There are three basic factors that drive productions costs. These factors eventually get reflected in dozens of small budget decisions that impact the quality of the final product.
-Time. The more time that is spent in pre-production planning, scripting, location scouting, shooting, special effects and editing the better the final product will be. Adding more people to the production team also increases the total time spent on the project. More time, from more people, equals more money.
-Talent. The greater the talent of the people working on the project, the better it will be. In video production, as with most things in life, talented and experienced people tend to cost more.
-Tools. You can produce a video with your cell phone. Or you can use a high-end camera with a professional lighting kit and sophisticated post-production motion graphics and animation. Sophisticated tools and the top-level professionals who know how to use them add cost.
Description - Requires someone with some experience or training using somewhat more sophisticated tools (e.g., prosumer camera and video editing software). Talent level is variable and time commitment is often low. Think part-time wedding photographer or hobbyist.
Benefits - Better quality and very affordable.
Risks - Wide variations in quality. Often boring to watch.
Best Uses - Video blog posts, capturing educational events, internal training.
Cost for 2-3 Minute Video - $200 - $750
Description - Solid professional team using professional tools and average level of time. Think typical corporate online video.
Benefits - Predictable quality that conveys basic credibility. No apologies needed.
Risks - May not be exceptional or stand out from the growing crowd.
Best Uses - Case studies, profiles, service or process descriptions, recruiting video.
Cost for 2-3 Minute Video - $1,000 - $3,000
Description - Add top-level talent, high-end tools (such as motion graphics, high-end cameras, a studio) and more time to the mix to elevate a professional production to something exceptional. Use this production level to tell a compelling story and capture maximum attention. Think “Wow!”
Benefits - A ‘stand out’ piece. This is the kind of video that generates buzz, sets you apart and wins awards.
Risks - Greater cost means you have confidence in the team & their ability to produce the quality you seek.
Best Uses - Signature pieces such as overview videos, credibility-building case studies, recruiting videos or service introductions.
Cost for 2-3 Minute Video - $4,000 - $25,000
Description - Top level, top talent, no-compromises approach. Think ultra-premium movie trailer.
Benefits - Competitive at the highest level. Suitable for the largest global firms.
Risks - In view of the costs, you must be clear and certain of the need.
Best Uses- High-end advertising or compelling signature piece for a firm.
Cost for 2-3 Minute Video - $30,000 - $500,000+
Do you want to
-build your brand
-attract new clients
-recruit new staff
-tell an interesting story
For these types of tasks, you’ll typically need professional or premium level of quality to get a satisfying end product. If your company has sufficient resources and wishes to compete at the highest level, a top-drawer studio production will tell your story with incomparable style and class.
If you are simply conveying information to an interested audience, the professional level is often sufficient without sacrificing credibility.
Smaller firms or independent practitioners with limited budgets may have to accept lower production values, but even at these levels video can provide real impact.
As you make decisions about video, be realistic about your expectations.