How much should you spend on professional video?

Ever wonder how much you should be spending on your professionally produced video content? A few weeks ago I was putting together a quote for a new client. We had been working together on the brief for his first video production and I felt we both knew what was expected from the project.

The client was new to video, so I wasn’t terribly surprised when there were a few questions about how the price was constructed.

The video we were discussing was only 30 seconds long, ‘how could it cost more than a one minute video?’ he asked.

The mistake the client was making was using the video’s run-time as a yardstick for value. In reality, run time isn’t a barometer you can apply when estimating the cost of a video production. 

A commercial on television might run for only twenty seconds, but rarely are they cheaper than a minute long video you might shoot on your iPhone. 

There are various places where the costs of video production amount up. 

The creative planning stage, otherwise known as ‘Development’ can take a while. The more demanding the project, the longer it will spend in development therefore the more costly they become.

Take ‘Playin’ With My Friends’ produced for Ikea by Mother London. As you can read in this article on lbbonline, this film required serious planning and as such Ikea spent the proportional amount of time in development with numerous creatives involved.

When your films are shot, the use of locations, actors, extras, number of cameras, lenses, drones, practical or visual effects will all drive the cost up. The more of these items you use, the more distinctive your films will be, but this will be reflected in the budget. 

There is a certain danger in making comparisons. I ended up showing him this video we produced for an artist called Rose Gray. The production schedule for this project was one day but we had plenty of material to capture so we ended up using two Alexa cameras and running a long day with over time. You can find out more about the project by clicking here.

Thankfully we got everything we needed, but the film was probably more expensive to produce than your average episode of Eastenders (and those episodes run for half n’ hour). 

As your films venture into post-production, factors which affect the price include the amount of time spent editing, the number of revisions requested, visual effects, colour grading, not to mention delays in feedback.

One of the main things that you can do to keep the budget down when producing a video is to make decisions quickly and then to stick to them.

In our experience, the number #1 reason the cost of a video increases is indecision and revision.

Once I had explained in a bit more detail how the costs were put together he seemed to understand and moved forward with the project. 

If you would like to discuss a budget for your next production. Get in contact with Nathan Haines from Element 26 today. 

About the Author

Nathan Haines

Nathan is the managing director of Element 26 and an expert in video production and video marketing. Nathan enjoys supporting companies to grow their businesses using video. Get in touch on Twitter @element26uk

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