How much does a video cost?
Here is a simple guide to help you determine what will go into your video production and some tips on how to effectively scale your budget.
Why the heck does it cost so much?
Simply, Video equals day rates.
Asking such an open ended question as”how much does a video cost?” is a lot like asking the question “how much will a house cost?” – You have to consider, location, square footage and finishes, all of which greatly impact the total cost. Its the same with video and film production except its a lot more complicated. Here are some things to consider that will impact the cost of your video production:
- Quality – You get what you pay for and this is especially true with video. Recent college graduates or high school kids work for cheap, but you may end up getting a finished project that looks like you could have done it yourself.
- Script – A complicated script that requires multiple locations, visual effects work, stunts etc, is going to make the video more expensive. Time is money in video production so keeping the time it takes to make your vision a reality is key to keeping costs down. Complicated = Expensive.
- Animation – Any time you want to show animated graphics on screen its going to cost you more money since the visuals are literally being created from scratch and you are paying someone for their time. It doesnt matter if its animated text or an animated character, time = money.
- On camera talent – The greatest cost in any video production is going to be the labor cost associated with the project. People on screen get paid a day rate, just like everyone else. The difference is, the more well-known the face, the more money its going to cost to get them on camera. Your cousin may do it for free, but someone like President Clinton costs $1,000,000 per showing.
- Camera cost – New digital video cameras are being released every month. The quality is so high for all of them its hard to determine which camera shot what. A good rule of thumb to keep in mind is: if it looks better, it was either due to the quality of the camera or the quality of the operator (chances it was the operator). Most good operators what to work with good tools and a good camera goes a long way. We shoot all of our stuff on a RED Epic Dragon (weird name for an awesome camera)*Shooting film is just cost prohibitive.
- Crew – If you have ever been on set you know that it takes a small army of people to get anything done. Its basically like planning a wedding and then faking the ceremony for the cameras over and over again. The more places and stuff you have to coordinate, the more people involved, the more money it will cost.
- Locations – Being in Texas, Dallas in particular, you don’t usually have to pull permits for everything like you do in California. You can get away with more here. However, if your script requires a jungle scene, you have 4 choices. 1. Fly to the jungle and bring all the stuff and people with you. 2. Build a jungle set. 3. Green screen it. 4. Change the script to no longer need a jungle.
- Stock footage – Sometimes taking advantage of stock footage libraries is a great option. It can take the cost out of traveling to a location, setting up a specific shot, getting permission to shoot somewhere etc. The problem is they are at least a few hundred dollars per 10 sec clip and finding the prefect shot takes time, if its even possible.
- Audio recording – Scripts with dialogue cost more. One, because the on-camera talent needs to be able to deliver the line in the intended manner, and two, you need some way to record it. If we want high quality sound (which we always do), its best to use a dedicated system for the capture.
- Music – We take music for granted, but musicians are artists who you can apply the “you get what you pay for” logic to. Good sound tracks cost more money and rightfully so. A proper license for a music track will depend on the size of your organization and what your intended use of the song is. The bigger the company the more money the artist will want for the rights. The larger audience you want to show it to, the more money it will cost (internal vs. Internet vs. TV). If you want to make money off the video that includes the song, the more money. If you want to use a well-known radio pop-culture song, the LOTS more money it will cost.
- Distribution – If you are making a video to be shown on the internet, its kind of the wild west. Post it in any number of places for free. If you want to push it to TV broadcasts, it gets more expensive. TV stations want video produced with specific technical details and on-camera talent use a different negotiated rate, pay structure and often times want residuals based on each showing. Its expensive, but can be effective. The expense of TV broadcasting can cited as a reason many companies are seeking out youTube stars with audiences already built in.
As a Dallas based video production house, House of Sticks can produce for you anything you want. We follow the above guidelines as a means of determining the final cost. However, we are more interested in our relationship with you than your money. “Yeah right!” you say. Test us on it.
Bottom line: Any project can be accomplished as long as you have the money to do it. Many times, the restraint of money is something can produce some really creative output. Start watching commercials and try to figure out how complex or simple a production can be. You’ll be surprised how simple many of these productions are. *Hint: Don’t watch any Nike commercials, they are all awesome and expensive. Wieden + Kennedy does them all.Good, cheap and fast - choose one [/eightcolumns]