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Video Production Prices for San Francisco Bay Area

San Francisco Video Production prices are steep because San Francisco ain’t cheap. It’s one of the most expensive places to live in the country…and therefore high quality video production is also a bit more expensive here than elsewhere.  While there are many young creative people in San Francisco with cameras and laptops, most real professionals in the video production business tend to have a few years under their belt. Why? It’s because there are so many technical and creative aspects to this dark art we call video production that it takes many years to perfect them to the point where you can be a valuable and reliable production service provider.  More often than not, video projects call for professionals who can bring different dimensions of experience to the inherently chaotic process of video production and deliver under pressure.

To help clients understand video production prices in San Francisco, I thought it would be very helpful to outline the different aspects of video production and how they may come together on your next project. Ideally this will help you budget and resource more effectively and help your project be better and more effective while still helping you get the most bang for your buck.

Not every project will need all of these steps, this in just an outline of the possible steps and how you can approach thinking about what amount of budget makes sense to allocate for the job that needs doing.

Pre-production

  • Time spent developing project strategy & tactical goals
  • Creative Concept Development
  • Scripting
  • Producer/Director *(Manage the project, process and the vision)
    *
  • Production Manager *(Keeps all the ducks in a row)*
  • Story-boards
  • Location Scouting
  • Wardrobe/Props
  • Crewing *(Coordinate the production team)
    *

Production

  • Producer *(Makes it all happen)
    *
  • Director *(Directs the talent, shooting, lighting, etc)
    *
  • Director of Photography (Person who operates the camera)*
    *
  • Audio Technician (Sound guy)*
    *
  • Gaffer *(Person responsible for  lighting)
    *
  • Grip *(to help move production gear)
    *
  • *Production Assistants
    *
  • Hair and Make Up
  • Camera Package *(Can make a huge impact or quality and price)
    *
  • Lighting Gear (Lighting properly can tike time and be expensive but makes all the difference)*
    *
  • *Specialty Items like Dolly/Jib/Sliders (Increase the ‘wow’ factor)
    *
  • *Data Wrangler *(to manage and back up all footage files on location)

Post-Production

  • Producer
  • Editor
  • Graphic Designer
  • Animator
  • Music Licensing
  • *Color Correction *
  • Sound Mix
  • Posting and Hosting

    These are just a few of the main roles and costs that frequently come to bear when pricing productions. It’s true that greater costs efficiencies can be achieved when you find people who can fill of several of these roles. But beware, that also tends to decrease what those people can accomplice in a day AND diminish the quality of the results of those functions. For example: if you have a camera man who is also in charge of monitoring/leveling sound, setting up the lights, conducting an interview, managing the media, etc. then you might save money but some of the aspects of that production will likely be lessened in quality. Maybe the lighting isn’t that great or he misses a sound issue because he was focused on the interview. Bottom line: You typically have one shot and  it’s dangerous to have one person responsible for too many roles. If you can’t afford specialists for each role and maximum quality then I recommend finding people who can fill 1-3 roles max.

The gear, that’s the other big factor. It’s true, the equipment costs can vary greatly by what type of camera package you use, lighting gear brought to bear , etc. That said, I do find that it’s the personnel costs that can get expensive real fast. Most production crew work on 10 hour standard day before overtime fees may apply. I have absolutely found people who will work for less money but $500 -900 a day seems to be about the  average for most professionals to be able to survive the high costs of living and still be available when new clients call.  As you’d expect, better experience, market demand and talent quality tends to affect pricing.  Don’t forget that part of what you are paying for is for these people to be available when you need them. If they are any good then they can’t afford to be working for bottom dollar because they’d get 100% booked and still not be making enough to pay for their homes and families.

If there’s one thought I’d leave you with it’s this: When you want high quality video production, you don’t always get what you pay for, but if you don’t try, you won’t even have a shot.

I hope these video production pricing tips help give you some perspective and ideas for how you can get the best quality production bang for your buck.

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
Principal
Digital Accomplice

dane@digitalaccomplice.com
www.digitalaccomplice.com
@DrDane

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