How Much Does a Video Production Cost?

It’s time to know more about video production budgets: Part 1

It’s easy to get frustrated with a video production company when you ask: “How much will a video cost?” and the answer is: “Well, it depends.” Frustrating because you just want an answer, but also because it really does depend on so many factors. And each one of those can make or break your final product, its success and your return on investment.

No doubt, video is less expensive and easier to create than ever before. You can shoot a video, edit it on an app and publish to YouTube all via your iPhone. If that method captures the look and feel you’re after, and communicates your message perfectly, then why not.

Despite how accessible video recording technology has become, it doesn’t make everyone an expert.

It’s easy to see the difference between a video with experience and thought behind it, and its amateur counterpart. This post from Kestum Bilt is for those of you who want a polished end product and understand that working with a professional production company is the best way to achieve this.

Costs of Planning a Video Production

Even before we get to pre-production, some thought and planning for the whole production has to take place.

  • Concept & treatment development. You need to work with your production company to develop a video concept that meets your goals. This process concludes with a treatment that’s an overview of your objectives and the desired video content.

  • Project planning. At this stage, preparations are also made in terms of project management. Any imminent deadlines are discussed and incorporated into the project plan. The production company begins forecasting how much work the video might require and can start drafting a production budget so that you understand the costs associated with your requirements.

The costs associated with this stage depends on the scope of your project and the amount of support you need to define the goals of your video and how these are reached.

Costs of Video Pre-Production

The pre-production process is multi-faceted. There are both creative and organizational elements. If you don’t put the effort in at this stage, you are likely to waste a lot of time and money in the production and post-production stages of the project.

  • Storyboard design & illustrations. Storyboards are vital. They are an early opportunity to generate a visual of the video, scene by scene, so that you and the video production company are sure you’re on the same page. Looking at a storyboard helps you and the production company anticipate potential problems with the flow of the storytelling. The storyboard also helps you identify any gaps or omissions in your message.

Ultimately, storyboards are about expectations. Rather than blindly entering the production process, you have a visual reference for what you are setting out to achieve. The skills of the Director are essential at this stage. Their experience enables them to identify key elements from your treatment that can be translated visually to share your message.

The fees for pre-production are set in the early stages. It’s the production company’s responsibility to keep to the budget while creating the perfect blueprint for your video. A feedback process will be written into the project plan so that you can comment on the storyboard. Appropriate amends are then made.

  • Graphics design & visualizations. If your video includes any graphics, this needs to be discussed and planned for in pre-production. It may be that you have pre-existing graphics of appropriate size and quality that can be incorporated into your video. However, there’s also a chance that you will need custom graphics designed for your video. At this stage, the graphic designer produces some graphic options so you can decide what look and feel you want.

Remember that editing and graphics are not the same thing. They are charged at similar daily rates and are intertwined in terms of process. Some high-quality 3D graphics take more expertise and are charged at different rates, depending on requirements. If you want to reduce costs by providing your own graphics, they must be a high enough quality/resolution for HD video. Low-quality graphics look cheap and nasty.

Costs of Casting a Video Production

If your video is going to include any talent, e.g. a presenter, actors or a voiceover artist for narration, we will support you to cast for the best person/people for the job. Obviously, this takes place in pre-production so that the right people are ready for your shoot dates.

  • Casting sessions. These, essentially, are auditions. The most appropriate applicants are invited to read through your script. This is recorded so you can watch it and make a decision as to who is most appropriate for your video. Casting takes time, but it’s worth it if it means that you find the faces/voices that best represent your business.

  • Known talent. The other option is to approach talent who you are already aware of and want for your video. Costs, therefore, depend on what the talent or agency normally charges. Some actors/presenters charge different amounts depending on usage. These are costs that you won’t necessarily know when you embark on the video production process, but must prepare for.

The cost of any actors, presenters and voiceover artists really does depend on their experience, the usage and how in demand they are. However, more expensive doesn’t always mean better. If you are trying to keep costs down, look in-house. There may be some great talent among your staff that deliver authentic performances.

Costs of Video Production Planning

While all of the creative magic is happening, the production company plans the logistics of the production. The key areas that are organized include:

  • Times and dates

  • Locations

  • People (crew, talent, clients)

  • Gear (filming equipment)

  • Costumes and props

  • Catering

  • Permissions

  • Plan B (for when things might go wrong!)

  • Communication of all the above with call sheets/schedules

    When displayed in a list like this, it seems so easy. But realistically, the process of organizing a shoot is actually time consuming and complicated. It’s about getting a team of people together, with all of the things they need to do their jobs properly, at the same time and place, with the same idea in their heads about what happens. This line in the budget is, therefore, essential to guarantee an organized and professionally run shoot. More days filming naturally means more days planning (and more to pay!).