Why Do Video Productions Cost So Much?
Table of Contents:
- What Affects Video Costs?
- Video Pre-Production Cost
- Video Production Cost
- Video Post-Production Cost
When done correctly, videos are an excellent way to draw in prospective customers, establish trust, and get meaningful results. However, until you get that sweet payday, these videos can be a big investment. Even small creative and marketing choices are enough to increase budgets from a few thousand to a few million and, if spent carelessly, you may spend money you are unable to earn back.
So how much should you expect to budget to bring your video to life? And what should that budget go toward to get the results you want?
As the founder of Force Media with over ten years of media marketing experience, these are questions clients ask me all the time. From hiring the right production company to piecing the footage together, it can be overwhelming to know what to consider when determining a budget. Don’t worry; I will walk you through budgeting your next video campaign step by step.
- Disclaimer: For the sake of this blog post, we are only going to focus on corporate and commercial videos that a business of any size and budget may use for a commercial, social media ad, or internal education video. Although movies and TV shows sometimes follow a similar thought process, there are way more moving pieces. So today, we’re just going to talk about commercials and advertising videos.
What Affects Video Costs?
In short, video budgets vary greatly due to our answers to questions arising during production stages. The more special requests you may want fulfilled by your video, the more it is going to cost.
The first step to determining how much your video may cost is understanding each phase of video production. Every video follows the same structure: pre-production, production, and post-production.
Video Pre-Production Cost
Let’s think about video production like building a house; nothing can stand without a firm foundation. Pre-production is where you and your production studio lay the right groundwork for your next great video.
Before you even contact a production studio to build from your foundation, you need to answer these three questions:
- Why are we making this video?
- Who are we making the video for?
- What action do we want the viewer to take after they watch the video?
Once you can answer those questions, you can reach out to a production company like Force Media.
- Disclaimer: From here on out, I’ll explain what we do at Force Media to execute your vision, but this same process applies throughout the industry.
Now that you’ve selected your production company, we can help you decide on the video concept, the look and feel, and the style needed to create strong blueprints. The pre-production phase is where we write the scripts, decide on a location and set design, and lock down all the other details involved with how the actual video is going to look, sound, and perform.
When drafting this plan, it is critical to keep the budget in mind. Grand ideas such as animations, large casts, and complicated special effects may look cool, but may not be necessary to reaching your project goals. Even so, you are welcome to add these features so long as you keep this crucial question in mind: How much money am I willing to invest in order for the viewer to take the desired action?
Questions Affecting Pre-Production Budget
Here are some questions we ask during the pre-production stage that help determine what is necessary to include in your budget to reach your target goal:
- What is the video concept/idea?
- Do you want one video or multiple?
- How long do you want the video to be?
- Do you already have a script written or do we need to create one?
- Where will this video be distributed? (Website, Organic Social Post, Paid Social Ad)
Pro tip: We recommend you have examples of other videos you like and what you like about them. As creatives, it’s our job to bring our client's vision to life, and references help us understand the style we want. It also sparks our creativity to make additional recommendations. If you don't know where to find examples, I recommend starting your journey by exploring the work on our YouTube page for inspiration.
Video Production Cost
The Production stage is where our professional crew of directors, producers, camera operators, on-camera talent, sound engineers, and lighting techs do what they do best: film a great video. Now that we have the blueprints developed in the pre-production stage, it's time to put it all together in front of the cameras.
Questions Affecting Production Budget
The production stage of filming is where the majority of the budget will be spent because it involves the most people and the most time. Some budget questions to consider to prepare for production might include:
- How many days will this take to shoot?
- Will we need a permit to film at your desired location?
- Will we need to hire actors for this video?
- When do you need this to be filmed?
- What is the due date of the final video?
- Is there anything specific you DO want in your video? (Equipment, product features, people, location, script, etc.)
- Is there anything you DO NOT want in your video?
- Do you have any other special requests? (Color grade style, movement style, aspect ratio, frame rate, resolution, camera/lens choice?)
When we created a brand video for Dunwoody Labs, we had to reserve their laboratory space for filming. Though this meant pausing work in the lab, it allowed us to create a more accurate depiction of the lab, which helped them achieve their goals for the video and made this a worthy investment.
Video production can be challenging, but remember: The quality of your video reflects the quality of your company. Don’t try to rush the process or you’ll waste money and time. Take time to do your research and follow pre-production, and it will pay off in the long term.
Video Post-Production Cost
Post-production is where the magic happens. Our editing team begins the third and final stage of production by shaping your story, color-correcting, cleaning up audio, adding music, creating graphics and making sure your video looks exactly like we planned in pre-production.
Questions Affecting Post-Production Budget
When crafting your post-production budget, remember to ask yourself:
- Do you also want the raw footage to make edits on your own?
- Do you want any animations? If so, 2D or 3D animations?
- Do you want to include any special effects or copyrighted music?
Just like with every other stage, the smartest decisions you can make for your budget keep your video's goal in mind. For the brand video for Golden Anchor Tattoos, we included artistic transitions and illustrations to express the culture of the shop and the talents of the artists, therefore making this a necessary addition to the budget.
Once post-production wraps up, your video is ready to draw in customers.
- After determining your goal for your video, you can make the major pre-production budgetary decisions that help you reach your goal.
- Most of the budget will be spent during the production stage of filming due to the unlimited creative options that will be put in place during this stage.
- Post-production is the final step for finalizing video style, which may be costly depending on your video's goal.
As you can see, there are many choices to make at each stage of the video production process, and each has the power to take a video’s budget from $10,000 to $25,000 and so on.
For that reason, we highly recommend you talk with your financial team and set aside a budget for your video. This will speed up the process of asking companies for quotes and allow you to make these difficult budgetary decisions with more confidence.
As I mentioned before, this process and these questions apply throughout the industry, but choose your production company carefully. Those specializing in cinematic videos may not have the marketing knowledge needed to convert new customers. That is why we recommend reaching out to a production company that is cross-trained in marketing, like Force Media.
Our team operates with the creativity, integrity, and drive needed to reach your goals for the project at your budget. If you want to work with our team, please fill out this application link, and our team will review your application and get in touch with you within 24 hours.
There you have it! Now you know about the production process, the questions that affect your budget, and how Force Media can work within your budget. It has been a pleasure introducing you to the process, and we’re excited to show it to you in action.