How Video Production is Budgeted

By November 16, 2012

How is video production budgeted? While costs can be roughly estimated as a cost ‘per finished minute’, there are many factors to consider.

Our services are actually billed at hourly or daily rates. The challenge, and something that can only be learned through experience, is in properly estimating the amount of work which will be required.

A client will ideally first determine their maximum budget for the project, so that we may work backwards from there to propose the most effective approach.

If your budget is fairly restricted, we may need to limit the number of days of filming or perhaps use only a voice-over and motion graphics to tell our story. A healthier budget may allow for additional ‘production value’, hiring of professional actors, etc.

Alternatively, if we are provided with an existing script or at least a very detailed scope of the services required, we should be able to estimate costs with reasonable accuracy.

If you are still in the budgeting phase of a project, we can provide an initial consultation to discuss the rough costs for various types of projects to help you allocate a budget.

Budgeting for Creative Development

The first thing to consider is how much creative development work is required. This may include working with you to develop the concept itself, writing a script if voice-over narration is to be used, and creating storyboards if the visuals are fairly complex or for any 3D animation work that may be needed.

One way to cut costs is for you to write your own script if you have an in-house marketing team capable of doing so. You could also write a draft script for us to revise, saving on at least most of these costs.

All planning and project management work provided before and throughout the project will be billed at an hourly rate, typically budgeted at around 10-15% of the total project costs.

Budgeting for Filming

If filming is needed, we’ll need to consider how many days, the number of locations, and what the crew and equipment requirements might be.

These services are billed by the day, with discounts given on labour for ‘half-days’ where filming may only take a couple of hours. With that in mind, our goal is always to work with you to limit the number of days of filming that may be needed.

Since we charge ‘portal-to-portal’ and including travel time, it’s also best to limit the number of locations and to keep them close if possible. Filming in our green-screen production studio is often the best option.

It’s difficult to estimate the amount of filming that may be required without discussing the creative approach in detail, as even a 30 sec. commercial may need several days of filming at multiple locations, whereas a 1-hour training video may be filmed in a single afternoon. We’ll also need to consider whether professional actors will be hired.

Some projects don’t require filming at all when existing footage, stock footage or photos, or even just graphics are being used to tell a story.

Budgeting for Editing

While the length of the video is less of a factor during filming, it can be useful as a gauge when estimating costs for editing and other post-production services.

We’ll consider the desired style and pacing of the video since faster cuts and complex 3D animation take longer and are therefore more expensive. We will also discuss with you the revision process that may be required if a large team or committee will be involved on the project.

Editing, motion graphics, and 3D animation services are all billed at an hourly rate and therefore scale very easily. Costs for a professional voice-over are billed on a fixed fee.

Comparing Quotes

We don’t claim to be the cheapest but our rates are very competitive compared to other video production companies of a similar size.

You may also notice a difference in rates if compared to an independent producer who may be working out of their home and therefore have much lower overhead. But consider the reliability and support available when working with a reputable team, especially if timeline is important or if you’re hoping to establish a long-term relationship with a supplier.

For example, what happens if that person gets sick during the project or is away on vacation the next time you need them? Even worse, what if they go out of business and you can no longer access your project for revisions? Learn more about choosing a video production company.

Since rates tend to be fairly consistent within the industry, when comparing proposals from several production companies you may find a difference in price based solely on the scope of the project having been interpreted differently by other producers.

That type of miscommunication can unfortunately lead to clients being unhappy with the final product or with a final bill that is larger than the original estimate, so be sure to work with a firm with a solid track record.

Contact us to request a consultation to get started on budgeting your next project.