There are many different ways to break down the costs to produce a video. Any number of factors can influence a video production budget, making it difficult to estimate an average video costs without knowing more details about the concepts and scope of your project. Videos can be professionally produced for a few thousand dollars or approach $1 million budgets. If you need an idea of cost then feel free to try this video production cost estimator to determine the cost.
One of the significant factors that will determine the costs of a video is the length of the content. Determining long your video will help narrow down expense estimates when applied to specific cost items such as:
- How many actors you will need
- Number and types of locations
- How many days it will take to shoot
- Costumes and props needed
- Editing and other post-production needs
- Visual effects, motion graphics, and animation
Approach to Budgeting a Video Production
There is often a balance that needs to be struck between bringing your vision and concept to life and your budget limitations. Larger companies and corporations have the kind of budget that allows them to hire professional production companies to handle all elements of your video at full price. Small to mid-sized businesses have to be more judicious in their marketing expenses and look for ways to be more cost-efficient for the production of videos.
There are ways to be creative with your budget without sacrificing the quality of the production of the effectiveness of your video. The following are specific elements of the workflow process for video production that present opportunities to reduce costs per minute of the final product.
Actors and celebrity endorsements can add an air of authenticity, credibility, and professionalism to your video production, but they come with a cost that can put a sizable dent in your budget.
Hiring professional actors can involve a costly process that involves auditions, casting, hiring, and providing releases. The longer your video is, and the more you need to use professional actors, the more it will eat away at your overall budget. Using freely sourced talent from your pool of employees or friends can save you the expense of hiring actors.
Testimonial and interview videos do not typically require the need to use actors you will need to pay. Unless you are dealing with an advanced storyline or complicated text, it is best to try to create video content that does not require the hiring of professional actors.
Renting out a hall or a house to shoot a marketing video can provide the ideal location to deliver your message in the most dynamic ways. Location scouting, rental costs, and cleaning fees can quickly add up, however, making the perfect spot cost-prohibitive. You can produce a video that is just as effective at reaching your marketing goals by shooting in your office or an employee or friend’s home. The location of your video shoot will primarily be used as a backdrop to the primary subject. Without the burden of hourly or daily rental fees, it will free you up to be more flexible and take away the pressure of rushing through on the day of production.
The length of your video can have a significant impact on how long it will take to shoot the footage you need. Keep in mind that merely going from one day to shoot to two will double many of your expenses. A long day shooting for up to 12 hours will be exhausting, but far cheaper than breaking it up into two six-hour days. The right crew will be able to stay focused and accomplish all you need to do in one day rather than spread it out over multiple days.
This makes it essential to be organized and efficient in the use of your time and energy. Plan out your shooting schedule to the minute and do your best to stick to that, or the expenses will start to quickly add up. The length of your shoot and number of production days can increase venue rental and equipment fees, crew, and actor hours, as well as any other rental obligations such as wardrobe or props.
Props and Wardrobe
Avoid including elaborate costuming and expensive props to cut down on costs. It is best to try to use the wardrobe and props that either you, the actors, or crew already own. Costume and prop warehouses offer rentals and purchases of all kinds of items you may need for your production; however, once you get into renting costumes, set pieces, and props, those costs can add up quickly, taking a large and often unnecessary chunk of your overall budget. Run video tests of various types and colors of clothing to make sure you are getting the exact look that will best serve your purposes.
The length of your video will certainly affect the costs of producing it. A 15- or 30-second video will be less expensive to produce than a two- or ten-minute video. The above factors can all be adjusted depending on the timing of the video. However, the length is not the only thing that determines costs. A short video with complicated animation and motion graphics will take far longer to edit than a talking head video of the same length. Interview and testimonial type videos can run longer without adding much expense at all.
Costs can vary even within the same type of video used for the same purposes. An explainer or product demonstration video using live action to showcase a simple product or services will be more affordable than highlighting complex machinery using animation and advanced editing techniques.
The distribution format you will be using is another factor when deciding the length. Outside of traditional television time slots, there are not many outlets that restrict the length of your video presentation. When posting on your own website, social pages, or other digital properties, there are no limits to the length of your content. However, the constant bombardment and widespread availability of online videos have reduced viewer attention spans to an all-time low. Shorter content will save you money and also increase the chances that people will watch the entire video.
Animation is one area of video production where the costs are most directly tied to the length of the content, also depending on the complexity of the animation techniques. Each second of animated content needs additional illustrations, adding to the rendering and rigging process. These are all tied to the costs that are based on the length of your animated content. Combining animation and live-action segments in your video will cut down on your overall animation expenses.
Some types of animation are also more expensive than others. Using motion graphics or whiteboard animation to enhance the material and information being delivered will be far less expensive than 2D or 3D animation techniques that take time for character development and design. There is a wide range of options when it comes to animation, including:
- 2D animation: Vector-based, 2D animation is a relatively quick and affordable process that is now accessible to the masses through a variety of programs and online platforms.
- 3D animation: Computer-generated imagery (GCI) has taken over the animation of everything from feature films to video games. It is the most expensive form of animation, requiring an intense technical process using state-of-the-art technology.
- Cel animation: The original way of creating animated content. Each frame is drawn by hand on special paper. This is the way all animation was produced before the internet. Cel animation produces spectacular, classic imagery, but is quite time-consuming and costly.
- Motion graphics: Motion graphic techniques bring text and graphics to life with visual effects software, providing an easy way to add motion, texture, and color that will draw the attention of the viewer.
- Whiteboard animation: This is just what it sounds like. Duplicating the motion and process of someone writing on a whiteboard is a surprisingly intoxicating technique to make it easier to follow the text being presented on screen.
Average Video Production Costs by the Minute
Realistically, there is no easy answer to the question of how much a video will cost by the minute of the finished product. There are simply too many variables to make a blanket estimate, and each video presentation is different. However, by following the guidelines presented above, you can have a better idea of the ways you can cut down on expenses based on how long the video is and the individual elements involved in the production.
Sparkhouse is a full-service professional video production house with years of experience in creating cost-efficient marketing and in-house videos for a variety of business uses and applications. Contact Sparkhouse today and have all of your questions answered and received a free estimate on your specific video project.
Sparkhouse Pricing Guide
For a deeper dive into the pricing structures for video production at Sparkhouse, you can look at our pricing sheet that has examples of work as well as the variables that contribute to the overall budget.