Everybody wants that perfect Super Bowl quality video to post on social media. Every couple wants a Hollywood style video to memorialize their special day.
However, we understand that we can’t all afford Roger Deakins to provide videography services to just any wedding, unless you’re the CEO of Disney or Netflix. In which case, we’d like to hear from you!
We understand that budget can be an issue to some organizations, and they just want to find the cheapest videographer in their area.
So I have decided to write this article to help you find these cheap video solutions. I will preface that I myself am a videographer. I actually got started in the videography industry, using these aggregator sites. I think they are a great place to start looking for affordable video services, if you are on a budget.
However, if you are a business (especially in a competitive niche like e-commerce or fashion), finding the cheapest videographer might not be the best solution for you. Gone are the days, when you could post a video in YouTube and pay an SEO specialist in India to provide 1 million views to boost your video. The Google and Facebook AI have evolved. Now, it’s getting more competitive and harder to stand out.
If you’re paying for click ads, it’s especially important to produce a series of videos and have various versions of videos to test. One how-to video will not be sufficient. You’ll need an entire series to dominate that specific keyword you’re targeting. More and more businesses are hiring agencies or in-house videographers to provide a constant stream of video content. They understand that perfecting a marketing funnel is all about testing, testing and more testing.
This is why I feel hiring the cheapest videographer might be detrimental to your business. If you’re serious about video marketing, then you’ll understand the value of developing a relationship with a videographer.
This is what we do at 2Bridges. We don’t offer the lowest price. We’re not a one-off service. We want to develop relationships with our clients and align their long-term interests with ours.
We analyze what people are really searching on Google, YouTube and Facebook. We create a video game plan and help your business knock it out of the park. Our mantra is “we are storytellers first and videographers second.”
So if you’re serious about video marketing, we’d like to hear from you:
Now, enough self-promotion and let’s get on with….
Let’s start with the biggest provider of cheap videography services –
Thumbtack is an online service that matches customers with local professionals. Currently, Thumbtack lists 1,100 types of services in categories such as home, wellness, events, and lessons.
Now Thumbtack doesn’t actually provide the service. They collect consumer leads (the who, the what and the when). Then they sell these leads (via their credits system) to local providers. Often, these local providers will try to outbid each other to win your business. This auction effect is how the customer gets the very cheapest price for almost any service they want.
You can get almost any service from Thumbtack. Unlike Upwork (where professionals mostly work remotely), Thumbtack is like the Tinder for service providers and consumers you need them. Need a cheap plumber to fix your drain right away? Need an affordable photographer for your upcoming wedding? Need a cheap provider for your roofing repair? All of these can be solved via Thumbtack.
Here is 2Bridges on Thumbtack as an example.
Building on that last point, Thumbtack is perfect for price fishing (to the detriment of the service provider). In the past, only 5 providers could bid for your project. I think this has changed recently as I’ve seen some on Thumbtack receive more than five quotes.
If you’re looking for a wedding videographer, it’s easy enough. There is a whole section called “wedding and event videography.” The challenge comes when you’re looking for something specific like fashion awards show videography. Since event videography is lumped into “wedding and event videography,” I’ve seen companies listing event coverage even though it’s not a wedding.
This could be an issue because service providers choose categories to get leads from. If a videographer doesn’t specialize in weddings, they’ll likely turn that category off. Hence, some videographers might not see that fashion awards show videography (a particular type of event videography).
Like Yelp, Thumbtack now favors providers who pay extra to be highlighted. This means you might not get the top pro – just someone who paid to be on top of their search.
Finally, the top videographers on Thumbtack know they are the best (usually they have 100 reviews and have been using the platform for 5+ years). So you might not get them at the cheapest price possible. You might not even get to book them at all.
Another popular aggregator, similar to Thumbtack is Bark.com. I know of this company because 2Bridges also has a profile with Bark.com.
According to Wikipedia, Bark is an Internet-based services (lead gen aggregator) and marketplace with headquarters in London. It was founded in 2014 by serial entrepreneurs Andrew Michael and Kai Feller. Bark has 20m users worldwide. They’re not as ubiquitous (at least to me) in the U.S., but they do have a strong presence worldwide.
I know for sure they aggregate leads for videography services, similar to Thumbtack. I’ve seen clients asking for the cheapest videography for music videos, product promotions and weddings.
The pros and cons are very similar to Thumbtack, and it’s great for price fishing. You put out your request, field various offers and have the option to work with the cheapest videographers.
I don’t think they have a promotion model similar to Thumbtack. In fact, their lead gen model is very similar to Thumbtack from five years ago. Service providers, like videographers buy credits. They use these credits to purchase the right to contact customers, needing video production services.
The only con I see with Bark is it’s not as large as Thumbtack (at least in the U.S.). So they may not have the largest base of video producers.
Most clients use both platforms. Since there is no commitment to any of the providers, it’s a great place to fish for the lowest price and make various providers bid against each other.
An often overlooked resource is good ‘ol Craigslist.
Craigslist has been around forever. According to Wikipedia, Craigslist is an American classified advertisements website with sections devoted to jobs, housing, for sale, items wanted, services, community service, gigs, résumés, and discussion forums. It has been around since 1995, when it was just an email list to friends, featuring local events in San Francisco. It expanded as a web service in 1996 and now has a presence worldwide.
If you type in videographer in Craigslist, you’ll get the latest listings. It’s a potpourri of freelance videographers and production companies, promoting their services. Some provide unbelievable pricing for their services. However, you’ll have to be extra careful on Craigslist.
In Thumbtack and in Bark, service providers are often vetted. In Thumbtack, they even have background searches. Craigslist still has a wild wild west feel to it. You have to interview these providers, make sure they have a website and a couple of references would be helpful.
Craiglist is cheap because it cuts out the middle man (i.e. Thumbtack). You get right to the source and negotiate directly with the videographer. Rather than having 5 videographers thrown at you to compete for your business, you’ll have to find individual videographers and ask for quotes for their services. Then you’ll have a choice to choose the lowest priced videographer that will suit your budget.
Another overlooked resource for finding low cost videography services is Facebook.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you and about 2 billion other people around the world use Facebook. There’s a good chance some of the top videographers in your area are using Facebook.
But how do you find them?
One way is to join Facebook groups related to video production or filmmaking. Now, it might not be as simple as requesting access to these page groups. Often, admins of these Facebook pages require responses to various questions. They ask questions like:
If you’re Facebook profile doesn’t include a hint of filmmaking or video production, you might not be allowed into the group so you have to be smart about it.
When they ask for your intention to join the group, don’t say you’re looking for a cheap videographer for your concert over the weekend. You’ll likely get rejected. Just say you are interested in movies and want to network with like-minded individuals.
When you do get into the group, don’t make your initial post as “Looking for Videographer for 9 hour wedding – budget is $300”. You’ll likely get the big ‘ol boot out of that group very quickly.
You’ll need to lurk in the group. Interact and get to know the members. Then figure out who could be a good candidate for your wedding or concert event. Send direct messages to them and start vetting the videographers to see who can provide the lowest cost services.
Now this takes a lot of time and networking – even more so than the Craigslist method.
But Facebook groups for filmmakers are often a great place for newer filmmakers to network and get jobs. Most of them would be looking to land a gig at a big budget movie.
However, they all have to eat and pay rent until Steven Spielberg or Roger Deakins comes calling for their services. So network and pitch these videographers your project and see who can provide the service that makes sense for your budget.
Somebody, somewhere in your family must be an artist. If he or she is not an artist, then someone in his or her network could be a video producer.
Reach out to family members via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or wherever they lurk. Again, this will take time to network and vet out the right candidates who will work for a low cost.
However, it will be worth it because quite often family members provide discounts to other family members.
Try out your natural network of friends and family.
Hey you never know. With enough research, you might find that your cousin Vinny on Facebook knows a guy who knows a guy whose uncle is best friends Roger Deakins. If that’s the case and you’re in Roger Deakins network, then we DEFINITELY want to hear from you.
Finally, the absolute cheapest and best way to find a budget videographer –
Did you know that a Sundance movie was made with an iPhone?
Granted, they cheated and used expensive add-ons and spend thousands on post-production. But this movie proves that quality videos can be made via an iPhone.
In fact, using smartphone video might be a great way to boost your Facebook marketing. Facebook has been pushing for Facebook live videos. By doing a live video, you’ll be playing by Facebook’s rules, which means you’ll get preferential treatment when it comes to boosting your post and being higher on the Facebook feed.
Moreover, most smartphones have 4K cameras. So quality will not be an issue. Just point that smartphone and start capturing footage at 4K quality.
The biggest con for DIY videography is the amount of work. You’ll have to learn how to script out and block your shots. You’ll have to know how to import those videos to an editing software and output a high quality video. You’ll have to handle sound and lighting yourself.
It may not cost you in dollars as you ARE the videographer. However, there is an opportunity cost if you spend the next three weeks watching YouTube tutorials on color correction for Final Cut Pro.
DIY Videography is the cheapest form of videography service available but be mindful of the time and effort in actually being a videographer.
If you ever want to try filmmaking, go try DIY videography. All you need is an iPhone and the will to learn post production editing. It definitely is the cheapest videography service available because you’re not paying anyone.
However, this many not be the best solution, especially if you’re using video for marketing your business. Does your competitor shoot iPhone videos of themselves? Most likely not. The video marketing world has become more competitive. You’ll need high quality videos. And you need to produce a lot of them with a videographer with a keen sense on marketing.
You’ll need to think of videos as long term investments rather than a short term, cheap commodity if you want to stand above your competitors.
You’ll need to work with a videography service provider who has keen sense of marketing, and whose long-term interests will align with yours. If and when you’re ready to make video a long term strategy, we’d like to hear from you:
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