No matter where the video ends up running, the general process and steps for creating it are the same – but can be scaled up or down depending on your video production budget. Some of the factors that can affect the cost include the complexity of the concept and filming, the use of special effects, the talent and crew needed, post-production costs and the location of the shoot. This is why production costs can range anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000,0000+.
In this article, we’ll explore the various factors that affect your video production budget, and will explain why deciding on and sharing your budget with your agency partner ahead of time will help you get the most out of your production dollars.
Share your video production budget before concepting.
It’s important for the creative team working on your project to know the budget they will be working with upfront, so they can write a script with realistic expectations. Having a clear budget before they begin concepting allows them to plan and allocate resources more efficiently. It also helps them to prioritize what elements are most important to include in the spot and what they can afford to cut if necessary.
For example: If the script calls for a basement flooding or a kitchen on fire and you don’t have the budget to actually flood a basement or light a kitchen on fire – this can be accomplished in a few different ways. Using CGI (computer-generated imagery) or animation could be a great option. With an abundance of talented animation production houses and CGI production houses, you’ll be able to find the right style to fit exactly what you want. Options like these don’t necessarily mean you’ll be able to get away with a shoestring budget, but could be a brilliant solution if you want to include something very difficult or dangerous and don’t have a Hollywood budget.
There are many other areas where you can scale to fit your budget. Below is a breakdown of roles involved in the production process, reasons why the cost can fluctuate and examples of how and why you could scale your budget.
Cast the right talent.
Talent. These are the people that are going to bring your script to life. If you have actors in your script, viewers can feel right away if they’re stiff and struggling to get a line out. For example: If you pay your neighbour – who’s never acted before – $100 to star in your video vs. paying Tom Cruise $100 million dollars (what he got paid for Top Gun), there is likely going to be a big difference in the quality of acting on screen. The theory is that the more money you pay for an actor, the more experience (or star power) they have and the better the performance.
Of course, there will always be those newbies that absolutely nail their performance, and a good director can work with the talent to make sure they’re getting the best performance out of them. But overall, investing in the right talent will allow them to connect with your audience and will be reflected in your final piece.
Should you shell out for a celebrity?
What if you did hire Tom Cruise or another celebrity to star in your video? According to Forbes contributor Steve Olenski, celebrity endorsement helps increase sales in the short term and brand awareness in the long term. But there can also be a downside to having a celebrity endorse your brand.
- Increased visibility: Celebrities often have a large following, which can help to increase the visibility of your commercial. This can lead to greater brand recognition and a wider audience reach.
- Boosted credibility: If the celebrity is a good fit for your brand and aligns with your target audience, their endorsement can increase the credibility of your product or service.
- Positive associations: If the celebrity has a positive image, their involvement in your commercial can create positive associations with your brand. This can help to build brand loyalty and increase consumer trust.
- Lack of fit: If the celebrity is not a good fit for your brand, their involvement can detract from the credibility of your product or service.
- High cost: Hiring a celebrity for a commercial can be very expensive. If the budget is limited, this cost may not be justified.
- Limited control: Once the celebrity is hired, you may have limited control over their image and reputation. If they become involved in a scandal, this could have a negative impact on your brand.
- Legal regulations: Another thing to keep in mind is if you hire a famous athlete, you may not have the rights for them to wear their team jersey in your commercial. The rights for them in full sports gear would have to be negotiated – which can be expensive – and if they’re not wearing their uniform, it may be difficult for people to recognize them.
Get the right director.
Getting the right director for your spot is crucial. Directors will have a reel or portfolio of previous work that they’ve created. It’s important to watch them with a critical eye and remember that the director probably didn’t come up with the script or creative direction. It’s the director’s job to bring a script to life. If your script has some comical moments, find someone that gets humour. If your script is evoking emotion, look for a director that is good at pulling on heartstrings. There are many nuances to telling a good story and your director should connect with your script.
When watching the director’s portfolio, also ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you like the aesthetic of the spot?
- How is the talent delivering their performance?
- Does the story make sense?
While there are many roles that contribute to the production, it’s the director’s job to put all the pieces together to tell the story. When you allocate more budget to a quality director it can be difficult to measure or quantify the difference it will make on screen, but there are countless intangible factors that the director controls that will drastically affect the final product.
Location location location.
Finding the right background for your script to come to life can be a snap, or a huge challenge depending on your script. If you’re shooting in, say, your office, shop or venue – EASY! You’ve already found your location. However, there are still many factors to keep in mind.
For example, consider the lighting. Are there windows? This can either be great, or not so great, depending on the look you’re going for and when you’re planning on shooting. If you’re recording sound, can you turn off office music or stop people from talking in the background? If you are in a shop, will customers be walking around? If yes, make sure you have consent forms handy for them to sign if they’re going to appear on camera.
If you offer your workplace for a video shoot, it’s important to know that it will be somewhat intrusive to regular business. There is a lot that goes on behind the camera, and depending on how involved your spot is, the crew can take up quite a bit of space. Shooting after hours could be a great solution to avoid disruptions and streamline the process.
If your script calls for a specific location, there are people who scout locations for a living. They are amazing resources, and with the help of movie magic and a great art department, can transform a theater ticket window into a bank teller. If you need a specific backdrop for your story, location scouts will find what you need.
How do you figure out your video production budget?
When figuring out how much to spend on a video production, it is important to consider several factors:
- Your marketing budget: Determine how much money you have available to spend on advertising for the year, and allocate a portion of that budget toward creating the video.
- Your goals: Define what you want to achieve. For example, are you looking to increase brand awareness, introduce a new product to market, or drive sales?
- Your audience: Who are you trying to reach with this video? Is it for internal purposes only or are you trying to reach a mass market?
- Your media channels: Based on all of the above, where will you run the video? Will this be used for YouTube Pre-Roll only, or are you purchasing ad space on network TV?
- Your competition: Research your competitors and see how much they are spending on their commercials. This will give you an idea of what is typical for your industry and help you to make a more informed decision.
It is important to consider all these factors together, as well as your own resources, to come up with a video production budget that is realistic and will help you to achieve your goals. We want people to watch your video and have a positive impression of your brand, whether you made them laugh, cry or think. We want them to put you on their consideration list when making a purchase decision.
Creating a video or commercial can be daunting, we’re here to help. Flipp us an email to get the conversation started.