It’s the First Question

Just like most industries when the phone rings one of the first questions I get is “How much does it cost to produce a video”. This could be a two minute video, a 60 second video, 5 minutes. It doesn’t matter. The point is that before this person conveys the details of the project they want to know what the cost will be. In the case of video production the details matter, a lot. A sixty second video could cost the same if not more than a five minute video. There are many variables.

It All depends

Let’s take for instance the two minute video. This is a fairly common length and a lot of information can be put into two minutes. Without knowing any details I’d start at $2000+. This can and most likely will grow to $3000, $4000 or more.

There’s Pre-Production

Let’s discuss what is involved in most video productions. There is of course pre-production. This is the part when all parties discuss and make a game plan for exactly what the video is going to be comprised of. Scripts, interviews, b roll, graphics, animation, narration and so on. When we have all of that information then we are able to decide how many days of production we are going to need to accommodate the gathering of our assets.

Then There’s the Shoot

Will we need to travel to various locations to gather interviews or other video? Do we need to hire a crew out of state to gather assets? Are there any accommodations we need to make for special circumstances at a location? Will everything be able to be captured at one location or will we need a studio? How many days of production need to be scheduled? What personnel would make up the crew?

Then, of course Post-Production

The final part of the budget process if figuring out how much time will be needed to edit all the assets together. Will there be special effects, graphics or animation needed? Sometimes I find post production the trickiest to estimate. I use a general rule of approximately five hours for every one minute of video. This mostly pertains to videos that are using interviews to tell the story. Again this estimate can vary depending on the length of interviews and how many interviews will be used in the final video. Editing a video with one or two interviews may go a little quicker than editing a video with four to six interviews. When the story line is finalized the video then needs b roll, graphics, music, color correction and a couple final passes to clean up any loose ends.

A Different Option

A different option for a two minute video might be recording a person reading a prompter to camera and the edit may consists of a single title page, a lower third and the one clip of video un-edited. Since most production companies base production on day rates the production cost to record the video may be similar to other shoots, however the edit would take a fraction of the time saving hundreds if not thousands of dollars in the overall project.

So, the Answer Is . . .

So if you were to call me and ask “ How much do you charge for video production?” I would answer “Depending on what you’re looking for we start at $2000 and go up from there. Most likely we’re going up.”