The Cost of Doing Video, Well

The Cost of Doing Video, Well

Video production costs can often be murky—often, no one seems to give you a straight answer. Every video production is different, and logically, the costs will be hard to pin down.

Yet, cost is often the most critical aspect of whether you can move forward with a video project or not. Let’s try to alleviate some of the confusion surrounding video production costs.

The first thing to understand is there is a big difference between the cost of doing video and the cost of doing video well. Making a great video requires lots of time, effort, and expertise. With the continuous improvement of phone cameras, many people think that they can get away with shooting their videos on their smartphones.

It is true that you can create awesome videos on your camera, as Bentley did when its team shot and edited one of its commercials on an iPhone 6 Plus. The whole truth is a bit different.

You need an array of special equipment such as cases, lenses, microphones, camera stabilizers, extensive lighting, and expensive editing applications. Learning how to use the editing applications alone can require over a year to learn and use properly.

All this adds more and more costs onto a project you originally thought would be a simple video on a smartphone. Once it’s all said and done, your video probably won’t be very good unless you are Stanley Kubrick reincarnate.

This confusion over costs and video production quality usually leads to two options:

  1. Pursue a less expensive option, such as a simple testimonial video
  2. Choose between producing the video in-house

Neither of these options will have lasting success for your marketing goals. If you are serious about producing a high-quality video with tons of future marketing potential, then your best option is to hire professionals to produce your video.

Consider what happens if you produce a low-quality video. According to a Brightcove study, 62 percent of consumers will develop a negative view of your brand due to low-quality video content.

Practically, that makes sense. If you put out a poor effort in your video productions, then what does that say about the products you sell?

The Costs of a Great Video

Great videos improve your brand’s image. Great videos translate to a business being more authoritative, credible, and trustworthy. Considering that 84 percent of customers are likely to make a purchase after watching a brand’s video, hitting that mark of quality is critical to your business’s success.

Creating a high-quality video with a professional production company is an investment. Why would you throw your money away on a bad investment by pursuing less expensive or in-house options?

If you are going to make a video, then you should make it well. The key costs that drive video production include:

  • Actors
  • Filming locations
  • Production length
  • Video length
  • Director and Crew
  • Technical Complexity
  • Equipment
  • Various usage rights

Figure out your goal for the production. What kind of video are you making? Are you trying to create a simple question-and-answer session that you can use across social media platforms? Are you shooting a full commercial? Are you doing a short documentary? Determining the nature of the project will help you understand what costs will be associated with it.

Cost Breakdown per Level of Quality

As a businessperson, you probably prefer having solid ideas of what things will cost so you can plan ahead. Here are general guides to various levels of video production you can use to determine what your costs may look like for a one- to two-minute video:

Amateur: Less than $1,000

This is the “YouTube route”—you want a fast and inexpensive product. We would never recommend going this route unless you are doing a live broadcast for a blog topic. This approach comes across as amateurish and can actually damage your brand more than it helps.

Semi-Pro: $1,500-3,000

This level is about where most people who shoot on smartphones fall. A semi-pro organization will use a few sophisticated tools for shooting and editing, but overall the production quality will be sub-par for any serious brand.

The talent level is often low, and most people you hire in this category have other time commitments. This level of production is best suited for live video productions, small event productions, and generally “authentic-style” video that demonstrates individual personalities over brand personalities.

Professional: $5,000 to $20,000

This route will often return a good ROI when it comes to producing corporate online video. The benefit of using a professional team is that you will get high-end video quality and a consistent product.

At this tier, you are hiring people who devote their time to producing these types of videos. They will know what to do, what questions to ask, and how to get the best ROI for the type of video you want to create. The types of videos you can produce at this level include case studies, company profiles, small commercials, product demonstrations, and recruitment videos.

Premium: $25,000 to $50,000

If you are looking to get the best ROI and achieve that “it” factor, putting your video in front of the largest audience possible, this level is your best bet. Spending in this range can get you high-end tools and talent, including directors, story producers, and even acting talent.

A premium production level allows you to create something that will truly capture the audience’s attention and have staying power for years in your marketing campaigns. This type of video generates “buzz” and is best for overview videos, compelling stories, and product-market introductions.

Movie-Quality: $100,000+

Looking to make the next Avengers or hire top actors to sponsor your products? This level is where you make zero compromises on the level of quality you’ll achieve. It is also the least practical production level for most companies. This level is best for global companies looking to impact millions of people.

You get what you pay for, especially in the world of video production. One way to guarantee that your project fails is not communicating your expectations and desires.

Are you looking to create a movie-quality video on a semi-professional budget? The less concrete you are about what you want, the higher the costs of doing video will be. Figure out why you want to create a video first, and then explore how you’ll go about making it.

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