The hardest question we get asked on an ongoing basis is, “How much does a video cost?”. Typically this question emerges after a short period of time getting to know a prospective client or speaking very generally about a video project. The question is a minefield. But it’s a valid one.
Video an important piece of branding, it is integral to an effective content marketing strategy, and more and more it is essential for engagement with prospects and customers. Without a strong video strategy your brand can suffer. But, what will it cost?
It is important to know that there is not a single answer to this question. And the answer, “It depends,” is as elusive as it is frustrating. Video costs can span from hundreds of dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars. As you think about your own budget, here are some factors to keep in mind that contribute to the cost.
My advice is to have a number in mind when starting out on this journey. Know your budget range, know what you are trying to accomplish, and know the style you are trying to achieve.
Type of video
Different types of videos have different requirements and, therefore, different costs. A corporate brand video that features multiple people in the organization, fancy editing details and a slick graphics package will cost more than a simple thought leadership video that features a single subject matter expert. But, that corporate brand video will cost less than an animated video that requires extensive drawing, design, and animation. As you think through the styles of videos available to you, think about your audience first and what they may be looking for from your brand and think about the production value of that style.
Location, location, location
Where you film the video impacts the cost. Location matters. Filming in a place where there are no location fees, e.g. an office, home or other free location, significantly reduces video costs. A studio location, although it may have a fee associated, can also be a cost savings if the studio allows the team to use backgrounds, props, equipment and gear. And likely, the studio has a load-in and load-out environment that may save time on the shoot day, therefore making the shoot day more productive. Conversely, filming on location can require a fee and may not have a convenient loading spot. Both impact time and cost for the production days.
Complexity of production
Complexity adds costs. Videos today range from selfie-style iPhone videos to ones that include Steadicams, drones and more intense lighting and audio set ups. As complexity increases, so do the costs for the crew and equipment. There are many ways to find middle ground between an iPhone video and a Hollywood-style video. You can create a budget that will produce high quality video without being cost prohibitive. This often comes down to choosing the right crew and gear to provide the desired look within the desired budget.
Talent, wardrobe, stylist, propping
In addition to production gear, line items for talent, wardrobe, stylist, and props can be significant. Not all brands choose to feature in-house talent and using an outside talent (actor, spokesperson) can often create a more professional look. However, with this professionalism comes costs to “look the part”. You may need to consider wardrobe and styling costs as well as talent fees. When working with hired talent, you may also have to consider usage fees, which can be costly depending on distribution plans.
It’s simple. Videos that are longer require more cost than videos that are shorter. This is a great way to think about managing a budget. Does the video need to be five minutes or can it be 45-seconds and accomplish the same objective? We think about the journey the viewer will take after watching the video and focus our energy to propel that next action, in order to cut back on video duration.
Post-production is the stage when the video production team is editing and finishing the video. If you have had a strong pre-production process, then the team can find alignment and efficiencies in post. Decisions made in pre-production impact the costs in post-production. For example, the more complex the production, the more cameras used, the more people featured in the video, the longer the video, the higher the cost of post-production. Additionally, elements like color grading and sound mixing occur in this stage which can positively effect the sound and the look of the finished piece, but will also have cost implications.
Balancing costs at each stage
There are many factors that go into developing a video budget. I try to think about the three main stages of a video project: pre-production, production and post-production. Each of these has levers that will increase complexity, and therefore costs, or decrease complexity. You have to know where to allocate resources in order to find the right balance of costs that will allow you to create a video that meets your objectives and your budget.
Video may not be the least expensive marketing initiative in your budget, but it can have incredible impact, if done correctly.
My advice is to have a number in mind when starting out on this journey. Know your budget range, know what you are trying to accomplish, and know the style you are trying to achieve. If you have examples of work that has been done that you like or dislike, that is a great way to start the conversation with a video production partner. With just a few parameters, a video production company should be able to quickly tell you what is possible within your budget range and you can adjust from there. Video may not be the least expensive marketing initiative in your budget, but it can have incredible impact, if done correctly.
Do you want to talk about brand building, marketing strategy,or video production? We promise you will get a response from a human, typos and all. Email me, Rebecca Garnick Ast, at rgast – at – tippingpointlabs dot com. Or call me at 617-332-8261.