The Hard Truth About What a Marketing Video Costs
How much does a marketing video cost? I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been asked that question. At the risk of sounding evasive, my general response is, “How much does it cost to build a house?” Two-bedrooms or four-bedrooms? High-end kitchen or just the basics? Custom-tiled shower or just an insert? In other words, it depends on a multitude of factors, namely the crew, cast and equipment required to pull it off. Since it’s completely understandable that most marketing managers with little to no video experience have a limited understanding of what goes into video production, let’s break it down.
Say your VP of Marketing has determined your company needs a one to two-minute brand video, and it’s up to you to secure three bids. For the purpose of this exercise, we’ll assume we’re talking about live action production (as opposed to animation, which CRASH+SUES also offers, but which has its own pricing factors.)
To get a general idea of your needs, most production companies/creative agencies will first ask you some pretty basic questions
- What’s your objective?
- Who is the audience?
- What is your timeline?
- Do you have a budget?
If you have a dollar figure in mind, it’s best to share it now, as this gives the agency an idea of how best to approach the project. It also saves a ton of wasted time and effort, by steering the production company away from pitching ideas in the $50K range, when all you really have to spend is $20K.
Once you’ve established a few parameters, you’ll likely start discussing factors that will directly impact the budget. Don’t worry if you don’t have answers to all of the following questions. A skilled producer will be proactive in helping you determine what your needs are based on your objectives. Also, keep in mind some questions can’t be answered until a creative direction is determined.
- Do you have a concept or do you need us to develop the creative?
- Do you have a script or will you need a scriptwriter?
- Where do you envision the shoot taking place? Do we need to scout and rent a location (and secure permitting) or can we shoot at your office?
- Are you featuring multiple locations which might necessitate a multi-day shoot?
- Will we incur out-of- town travel costs?
- Are we building “sets” or do we need to hire a set designer to “prop” the space?
- Can the video be filmed with one camera or do we need multiple cameras?
- What kind of “look” are you hoping to create? (Different “looks” may require additional crew and production gear including different types of cameras, lenses, lights, dollies, etc…. the list is endless and worthy of a whole other blog. You don’t need to be overly versed on this, as your production company will secure what is needed and should be upfront about what value it will bring to the shoot.)
- Can we film employees or do we need to hire actors? If you go the actor route, be prepared to pay for an audition session.
- Do we need a makeup artist?
- Are we capturing audio on-site, or will the video be voiced later?
- Do we need to hire professional voice-over talent?
- Will we need to enhance the video with motion graphics? (For example, perhaps you want some text to appear on screen, or maybe you want your logo to animate.)
- Any need for visual effects?
- Will we need to buy any additional footage, for example, skyline shots of cities featuring other office locations?
- Is there a particular style of music you’re looking for? Do you anticipate the video will need sound design (i.e., sound effects.)
- Where will the final video live? Do you need it delivered in various file formats?
Believe it or not, the above list is not an exhaustive one, as client needs and priorities often shift right up until the time of the shoot (and even after, during the “post-production” or edit phase.) Recently, a client requested to add a drone shot of their office headquarters. To do so sounds simple, yet it required another camera, operator, permit and additional time on the day of the shoot to pull off. An experienced producer will advise you of any potential overages prior to proceeding.
A word about production companies who offer a flat rate for their services (i.e., $3599 for a 1 day, all-inclusive video shoot!): while this ‘one-size-fits-all’ type of pricing might be a good fit for certain types of clients or projects, make no mistake, the service and quality of the final product will be very different from what a full-service production company offers. When comparing bids, be very clear about what you are—and are not—paying for. Money alone won’t guarantee a successful video, but it should buy you more options, while ensuring you are working with professionals who collectively have a wealth of experience and success record to match.
CRASH+SUES provides strategic storytelling and video services to ad agencies, businesses and film companies seeking to create meaningful connections with their customers and employees. We’re masters of ideation, design, live action video production, animation and color, delivering compelling content that engages, entertains and educates. Call us what you want – a hybrid agency, a creative boutique, a production studio, digital daredevils, or… just call us. We’ll help you cut through the noise. Check out some of our work!