How much does video production cost in 2020? [with real prices]

Video Production Mar 20, 2020

Video production costs vary from 2 500$ to upward to 100 000$ per year in general on a corporate level.  Yes, it varies wildly,  this article will explain why the price can move so much between different video production companies.

With what just happened to the world and the coronavirus, it is now imperative to transform your website into your best salesmen.  Remote selling is the new norm.

Videos are by far the best way to reach that goal.  Businesses will have to transition from in-person to online selling to survive and adapt to the not so new customer behaviors.

In the past year, I’ve worked on all sorts of video projects as a producer, so I’ll break it down for you guys!

With the rise of video marketing and its impacts on business no wonder you start to question if your business should invest in videos.

You can ask several professional video production company about their pricing, you'll notice there are multiple answers and conflicting results. Some charge by the minute, some on a per-project basis.

Nonetheless, 10 common factors will bring the budget up or down. As video professionals, we know there are more than 30 factors when we plan a shoot and video marketing campaign, but those are the most influential. We'll empower you with honest and reliable information on this page.

Whether you need a corporate video for your brand of a full video marketing campaign, this article will help! Creating video content can be an expensive game.  But there are ways to make it cost-efficient.


10 main factors that influence the total cost of video production services

  1. Number of shooting days
  2. Lenght of the video content
  3. Talents
  4. Filming location
  5. Accesories & Makeup
  6. VFX & animation
  7. Stock footage, music, and B-rolls
  8. Equipment
  9. Distribution & tracking
  10. Travel cost

Tips: How to save on production cost


1. Number of shooting days

Here you can download the canvas: http://solutioncanvas.com
Photo by Daria Nepriakhina / Unsplash

This is one of the most critical factors in price. How long will it take to shoot your project? Can we do it in one afternoon, or do we have to shoot over multiple weeks or months? The question seems obvious, but some concepts are more complex than others and might change your budget dramatically.

An interview, for instance, will be shot much faster than following a construction site over several months.

To optimize cost — since most video production agencies charge a day rate — it's something wise to combine multiple shoots the same day, rather than multiple smaller fragments and offset your video cost.  Keep in mind that each time you make the camera crew travel, your costs increase.

Average shooting cost for a camera crew:

  • Hourly rates: 50$ to 300$/h
  • Half-Day (5 hours): 250$ to 1 500$
  • Full-Day ( 10 hours): 750$ to 5 000$

Things to consider in pricing:

  • Number of cameraman and cameras
  • Equipment used
  • Rental cost
  • DOP (Director of Photography) and Directors
  • Team experience

2. Length of the video content

adobe colors edit
Photo by Wahid Khene / Unsplash

Editing is another essential part of the cost of a video project. Editing a 30 seconds piece does not mean it'll be easier and cheaper than a 1-hour documentary. It depends on the depth and the editing style and visual effect required to meet the expected results.

That's why TV commercials, even though only 30 seconds, can cost hundreds of thousands. Also, editing a single-camera project is faster than a triple camera interview, but the triple camera interview is way more dynamic and pleasing visually.

It's all about balance.

While some video production companies may charge a cost per-minute fee on editing, most often, it'll be an hourly rate.  That's why an 11 minute video may end up costing exactly the same price as a 12 minute video because it's not that much longer to edit.

Average video editing price:

75$/h to 150$ per hour

Things you need to consider in pricing:

  • Length of the final video(s)
  • Editing time and color grading
  • Amount of videos (single or series)
  • Delivery formats and conversion
  • Editing style and VFX

3. Talents

A snap shot from our film set while producing a documentary series for the Holocaust Center for Humanities. Here we are interviewing a local high school about their experience with some of the Center’s teaching materials.
Photo by Sam McGhee / Unsplash

In most corporate videos, we recommend you use your team or clients as talents. Not only it saves you cost but, it also builds trust towards your audience and gives a face and spirit to your business.

When working on case studies videos, customer success, or testimonials, obviously, forget about actors, your clients are king.  They are the heroes that you helped.  Show how your services helped them reach new height of success.

While working with actors, there are many ways to do it. You can either work with a union or non-union actors. Some project type requires union actors, like TV Commercial for instance. For web projects, you have way more options and less restrictions.

Also, an essential factor is the actor training and renown. If you wish to work with Will Smith or Brad Pitt to represent your brand, you can forget the prices below – and add a few zeros...

Make sure to take into account agents and casting fees in your budget.

Average talent pricing:

150$ to 2 500$/day or more...

Things you need to consider in pricing:

  • Union or Non-union
  • Casting fees & auditions
  • Agents

4. Filming Location

Steadicam
Photo by Jakob Owens / Unsplash

Generally, shooting at your office or facility is way cheaper than renting a film studio. But then again, it depends. Will shooting at your manufacturing plant impact your production that day? How much is that worth? If not, those are the best footages!

These kinds of details need to be discussed beforehand. Again, to build trust and really show your business, using your premises is usually the best solution.

For interview shots, we can use a hotel lobby, a breather space, restaurants, any location really. Public areas may require permits, this will increase pre-production time.

With world crisis like the COVID-19 recently we saw a surge of remote shooting.  This is a solution that more and more companies get used to.  We can then edit the Zoom call and make it look more appealing.

Average location pricing:

Hourly to daily rates.  It depends on what location...

Things to consider in pricing:

  • Location popularity
  • Permits & insurance
  • Possible production disruption or not
  • Should we shoot on-site or remotely?

5. Accessories & Makeup

Accessories on gray
Photo by Vadim Sherbakov / Unsplash

Having your crew looking good on camera is amazing, isn't it? On set, you can have makeup professionals or even wardrobe and stylist. Of course, this applies more for advertising projects or creative projects like music videos than for corporate, but it is still to take into consideration in the total production cost.

Average makeup pricing:

50 to 100$ per person or daily rate from 200 to 450$/day

Things to consider in pricing:

  • Experience of the makeup artist
  • Makeup style - Interview or Cirque du Soleil?
  • Accessories and styles

6. VFX & Animation

Macro computer information
Photo by Jacob Miller / Unsplash

For premium projects, VFX (Visual effects) and animation can be necessary. This budget line is one of the most impactful on the total production budget and also the most difficult to price.

Some VFX specialists charge per day other per minute and finally some per hour. It can range from simple stuff, like hiding a license plate to very complex technical drawing or alien invasion scenes.

Average Motion Graphics pricing:

250 to 1 000$/day

Average 3D Animation pricing:

250 to 2 500$/day

Things to consider in pricing:

  • Experience of provider
  • Complexity of project
  • # of scenes to work on

7. Stock Footage, Music And B-Rolls

Audio mixer equipment.
Photo by Samuel Ramos / Unsplash

These days stock footages are everywhere. They can save a shoot when missing some elements, at the same time you lose uniqueness on your project since all videographers around the world has access to the same libraries.

If the message is more important than uniqueness in your project, then stock footages are a fantastic addition to existing live-action videos. Same for music, you can use royalty-free music from known sound banks for a fraction of the cost of an original production.

If your videos need voice over recording, you'll have to go to a local recording studio or podcast studio to get it done with an actor/narrator.

Great Things Studios • Montreal Recording Studio
Video production company and Recording Studio in Montreal

‍B-Rolls are extra footage of your business, product, or people in action that amplify a message visually. It's not only telling it's now showing.

Average stock footage and music pricing:

80 to 300$/each

Things to consider in pricing:

  • License type (web use, TV, national, international)
  • Resolution (720p, 1080p, 4K or more)
  • Rarity of footage

Average Original music pricing:

350 to 2 000$/each

8. Equipment

An Arri Alexa Mini with Arri Ultra Prime Lenses.
Photo by Daan Stevens / Unsplash

Shooting with a DSLR will be way cheaper than shooting on a RED Camera or ARRI – Of course.

But these days, the message, especially in video marketing is more important than the gear you use.

Especially now, lots of camera manufacturers amped their game quite high in terms of quality. A 2 000$ camera can easily compete with a 15 000$ on some aspect.

Video equipment will affect the price a bit. Like the numbers of shooting days, they are all linked together and exponentially. If you want to shoot interviews using 3 cameras, but suddenly would like to change 3 DSLR for 3 ARRIs, that budget line will triple the price and make it go up to 9x.

To that, you'll have to factor in lighting. LED, HMI, Classic tungsten, all these different light types are used in different scenarios and will impact pricing.

What about Camera movement and support systems, such as gimbal, jibs, and dollies.

Oh, and sound? Lavalier and shotgun microphone. What about a drone for those crazy aerial footages? The list goes on, we can have a full article on this topic alone – But you get the point.

Average Equipment pricing:

  • Top Tier camera (RED, ARRI, etc.) 1 500$/day
  • Second Tier (High-end DSLR, Blackmagic) 100 to 300$/day

Things to consider in pricing:

  • Sensor Quality (resolution, color rendition)
  • Lens kit (prime and/or zoom)
  • Light kit
  • Support, grip, rig need
  • Sound kit

9. Distribution & Tracking

Photo by Sara Kurfeß / Unsplash

This is where the rubber meets the road for video marketing practices. Putting a final video on your home page is one thing. But real and powerful results also reside outside of your owned platform.

There are social media and paid media platform. From a simple landing page embed to full advance video programmatic advertising, this will change your investment requirements. After choosing your distribution channel, you need to track your results so you can prove ROI on your videos.

Martech (Marketing technologies) stacks vary depending on industries and requirements it can range from free software to multiple thousands per month.

For instance, you could have video views and behavior tracked on your website, feeding data to your CRM, then scoring each leads accordingly and trigger automations. Hence helping your sales team make more informed decisions on which lead to pursue.

Average Distribution pricing:

From Free to Unlimited...

  • Free - YouTube/Vimeo
  • 50-1000$/month - Wistia/Vidyard/Brightcove
  • 10 000 to Millions$ - TV Distribution and Events

Things to consider in pricing:

  • Platform type - free/paid
  • Automation features
  • Martech price (CRM/CMS/Analytics/SEO)
  • Reach and audience
  • Your desired monthly budget

10. Travel Cost

Photo by Stephane YAICH / Unsplash

Where is the crew shooting? This question will also impact on the budget. Some clients fly teams to a specific location to capture interviews or facilities, while others are just around the corner next to our offices.

Sometimes it's wiser to hire an offshore crew to send the footage back in and edit locally. There are multiple options. This budget line is also tightly linked to the numbers of shooting days, since moving back and forth to a location multiple times will increase the distance log.

Average Travel cost:

50$ to 5000$

Things to consider in pricing:

  • Travel distance
  • Lodging needs
  • Car or Truck rental
  • Plane tickets price
  • Equipment cargo cost

How to save on video production costs?

Here are a few tips to save on your marketing video budget.

  • Shot as many videos as you can in a single day rate and save time
  • Have a yearly arrangement with your video production agency.  Long term relations yield better results and best average cost of video production.
  • Use DSLR instead of dedicated camcorders, these days the quality is on par.
  • Use your staff and clients instead of actors — it  increases the trust factor
  • Use fewer motion graphics elements in the video
  • Use your office space instead of renting a location
  • Negociate on high volume video production — the more, the cheaper cost per video

Don't forget, videos are an investment, not an expense.

Marketing videos are an investment. The real question is, what objectives are you trying to achieve with the videos?  What would success look like, and what's the value of it?

If you spend 15 000$ on a video marketing campaign, and that campaign brings you an additional 80 000$ sales, this is an outstanding return on investment of 433% in that 1st year of use.  Since some videos are evergreen and may last for a few years, you can count on those to keep generating sales for your business.

Why Video Works and its Benefits
Video production company and Recording Studio in Montreal

Imagine if your current website site has a conversion rate of only 2% and that by adding a few videos on it, in your sales funnel and newsletter, you bring that conversion +2%, you're now at 4%.

You technically doubled your sales in only a few months and basin investment on videos to clarify your product or service.  Keep in mind that videos clarify your message, your product, your services, thus increasing the trust factor of your leads toward your brand.  Clarity drives sales, if you confuse, you lose.

The more video types you have to adress your different customer persona, the higher your chances of success.

Conclusion

As you can see, prices vary wildly depending on many factors.  The best way to come up with a precise total cost is to discuss your project with video professionals and request a detailed proposal.

Proposals are always free and will help you better understand the nature of a video project and its cost. Make sure the plan if fully detailed, clear, with no vague terms. This way, you'll know what you get for your money and the return to expect on this powerful investment.

N'tchidjè Doumbia

I love videos, video gears, studio gears, and helping businesses crush their competitors!

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