How Much Does Video Production Cost?

If you’re thinking about using video content as part of your marketing strategy, you may be wondering how much it actually costs.

The truth is, there are so many variables which affect the overall price of video production. In this article, I wanted to address key factors within live-action video production that affect the overall price. Live-action refers to video content that largely comprises of filmed footage. Think customer testimonial videos, training videos and how-to videos.

Most production companies charge by the time required to produce the requested video. If the production company offers you a package price, they have estimated the time and resources required to produce the video. In Australia, the hourly rate for professional Filming and Editing services ranges between $50p/h – $200p/h (The production of television commercials attract higher rates). The hourly rates are usually inclusive of staff and equipment to carry out Filming and Editing. The minimum call for Filming and Editing is usually 4 hours.

Of course, a hobbyist or media production student will offer you lower rates than industry standard. However, there is an inherent risk that they a) won’t deliver the quality of material you have asked for, b) won’t deliver to your deadline and c) aren’t insured.

Here are some key factors which affect the price of video production:

1. Experience of the production company

Generally speaking, the greater the experience of the production company, the greater the fee. You’re paying for reliability and a proven track record. That being said, emerging production companies can offer great value-for-money prices and deliver marvellous results as they’re driven to establish themselves in the marketplace. Looking at the portfolio of the production company will give you a pretty clear idea of the quality of work they are capable of producing.

2. Script

If the production company is doing most the script work – coming up with the creative concept, structuring the script and writing the copy – they will charge by the time required to do so. Alternatively, the client might have the creative concept and be willing to write the script. In this case, the production company would consult on the script. Some production companies offer script consultation as a complimentary service, others will charge for it.

3. Talent

The greater the experience of the actor, the higher their fee. A well known TV personality will charge significantly more than a regular actor. Not all videos require actors (such as customer case studies), but when deciding between using an actor and an employee, it’s better to invest in the actor. Using an employee or friend as onscreen talent can result in longer filming times and stiff performances due to inexperience.

4. Filming

The time it takes to conduct filming, the personnel involved and the equipment used contribute to filming costs. Filming times are often billed in Half Day (0 – 4 hours) or Full Day (4 – 8 hours) blocks. For live action videos destined for online distribution, one to three operators are usually required on set. Television commercials require a significantly larger crew. Standard equipment (HD camera, sound recording and lighting) is usually included in the hourly rates. If you wanted drone footage, crane shots or a high end RED camera to lift the production value of your video, there will be additional costs.

5. Editing

Like with filming, editing is usually billed in Half Day (0 – 4 hours) or Full Day (4 – 8 hours) blocks. Editing costs are dependant upon the length of the video and the number of shots that need to be edited together. There are often multiple rounds of editing, with the edit going back to the client for feedback. Production companies usually allow for a limited amount of revisions as part of their editing rates.

6. Motion Graphics & Animation

Basic animation such as title cards and 2D logo animation are usually included in the editing rates. However, if you required substantial 2D or 3D animation as part of your video, there will be additional costs. The process of producing animated content differs from live-action content and I will cover this in an another article.

7. Music & Voiceover

Royalty free music is the way to go for most productions. You pay a one off fee to use a track of music in your video. Obtaining the rights to use popular music is significantly more expensive and not worth the time and hassel if the video is destined for internal or online distribution. Voice-over requires the contracting of a voice-over artist, a recording studio and a sound recorder. Again, these costs will depend on the experience/quality of voice-over you are looking for.

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