Video Production Pricing: How to keep yours to a minimum
Every day we are contacted by companies and individuals hoping to create their first video, and their first question is typically the same: “How much does a video cost?” While each video’s price looks different according to the creative development, shoot, and edit, there are a few general rules to keep those costs to a minimum (and more importantly give you a maximum on your returns). Here are three we at Red Productions have identified and always try to follow:
1) Plan out your video production needs as far as possible.
As a consumer, we always look for maximum returns on our investments, and shopping for a video is no different. The option to purchase videos according to immediate need feels like a safe bet, and we convince ourselves that we are avoiding unnecessary video expenditures by purchasing the bare minimum. While in the short term, less may be spent, you are effectively wasting usable resources.
Video production is an economy of scale, and the more videos accomplished under one contract, the better chance resources can be used across multiple videos. A production crew for example could shoot enough B-Roll in one day for several videos rather than hiring the same crew multiple times, or a writer would be more willing to take a lower rate per script to put together 6 videos than to put together six individual script separately.
By accurately vetting the needs of your company’s video branding past your immediate needs, a production company has the opportunity to utilize all of their resources to the fullest.
2) Have a clear guideline for success.
At Red, we constantly try to mitigate surprises. The worst final product is one that doesn’t tell the story we had planned on telling. Frequently, videos we work on are essentially replacements for videos already in circulation that don’t accurately portray the message originally intended.
The best way we have found to mitigate this concern is through the use of a Strategy or Creative Brief. By physically dictating the needs of a project, goals, target audience, and messages to convey, we are able to create a document that streamlines our decision process. Why are we using VO? Why are we getting this particular shot? Why are we looking for an actor in a specific age range? All these questions should be answered by the Creative Brief, allowing both the production company or ad agency as well as the client to remain on the same page. This step often is skipped, and consequently videos’ goals change throughout the creative process. When the CEO of a company sees the final video and can’t understand where the natural evolution from inception to completion occurred, reshoots and additional time consuming/expensive edits can become necessary.
Increasing work during the preproduction process and nailing down guidelines for success can help to avoid pricey fixes to avoidable mistakes.
3) Be flexible on the how.
Pricing a video is like pricing a house. Just because one house is $100K more expensive does not necessarily mean that house will fit your needs $100k more. A house that a family of four lives in is not the same type of house a single 25 year old would need or know what to do with.
In the same way, different videos simply cost different amounts. A interview focused shoot would need an audio engineer while a voice over driven script would not have an audio engineer on set per se. At Red, our estimates are completely algebraic, and there are ways to reach lots of different budgets, but each budget represents a specific video. While we certainly wouldn’t recommend being flexible on the guidelines for success, it is essential to be flexible on how we reach that success. We love telling stories at Red, and any good production company will help you navigate the multiple ways your story can be told.
Don’t compromise on what success looks like, but be ready to develop the road to that success with your creative partner.