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How this Video Marketing Start-up is Using Houses to Cut Down its Location Costs Shooting great videos need great locations (sets or studios) that works well in most cases if you are not running on a shorter project deadline.

By Sandeep Soni

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Kashyap Swaroop and Harsh Desai loves storytelling, in a way that it leaves a lasting impact on the audience. Desai's creative side has allowed him to write and direct 35 plays for his college, for state and national level competitions. The best use case for that, the duo could figure out was helping companies and entrepreneurs convey their brand stories through video campaigns. They, currently, run video marketing start-up Lowfundwala Communications in Mumbai. Uber, HDFC, Asian Paints, Accenture, AIB, TEDx, etc., as clients not just validate their skills but also why pictures or visuals speak louder than words, even as people begin to like more than just "cat videos' on Facebook.

However, shooting great videos need great locations (sets or studios) to meet production requirements from both creative and practical point of view. This works well in most cases if you are not running on a shorter project deadline. In case you are, then it can be a great spoiler. "The logistics of visiting multiple locations, showcasing the same to the client and satisfying the expectations of the creative team is a herculean task. Eventually, the effort and the cost of making the studio setting look realistic is huge and the end result is always not so believable," says Swaroop. Moreover, minimum of Rs 60,000, he adds, is spent on hiring a studio and setting it up as per requirement.

Homing in

To cut through the challenges of making the studio look more natural, realistic and of course the cost and time attached in renting studios, both the co-founders, in June last year, piggybacked on the standardized and "realistic' ambiance of bread and breakfasts (B&B) which is perfect for shoots. Desai explains – we have access to multiple images of the houses listed on multiple BnBs that help reduce our time in visiting locations. We convince the home owners that any changes made to house settings will be reversed. Also, we offer them more return than they earn from the BnB. For example, if the home owner charges Rs 5,000 per night, we offer them Rs 8,000. Since I am also an advocate by education, this helps build trust with the owners. One such project done by Lowfundwala was for live music platform Happydemic, based in Mumbai.

For Desai and Swaroop, the natural setting of the house blends better into storifying the client's business instead of a "madeup' studio. Beyond time, money and quicker turnaround on projects, it also saves them on art direction because of natural location. In addition, there is no further requirement for a location manager to arrange for the elaborate logistics and, or studios. "On a project basis, this increased our margins by three-five per cent. On the expenses accounted for scouting and locations, we started saving on costs by almost 50 per cent," adds Swaroop. Lowfundwala now has a curated list of homestays and apartments which are available on rent for shoots. The start-up has so far shot around six campaigns and done away with studios since last year.

(This article was first published in the June 2018 issue of Entrepreneur Magazine. To subscribe, click here)

Sandeep Soni

Former Features Editor

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