Posted by Sean Nabors - January 21, 2020


So, you want to add video into your latest training initiative? Great idea! But it’s no secret that interactive elements, such as video, can be one of the largest expenses when developing content.

What DO you do when you want to produce a quality video without the big price tag?

We’ve run video shoots for all kinds of subject matter all over the country, and we've acquired some tips and tricks that can help you maximize your time and make the most out of any budget.

In this series “Training Video Tips & Tricks,” we’ll look at some ways that you can quickly and cost-effectively produce training videos that won’t break your budget. In “Take 1,” let’s talk about how choosing your talent can be a huge help to affordable video production.

Identify Your Talent

Talent can be one of the largest variables to the cost of a video. Why? Because there are so many options when it comes to the types of talent you can utilize. Do you want a spokesperson/on-camera role? An “extra” hanging out in the background? Non-speaking or narrated voiceover parts? Depending on the content, you'll most likely need several types of talent, and each type will bring a different feel to your video, as well as a different price point.

Start off by thinking about the vision for your video, your brand message, and what type of lasting impact you want to have on the learner. This will provide direction for your video script and help determine the types of talent you’ll need.

Partner With A Talent Agency

Quality talent comes from finding the “right” agency for you and your training needs. One of our biggest tips is to find an agency you like to work with – who will partner with you to brainstorm and meet budgetary considerations.

Finding a good agency to partner with can seem challenging. Try the following:

  • Seek referrals from industry professionals like videographers and directors.
  • Leverage professional groups within social media to help you get some quality recommendations.
  • Search for "non-union talent agencies" or similar terms in your area with a simple internet search.

Once you’ve identified a few prospective choices, set a meeting to talk through their process and see if that meshes with your overall vision. Make sure to view samples whenever you can as well!

Choosing The Right Talent For Your Needs

Now that you've got your agency partner, let's go over some techniques to ensure that you have the right combination of speaking vs. non-speaking parts to help keep your budget in check.

On-Camera Talent

If your script has spoken interaction between your characters, you’ll need on-camera talent that will be required to prep for their lines. This type of talent can be on the higher end of the budget. For this, we usually hire talent for a full-day shoot – so when working with your agency you’ll be looking at what is called a "day rate." Keep in mind that’s an 8 hour day, so you’ll want to bring in food for lunch and some snacks; cast and crew need to eat!

The following is an example of how on-camera talent was utilized to deliver the specific message of this training. The video was split up and then integrated with interactive components to create a more engaging story within the eLearning format. As you can see, it was imperative to have skilled on-camera talents, so each character could deliver their story.



Another technique is to record voice-over for the video script and cover the actions being described with supplemental, or B-roll, footage. Your talent is simply acting out the content, while your voice-over will be delivering the story. Non-speaking extras can be booked for roughly half the cost of a speaking talent, which could have a dramatic impact on your budget.


Get Creative with the Resources You Have

If the budget is EXTREMELY TIGHT, get creative! Some roles don’t need an Academy Award winning actor. You can use a combination of professional talent with (big tip here) college students from the local Theater Department looking for some actual experience for their resume and reel.

All This Talent – Now What?

Another variable that comes into play is your shooting schedule.

For example, say your video script calls for multiple talent and multiple scenes. The trick is to stagger your call times. You still have to budget for a full day for your crew, but by booking talent for a half-day you can double your talent and pay for 3 full days of talent rather than 6. And, if you mix in some extras or non-speaking roles, you can really take advantage of some savings!

How to Create Awesome Videos_Graphic 01

Trying to organize your own schedule? Download Our Shooting Schedule Template for your own project!

Download Resource

Get the Camera Rolling!

The key to shooting quality video on a budget is creative planning and understanding the role that talent plays in the budget and process. Brainstorm with your team prior to writing, and work closely with your talent agency partner to determine the optimal technique to ensure your video is effective and as cost-controlled as possible.

Ready for more? Look for our next blog in the series on how to prepare for shooting day. If you have a specific question on anything in this post, feel free to comment below or email us directly. Happy recording!

Topics: Media Services, Video Tips & Tricks

Recent Posts