In terms of sheer dollars and cents, it’s hard to overstate the power that a well-produced video can bring to your larger marketing efforts. According to a recent study conducted by Hubspot, including even a single video on a landing page can help increase the conversion rates on that page by as much as 80%. 92% of people who see your video on a mobile platform are likely to share it with at least a few other people. According to Forbes, integrating video into your existing marketing efforts can literally double your existing ROI.

Most people hate the question, what is your budget?

Yet at the same time, many people don’t realize that there are a wide range of  factors that will  affect the cost that you pay to have a video produced. Understanding the process and what is involved will give you some insight into video production and essential aspects that greatly impact the cost of producing a professional video.

The length of video isn’t necessarily a “hard and fast” rule to live by, as a two minute video could cost dramatically more than one that is significantly longer when things like script, locations, graphics, editing, talent  are considered.

Pre-Production

The very first step is develop the concept, storyboard and script.  All of these stages involve your messaging, objectives and identifying your goals .  Who is your audience and who do you want to target, what is the buyer persona?  Determining these factors will help you create a much more effective video and more importantly, a return on your investment.

Your Crew

Videos – especially marketing or corporate videos – are never created in a vacuum. They’re the result of an intense level of collaboration, bringing together scriptwriters, editors, camera professionals, graphics professionals and more – all funneling their efforts through a single lens to help you achieve your vision. The level of experience of the crew you hired is perhaps one of the most immediate costs that you’ll be dealing with. You could pay $25.00 per hour to recent film school graduates, or you could pay $250 (or more) per hour to a production company that has been in the business for years.

In Front of the Camera Costs

In terms of the actual cost to shoot a video, there are two main categories that determine costs.  Those that are in front of the camera (and that therefore show up on screen) and those that exist behind it. In that first category you have things like your actors, the locations you’re using, and props, etc.
Depending on the type of video, you may need to hire actors.   Say you’ve written a script for your video that has several characters. Remember that each character is an actor (amateur or not),  someone you’ll have to pay for the duration of the shoot, even when they’re not actively filming. Every character will also need to go through makeup and wardrobe. More characters also means longer filming as you break shots down into coverage, singles and other angles.

Equipment, Props, Extras.

Are there any special props or pieces of equipment that need to be included as part of the costs? Do you need to rent an truck, rent furniture, hire extras,  or bring in special equipment for the shoot?  All these must be factored into the cost of the shoot.
Location, Location, Location.

Selecting the right location is critical.  You want to make sure the location supports what message you want your final video to convey. Does it have a stunning backdrop? If not,  you might want one and this could require travel.  Are there various locations that require multiple crew setups?   Are permits required?  Is there sufficient and proper lighting?   It’s also crucial to select a location that is free of ambient noise such as traffic, airport, etc.  Depending on whether you want to use your business location or not, you may have to  pay a  location fee.  All of these things affect the ultimate cost of your video.

Makeup

In most cases, it’s a good idea to have a makeup artist present for the shoot.  You want everyone that appears on camera to look their best.  Most professionals will cost between $60 – $90 per hour.

Behind the Camera Costs

Behind the camera costs are things like your script, your editors, music, special effects and graphics, copyrights, etc. Do you have an idea in mind for a particular song you want to use to really sell your message? Terrific, keep mind it may well be protected by copyright and fees vary for permission to license.

Narration

Do you need a voice-over to tell your story.  Having the right voice will make or break your video.  Professional  voice talent can add a few hundred dollars to your video.

Editing

Editing is where your whole story is put together in a cohesive and logical manner.  In many cases, it’s the longest part of the video creation process.   Editing can involve long hours and this,  of course,  costs money.   Factors that may impact costs:  Are there different locations, how much color correction, will you have multiple talking heads or graphics, how complex is the audio, or do you require special effects?  Editors range from 75/hour-150/hour.  3D graphics can cost well over 100/hour.

If you’re trying to save money, look for things you can cut like special effects. Proper special effects take time and expertise, both of which add money to your budget.

At the end of the day, it’s important to remember a little rule they teach you in film school called “The Triangle of Truth.” An old saying goes that there are three goals with any video production – you can have it fast, you can have it cheap or you can have it good. The catch is that you can only have two of these three things at any one time – meaning that if you want it good, it’s either not going to be fast or it certainly isn’t going to be cheap.

When you’re talking about something as important to your larger marketing and branding efforts as video production, it’s also important to remember another old saying: “you get what you pay for.” Investing in the right time with the right tools can bring your video to life in a way that makes success no longer a question of “if,” but “when.”