Many of us used to see some startups experience huge traffic increase by a simple but viral video, and hoped they could do the same thing. Unfortunately soon they found out that doing a viral video was not as easy as what they thought. I tried all different kinds of approaches to making a great video and now I’m sharing my experiences here and I categorise these approaches based on the budget.
Budget $0 – $200
In this category, you basically are looking at making a viral video by yourself, the key factor is the creativity. I tried to make one using iPhone iMove app for a couple’s app whose target is young college couples or married couples. Since the target was so clear, we shoot a few clips that delivers some typical life scene that couples encounter everyday. With an iPhone camera, you can’t have a high expectation on the video quality but you do want to emphasise on if your video could resonate with your customers. I suggest personal developers who has a passion to create stories or has a low budget to try this and you will find it incredibly fun!
Budget $200 – $1,000
With this budget, you are looking at some individual freelancers to help you with the videos, mostly animation intros due to the limit of the budget. The video makers who accepts this budget may not be the top ones unless you are really lucky to meet some professionals who wants to earn some fast cash, which is the situation that rarely happens. So I went to the to find good individual video makers. However one of the problems in this price range when you use is there are always way too many freelancers who are not very good bidding for your project and you have to waste a lot of time in reviewing their portfolios. Thus, in order to create a natal filter to clear out these disqualified video makers, a few tips for making a good introductions for your project.
  • Be clear about what form of video you are looking for, 2D animation or 3D?
  • Do you want them to write the scripts for you? or you will provide it.
  • Do you have sample video that’s similar to what you want? post the link.
  • How long is the video ideally? 
  • What kind of portfolios/sample videos you want them to provide?
With these restrictions, you will find much better freelancers bidding at your project. However, there may be another circumstance happen: you will find very few bids since your budget isn’t sufficient to match your restrictions. 
Budget $1,000 – $12,000 
With this budget, you will find more talented professionals who make quality videos for you, not necessarily animations, maybe they will help you shooting real scene will actors as well, depending on the budget you provide. Where to find these people? it’s not easy since lots of times they don’t do this on a full time basis, meaning they don’t spend much money on advertising their skillets or services. 
Other than, you could go to some famous VC firm website who provides startup services for their own startup portfolio such as Google Ventures, where you will find their design team or video service team, try your luck to contact them through LinkedIn, it does work sometimes. 
Budget $12,000 – $100,000
With this budget, congratulations, you are halfway to a viral video! I strongly recommend this company called: Sandwich Video, they made so many awesome videos for startups such as Airbnb, Ebay, Summly and Couple. Personally I like their video style very much! I don’t need to elaborate too much for this budget range since the service providers would give you better idea about how to make a great video. 
Budget Above $100,000
You may not be able to see many startup product video that costs more than $100,000. The difference between this category and the previous one is “who is the actor in the video?”, a very funny story I heard from my friend in South Korea, one of the most popular app for couples, Between, spent about $300,000 on their promotional video during their angel round. Most of the cost goes to the pocket of the actors in the short intro video, some Korea drama star and a reputable movie director. I guess though this move didn’t make their investors very happy, they do attract lots of traffics during that time in South Korea. 

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    July 2013