What Does a Video Cost?

The Most Common Question We Are Asked is:  What Does a Video Cost?

There is no easy answer.  It depends on a lot of different factors like what kind of video you want to create and how much of the process you want to do yourself.  The more creative and the better the story the more it will cost and the more effect it will be.  The good news for you, the buyers, is that the cost of a video has dropped dramatically in the last 10 years.  This is because the cost of camera equipment has gone down and, primarily, because there are a lot more people who say that they can create videos.

Good Video is Hard to Duplicate

However, the price of videos with a good story has not changed because story is an art.  I was in a meeting with a CEO who was trying to make the point that video was easy because all you had to do was turn a button to make this adjustment.  But what he wasn’t taking into account was the years of training to took to learn how to turn that button so get the result needed. There are a lot of companies that now want to use video as a part of their marketing but many of them have never created a video before.  This is a challenge for video creators because they are working with a buyer who doesn’t understand what they are buying and the cost associated with it.

Agency vs Freelancer

An agency, even a boutique agency, will usually have a minimum amount that they are able to work for.   A freelancer will usually also have a minimum. This is because you are not just paying for the time on set or in editing.  You are paying for there experience.  The more experience the more there services will cost.   They also have overhead, like an office and crew.  The people that work for them want to be paid a wage that is livable.  This is even harder if the company is in Southern California or any other market with a high cost of living.  If an agency has spent time and money to show up on the first page of Google, they have a little more on the line than a lone camera operator that you would find on craigslist.  Therefore, you need to decide what you want to spend and what kind of company you want to work with or what kind of company you can afford to work with to get the results you need.

Don’t Over Simplify

In recent years, I have seen people from Hollywood try to make these videos for companies in their off time, kind of like a hobby.  This would seem like a good idea but most people who work in Hollywood have a specialty.  If you hire a camera operator to do your project, the video will be in focus but he might have trouble lighting the video or, chances are, he won’t be very good with project management.

Just because a video seems simple to you, that doesn’t mean that it should cost less to create a 30-second video.  A 30-second video can cost as much as a 60-minute video, or more, depending on the work that goes into the video.

So what exactly does a video cost?  That question depends on the type of video.  Could you get a video from us for $100?  No.  There are many factors that go into the cost of a video.  For example, the cost just to rent a camera for a project like yours starts at $300 per day.   You also need to have the right insurance or some other type of collateral.  That camera doesn’t include all the other stuff needed to run the camera, like memory cards, a tripod, and audio equipment.  Cameras can’t see in the dark, so you will need lights.  Lighting is an art all in itself.  That’s why on a Hollywood set, camera and lighting are two separate jobs.  You can see how video production costs add up quickly.  This shouldn’t scare you.  It should help you make a better decision about what your budget should be.

Creativity = Cost

The more creative the video needs to be, the more it costs.  One of the big issues is that the difference between different levels of videos can be slight but they are the types of things that your audience will know are missing.  Your audience might not be able to tell you what is missing but they will sense that something is off.  One great example of this that I see a lot is unskilled video creators shooting interviews with people in profile.  The problem is that most people don’t look good in profile and as we get older, gravity makes this angle even worse.

The big idea is that to create a video you need a budget and you need to know your budget before you can have any real conversations about your video.  If you only have a few hundred dollars to spend, you might want to post your project on craigslist, go to the local college for help, or continue to save your money.

I hope this helps you in your journey to figuring out what a video will cost.