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Alexandrea Day
Alexandrea Day 3 July 2019

What Does it Cost to Produce A Video?

If you have spent any time attempting to get a quote for a video you want produced, I'm sure you've discovered that prices are all over the place from $99 to $50,000. With that kind of price range it's helpful to know why? This article is written to provide some transparency in how video production is priced. Pricing for video can be compared to automobiles like Lexus and Toyota. Lexus is built by Toyota but features are added to a Toyota beyond the "requirements" to produce the luxury brand Lexus.

To open this conversation its important to understand that technology has reduced the effort and thereby cost of production through digital recording vs. linear tape, user-friendly digital suites for editing and bandwidth that supports cloud distribution. Lighter, cheaper and innovated advancement in equipment allows any talented producer to create content for a fraction of the cost previously. So, why are the prices still so high?

For reasons not really understood, the industry has taken a long time to shift its dependence on high price tags even though the demand for high-priced video has dropped like a stone. But one factor is the cost of overhead. A studio full of equipment requiring insurance and repairs with employees is a nut that has to be covered by a handful of jobs per month. This is because the industry is a gig-based economy with jobs coming along sporatically. As a result, a local studio or videographer must charge a high price to stay in business.

Lower prices have also emerged due to competition for gigs posted to online marketplaces like Upwork, Freelancer, etc.

So, based on the above, what does it really cost to produce a video? The breakdown is as follows. A plan and treatment are required before starting any filming. So, if you need a script written or a storyboard built, either you will need to do it (to save money) or pay a professional to help you. So, several hours of a creative director will be required to get you started. Then once the plan is set, the creative assets are created from voice recording to capture of footage, per the plan. Finally, editing. This sounds simplistic but it really is not. All in all, it's about time spent during each process, how many people performing it, and the cost of that resource.

Bottom line, the cost of time is based upon the skill required with the videographer in the field being the most costly at about $100 an hour with his/her equipment (per camera). An Editor is 1/2 that as well as a creative director. Then there are more tasks, who is directing? Who is responsible for lighting and sound? If your videographer is also a DP (Director of Photography) he/she can direct your production and manage sound and lighting with an assistant called a PA (production assistant).

So, how long does it take to do each task? It depends entirely upon what the end result will be. A simple 1-minute, 1 camera, 1 location video would generally cost $600-$750 finished. A 2-minute, 3 camera, 4 location video would cost $4,000 - $6,000. So, when you are trying to figure out how much your video is going to cost, a simple rule of thumb is keep it simple or plan for a higher budget so you never sacrifice quality which is the most important feature of all. So, pricing above this is profit or goes to the creative team that is designing your video strategy and your videos. The $99 video is a DIY (do-it-yourself) video using an online ad-creator.

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