“How much is a short video?”
“What is the cost of a 3-minute promo?”
“I need a short crowdfunding video, how much do you charge?”
My new clients ask me these – or similar – questions all the time. But there’s no one single answer, as each video is a separate project. And each project is different in terms of its complexity, so in each case the actual quote may – and probably will – differ.
To make it easier for those who are new to video production, I’ve compiled a list of basic steps and concepts to consider when thinking about commissioning a video. These should help you not only determine whether your budget can stretch to match your vision, but also review your project and expectations.
Start by defining the following two elements:
1. The audience and the platform
Who is your video aimed at? Your clients, your existing audience, new prospects? Who are they? Business people, housewives, students, silver surfers? Are they used to long form videos or do they prefer short, snappy clips? What are they going to get out of the video?
Are you producing a video for YouTube or Vimeo only? Or are you planning to place it on your website? If the latter, is it a homepage company intro video, an explainer or is it destined for a specific section of the website?
You probably don’t need a very detailed analysis of your audience, but you do need a firm understanding of who you want to produce the video for.
2. The aim of the video
Why do you actually need a video? What is it trying to achieve? Is it a homepage welcome video, giving your visitors a quick overview of your company or services? Is it an educational video you want to share with your clients? Is it destined for social media? Or for a fundraising event or a conference? You need to understand exactly why you want and need a video.
Once you’ve defined these two elements, you can start looking at the more technical aspects of your planned video:
3. The format
This is probably one of the most crucial elements of the planning process and knowing the answers to the above two questions will help you tremendously.
Many people simply opt for a talking head, because that’s what others do and because it’s the cheapest option. Wrong and wrong again.
An explainer video doesn’t necessarily require your CEO actually explaining things. You can opt for an animated video instead. Or you may need some extra talent (models, actors, voiceover artists) which will obviously increase the cost.
Would a story-based video work better? Or a how-to one? If you do need or want talking heads, can you afford to shoot some additional b-roll material (or cutaways) to make the final video more lively? All these will help you – and your video producer – determine how much time is needed and how much budget is required.
4. The length
Although not the most important factor, you do need to have a rough idea of how long your video should be. The attention spans are allegedly getting shorter, different audiences (and formats) may require different lengths, but shorter doesn’t necessarily mean cheaper.
Having determined all the above, you can now start assessing the scale of your production. If the video can be done by a one-man band (and many can), the cost may be significantly lower compared to hiring a bigger crew.
Hiring any extra equipment may also be necessary and this is definitely something you should discuss with your video producer. For slicker productions that go beyond simple, static videos, you may need a slider, a jib or even a crane. You may require additional stabilisers, lenses, audio equipment or even a studio.
If you need a prompter, they usually cost extra as they come with additional qualified operators. An iPad-based prompter is often sufficient and can be a great alternative too.
Do you need custom-made titles, animation or music? If so, this may increase your costs too, however a lot of people opt for stock music or buy low-cost customisable titles to keep the overall cost down, but without compromising the quality.
How does your approval process work? Video companies usually include a number of reviews in the initial quote, but if you require a multi-person or multi-step reviews, this may affect the final price too.
So here it is – your very basic guide to video production costs. Now you hopefully understand why “how much is a short video?” is not an easy question to answer.
If you do need a quote, get in touch – firstname.lastname@example.org or 07767 402 302.