your own) before producing a video around that story.  The blog is 99% about the story, emotions and people connection, not professional video production quality.  The former is where I would invest my dollars.

High quality does not imply high cost.  Many of the professional looking videos are nothing more than nicely done Keynote or PowerPoint slideshows with a catchy soundtrack, using the many built in animation effects, which are then turned into videos.  Others are obviously filmed by the inventors or founders themselves with clearly no cash investment in the video production.

My point is that, in observing my own behavior when I browse for interesting projects, there are other factors that far outweigh video production quality in my decision to fund:

1 Placement - Did something somewhere create my awareness that the project even exists?
2) Story - Do I understand the offering before the project loses my attention?
3) Product - Is the product useful to me, or is this a worthwhile cause I want to support?
4) Value - is the product reasonably priced for what it does?
5) Confidence - Do I have confidence they can build it?
  • Story is clear and compelling and conveys their confidence in themselves.
  • Team seems to have the skills to succeed
  • Video doesn't undermine my sense of confidence in their ability to execute.
  • Textual story doesn't undermine my sense of confidence in their ability to execute
6) Calibration - Is anyone else supporting it, and if not, why?

Even if I sensed that the founders were frugal on video production so long as the video conveys a compelling story, and sense of basic professionalism and confidence, I would fund the product if I understand the offering and find the offering useful.
 
Depending on where your team's expertise lies, I would argue that if you had to choose between investing a fixed cash budget on honing your message versus producing the actual video of that message, I would invest the cash in hiring an expert on honing the story. The best video production quality in the world will not hook the viewer if the story does not resonate.

Granted, if you have no one on your team with any eye for design or skills using the animation features of Keynote or PowerPoint, then investing funds on outsourcing video production is the way to go.  If preserving cash is a factor in your venture, I would recommend against going overboard dumping cash into professional video production, when the best video in the world vs a good video is unlikely to raise as much money as having 10 times more viewers see and understand your project.

food for thought.

Albin Bajramovic

January 14th, 2014

Excerpt from blogs bellow... 

 A crowdfunding video is most often the first, and sometimes the only, thing people will check out before making up their mind about your campaign. The only thing than can affect a crowdfunding campaign more negatively than not having a video, is having a bad video; one that communicates signals of bad quality or lack of dedication and aspiration.

http://blog.crowdendowed.com/storyboarding-your-crowdfunding-campaign/

also check out https://flipboard.com/section/lean-crowdfunding--bzJif1 lots of great crowdfunding articles 

Leena MBA Content & Publication Manager at NetApp

January 14th, 2014

Production houses like Epipheo are great for these types of projects -- check them out online, they are highly reputable and produce work that gets noticed. I couldn't afford them however, so, here is what I did:

I got both commercials (animated) for my product done overseas, and hired American voice actors (ex-pats), who just happened to also do professional voiceover work. Since I was in startup mode, the animator decided he'd help me for free, while the sound engineers only charged €130 for post production. Overall, including a lavish lunch for the sound guys, I paid the equivalent of $200 USD for everything. This would have easily costed me $10,000 (because I had the commercial done in both English and Greek) here in the US.

The result was surprisingly amazing:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aHgK4AmkAMw

Derek Dukes Business Development, Startups at Amazon Web Services

January 15th, 2014

I've produced videos for 3 Kickstarter campaigns 2 that were successfully funded and the third that will launch hopefully next week. Your first job is entertain, then sell, then close and do it in a way in which if you can't close someone the video is interesting enough to get them to at least share it. 

For each of the videos we've spent less than 4K. 
Video 1: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/pattilord/omg-jellyfish
Video 2: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1521768569/edgertronictm-the-first-affordable-high-speed-vide?ref=live
Video 3:  I'll post video 3 when it goes live.

Since the video is the most important shareable asset and what everyone outside of the kickstarter community will use to learn about your project, it's the single most important piece of media related to your project so spend the most time making sure it is as amazing as it can be. 

As an aside, for the two projects above we didn't spend any money on marketing and pr, and had little or no social media footprint before we launched the campaigns (both exceeded their goal by 160% and one was selected as a staff pick by kickstarter). We were counting on the video to get traction for the product. 

From my perspective the key reasons these videos were successful was that they did a great job at the following:
- Showing what the product is and is capable of doing in action / situ.
- Created an emotional connection to the project creator
- Compact narrative arc with the history, current status and creator ask
- Beginning, middle and end to the story, you stick around to see how the video turns out
- Unique visual presentation of the project  such that even if you didn't back the project, you'd find it interesting enough to share with friends on social media

In terms of finding the right Director / Production company the key is to find someone who's work you like, not just someone who is 'a video guy' or that 'a friend used'. If you don't like their work it will be reflected in the final product. A talented Director should be able to understand what's interesting and compelling about your product AND come up with a creative way to present the product to your audience.

If your product is a more traditional product focus on the benefits to the user, not the features. It's rare that someone connects with and backs a project because it's smaller, faster, connected etc. They back because they connect with the benefits the project brings or have felt pain from the problem and they can connect with it. 

Find someone who can tell a good story and do it in an interesting way and that connects the backer to the maker and you should be in good shape.

Here are some recent recent Kickstarter projects that do a good job with their videos:
Kung Fury: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/kungfury/kung-fury?ref=home_popular

PowerUp 3.0: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/393053146/powerup-30-smartphone-controlled-paper-airplane?ref=live

SOMA: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/zachallia/soma-beautifully-innovative-all-natural-water-filt?ref=live

Spiri: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/914887915/spiri?ref=category

Michael Hoffman Incubating a Revolution – Microsoft HoloLens

January 14th, 2014

I have wondered the same question as I viewed a variety of high and low production quality videos on the fundraising sites.  Before investing in video production, I'd be curious to research how much difference the quality of the video makes in actual donations compared to investing the dollars in outreach to spread the word further to more prospective funders.  I know that, in my own decisions of which Kickstarter and IndieGoGo projects to fund, my decision is rarely (if ever) based on the production quality of the video.  I am only a data sample of one, yet my gut sense for myself is that I am not alone and that I would  be better served making the best quality video I can on-the-cheap that clearly conveys the usefulness and value of my offering and why I will succeed in delivering, such that I can invest any hard cash in increasing the number of people who know I exist.

food for thought.

Yaya Mbaoua

January 14th, 2014

Ever heard of teevus.com ? It's both a video creation and crowdfunding site. They create an animated video witn voice-over for you and help you raise funding at the same, without having to spend anything upfront. You should check them out.

Stas Oskin

January 15th, 2014

Thanks everyone for the great replies, FD is really an awesome resource!

So far it seems that producing a movie will cost us less then expected. I will re-read in detail every answer, and ask for clarifications as needed.

Anonymous

January 15th, 2014

Leena,

I agree the RedScooter video is great, especially for $200 (btw, your numbers sound intriguing, since 130 euros ~= $175, so does it mean your "lavish" lunch cost you $25?). But from my experience, the highest cost is the animator's cost - the one you luckily managed to avoid.

Now, there's nothing wrong in enticing people to work for free, but what was the animator's incentive to do so? I would say that a "reasonable" cost for 1'30" animated video made overseas (such as Indonesia or the Philippines) is around $1,000 (including voice over).

In any case, I doubt that the startup argument would work for each of us (if not for ANY of us), unless there's something else you committed to in the future or bartered for.