How much does a video cost? – Part 1

by Jim Pennington

“How much does a video cost?”  This is the proverbial question asked of me by virtually every potential client.  My typical retort is, “How much does it cost to build a home?”  The comment is usually something like, “Well, I need to know how many rooms, how many floors, what type of construction….”

Precisely!  I can’t say how much a video will cost unless the parameters that go into producing a video are fully described.  This is rarely something that can be done “on the fly” unless I am using a similar project as a comparison.

So what are the factors that go into the cost of a video?  I begin here a two-part blog as we look at the three phases of producing a video: pre-production; production; and post-production (see ourservices page for a description of these).  Let’s examine some typical cost considerations for pre-production and production.

Concept.  Are we producing a simple testimonial, a training video, or a dramatic video? How long is the video?  What is the subject of the video?  Are there complex scenes?  Are there car chases?

Treatment and script. As we prepare the treatment and subsequent script, it’s once again important to know the complexity and length of the video.  More complex and longer videos mean higher writing costs.  Is significant creative writing needed or will we be working from existing marketing materials?  How many review/revision cycles will there be?

Location. Location planning is critical to cost.  How many locations are needed? Is travel required? Is a location fee required?  Is special licensing required?  Are accommodations needed for cast and crew?  What transportation requirements are there at each location?

Talent.  How many actors are needed?  Does the talent require special skills?  Are there special fees that need to be considered, particularly when working with union talent (e.g., SAG AFTRA)?

Crew. What are the crew requirements?  How many are needed and what are their talents?  Will crew be traveling to distant locations or will they be hired in these areas?

Equipment.  What equipment is needed such as cameras, lights, and audio gear?  Will this be a multiple camera shoot?  Are jibs or cranes required?  Is a dolly required?  Will this gear mandate special electrical requirements and/or staff?  Will gear be sent to distant shooting locations or rented there?

Set design.  Will any construction be required, and if so, what type?  What materials are required?  How many laborers and what related skills are needed?  Are special permits required?

Costumes and props. Are special costumes required, and if so, do they need to be made, altered or rented?  What props are needed?  Do props need to be built or rented?

Meals and craft services. Knowing that a well-fed crew is a happy crew, what are the plans for meals and craft services?

Insurance.  What are the insurance requirements?  Will there be stunts?  Are cars or other props being rented that require special insurance coverage?  Is  this an outdoor shoot where weather insurance may be necessary?

So, the cost of producing a video is not a simple question to answer. That’s why you hire a company like DUO who has the relevant knowledge and experience.  We know how to control costs, leveraging the most “bang for the buck” for your production budget.

Check back soon for the second part of this blog as we look at the factors in post-production that contribute to cost.

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About Karen Gill-Pennington

Karen Gill-Pennington is the Production Director, Social Media Manager, Editor, and Blogger for DUO Media Productions. When she's not working you might find her practicing her flute, flying like a dragon with her son, or training for another Tough Mudder event. She finds it strange to write about herself in the third person.

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