How much does it cost to make an online video?
Part 1: Choosing a video production company
People like to know how much something costs; it’s a basic and reasonable requirement for most customers. However, not all video production companies charge the same price or deliver the same level of quality. It can therefore be difficult for customers to know whether they are getting a good deal or not. We have written this post in four parts to help make things clearer for you by explaining the variables around video production costs at each stage of the process.
Part 1 is about choosing a video production company, because this is where calculating the cost of your video really starts. In three more subsequent posts we will look at the costs for Pre-Production (before you film or animate), Production (during filming or animating) and Post-Production (the editing and finishing stage). Once you have read all four posts you will have a much better understanding of how much it will cost you to make an online video.
1. How do I find out what a video company charges?
The first thing to bear in mind before you commission a company to produce your video is how much the company charges and how they charge, i.e. by the hour, day or project. You can ask a company to provide you with a copy of their rate card to get an idea of their pricing structure and to allow you to compare prices with other companies. Some customers like to get quotes from three companies before making a decision on whom to go with.
We aim to keep our rates competitive and we review them each year. Some services go up in price and some go down, for example we invested in our own in-house camera, light and sound kit last year, which means we don’t need to hire it in anymore and so we pass those savings onto you.
2. Quality vs. Cost?
Quality includes the level of customer service you can expect to receive from your video production company and the quality or production value of the final content produced.
We often hear stories from customers who have used cheaper production companies and had a bad experience. The common problems are that the company were rude or arrogant once commissioned, or only offered them one take for each part of their video (we know it can take many takes to get it right), or they didn’t do something else that they promised.
There’s a big difference between low budget and cheap. We can spot poorly produced cheap looking content a mile away. With shots out of focus or filmed on wobbly tripods, strange or no colour grading and low quality and poorly mixed audio so you can’t hear the voice over, inappropriate music and hurried editing. These are all signs of a cheap video. At best going cheap is a false economy and waste of your hard earned money, and at worst it will hurt your brand and ultimately damage your business.
You need to look at video production as an investment for your business. In the same way that you think about developing your product or service, training your staff, building your website and designing your business cards. We know that a well made video will pay you dividends in the long run.
Unfortunately video is often a last thought for some companies, when it should be an integral part of your marketing strategy from day one. So our advice is to plan for using video, allocate spend specifically for video in your budgeting, and be prepared to get what you pay for.
3. Are there any hidden costs?
We never surprise our clients with hidden costs. However it’s worth bearing in mind that most companies will charge for travel expenses. For us this is in the form of mileage, which we charge for driving to and from meetings, recces and shoots.
We are also a VAT registered company which means we charge 20% VAT on our invoices which we have to pay to the government. Most of our work is B2B so our clients are also VAT registered, which means they can claim the VAT back. This is worth bearing in mind if you are not currently VAT registered.
4. Should I include contingency in my budget?
Like anything filmmaking can come with its curve balls and having a little money in reserve is never a bad idea. It’s always worth adding a contingency of 5% or 10% to your budget.
5. Do I need to create a brief?
Once you have chosen a company to work with you will need to supply them with a clear project brief and ideally an idea of your budget. This may take you some time to put together and so will need to be accounted for in your costings. This is a really important step because a clear brief helps a video production company to understand your aims and objectives and to develop an appropriate creative solution for you.
You might approach us with a fully formed video brief but more often than not you will need some consultation from us to help get it right. At Elstree Film Design we pride ourselves on helping customers find the right solution from the outset. It’s how we helped Hertsmere Borough Council plan and execute a successful video about Appreciative Enquiry, read the case study here.
6. Do you have examples of the cost of previous videos?
We’ve been asked how much other videos we’ve produced actually cost and so here are some examples. Typically video costs start around the £2000.00 mark (ex VAT) for talking head videos with cutaways, however we do offer discounts if you are looking to produce a series of videos at the same time. More complex content that includes things like 3D animation, set construction, actors and visual effects does cost more.
Country Boarding for Cats and Dogs: £2,200.00
BeSophro: £6,750.00 (for a 5 video deal costing £1,350.00 per video)
Essex Wildlife Trust: £12,000.00
Thales: £30,000.00 (This was part of a 3 video deal totalling £90,000.00)
Now read Part 2: Pre-Production Costs