What will my video production actually cost?
*This guide is intended to show you what areas need to be considered when it comes to the cost of video production and shows how costs accrue on a shoot. There are many occasions when you will get a “flat fee” quote and will not have to worry about the various aspects or costs that will be picked up by the video production company. But we thought it may be useful for you to be aware of the various elements and their guide costs, so you can assess the value of the quote and ask the relevant questions to the company who you are speaking to.
*Please understand this advice is mainly based on the actual production cost of video as a general rule of thumb.
Here at We Capture, our services extend far beyond this and deeper into the realms of internet marketing, where we take your high quality video asset(s) and leverage them further than they would normally go so they work for you in ways that you would not be able to achieve with out our expertise in this area.
Let us now look at the various parts that go into video production and their associated costs.
This is not an exhaustive list and you may not need to incorporate all of the areas covered.
The article is aimed at being a very sound basis for the “ball park” costs of good quality video production in the early 21st century.
So hit me with the costs then…
Far from being “a ball of string”, the actual cost of a video production has some guidelines associated with it, in this article we hope to educate those new to production costs so you can better understand the likely expense of what you maybe looking for in terms of your first or next video production.
As professionals in the industry, we have rates set by BECTU (UK Broadcast & Entertainment Union) as our benchmark, these provide some kind of indication as to day rates of various people that will be involved in a days video production.
Now let us break down the various areas that are familiar to all of us in the trade but are often totally new to people who have no vast experience in serious video production.
List is in general order of importance:
This list is in order of importance and needs to be thought about prior to that call and taken into consideration when you have two sets of figures in front of you for the work you are looking to have produced.
A one day shoot may only need a producer/director who can handle all the work themselves (we often do this), and will work from a shooting script in order to get the right shots and audio that will allow the edit to take shape as intended.
With ball park figures of £300-650 a day for industry professionals, you could go cheaper and use recent graduates and less experienced people who may or may not be able to deliver what you want, but when time is money is it worth the risk?
The old adage “you get what you pay for” holds true on so many levels with video production.
When you think about it though, this makes sense. Experience has always come with a premium cost associated otherwise you would never be able to find the right people for the right price.
The Story, Script and Concept:
There are a number of key areas working here and the role is best served by a knowledgeable marketeer who can write great copy for video:
This role relates to marketing and creativity and is a highly polished skill, falling under script writer, copywriter, and online marketing consultant.
Let us say that you would expect to spend about a day working through a script for around 2 minutes material, this allows time for the script writer to understand the brief and have some early communication, read around the subject, brainstorm, and communicate back to the client to move forward with agreements.
Expect to pay around £35-70+ per hour for this service, when the message matters (which it always does) this part needs to be right.
This area will therefore cost around £200-500 for a 1-2 minute video.
Good video production is the marriage of powerful and well thought out images (moving or still), words and a powerful narrative.
Done right, good video production falls into the “greater than the sum of its parts” territory, and is VERY powerful indeed.
Video for business needs to have a very clear objective in order to ensure that it is both effective and worthwhile pursuing.
The message to your audience is key and this is where highly skilled scriptwriting, marketing experience and big ideas are worth their weight in gold, as well as a talented producer/director.
It really is quite a talent to take a small idea, grow it conceptually and then be able to produce and deliver it to the masses and drive more and more people to that video and your message, get all those things right and you have cracked your objective for definite.
Editing / Post Production:
We would suggest you budget around £350-1000 for a 2 minute edit, dependent on experience and the challenges of the brief.
If you are after some seriously sweet looking animation, then add more onto this figure and start at around another £500+ per 10 second animation.
Editing is the icing on the cake prior to a full release to the web or DVD. The style and overall feeling which will be conveyed is all determined here from raw video an audio footage obtained from many places.
At this stage a talented editor will bring out raw emotions in the viewer dependent on the desires and creativity of the project brief.
The editing process is a massive challenge as you have to balance many areas while keeping on topic and creative.
Experience counts at this stage and likewise post production can add that extra sheen on to a video that can mean the difference between average and seriously cutting edge.
Union rates vary but expect to pay anywhere between £50/hour or £300-400 per day.
Having a trained professional presenting on your video and adding their voice to the production can mean the difference between video looking cheap or high quality. With the best will in the world, we are not all made for video, and appearances do often matter.
It is very common for the brief to require outsourced presenting skills even when authenticity is required or desired.
Costs have dropped on this front as more people are offering this service from home, and like any market that has become more saturated, costs thankfully have been driven down for the buyer, they are still however a significant overhead on any production.
Expect to pay from £150-300 depending on who you want and the duration of the piece required.
A high quality voice even minus the actual presenting adds that desired shine to many productions, a clear voice with the right accent, will mean the difference between lost in translation and clear communication.
Costs: You will spend between £80-250 per day per camera depending on which digital camera is used. The larger cameras are considerably more than this, but not really the type of camera you will need for most situations.
With many options on the market it is difficult to say what the cost of camera hire would be. If you are using older HD cameras expect to pay smaller amounts than you would for Digital SLR’s, RED’s or larger format video cameras intended for huge screens.
This actually does fall a little more into the “piece of string” territory, so expect to pay anything from £10 for a cheap mic per day to 100’s for the higher end equipment that may be required.
So you have your camera, now do you need a wide angle lense, a fixed lense, macro…
And what about audio, which mic is right for your shoot? Do you need to record interviews or focus in on a particular sound from afar…
Then we have lighting, are you in a room that offers good light or are you needing to fill your subjects face to ensure they do not look ill…?
Either way some companies already have a good mix of equipment to hand but many do not own rigs that include jibs, tracking connectors, or the more specialist equipment sometimes needed to add a touch of class to a shot.
Expect to pay between £250 – £500 per day for trained crew members.
Depending on your shoot you may need an extra crew of trained audio, lighting, make up, equipment handlers, production assistants….the list goes on. They may be involved in the management of the days events, or add their own unique expertise to the mix
Locations / Production Time:
If you are needing to shoot on location then 2 days will equal 1 day x 2, quiet simple there.
But what about the cost that are associated with this area?
Well many companies will deliver a quote an add this to the mix, others will discuss this as an aside, but you will need to think about, travel, accommodation, food, and general provisions for the crew. As such this is a hugely variable cost.
Studios are many and varied but we suggest you budget around £250-£500 per day all depending on features, size and location of the building and studio.
Sometimes you need much more control over what you are shooting and need options such as green screens or specific set design with specific lighting arrangements, there are options that can cater for all requirements, and this is where a studio proves useful.
Controlled environments do cost money but have some pretty big benefits and at the very least should mean you can keep unwanted audio out of your precious recordings!
Set, Props, Equipment, Extras:
Again this is dependent on so many factors.
Are you seeking shots from a boat, plane, up a building, or do you need to hire vans or rigs for that sweeping shot above the house from the doorway?
Whatever you are after will have a cost associated and this is best dealt with at the planning stage.
Stock images can be as cheap as £5 and great quality HD stock footage can cost as little as £50.
Do you require supplemental footage or images to support the video? There are many websites that sell high quality still and video footage. Some videos are comprised completely of stock footage, text and voice-over.
Music and sound effects make or break all productions, and like all the areas we have mentioned there are costs associated with this.
So what are you after, some nice pads to sit below the video? A massive dance tune, a sombre ditty…maybe you need some swooshes and crashes for effect? Whatever you need, audio is highly important to any video. Many would argue more than the shots themselves, and this all costs money.
Expect to pay from £15 per track to well over £500 for bespoke music that no one else can buy, and £10’s of pounds for stock library effects or more for specific sounds you can not find.
Usually a production company never goes into this detail as it is often too technical, though it is a necessary part of bringing in footage and re purposing it for differing mediums in post and pre edit…it tends to be processor intensive and can be problematic though things have improved, usually you will not see this itemised in your quote, however, it will be charged out at around £30-65 per hour.
There are many process that digital files go through to work as a final edit, “encoding” takes into account uploads to video sharing sites, post production files (stings, logo animation etc), compression for the web….the list goes on.
As a process it is pretty dull and highly technical and uses a lot of very expensive equipment on the way.
Length Of Video:
The length of your video will dictate to some degree how much the overall cost will be. We will stick our necks out and say that good quality video is going to cost around £1200-5000 per minute….seriously it can vary that much, and for many valid reasons.
There is however a growing trend for purely web based 30 second to 1 minute videos. These can be produced much cheaper and are highly effective, they can start from as little as £500.
Working with high quality production professionals makes you realise that what you are really paying for is experience.
The knowledge to choose the right equipment, people, writers and then actually put all this together is a skill that is worth investing money in.
We all know the stories of cutting corners in past projects and ending up paying more in time, money and stress to resolve problems that inadvertently cropped up.
Video production is a perfect case in point of a massive amount of processes that need to be married perfectly in order for each production to work effectively.
We hope that this guide (and not hard and fast rules) is of some benefit to you in your decision to look into video as a means of getting your message across in the most effective manner.