Video reigns supreme in the digital age. It’s true.  Video content is all around you, whether you’re scrolling through social media, tuning into a live stream, or catching up on your favorite blogs. 

So what does this mean for you? 

It means that if you aren’t leveraging video, you are falling behind—way behind. Utilizing video will boost engagement, increase your ROI, and build a true connection with your audience. 

Before you start your next project, it’s important that you understand all the factors that go into making a great video. Let’s break it down!

Factors Impacting Video Production Costs

1. Length and Complexity

When deciding on the length of your video, consider social media platforms and other areas of distribution, brand goals, and, of course,  your target audience. These will help define your video’s vision and determine how much and how complex your animations might be, how detailed your script should be, and how much editing you will need. While these factors will raise costs and require more time, if the decisions are justifiable, the result will be well worth it. Just remember: longer length + more complexity = higher price. 

2. Equipment

Always consider the equipment needed to create a quality video. Professional cameras, lighting gear, and audio equipment are essential when shooting a video that interests your audience, compels them to watch it in its entirety, and encourages them to take action. Higher-quality equipment comes with a price tag, but it will translate into a better experience for your audience and more accurately represent your brand.

3. Location and Production Design

After on-camera talent, production design and location are the two biggest cost influencers for most productions.  After all, these two items are all you see when watching any video.  Do you want your video to be shot in a studio? Downtown in a metropolitan city or in a cool office space? Perhaps you want to capture footage on the lawn of a university? Whatever you decide, the environment you capture plays a significant role in cost. Think about how you will arrange the set, obtain the necessary props, and secure location permits.  The bottom line is that these things cost, but your video will lack authenticity without them.

4. Talent and Crew

Skilled professionals, including actors, directors, cinematographers, and editors, can make a big difference in the final product’s quality, so consider hiring a professional team. A professional video production company can alleviate pressure and anxiety, leaving less work for you and a better outcome for your video. Investing in proficient talent and crew raises production costs, but their expertise will prove to be incredibly valuable. 

5. Post-Production Requirements

Post-production is truly where the magic happens. Editing, visual effects, color grading, and sound mixing are all essential aspects of the video creation process that can make your next project stand out. Unless you have an editing team in-house, it’s important to outsource to a high-quality production or post-production company. The complexity and extent of these processes vary depending on the project’s requirements, but with so many options, you can easily find a company that will be the best fit for you.  

Phew! That wasn’t too bad, right? 

Now that you understand the factors that go into video production rates let’s explore the variation in costs across video styles.

Variation in Costs Across Video Styles

1. Explainer Video

Want to break down a complex concept into a simple message? Consider using an animated explainer video. Explainers are short, concise videos aimed at clarifying an idea or demonstrating a product or service. Typically, they use animations or live-action shots coupled with voiceovers. Relative to a video production with crew and, cameras, and gear, the cost is lower for this type of video. 

2. Company Video and Brand Anthem Videos (non-fiction)

As a bridge between brands and their audiences, company videos offer insights into your company’s values, culture, and positive offerings. They may involve interviews and testimonials, voiceovers, demonstrations, small sections of animation, and additional footage of the company culture.  Due to the use of a crew and a corporate location, it’s important to keep a higher budget in mind for these projects. The good news is that you will have more footage than you know what to do with.  In addition to your original vision, you will have media for social clips and internal comms and will likely be able to cut additional videos down the road. 

3. Promotional Videos (non-fiction)

From flashy ads on YouTube to sponsored posts on Instagram, promotional videos have dominated the digital world. Simpler videos involve straightforward filming and editing techniques, but high-quality promotional content requires extra resources in the areas of creative direction and writing, on-camera talent, and editorial.  Investing in these videos may appear to be more expensive, but the potential return on investment can be substantially more than other necessary videos – improving your engagement while strengthening your online presence.

4. Documentary Videos

Documentaries vary widely in style, scale, and duration.  As such, pre-production costs can be significant due to extensive research, travel, and pre-interviews. Shorter documentaries tend not to cost as much because the subject matter is less complex, requiring less pre-production.  To be effective, documentaries should have a high level of quality storytelling and visual elements that keep the viewer watching and drive the message home. 

5. Scripted Videos

Scripted content usually costs the most because when you have to create the reality of the video from the ground up, every part of the process requires attention in the most precise way.  Everything takes longer and requires a more critical eye, from casting to set decoration, script writing to editing.  However, like any video you will endeavor to create, if it’s appropriate for your audience and promotes your product or service accurately, investing in this type of unique, one-of-a-kind video(s) has a higher potential return on investment.

Now that we’ve discussed various video styles, you might find yourself still wondering what it actually costs to make a video. To put it plainly, there’s no definitive pricing when it comes to the world of video production.  The media industry has a tiered pay structure, from Super Bowl advertisements to elementary school headshots.  Two people can do the same job with a huge fee disparity based on where the final product will live.  Additionally, prices vary from region to region, and many creative people undervalue their skills and charge too little, while some think video creation is magic and overcharge.  

The best course of action is to treat your video production project as you would any big project (think house painting, car repair, landscaping project). Get a few quotes and compare the cost against the approach.  Video creation is one of the few creative services that can be achieved successfully using different approaches.  Find the video creator that aligns with your point of view, and the rest will take care of itself.

Most importantly, the data supports the facts: investing in quality production yields valuable returns in engagement, brand visibility, and audience impact. 

We hope that our breakdown of the intricacies of video production empowers you to make well-informed decisions when thinking about investing in your own video projects. 

We’d love to help you develop the perfect video project for your brand. To learn more about Bottle Rocket Media’s virtual production services, video production services, and other services like motion graphics services, connect with us to start your video project.