It’s a fair question, but the answer is not so simple. Here is an example of a typical email I receive at least twice a week:
I am looking to create a 2-3 minute video for my website. How much will that cost?
A well-meaning, potential client
Every time I receive one of these emails, I have to admit, I do become a bit frustrated, because I immediately have to respond with a request for more details. This isn’t frustrating because I am personally annoyed that I have to reach out to this person, it is more of a frustration knowing from experience that this person usually isn’t ready to talk about the project yet and only wants to gather numbers at this stage.
Yes, there are freelancers and companies out there that will provide you with a quote based only on the length of the video. While, we take this into consideration, we would never quote you on that information alone. In all honesty if quality is important to you, I would be wary of anyone that does this. If they are proposing a one-cost-fits-all solution to their projects, well then I would expect a one-template-fits all final video. Ultimately, it speaks to the person providing the quote’s level of experience.
Simply put, our rates depend on brainpower (hours and days) and equipment required to produce the video at all three stages of production. Below are just some examples of the different types of services we consider when we are quoting.
Pre-Production (The Work Before The Shoot) Hours:
Pre-production is all of the work that needs to be done before filming begins. Many of these elements can be done prior to consulting a video-production firm, though just as often they are handled by the production company.
Some of the parts of pre-production include:
- Scripting: This may include research, writing room sessions, and/or developing questions for an interview.
- Concept and Storyboarding: Concept work might involve hiring marketing experts to make sure the video will accomplish its purpose. Storyboarding gives a grasp of what other elements might be needed for production.
- Casting Calls and Actors: Having screen presence is never a guarantee, it is possible you might need to find talent outside of the office for the video.
- Location Scouting: Locations could be anything from several outdoor shoot areas to a single office space, or perhaps even a studio with a green screen.
Production (The Shoot) Days:
The amount of energy and effort for producing a project can vary widely! Here are a few variables to consider for the production work.
- Number of Days for a Shoot: If it is just going to be a single person interview, then chances are it is only going to take a day. But, when there are multiple locations that filming needs to take place at, chances are you are looking at a multi-day shoot.
- Camera: A basic DSLR camera will often be enough for a web video, but if you are looking to have an HD video that is accessible on several different platforms, then you will need an HD camera. There are also film cameras, which would include the cost of rental and the purchasing of film.
- Equipment: Whether this is different microphones, a drone for aerial shots, or lighting and rigging, each of these has costs associated with it, along with crew and specialists.
- Make-up and Wardrobe: Make-up and costuming gives a video a polished look, and also comes with another set of crew members that will need to be considered in the final price.
Post-Production (Editing) Hours:
Hours can stack up on this end of production. Editing down recorded materials and inserting additional media can be time consuming. These are a few of the elements that could stretch the time (and price) of the final video.
- Graphics and Animation: Perhaps you need something as simple as inserting a company graphic or intricate as inserting a thirty-second animation
- Soundtrack and Voiceovers: Sampling music can be relatively simple, but creating original audio can be pricey depending on the level and renown of the artists employed.
- Preliminary and Secondary Cuts: Do you need different length cuts of the material? Maybe there is a significant amount of original recording and it needs to be parsed way down. Good editors are worth the price.
I don’t expect everyone that contacts us to know the answers to all these questions from the get-go. But the more information a client can provide us with, the more accurate estimate I can provide! If you tell me that you’d like a corporate video for your website that includes an interview with the CEO, client testimonials and footage of your team working at two different locations, that tells me that we’ll probably need at least three days of production, likely with one camera, one videographer and a someone to help set up and conduct the interviews. See what I did there?
Hourly rates vary depending on the seniority of the team members involved, and equipment fees vary on the cost of the equipment. Daily fees for a DSLR camera are obviously a lower cost than the big Cinema Camera we have.
The key takeaway is: having even a loose understanding of these different elements of what you want from your video makes it easier to provide an accurate estimate. It also helps the video production crew be ready to hit the ground running with your project.
I hope this proves to be helpful!
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