How much does video cost? | FROM THE FIELD E09
Ahhh, the million dollar question.
We get asked about costs a lot. And while we’re tempted to respond with “how long is a piece of string”, this is actually a great opportunity to delve deeper into the complexities of costing out content.
The cost of content is a sliding scale
Generally the costs for audio-visual content fall into two main camps. There’s the cost of what happens behind the camera, and the cost of what happens in front of the camera.
As with most things in life, you get what you pay for.
But it’s important to know why you’re making content in the first place – what’s your objective? What are you hoping to achieve? Who’s your audience? Maybe you don’t need to spend what you thought, maybe it will cost more…. Read on to find out.
The cost of what happens behind the camera
When people think about content they often think “lights, camera, action!” But production is just one element – you also need planning and strategy.
Great content is born from great planning – and great planning takes time (and talent).
Content projects typically involve:
- Consultation to align the content strategy with your goals and objectives, including understanding your brand and vision
- Creative development and ideation to maximise audience engagement and achieving your content objectives
- Potentially casting, location recces, research or workshops, depending on the nature of the project
- And all content requires planning and pre-production to arrange all the moving parts needed to deliver your vision – on time and on budget
Most of this work will be handled by producers. For small projects, this can all be done in a matter of hours, for larger projects it might take weeks.
Footage is nothing without finesse. The art of content creation is how to craft the footage that’s been captured. It takes skill and experience to look at reams of footage and create something amazing.
All content projects require:
- Post-production – which aligns the creative approach, editing and effects to bring an idea to life
- Review rounds, which give your team the opportunity to feed into creative development
- And delivery and aftercare, which may include marketing communications advice or full active marketing and reporting – this is needed more and more to maximise the impact of your content
Post-production work is largely handled by editors, sound editors and colourists but will also sometimes pull in specialist skill sets like motion graphic designers and VFX artists. This work can be billed by the hour or the day depending on the nature and the complexity of the project.
The cost of what happens in front of the camera
These are the costs that people tend to expect – the direct fees based on the number of staff and the number of filming days required.
Every shoot will have someone in charge of camera, sound, and lighting but numerous other crew could be required.
Smaller projects could involve:
- A single videographer in charge of camera, sound and lighting
- An assistant to help manage equipment and reduce set-up times
- A producer to manage clients, scheduling and dynamic production challenges
- Contributors (generally actors or staff for corporate marketing and communications)
Larger projects could involve:
- A director handling creative development and content direction
- A team of producers handling the complexities of pre-production, ensuring safety and smooth scheduling throughout
- A director of photography focused on lighting and visuals
- A sound recordist to monitor dialogue, atmosphere and sound effects
- A drone pilot for aerial scenes
- Paid talent, actors, contributors or voice over artists
- Set design, costume design, props, hair & makeup
- Studio hire
- Location hire and associated fees
- Specialist equipment hire
Most crew will work to a daily rate, but it’s worth keeping in mind the complexity of any shoot. Sometimes with one filming day we’re able to create loads of individual pieces of content for social media. Sometimes, we need a week of filming for a flagship commercial or a short film.
Different scenes also require different skills to set up – props, costuming, hair & makeup – even if you’re not paying for a professional, there’s still a time cost to prepare a complex scene.
The total cost?
Ultimately, creating original content always depends on three key elements – time, skill and resources.
Time, skill and resources are what you pay for. How much these end up costing depends on who you hire, the equipment they’re using, and the time/budget you have to make it happen.
One thing we always say to clients: instead of thinking about the cost of your content in pounds sterling, think about what the value is. What impact will this content have on your business? How will it build your brand? How will it engage your customers? And what can you budget towards those goals?
Trust between the creators and the commissioners of content is key – as is a clear understanding of how your budget is being allocated and the impacts of any changes to scope and vision.
Any good negotiation about the cost of content, starts with a conversation about the value of that content.
PRICING: Please explain
Creating original content takes time, skill and resources. We work alongside your team to bring your idea (or ours) into reality. Full service includes consultation, planning and pre-production, production crew and equipment for content creation, Post-production and review, as well as delivery and aftercare. How ‘long is your piece of string’?… in pound sterling?
You can find an indication of the investment required for different types of content below in this pricing estimate. We can help, or you can estimate everything you need if you know your ‘length of string’.
Professionally produced audio/video podcast experiences and/or video podcasts for multi-channel release. Please note: Indicative cost is per hour.
Created using interviews, pieces to camera or voiceover with additional footage. Perfect for: explainers, FAQs, onboarding, training, events and milestones.
Crafted using cinematic video footage to align with your marketing objectives. Perfect for: marketing products or services, brand videos, and testimonials.
Broadcast quality ready for traditional and/or digital broadcast. Perfect for consumer products and services.
Feature film quality audio-visual content crafted for narrative-driven stories suitable for high-end creative content. Perfect for short or long-form scripted and unscripted entertainment, factual and documentary programmes.
*Pricing accurate as of Nov 2022
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