Video production costs – What exactly is the price of video production?

We are often asked “how much will a video cost?”

According to the Online Video 2014 Best Practice Guide video cost is consistently top of the list of FAQs by experienced marketers today.  And CMI reports that 46% of marketers believe they lack budget for video content. So, while there is wide spread understanding of the vast opportunity for video content, it seems there isn’t the same understanding of the costs involved to create it.

While I would like to give you a simple answer to this question, in truth, you can spend as much or as little as you are able to in order to achieve what you set out to with your video content.

To help demonstrate this, below is a short 101 on video production costs. I hope it helps strengthen your understanding of the costs you may encounter when considering commissioning a video as part of your marketing strategy. More importantly, I hope it demonstrates to you that video content does not have to cost the earth.

101 on video production costs

I’m sure you will often see many line items on estimates you receive from video production companies, however for simplicity you can split these costs into 3 core stages of video production:

  • Pre-production – planning the video content
  • Production – shooting the video content
  • Post-production – delivering the video content

How the costs for each stage pans out very much depends on your brief and what you are looking to achieve from the video content.  Your brief ultimately forms the basis for the video’s approach, which in turn determines the necessary mix of skills and equipment required to arrive at the overall production costs. I won’t talk more about the brief here, but take a look at our 7 easy steps to write a brief for more guidance.

Let me share 3 video content examples with you to help demonstrate to you the costs involved for each and why they differ:

#1: Buxton Water

Buxton Water wanted a short video for social media that promoted staying hydrated when doing sports as part of The Big Jubilee Lunch initiative. The brand knew the location of the shoot, had a script written, had secured Alistair Cook and knew they wanted him to speak to camera, with cricket footage interspersed, as the video was part of wider PR activity – they just needed it professionally shot.

1)      Pre-productionNo planning was undertaken as the script and video’s approach was defined.

2)      Production – A half day shoot was scheduled at the chosen location and one cameraman was booked.  Minimal expenses were incurred for the cameraman’s travel  as the location was within the local area.

3)      Post-production- Half a day editing was scheduled and all logos were provided. Royalty free music was selected.

You can see that the focus of cost for this video is on shooting the actual video – so the cameraman’s time and expertise to reccie the location on the day and choose the best areas to shoot in to gain relevant cricket and head to camera footage.  There was no requirement for script writing, for selecting a presenter (often called talent) or finding a location. There was no need for specialist camera equipment nor was there any requirement for graphics, captions or voiceover or any language translations in post-production. Nor was there any licensing required for the music.

The video was straightforward yet delivered for Buxton Water exactly what it set out to achieve. The video content was delivered for approximately £1,500.

#2: Kenwood – Metallics range

Kenwood wanted a promotional video that demonstrated the features and benefits of their new Metallics range of toasters and kettles.  The video content needed to be funky and stylised as the product range.

1)      Pre-production – A short script was written which created the flow, order and hierarchy of the product messaging for the video.  A storyboard was sketched for the script which acted as the blueprint for the video.

2)      Production – A half day shoot was scheduled to shoot the product rotations  and a cameraman in a studio was booked. No expenses were incurred by the cameraman as the studio was owned by us.

3)      Post-production3 days editing was scheduled for the complex 2D animations as well as the funky 3D effect of the toaster and kettle rotations. Video captions were added to bring the script to life and royalty free music selected.

You can see in this example, the focus of cost is weighted in the post production stage as the required graphics and animations need time and expertise. More planning was also needed at the pre-production stage in order to develop the style of the video and author the supporting script.

As the products are the heroes of the film, no actors, celebrities or props were required. Nor was there any requirement for specialist camera equipment, voiceover or language translations. The promotional video bought the Metallics range to life as Kenwood had hoped.

A video like this can be delivered for a cost in the region of £3,000-£4,500.

#3: Mumbu

As a new recruitment company, Mumbu needed 2 explainer videos to help bring the service to life for businesses and candidates alike.

1)      Pre-production2 scripts were written and 2 corresponding storyboards sketched out. Casting began, the process of selection conducted, and a presenter chosen.

2)      Production – A one day shoot was scheduled in a studio using specialist green screen equipment with a 3 man crew.  No crew expenses were incurred as the green screen equipment and studio were owned by us. No props were required.

3)      Post-production6 days editing was scheduled for the complex graphics and 2D animations needed to bring together the green screen footage with the captured Mumbu website screen recordings.

You can see, in this example, the cost was evenly weighted across the stages. Planning was needed up front to develop the style and content of the video, as well as talent selection. Specialist equipment was required and the complex editing of green screen footage needed time and expertise. Key to note here also is that cost savings were able to be made by Mumbu as the footage for both videos were undertaken on the same 1 day shoot. If the two videos were shot on separate occasions, a lot of the costs would have had to be paid twice, so a thought through brief payed off here.

Videos, such as these, can be delivered for a cost in the region of £8,000-£10,000. We are keeping our fingers crossed that they do wonders for this newly launched website.

As you can see, there is an awful lot which can go into making a video and the importance of managing expectations is key.

But in short, video content doesn’t have to be costly. I hope I’ve demonstrated that it can be as much or as little as your budget allows and it can still achieve what you set it out to.

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