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How Cheap Live Video Production Can Wreck Your Event

Updated: Jul 13

  • If you want to protect and support your brand image, you should strive for the best possible video quality. Cheaper options might not have the capabilities you need.

  • Think about how many people are needed to make a live event happen. Consider the costs associated with hiring a team of professionals.

  • Think beyond the event. A well-produced video can be repurposed to promote your brand in the future.

There’s no way around it: professional video production can be expensive. If you’re considering incorporating live video into an event, it can be easy to start cutting corners on seemingly unnecessary items. However, you’ll find that these simple things can have serious implications for your final product.

If you’ve ever been on a set or reviewed a video production budget, you may have encountered the term “C-47”, referring to a clothespin. One popular myth for how this name came about is that the technical-sounding “C-47s” were less likely to be stricken from budgets by overzealous producers protecting their bottom line than the word “clothespins." For the lighting team, this is an essential item. It's an obscure anecdote, but it shows how small items can add up and how even small line items have distinct production reasons for existing.

If you opt for low-cost production, you’ll face several limitations, a few of which are highlighted here.

  1. Low-cost solutions need more flexibility to craft an impactful narrative. Events have the greatest emotional appeal when various camera shots and graphical elements are incorporated. Think of some of your favorite movie scenes and how they were shot. Is the movie told with only a single wide shot the entire time? Or does the director use cinematography and cameras to advance the narrative? This is 100% a loaded question. We pose it to show that different angles and fields of view keep things engaging, and it's the same for live events. You could throw a camera "in the back of the room" for your livestream, but it won't advance your message meaningfully. Numerous cameras require numerous crew members, which increases cost, but it also increases the viability that your messaging will purchase.

  2. The unpredictability of live video production requires us to account for Murphy’s Law. When a budget has been peeled back and reduced multiple times, you can guarantee it is paired with reduced flexibility. Cutting a "backup encoder," the device that sets your show "live," might seem like an easy way to save money, but it can cause massive disruptions if your primary encoder fails onsite.

  3. High-quality audio ensures your viewers have a positive experience. Studies suggest that low-quality audio quality irritates viewers and affects how much they trust a speaker. Cheap recording equipment and poor signal processing result in subpar sound quality and negative audience reactions.

With over 14 years of experience in event production, Gradient knows how important careful planning and informed budgeting decisions are. When Armani Beauty partnered with Gradient for their Luminous Silk Masterclass livestream, we produced an impactful event free of technical hiccups. At Gradient's broadcast facilities in NYC, we have at least two redundancies for every item in our control room. So, when an encoder failed, we had two backups in place, as they are prone to do. The audience was none the wiser. Though, had we prioritized cutting costs, the production could not have happened.

How can I justify the Cost of a Professional Livestream?

It all comes down to ROI. Cost reductions don't always equate to a higher return on your investment. More often than not, cost reductions can decrease it. For instance, livestreaming can create engagement opportunities with virtual audiences through real-time Q&A sessions. It's a powerful tool in your audience engagement toolbox. It makes viewers feel noticed, respected and increases audience retention and pre-event excitement. You could cut costs to remove it, but it would reduce ROI. This includes engagement tools like embedded live polls, surveys, chat functionality, second-screen engagement, gamification techniques, and more. If a $2,000 tool can increase retention rates by 40% during an investor conference where millions are at stake, the ROI is clear. Sometimes, defining a marketing effort's potential benefits is not clear-cut. To justify production costs, define your engagement's KPIs and assess the ceiling for that KPI. That ceiling will help you define what costs are worth taking on and what isn't.

Reach Out to Gradient About Live Events

When considering the costs of professional live video production, choosing a reputable partner who understands your brand's unique requirements is crucial. Gradient Experiential offers comprehensive solutions that elevate your event to new heights. Our team of experienced professionals, access to state-of-the-art equipment, and attention to detail have given us a proven track record of success in live video production.

For inquiries on live production, you can use our inquiry form here, call our office line at (212) 997-9742, or email us at

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