How much does it cost to make an online video?
Part 4: Post-Production Costs
Post-Production is the final stage of content creation. We add polish to your video or animation through editing and sound mixing. This is often the most time-consuming part of a job and it’s important that you allocate enough budget to cover it.
1. What affects the cost of video editing?
The editing process can take days, weeks or months depending on many variables including how much footage was shot (because this needs to be physically watched by the editor many times over), how much visual effects work is needed (e.g. keying out or removing green screen), adding music and sound mixing (e.g. creating a sonic landscape), colour grading (e.g. altering the brightness, contrast and colour of shots to create a coherent visual style), integration of additional assets (e.g. stock footage or brand assets such as logos) and how many different cuts the client wants to see before sign off.
If you are looking to produce a talking head comprised of one locked off tripod shot with an actor delivering 20 seconds of scripted dialogue to camera, then the editing will be minimal compared to a 3-minute live action music video with 3D animated elements that may take several weeks of post-production work.
2. Using music in your content?
Most clients opt for royalty free music for their video or animation. This means that you pay a one off fee for the music. Sometimes this comes with restrictions and sometimes it doesn’t, depending on where the video is going to be distributed (i.e. on TV or online) and for how long.
It is important that you work with a company who understand this side of things so that you avoid the removal of your video from platforms such as YouTube and potential legal action.
In the case that you want to sync a well known piece of music we would need to negotiate a deal for the publishing rights (from the music publisher/s) and the master rights (from the record label who represent the artist). It’s worth bearing in mind that it can take weeks to get a quote back from some rights holders and it’s not always the most cost effective solution for our clients, which is why many opt for royalty free music.
3. What are exports?
It’s important for a video production company to know where your final video is going to end up, ideally before production begins. This allows us to design and cost the appropriate workflow and give you the correct kind of files when the job is finished. For example, if you want to show your video in cinemas you will need to give the cinema a DCP file, whereas if you want to upload it to YouTube you will need a .mp4 file optimised for that platform. These days it’s quite straightforward for us to export to various formats. However, it still takes us time because we need to carefully test the files each time we export new ones for you, so we always leave the final exports until the project is 100% signed off.
4. What is distribution?
Once your video or animation is completed you need to get it in front of your audience. Many people wait until their video is finished before thinking about this. We think that’s a mistake because knowing where your content will end up is an integral part of designing it in the first place. That’s why we begin planning for distribution during pre-production.
Some video production companies will hand over your video file(s) and disappear into the sunset. We don’t! Instead we like to stay involved with our clients well after the job is finished (even if it’s a one off job). This helps us to understand how the content is performing and to advise our clients if we think things could be tweaked or improved.
There are relatively inexpensive ways to distribute your content, such as hosting it for free on YouTube and driving visitors to that content via social media (Twitter, Facebook etc.). Then there are more expensive video marketing solutions you can consider like PPC (Price Per Click) advertising through Google Adwords.
In short we advise that you budget separately for your online video production and video marketing spend.
Distribution is a big subject and we will cover this in more detail in a future blog post for you.
Hopefully you will now have a much better idea of what to expect in terms of the cost variables involved in making an online video or animation. In Part 1: Choosing a video production company we explained what to look out for when commissioning a video production company. Part 2: Pre-Production Costs looked at the costs associated with ideas development and planning. Part 3: Production Costs covered the main costs around filming and here in Part 4: Post-Production we’ve looked at the last costs involved around editing, music and distribution.
It might seem like a lot to take in, but for us it’s what we do on a daily basis. A good video production company will help guide you through all these options to determine which variables are essential for your video and which they think you can live without.
If you have any questions or something to add please leave a comment below.