As a production professional, one of the first questions I am always asked by clients is, “How much will video production cost?” Although this question is important and valid, one might as well ask what the weather will be like in the United States tomorrow. Without narrowing down some variables, the question is impossible to answer.
Video production costs come down to two driving factors:
- Resources required to complete the project
Both factors depend on the concept or idea that needs to be executed. If your project needs to look like Star Wars, it’s a safe bet that time and resources, and therefore costs, will be much higher than say, shooting a 30-second monologue in a studio against a white backdrop. I’ve personally encountered many creative ways for pricing production, from flat fees to all-inclusive, per minute rates. Most of these methods are problematic, as pricing a project based on final run time has no basis in reality, and nearly always fails to accurately account for time and resources. I could shoot a client talking for 30 seconds in front of a white wall. I could also recreate that client in 3D as an avatar and let the avatar speak the same 30 seconds of material. Both ads are 30 seconds in length and have the same message, but the cost of the second version is going to be much higher than the first, based on the time needed to create it. This is where I offer free advice. If anyone can confidently tell you that 30 seconds costs X, and 60 seconds costs Y, and 10 minutes costs Z…RUN! Run far and fast in the opposite direction. At best, flat fees limit what can be done for you. At worst, you overpay for inferior work. You’ve been warned!
My preferred method for pricing production, now and forever, is to custom quote each project based on the scope of work. This method ensures that the price you pay is in line with the level of production, i.e. time and resources required, to produce your final video. All videos are not created equal. A particular production may require only a single camera operator. Another may require multiple cameras and an entire crew to cover properly. We prefer to speak to you about your project to determine not only what needs to be done, but also what I like to call your “production tolerance.” The vast majority of clients do not have exactly what they want mapped out in their heads. This is perfectly ok, as we are quite adept at brainstorming ways in which to accomplish your goals. Once we determine the level of production you are comfortable with, pricing becomes quite accurate.
In the end, productions can range from hundreds of dollars to millions of dollars depending on the concept. A good rule of thumb is to enter into a video discussion with a realistic budget that you are comfortable with in mind. The higher the budget, the greater the possibilities. Knowing your budget also keeps us from offering you the top shelf filet mignon of ideas when all you can really afford is a great burger. We can also likely show you project samples that are within your budget range. Good, effective productions aren’t limited to high budgets. High concepts are limited to high budgets. When you contract your video production with us, you only pay for the level of production that you require. Call us to discuss your particular project. Our production crew is highly capable. Just keep in mind that Star Wars requires a lot of time and resources.