How Much Does Video Production Cost?
Article by Joe Forte
Video Production Cost Breakdown
1. Project Management and Project Coordination Expenses
The role of the project manager or project coordinator is more than just an administrative role. The project manager or coordinator ensures that production costs don’t exceed your video production budget. They also manage the production timeline, making sure that everyone who is involved with a project hits their deadlines. Video production is no exception.
In video production, the project manager or coordinator wears the title of producer.
Typical Costs: You should expect to pay $25 an hour for a graduate fresh out of film school and $250 an hour for a veteran video production pro. On average, in Phoenix and similar metro areas, the executive producer of the project usually earns a flat rate.
2. Script Development Costs
If your video project requires a script, you’ll need to hire a professional script writer. The costs for scriptwriting vary, depending on whether you need a fully written script or an outline for your on-camera speakers to follow. Of course, the cost also depends on the length of your video. We can coordinate script-writing for you.
Typical Costs: You could expect to spend between $50 an hour to $150 an hour for an experienced script writer to create a video concept, storyboard and script for your video.
3. Cost to Hire On-Screen Talent (Actors, Models)
If you’d prefer not to be on camera and want to use actors, models or voice-over talent, again the cost to hire these professionals will depend on their level of experience and expertise, as well as the amount of their time you’ll need. We can coordinate this for you.
Typical Costs: In the greater Phoenix area, actors, models and voice professionals usually charge $55 an hour to $500 an hour depending on demand, experience and union costs.
4. Costs Associated With Other Types of Visual Assets
Most videos benefit from shots that supplement what is being said on screen. In the video production industry, we call these B-roll or cut-away shots. For example, if you are describing a product or service in your video, you might have cut-away shots of the item or service in action. Showing the audience what is being described in the video helps keep the attention of the viewer and also is more informative.
Your video production budget will include estimates for these types of supplemental visuals, including:
- Still images
- Stock photos (royalty free)
- Licensed photos
- Custom photography
- Stock video (royalty free)
- Licensed video
- Custom video
- Illustrations/3D Elements
- Stock illustrations
- Custom illustrations
- Purchase 3D models
Stock photos, videos and illustrations tend to be more readily available and less expensive than their custom counterparts. The downside of stock images is that you don’t have exclusive rights to them. Others can use them too.
Typical Costs: Stock images can be as inexpensive as $5 each and 4K and HD stock footage can cost as little as $10 each. You should expect to pay considerably more for high quality stock images. We can coordinate your purchase of stock images, or recommend a reputable source that has a vast library of stock art. Cut-aways and B-roll shots are usually between 15% and 50% of all filming/shooting budget. This will depend on the time needed to take the extra footage and the type of camera used.
5. Costs to Add Special Effects to Videos
If your video project includes special effects, such as animations, motion graphics or title overlays (also known as lower thirds, captions and Chyrons), this will add to your cost of video production budget. We highly recommend that brand videos intended to sell something, promote a product or service, or build a pipeline of leads include some sort of call to action, which is where graphic special effects come into play.
Typical Costs: Some videos require simple graphics, while others are entirely animated. Prices range from $65 to $225 an hour for basic editing. However, special effects could easily cost $95 to more than $300 an hour. The cost of high quality 3D animation depends on the experience of the animator and the complexity of the project.
6. Location Costs Associated with Video Production
Where are you shooting? Are you shooting indoors or outside? Do you need a sound stage or a studio? Are you filming in more than one location? Are you shooting with a green screen? Do you need to travel between locations?:
- Studio rental
- Fees and permits
- Local or travel
- Building rental
Typical Costs: The most vital factor in determining location expenses in your video production rates is the total amount of time that will be required for production. With good planning, you can do a lot in a specific amount of time (which is another reason why scripting and storyboarding are so important). If a studio is needed, prices range around $95 to $400 an hour in the Phoenix area, depending on the size of the studio.
7. Music Licensing Fees
Will special sound effects or additional audio be added to your video? There are some websites that offer license-free music, but always check the fine print (our video product cost includes this service). When it comes to adding music to your videos, you have three options:
- Stock music (royalty free)
- Licensed music
- Custom score
Typical Costs: Royalty free music for video starts as low as $11 for a 2- to 3-minute track. It could cost $500 to $1,000 or more if you hire an audio engineer to make a song for your video, depending on the ability and experience of the musician and the needs of the project.
8. Video Production Crew Costs
How much does it cost to hire a camera crew? What about hiring a full video production crew?
The number of people involved in the production of your video will depend on the complexity of your project, as well as the length of time and, of course, your budget. An animated video, for example, doesn’t need a camera operator, makeup or hair stylist, or lighting professional.
- Director of photography (DP)
- Camera operator
- Motion graphics artist/animator
Typical Costs: Key personnel such as the director, director of photography (DP) and editor typically earn from $75 to $150 an hour in Phoenix. Sound professionals with their own equipment usually earn between $45 and $75 an hour while lighting professionals usually earn between $25 and $50 an hour.
9. Video Rendering and Compression Time
Video rendering and compression are parts of the video production process that “hidden” steps in the video production process, because they happen behind the scenes. In fact, oftentimes the costs for video rendering and compression are folded into the editing time and budget expenses.
Video rendering and compression involve transferring footage into an editing system, post-edit rendering it into a presentable format (for web or broadcast, typically), and uploading it to wherever it will be hosted (Vimeo, YouTube, or some other channel). This all takes time on the computer.
Typical Costs: Video rendering and compression costs can be included with other services such as editing, or they can be included as an hourly charge on the budget. Prices are usually $25 to $75 an hour, depending on the processing speed of the computer used.
10. Overhead Costs of Video Production
- Equipment (cameras, lights, sound, studio, computers, software)
- Insurance (liability and workers compensation)
Typical Costs: Are you filming on a $200 smart phone or a $25,000 RED camera? The bottom line with camera costs is that the more expensive the camera package, the more dramatic difference you will notice in the final product. Depending on the camera package you choose to film with, you can spend from $100 to $2,000 a day or more. Extra equipment such as teleprompters, jibs, steadicams and the like can run from $30 to $1,000 a day and up.
Bottom Line: How Much Does It Cost to Make a Video?
Here are some figures you can start with to use as a general guideline for budgeting. A 2- to 3-minute professionally produced corporate video typically costs anywhere from $2,000 to $7,000. Most production companies agree that the average cost of video production is usually around $1,000 to $5,000 per finished minute, and we agree that it is a good starting point to consider when budgeting.
When working with a production company, be transparent with your budget. Our best video production projects start when our clients say, “Here’s my budget, these are my objectives, what can you do for me?”
If you don’t start with a budget, the production company will have to guess at one. Be cautious of working with a video production company that gives you a single price for a video or series of videos without breaking down what is going into that price point.
So, back to the question, “How much do video production companies charge?” The simple answer is that there isn’t a simple answer. You could record a video on your iPhone and upload it to YouTube and it wouldn’t cost a thing. You could hire a big Hollywood producer to produce the same video and it could cost you millions of dollars. There are so many variables that go into the cost of video production that it is not possible to answer that simply and succinctly. Call us and tell us about your project, then we can dig into the real answers about video production pricing.
Video Production Price List
Here is a summary of all the costs we covered in this post:
- Project management and coordination: $25 to $250 an hour
- Script development: $50 to $150 an hour
- On-screen or voice-over talent: $55 to $500 an hour
- Supplemental visuals: 15% to 50% of total video production budget
- Special effects: $65 to $300 an hour
- Location costs: $95 to $400 an hour
- Music: $500 to $1,000 or more
- Video production crew: $25 to $150 per person per hour
- Video rendering: $25 to $75 an hour
- Overhead costs: $20 to $3,000 per day