Don't judge a camera by it's (ridiculous) size.
When we first got into this industry, we were both shocked and appalled at the pricing methods other video production agencies were using to dictate their business models.
Don't get us wrong - we fully believe that you get what pay for in most cases, especially when hiring an agency.
We just think that pricing should be more be based off the value you're providing the end-client, rather than just basing it off of the price of the toys (er, gear) you're shooting with.
Let's Compare a Few Options
In the video below, Gene Nagata compares footage that was shot on an entry-level DSLR with modern, high-end cinema cameras.
If you watch very closely, you will be able to notice a few slight differences between the shots (mostly around contrast and dynamic range). But overall, they're extremely similar.
In fact, after showing this video to a few of our friends and family members, the majority of them couldn't guess which footage came from the more expensive cameras.
Oh, and here's the cost comparison between the gear (in CAD):
- Canon EOS-R w/ batteries, monitor, lenses: $6,500
- RED Helium w/ batteries, monitor, lenses: $47,250
- Arri Alexa Mini LF w/ batteries, monitor, lenses: $82,680
Bet you were expecting the "cinema" cameras to look 10x better, right? How much do you want to guess a video production company would charge to bring an $80k camera to your business for a day?
What matters more than gear? A few things...
- Marketing strategy
- Target audience research
- Key messaging and wording
- Who's actually viewing the video (and when)
- Format (vertical vs. horizontal)
- Ad spend + targeting strategy
- Brand positioning, product positioning
- Where the content is being consumed
- SEO, keyword research and targeting
What's even more fascinating is that our testing shows that videos that are "too perfect" actually perform worse on paid social channels compared to videos that were more "rough around the edges".
Yes, you heard us correctly.
We've personally helped clients spend tens of thousands of ad dollars, time and time again, only to find that the variations that were "less perfect" outperformed the fancier, more cinematic versions, almost every single time.
We call this the Burger King effect.
When's the last time you ate at Burger King? For us, it's been years, but that doesn't mean we forget what a Burger King burger actually looks like.
So how come when Burger King puts video ads on the TV, they look more like this?
As consumers, when we see this burger king ad in the wild, most of us will tune it out completely in the first few seconds because we know this ad is lying to us.
It's too perfect. It's too polished. It's airbrushed, photoshopped, etc.
So even though they paid a video producer tens of thousands of dollars to create this ad, it's actually having the opposite effect.
People aren't seeing this ad and thinking "Mmmmm... I need Burger King!"
In fact, people aren't even seeing this ad at all.
For most people, It doesn't even register. Our brains identify this is as an "ad" or "commercial" and we immediately tune it out and go on with our day.
Don't believe us? Go scroll through Instagram and LOOK for the ads in your feed. We'll wait.
You'll be amazed at how much we don't even register while scrolling because of how obvious it is that they're ads.
So what should you do?
By being strategic, you can actually reach a wider and more engaged audience, convert more customers all while spending a lot less money. Oh, and the kicker? These "ads" were shot using the exact same device you use to watch YouTube on. A standard smartphone.
What does this all mean?
What it means is that technology has come such a long way that most cameras can produce beautiful, stunning images, and therefore, how much money you spend on video should depend less on the gear you're shooting it with and more on the value it brings your business.
Unless you're shooting a Netflix TV special, you don't need a $80,000 camera for your corporate video. Trust us, not a single customer will be able to tell the difference. It's just not a good investment.
Instead, use that money to invest in things that matter, like a distribution plan including paid social ads, display, YouTube pre-rolls and email marketing to get your video in front of your target audience.
To be clear - we're not proposing that you shoot all your product videos and customer interviews on a cell-phone. Quality DOES matter in a lot of cases, and cheaping out by filming critical things on a budget camera can seriously decrease your effectiveness.
We're just saying you need to be strategic with how you invest in video for your business.
Bigger, more expensive cameras does NOT equal more views, customer or revenue.
Interested in learning what kinds of video strategies can work best for your business? Get in touch with us! We love to chat shop. Schedule your free 15-min strategy call here.