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Video Production Costs: Perspective on Video for Business Costs

The costs of video production are one of the first considerations for many clients. Due to the wide variations of quality, time the experience and talent of the people involved, the costs of producing video for business can be anywhere between “free “(if you do it yourself or have someone you can go to) and up to millions of dollars for commercials and airtime. Depending on the size of the company and type of business, the truth is probably somewhere in between…

The reality is that most companies are interested in having someone create the video for them, someone with more time, the right skills, equipment and the talent to make something that is not only professional but stand-out.  For businesses that are used to being able to buy whatever they want, when they want it, it can be a challenge to come to terms with the facts that quality video takes time and work to develop, plan and execute. The best content, also requires good people, who are frequently busy (because they are good and in-demand). This creates a typical supply and demand issue where businesses are compelled to choose two of the parameters in the standard “good-fast-cheap” matrix. You can usually have any two but not all three.

I find that if you are hoping to hire professionals to help produce your content, it’s helpful to look at what it might cost for that person to be available for you to hire. In other-words, if a person works a few days a week, but not every day (so that they have the bandwidth to take your job) then how much would they need to charge a day to make it more compelling to not take a full time job in your area?

Lets paint a hypothetical scenario: If the median income in your area is say 50K for someone experienced and talented with a production-related skill set, then a freelancer would probably have to have more incentive making more than approx 1K a week (just for labor) for it to be a better proposition to be freelance rather than staff at a company.

If you factor in the costs of production equipment, insurance, marketing, etc. then you might expect that person to need to bill well more than than 2K a week to live comfortably in their ‘independent life-style’, available to work on your project when you contact them. If a person is billing 2K a week (100K a year) and spending 25K a year on their equipment costs, marketing, etc. then that person would just be making 75K a year.

In this scenario, they might be making $500 a day and working 4 days a week, or they might be making 1K a day and working 2 days a week, or somewhere in between.  This is just a rough hypothetical number to give you a sense of what the costs might be and how the talent, experience and equipment costs factor into the video production costs.

In addition to the people-costs, there is the equipment. Video cameras are evolving fast and most people I know in production are buying new cameras every couple of years, or sooner. There are wide varieties in cost, anywhere from a few thousand to 10’s of thousands for the good stuff, an then there’s lights, lenses, audio gear,  software, laptops, monitors, the list can go on and on. Don’t forget about things like travel costs, hard drives for the media shot on cameras and things like purchasing royalty-free music tracks and stock footage. It all adds up.

When you really get down to it, if you even just combine a video shoot with an edit, it’s hard to see how any professional video production could cost anything less that a few thousand, unless you ‘know a guy’. I think the best way to keep video production costs down is to plan ahead. The best approach is to work with your production partner to develop a concept that requires minimal shooting, editing, etc. but  is unique and targeted enough to truly be effective.

Want to learn more about Online Video? Download our free Online Video Marketing Guide: Learn How to Promote your Business with Video (Free Download)

Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions and I’ll do my best to help answer them.

Good luck!

Dane Frederiksen
Digital Accomplice

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