Eight Variables That Will Effect the Cost of a Project and One That Shouldn’t
At Good Fruit Video, we’ve had the pleasure of working with hundreds of clients throughout the last decade. Clients that provide all sorts of different products and services to their customers, consumers, employees, stakeholders, donors, and volunteers. Every single client has their own goals for their video project, but one thing always stays the same… every client wants to know how much the video is going to cost.
In this blog, I will work to educate you on the variables that ultimately lead to the cost of your video project.
Variable 1: The Planning
Planning is extremely important for ending up with an excellent video. Answering the questions about the purpose, audience, message, timeline, and vehicle(s) for your video are paramount to the overall success of the project.
Once you answer those questions, you will need to identify how you want to project to be done. Will your production be:
- Documentary style, utilizing interviews and complimentary video.
- Direct address, scripted video.
- Cinematic style, utilizing scripts, storyboards and potentially actors.
- An animation, such as a whiteboard video.
- A live, streaming video, such as Facebook live or webinar.
All five of these production types have benefits and negatives, depending on your goals for the project.
Variable 2: The Crew
The size and expertise of your crew will change the price quite a bit. A person or crew, fresh out of high school or college, are going to cost less than a professional crew with years or decades of experience producing videos for clients. Utilizing a member of your own team to shoot the video is another option, though unless that is their main role, it may hinder performance in their in their daily work.
Depending on the production type, the size can also vary. A documentary style production will normally have far less crew members, usually one to three, while a cinematic crew may have five, ten or more crew members on set.
Variable 3: The Equipment
Good lighting and quality sound are probably the two biggest factors behind a great video. Understanding the need for additional light and sound equipment, as well as stabilization and other gear, such as a slider, jib arm or even additional camera is extremely important to make a quality video.
Variable 4: The Travel
If a videographer or crew is traveling any amount of distance in order to capture video for your project, that will be included in your cost for the video. Travel rates vary, depending on the distance, crew size and time it will take the crew to get to the shoot and get back to the office. Shoots that take multiple days may also incur room and board charges.
Variable 5: The Shoot Time
Most production companies charge in half day and full day when it comes to shoots. A half day is usually up to four or five hours and a full day is up to eight or ten hours. However, there are teams that may charge in only full days or simply per hour. It really depends on the company and how they feel they can bring the best value to their client. Also, remember, a videographer or crew will need time to set up and tear down equipment, before, after and during a shoot. Plan accordingly.
Variable 6: Post-Production
Again, depending on the approach to a video, post-production can vary. If a video was shot in a documentary style, the story will have to be created from the interviews and other audio captured. From there, additional video (known as B-Roll) will be used to complement the narrative. A process like this can take anywhere from two to four hours per hour of video capture. With cinematic videos, putting the story together may take less time, as so much was put into scripting and controlling the production. However, after the story is put together, things such as color grading and sound sweetening are done to polish off the video and make it ready for viewer consumption.
Variable 7: Turnaround time
Do you need your finished video in a month, a week or a day? The turnaround time for the finished video will dictate the amount of concentrated effort needed by the production team to execute on your production and thus will affect the cost of the project. However, turnaround time is not only for finished projects. The amount of time given prior to scheduling, rescheduling and even canceling a video shoot can dramatically affect the workflow of a production team and can ultimately lead to additional costs.
Variable 8: Opportunity Cost
Is the shoot the one and only opportunity to get video of an event or interview with a certain person? If so, the cost of opportunity is great. NOTHING can be left to chance. EVERYTHING has to work right. The pressure is on and it’s going to cost you. But you’ll be happy when you have the video later on.
Conversely, when you book a videographer or crew, you are booking their most valuable commodity, their time. Until we are able to clone ourselves, there’s a huge value to that.
There’s one thing that many people consider when thinking about the price of a video. Length. Call me crazy, but I don’t see this as a variable that should affect the overall budget. A video, with little video editing needed, may take little time to complete, whereas a 30-second spot, may take hours and days to get finalized. Ultimately, if the video does what it’s intended to do, length should not matter.
Instead of looking at the length or video as a value driver, consider these other things instead…
What’s the value of the goal you are trying to meet?
Will the video help you make money? How much?
Save money? How much?
Recruit? Who? What is that person(s) worth to your organization?
Train talent? On what? Will a video help you do this better?
How long will you use this video?
So how much does a video cost? Ultimately, it depends.