Let us try to cover as much ground as we possibly can about the costs for a typical Video. When you ask: How much do you charge for video production? It is like going to a car dealer and asking. How much is a car? Do you want the Mercedes or the Ford Escort at the end of the yard? Most video production companies have their own formulas when budgeting a given project. Most figure their numbers based on previous experience and current industry rates. When we price any given project, we put in the balance current market price for that service, budget and client expectations based on that budget.
Pricing video requires a lot of communication and feedback. We have found that asking the right questions to the client, and working closely with the decision makers from the organization is the best approach.
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There are no set rules for pricing (budgeting), and figures vary a lot from company to company.
Most clients don’t know what questions to ask or what involves to produce a professional video. It is the duty of the Video Production Company to ask the right questions to the client. When a Producer does not communicate or ask the right questions to a client, it affects the Video Production process.
Communication is key!
What is a video production company (A) offering vs company (B)? Company (A) sounds very expensive and company (B) is doing it almost free. Something is not right.
Why are their estimates so different?
In many cases, the difference in rates creates misunderstanding and mistrust. Company (A) might be inflating their video production rates and company (B) is leaving important things out the estimate, just to compete and later tell the client that they did not include city permits, insurance, and catering. These are 3 items that an amateur will not include in the budget. The client at this point regrets hiring company (B), but they signed a video contract and now it is too late.
Oh Sir, but that was only an estimate!
That it is a typical response to a client’s complain when the costs are rising and budgets are times are going up the hill. Some companies that do not include important things in their budgets do so to outbid other companies. They get the contract and when confronted, they tell you. Sorry, that was only an estimate!
Even though it will be in very wide strokes, in this post I will try to answer the question: How much do you charge for video production?
Keep one thing in mind before you start reading, the process descriptions and percentages are really simplified here. Every video is completely different. Producing a corporate video for a start-up is not the same as producing a TV commercial or a feature film. It is important to understand the 3 video production steps or processes to see the picture. Continue reading.
The  video production steps and their “average” costs.
Pre-production includes a meeting with the client to know their goals, concepts, market projections, etc. It is in this step where the video production company will gather all the information to create a plan for the video. The director, and maybe a producer will create the “concept” also called the pitch. Once a concept is developed, it is presented to the client. If the client likes it and agrees with it, the producer will create a script and a budget that includes all the material and human assets necessary to complete the scripted video.
Once the video production company is booked, the director and or creatives will write a script, shooting script and storyboard for the video. These documents include the visuals, dialog, music, visual effects, sound effects, narration that will be in the video. The Pre-production process could take a day, two, sometimes a week or more (depending on the project). The cost of pre-production can be a few hundred and in some cases many thousands.
What about permits?
Yes, in most instances you need a Film Permit from the city where you will be shooting. You do not want to be kicked out of your exterior location when you are filming the talent testing the client’s product.
Not a good thing to experience! A few years ago, we provided video crew and equipment for a very well-respected video production company that ended up costing their client an additional $6000 for not including $100 fee for a Miami Dade Film Permit.
Sometimes you can get away with a couple of shots in exteriors without a film permit, but not when you have a crew, and you are using an ARRI ALEXA Camera with tripod, lenses, and accessories. You need a film permit and insurance, do not exclude these from the budget.
Many clients often ask. Where do I get actors or models for the video?
We have access to casting companies that always provide us with great talents (actors, models) for every type of video production. The cost of hiring talents depends on many factors. Are these known or experienced actors? Are these actors new to the industry? Some casting agencies only deal with a restricted portfolio of clients, studios, projects, and high budget productions. Some are opened to any type of video projects and budgets. I will not cover the costs of hiring talents here. Today talent rates are all over the place (managers, agencies, independent, union, non-union, etc).
Pre-Production can include :
- Concept development
- Production Design
- Selecting Crew
- Location Scouting
Based on our experience in the industry cost of pre-production is 10 to 15% of the total budget of a project.
Oh yes, Production is everyone’s favorite. Bring those lights and cameras and let’s start filming!
On this day ” the shoot day” we have everything ready in order to shoot the video. The Director and crew will shoot every take, and scene according to the script, shooting script, and storyboard. One video production project can have as little as one day for shooting, sometimes two or three days. In some cases, weeks or months.
Everything depends on the number of shots in the script/storyboard, locations, location accessibility, distances between locations, length of the script, equipment, lighting requirements, etc. Sometimes even the catering decisions make a difference! Feed pizza to your crew and they will work slower.
The cost for a shoot day depends on the size of the crew, talent skills, equipment, location cost… etc.
A shoot day can cost a few hundred or thousands of dollars. For the most basic type of video (ex: interviews, testimonials) only one operator with a camera, a wireless mic, and a light kit is required. In this scenario, the camera operator will handle all production tasks on location. These generally are shot very inexpensively. Production cost is usually 50% to 70% of the total budget.
Contact us for a free consultation on your next Video in Miami, Florida.
Production can include:
- Assistant Director
- Camera Operator / DP
- Camera Support
- Sound Equipment
- Light Packages
Post-Production is basically what everyone calls “editing”. Everything that was shot on the production day is logged, organized and reviewed by the director and the editor. They watch every single take and make sure that they have all the material needed for a good edit.
In post-production, every shot is assembled in an editing computer as a coherent piece.
The editor will work very long hours assembling the footage, shot after shot, scene after scene. He will more likely follow the instructions of the Director and the final script. Besides splicing together the shots and assembling all the scenes in an editing suite. Every shot has to be color graded one by one. Color grading is the process in which the look of every clip is finely tuned to match the rest. This process will render the footage with a polished look that matches the director’s intended vision.
Quality sound is a critical part of post-production. Don’t cut corners here.
Quality sound it is as important as good visuals. Audio is 60% of the whole experience. You can watch an average or below average video with good audio, try to watch a good or average video with poor audio. No way, it kills the whole experience. Many amateur videos suffer from this. Inaudible and noisy audio is a sin!
The editing process can take days or weeks. Post-production is usually charged by the hour. Typically, an experienced editor charges from $65.00 to $150.00 per hour. Post-Production is sometimes 30% to 40% of the final budget.
- Time-code logging
- Color Correction
- Visual Effects
- Sound Mastering
A few last words.
Now that you have a better understanding of the whole video production process and some of the costs involved. You will be able to ask the right questions. We at Bluemoon Filmworks tailor every video production budget according to the real needs of our clients. Knowing the real involved in creating a quality video helps our clients plan their strategies, distribution, repackaging, marketing campaigns, and budgets for the best R.O.I.
Always remember, don’t feed pizza to your crew, and every successful video starts with a well-written budget!
Contact us for a free consultation.
Talk to us.
Contact our Production Team.