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What does a video production cost?

Here are our top 12:

Your video production investment is completely dependent on your budget. With a quarter of a billion dollar budget, you can hire a prestigious Hollywood producer, or simply capture video on a smartphone and upload it to the web at no direct cost, but there will be obvious differences with both. In the last few years, many elements that affect the price of your video have decreased. Finding a talented production firm that does great work is essential…such as Breakthru Video [wink-wink]. If a production firm lacks this quality, what value does it really have?

Regarding the duration of videos, the longer videos are not necessarily less expensive to produce than shorter ones, and visa versa. A video of a single headshot with a few graphics, and a couple of minutes in duration, may require limited editing and simple graphics. While a 30-second, fast-paced spot may require much more editing, and be heavily loaded with motion graphics. Being the question is ‘What does a video production cost?’, here are ‘our top-12’ components that will affect your investment amount:

1-Hiring a Video Production Pro:
How many components make up the final version of your videos? There is the pre-production planning, the actual live production and the post-production phases, that make up an overall production. The first and likely most important step to achieving your video objectives is in choosing the right team of professionals to work each of these. By having your video done by professionals (such as Breakthru Video), you are investing in our team’s expertise, which will be responsible for your video and how it will effectively communicate the desired message, emotion and result. As is with any service, hourly wages for highly sought-after professionals increase based on demand, which also applies for services such as shooting (capturing) video and sound, directing, editing and animating your videos.

2-Storyboarding / Script:
What objective does your organization have and how will your video help to directly achieve it? Will your videos properly communicate to your specific audience? Does the team producing your video have the leadership and experience to design and brand videos that will positively impact your objectives? Cameras, sound equipment and editing stations are important, but developing a successful concept and storyboard that properly creates value to your intended viewers will serve as the foundation for your videos.

3-Editing:
How much editing will your videos require? The editing process is very tedious. By definition, editing is the process where you remove unnecessary materiel, add missing material, choose and arrange material to form a coherent whole. Editing is where you will have the look, sound and feel take shape into a story that effectively communicates and keeps viewers engaged. Sometimes the video images can be edited by one person, and the sound by another, as well as animation (more on animation on the next point). This phase is where all components are mixed together and a series of rough cuts are performed, effects are added, color and tone is adjusted, glitches or errors are removed, and both, sound and video are brought together for the final edit. Because editing is usually so time intensive, it can often take up the highest part of your production’s budget.

4-Graphics / Animation:
Will your video just have elements of animation, or be fully animated? Graphics and animation are separate from editing, but the value of digital graphics and animation, as well as the cost can be comparable (or greater) to editing.  Some videos need simple digital graphics, while others may be fully animated. Quality 3D animation can add up to hundreds of dollars by the hour.

5-Cameras / Equipment:
What camera will be used on your video? What kind of microphone(s) are best for your video? The type of camera can make quite a difference in the final version of your videos. The distinction should be noticeable in the more professional-grade cameras. Where your videos will be showcased will also determine the need for specific cameras. Typically, web videos do not require the higher-end cameras, as do videos developed for TV or big screens. As for the sound, some microphones are sensitive to capturing surrounding elements (i.e. cars, wind, birds chirping, etc.) and other microphones can better focus on the person speaking into it. Depending on the budget, location and environment of the shoot, both, camera and microphone needs may vary. Additionally, equipment such as lenses, dolly tracks, tripods, jib-arms (and operators), a variety of microphones, monitors, lights, etc., may also influence your production’s investment amount.

6-On-camera + narration talent:
How can your videos most effectively communicate the intended message? It is often best to have a professional represent your brand, audience and organization. On TV commercials, it is commonly a paid spokesman. Even for web videos, hiring good talent will likely prove most effective. I emphasize the word ‘good’…because not all on-camera or narration (voice-over) talent is ‘good talent’.

7-Crew:
How large a crew is needed for your video? Although most business web video productions don’t require more than a couple of persons, you may require a larger crew based on how many moving parts your production requires. As an example, you may possibly need someone on the camera(s), a separate person for sound, a host and director.

8-Location / Studio:
At what location and how many, is the production being shot, and how much time will each shot (and the total shots) require to complete? Can weather be an obstacle? How much time is needed for set-up and teardown, and what props (i.e. furniture, cars, etc.) are going to be used? Will a barrier be needed to help protect the integrity of the shoot? Will you need to rent a studio, and if so, how large and with what kind of devices? Is a stage or platform needed? These all have to be factored to the investment amount of your videos.

9-Audio + Image files / Licensing:
What do music tracks cost? Quality music for your videos can be found for under $100 or $200 and custom audio can range from a cool $1,000 to tens of thousands, depending on the musician(s), band and demand. As is with audio, using licensed images and media can often be a more cost efficient path as well. In addition to the files themselves, another factor which can influence your videos bottom line is the amount of time it can take to locate the appropriate material to best fit your video’s message. The more material required, also means more time as well.

10-Translation:
Will your video require alternate languages or closed captioning? Will on-screen text be in different languages, and if so, which and how many? Will you be using different voice-overs for different audiences? The more languages, the more time it will take to proofread and edit, and believe it or not, certain languages may sometimes cost more than others.

11-Rendering / Uploading:
OK, so we promptly reach the stage where we have your final edit complete on our editing application, now what? Once your videos make the final edit phase, they will have to be rendered (processed) to a format for you to display (e.g. web, TV, social media) and for final delivery. The videos may likely have to be uploaded somewhere (i.e. server, YouTube, TV media suppliers, social media, etc.). Will your video be on the web? If so, where? The greater number of ‘destinations’, typically means greater kinds of ‘delivery’, as well as more time. This, along with digital storage, takes time and drive (digital) space which may affect your investment amount.

12-Miscellaneous fees:
Nobody likes paying taxes or miscellaneous fees, but as is the case with just about everything we purchase, those fees are there. Your videos will likely be no different and also have delivery, insurance, travel costs, transportation, hair and makeup, etc. All items need to be added to the overall cost of your production.

Conclusion?
When considering the investment amounts for your video productions, there is no ‘one size fits all’ recipe, so stay open to suggestions. Each organization has their own budget and objective, we encourage you to openly share it with us. Think about it and ask yourself, do you want your video investment in the hands of the best production company, or awarded to the one with the best ‘hunch‘ of your unsaid budget?


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