"How Much Does a Video Production Cost?" seems like a simple question... but it has a complicated answer. Producing a marketing video involves many factors, each of which works with every other factor to affect the cost.
But don't let your head explode just yet. Here's a list of some of the factors that affect the cost of your business video:
When working with a video production company, you'll need to take some time to explain your idea and video concept. Depending on your project, it's likely that you'll need additional creative work after this initial consultation. This might include storyboarding, script writing, brainstorming, location scouting, casting, and a number of other factors. It's important to manage time spent in creative sessions wisely. While it's important to make good decisions, it's also important to, well, make decisions. You can spend an endless amount of time in the creative phase and blow your budget before even beginning your project.
Who will be in your video? Employees? Family and Friends? Actors? How many? "The Talent" is an important budgetary consideration. When you're using employees, it's important to consider how much of their regular work day the project is taking up. While you may not have to pay them outright, you may end up spending some money if they need to work overtime. And don't forget, you should be compensating them for their time, even if them participate outside of their regular hours - they are doing work for you. Be sure to have employees' permission to appear on camera. Your production company should be able to supply one, or search for one online.
When using professional actors, costs can soar. The more actors you need, and the longer you need them for (half a day, a full day, or more...), plus their membership in professional organizations or unions, affect their compensation. The more actors you need, the more the price will rise. You'll want to be sure your production company draws up a contract that specifies how much the actor is to be paid and other terms.
Where you shoot your video matters. If you're shooting at your own office, store, or location, you won't have to worry about extra out-of-pocket expenses. If you have to shoot at an outside location, there may be an additional cost. Privately owned locations, like homes or businesses, may ask for payment, and public spaces may require a permit or rental fee for video shoots.
Sometimes, having a good relationship with local businesses means they will let you use their facility without payment. In these situations, it's always appropriate to mention their generosity in credits or other written materials (a tweet or blog post, maybe?).
If you can't find the right location at the right price, another option is to use a green screen combined with props, stock photos, and stock videos. When using stock imagery and a green screen, getting the lighting right is crucial. If your production company uses a background photo with different lighting than your live subjects, the final project will look fake.
4. Effects & Graphics
After your live video is shot, it might be necessary to add special effects or graphics. The type, duration, and number of effects added in post-production (which you should have discussed during your creative consultation)
At some point during every video production, some changes need to be made. Depending on the amount and degree of changes, this can affect pricing dramatically. Simply switching from one take to another is a pretty minor change, while re-shooting a section of the video will add a significant amount to the budget. Likewise, a few changes are probably already built into your budget, but exceeding the number of changes in your can mean you incur extra charges.
That said, a good video production company should always act in the interest of creating the best possible final product and shouldn't force extra editing time that is unnecessary or won't affect the final product. And if something needs to be changed and reedited because of the company's error, they shouldn't charge you any extra for it.
Simply put, the longer your video is, with all other elements remaining the same, the more it will cost. For a 15 minute video, it's likely you'll spend more time on creative, pay more for talent and location, need more effects and graphics, and have more changes after seeing the rough cut. Quite often, the easiest way to cut down on the cost of a video production is to make it shorter. And quite often, this can be done without sacrificing content quality.
With all of these factors, it's easy for videos to get very expensive. But there are also many ways to keep costs down. Simply trimming some length, swapping out professional actors for regular staff members (whenever possible), and managing the creative and revision processes carefully, you will be able to avoid unexpected costs and stick to a reasonable budget.