to buyer’s guide home page


Video production costs, budgets

g_ad_1The budget
planning ahead - the nuts and bolts!
Try to specify an all-in, no-extras package: delivery of video to an agreed specification by an agreed date.  The agreed specification may include a programme script or at least outline, a schedule for filming and editing, and a statement of desired technical approach. Your supplier will probably want to be very clear about what is and is not included: requests for additional filming or other resources beyond what is agreed will result in discussions on additional costs.

Where the money goes
From the producer's perspective, a budget translates into resources allowable for a production: so many days' filming, so long for an edit, so much for graphics, actors, music.

talk can be cheap. Endless interview material can be recorded in a day, though unless your target audience is fully committed to your subject and engaged with you in your purposes, they are likely to find that the resulting video makes heavy going.

 at the coal faceMost often, your video will work better if it includes more varied visuals. Being realistic, you can aim to film somewhere between 2 and  5 minutes of your finished programme per shooting day, depending on the type of material

Cost headings
The main cost elements in video production are time and equipment, transport and accommodation, and materials.

men at work - briefing the castPeople's time is often the biggest cost, and this can be tricky to plan for, as the preparation, shooting and editing processes can vary a great deal from production to production.

Equipment costs are relatively defined, and are accounted for by camera, lights, sound, graphics and edit equipment as needed, hired by the hour or day.

designerMaterials costs are sometimes minimal: video tape stock is not expensive, and cards and hard discs of course readily re-usable. If hired or specially built settings or lots of props, costumes or special effects are needed, this item will escalate rapidly.

When the direct costs of the production have been calculated, it is normal to add in an allowance for unforeseen contingencies, and then to add on a markup to cover production company overheads and profit margins.

Project planning and estimating
If you have a project in mind, do consider contacting Grapevine for ideas, approaches and cost estimates.  Short, simple, one-location videos can start from a few hundred pounds, depending on just what’s needed.

Getting what you pay for
costs in eurosOften, the first question a producer is asked is how much a video will cost. To give a realistic answer, producers will usually be keen to get a sense of audience and objectives, desired editorial and technical quality, and the time and resources likely to be needed for the project.

DVD and video producer Grapevine CommunicationsWith many active suppliers available, offering everything from fully professional production  through to wedding video and home movies, budget levels for corporate video production vary hugely - as do the editorial and technical standards of the work produced.

A fast and simple record of  events is always going to be cheaper than a project involving multiple locations, coverage over an extended time period, staged sequences, presenters, actors, extensive graphics, or special effects. And full broadcast quality costs more than  highly compressed formats, though these can provide excellent web or DVD video quality.

professional presenters can pay offTypically, budgets for professional work range from the a few hundres of pounds through to a few tens of thousands. Most corporate productions now fall within the 1,000 to 30,000 range, though very simple projects can come in more cheaply, and for particularly prestigious or important campaigns large organisations sometimes spend well in excess of 100,000 on a video.

If the job's worth doing
computer graphic of fundamental shapes
Of course, nobody wants to waste resources. The danger in choosing the cheapest option, though, is that if you pay very little, you are quite likely to get very little. So you have to look for a balance, making sure that you get good value for money while still allocating enough resources for your producer to create an effective video.

cartoon imageFor a voluntary-sector audience, a rough and ready, no money wasted look can be just what's needed. When it's important to give a more polished impression of your organisation, or when faced by an audience perhaps initially resistant to your message, higher editorial and technical standards may be needed

Priced by the minute?
Cfilm crew at work with actor and propsost-per-minute yardsticks are sometimes helpful, though they can be misleading: programme length is only one cost factor. The type and complexity of the programme, the number of different places where filming must take place (and where they are), the people, equipment and materials needed both in front of and behind the camera, the quality required, and producer overhead costs all play a part in determining the cost.

aerial filming can add value ! On simple programmes filmed at one or few locations and mostly featuring either people talking or coverage of events or activities not organised by the producer, the cost-per-minute can be very low. When filming is needed on several sites, or significant props, settings, costumes, effects or graphics are needed, or staged drama or drama-doc is to be filmed, or national television presenters or celebrities are involved, then per-minute rates can head rapidly up.

link to translation and foreign versions serviceForeign language versions can extend the usefulness of programmes for home distribution, and greatly enhance the value of programmes for overseas use. Good foreign language services can organise translation and recording of voice to picture with linguists and broadcasters well used to the specific demands of video. This can significantly enhance programme usefulness for

For further or alternative views on production costs, you could try these pages from corporate video and multimedia producers:
Mighty Media  
Rossiter and Co

or trade associations and publicly funded bodies

Institute of Videography

Next page >>