Budgeting for Professional Video Production

Updated: Dec 31, 2019



If you've been thinking about including video in your marketing plan in 2020, 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 to use, 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?"


Simple Production

Events, seminars, presentations

Little or no pre-production or planning. A camera on a tripod with little or no movement. Minimal or no lighting required. Cuts-only editing to clean up video and soundtrack and maybe add a simple graphic. Typically a one-person crew with camera, tripod and microphone at one location.

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


Basic Production

Video News Releases, Man-on-the-street Interviews, Groundbreakings

Same pre-production as above. Talking points and questions provided by the client or "on-air" talent/reporter/interviewer. Usually a 2-person crew with a camera operator and boom mic operator. Simple editing with a 1 to 2-week turnaround. Commonly used for interviews and testimonials for new product or service offerings. Think of this as being similar to a news story.

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



Intermediate Production (1-2 person crew)

Basic Commercials, Internal Communications, High-Profile Events

Moderate pre-production, planning, and post-production. In-studio or on-location production with 1 or 2-person crew. Minimal research, scripting, graphics or sound design; Fairly simple to intermediate editing with 2 to 4-week turnaround. Typically a two-person crew with standard production package (camera, tripod, lighting equipment and microphone).

Estimated Price Range $500-$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

Considerable pre-production, planning, scheduling, and post-production. Studio and/or field production with professional talent or customer testimonials. Moderate research, scripting, 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 4-8 week turnaround from the final shoot date. Typically a three+person crew with full-production package (camera, tripod, lights, mics, additional lighting, and additional camera support equipment such as jibs, dollies or a teleprompter).

Estimated Price Range $1000-$2000 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 = $2000-$3000 (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 2020. 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, 2020

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!

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Volume One | 2019

Best of the Chippewa Valley

Video Production Services

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