Budgeting for Professional Video Production

Updated: Nov 4, 2021

[Part 2 of our Video Marketing Toolkit]


If you've been thinking about including video in your marketing plan in 2022, now is the time to start planning and talking with the people you need on your team.


Professional vs. Do-It-Yourself Videos


If you're new to video production or have never dealt with the budgeting side of the process, you might find yourself mystified about what it costs to produce all those awesome videos you see on YouTube. With all the cameras on smartphones, next-to-free logo animations and DIY video editing web apps, what does it really take?


Well, the truth is, you can produce your own videos pretty cheaply these days if all you're looking to do is get something online. We can even give you some recommendations on the basics to get your DIY videos done. However, don't expect your videos to look like or get results like many of the videos you love on YouTube. With the exception of "Ultimate Fails" and the occasional GoPro channel-recorded "People are Awesome" videos, most user-generated videos fall far short of their viewer's expectations.


Why Professional Video Production is Different


So why do most DIY videos fall short? Mostly because the best videos are produced by professionals with many years of storytelling experience producing videos from script to finish. Aside from the photographic and cinematography skills they've been practicing for years, they know how to plan your production, relate to your specific audience, edit the script, and use the right gear for the right reasons. They also know when and what kind of lighting to use, what type of microphones are used for the best sound, what FX are needed, and what branded graphics and animation should be added.


Professional Video Production usually includes:

  • Creative Development and Storytelling

  • Scriptwriting, Shotlist development, and Storyboarding

  • In-Studio or On-Location Cinematography/Photography

  • Casting and Talent Acquisition

  • Music, Sound FX, and Mixing

  • Branded Motion Graphic Design and Animation

  • Editing, Special FX, and Color Grading

  • Encoding, Uploading, and Distribution

You can learn a lot from watching tutorials, samples, and training videos, if you have time for all that, but remember that in video production, just like life, "Nothing good is ever easy".


Producing great video takes time and talent.


Including Professional Video in Your Marketing Budget


So, here are some very simple Video Budget Guidelines that you can use to "ballpark" the inevitable (and sometimes first) question from your boss, "How much will it cost?" But make no mistake, if you want an accurate quote, you need to figure out what you really want first, and then call for a quote from at least three companies.


Remember though, to ask for exaclty the same thing from any vendors you talk to so you're comparing apples to apples. If a bid you like comes back with a bunch of "add-ons" from one production company, ask for a revised bid for the same add-ons from the others before making a decision.


Simple Production (Single camera and operator)

Events, seminars, presentations

For simple "events" like a seminar or in-house training session, there will probably be little or no pre-production or planning. You can probably get away with a single camera on a tripod with little or no movement, with only a little or no lighting required. Editing is limited to simply cleaning up the video and soundtrack and maybe adding a simple graphic. These are typically a one-person crew with camera, tripod and microphone at one location.

Estimated Price Range = $20 to $100 per finished minute



Basic Production (1 to 2 cameras and operators)

Vlogs, Presentations, Social Media Teasers, Interview Segments

In a basic production, pre-production might be the same as above, with maybe some talking points and questions provided by the client or "on-air" talent/reporter/interviewer. This can be either a one- or two-person crew with a Camera Operator and Production Assistant. They involve simple editing with a 2 to 3-week turnaround. Commonly used for interviews and testimonials for new product or service offerings. Use these videos for Vlogs, Social Media Teasers, and as individual parts of a longer video or series.

Estimated Price Range = $125 - $300 per finished minute.



Intermediate Production (Multiple cameras and 2-3 person crew)

Local Commercials, External PR and Promo Videos, High-Profile Events

This is where we start to separate the pros from your typical in-house or DIY videos. Intermediate productions include moderate pre-production, planning, and post-production, with studio or on-location production and a minimum 2-person crew. Usually invlolves minimal research, scripting, graphics or sound design, and fairly simple to intermediate editing with 4 to 6-week turnaround. Typically a two-person crew with standard production package (camera, tripod, lighting equipment and microphone).

Estimated Price Range $750-$1000 per finished minute


Advanced Production (2-4 person crew)

Advanced Commercial TV spots, Corporate/Industrial Sales or Marketing Programs, 1-2 Camera Productions, Broadcast Documentaries, Training programs, Live Webcast events

With advanced production, things start to feel like a Hollywood movie. There is always considerable pre-production, planning, scheduling, and studio and/or field production with professional talent or customer testimonials. Most of the time, this includes some level of research, professional scriptwriting, complex graphics, and use of stock music with basic sets. Additional elements from various sources including photos, archival film or videotape, stock photography and footage libraries. Advanced editing techniques with special effects, custom transitions, sound FX and a 8-12 week turnaround from the final shoot date is common. Crews typically include 4 or more people with full-production package (camera, tripod, lights, mics, specialized lighting, multiple cameras and operators with additional camera support equipment such as jibs, dollies or a teleprompter).

Estimated Price Range $1600-$2400 (or more) per finished minute



Complex (4 or more person crew)

Similar products as above, and infomercials, corporate talk shows

Extensive pre-production, planning, or post-production using elaborate sets, special effects, professional talent, extras and props. On-site makeup, wardrobe, and full production crew. In-depth research, fully scripted. Complex High Definition editing with special video effects, sophisticated graphics and animation, possible custom sound effects and music. Usually includes a full grip truck rental with a large variety of specialty lighting, and jib, dolly and cranes available as needed.

Estimated Price Range = $2400-$5000 (or more) per finished minute


This is just an overview, and there are a lot of other factors to consider with video marketing. But that’s what we’re here for and we have over 30 years of experience under our belts. We take that pressure off by handling as much of the process as you need so you can stay focused on the big picture.


Have Questions?


Still have questions? We’d be happy to sit down and answer them so you can hit the ground running in 2022. Send us a link to a video you love and we'll be happy to shoot you a rough estimate. Considering the many ways that you can use video these days, it just makes sense to do it right--and why not do it right the first time?

 

Video Marketing Toolkit - What’s Next

Hopefully this helped you figure out what to expect for a budget. We’ll cover what goes into planning a video project in our next blog, including a downloadable Video Planning Guide. And after that, where to post your video and how to get the best ROI.

 

Booking for Q1 and Q2, 2022

We’re scheduling shoots for Q1 and Q2 now, so if you’re thinking of getting going on video before summer, contact us now to get on the schedule!