When looking to produce a high-quality video, some people and companies experience sticker shock at how much one will take to produce. This is largely due to the ubiquity of video: because we see it everywhere, there's a misconception that it must be cheap to produce. But like most things in life, you'll get out of it what you put into it.
Investing in a fully-developed creative brief, the right location for your video, and high-quality equipment and an experienced crew are some of the places you'll want to make sure you don't skimp on. These different areas, along with a few miscellaneous items, all combine to create a minimum video project cost. And yes, while you could cut corners for your video, it will usually show in one way or another.
1. Creative Development
The creative development phase is where you'll set a solid foundation for your video project by determining what all is needed to create your final vision. This is where your initial idea for your video will be fully thought through and developed in a creative production brief. A storyboard is usually created to turn ideas into a tangible result. But this is more than simply saying you want one of your actors to say a few lines and pose with your product. This phase involves a myriad of logistics and planning to ensure the day of production goes smoothly.
During this phase, you and your video production company will develop your initial ideas and goals into a feasible plan of action. You'll go over your video project budget, possible locations, scriptwriting needs, actor and talent requirements, and any other elements needed to create the final video. We recommend working with a video production company from this first stage—they'll ensure the details of your video have been completely thought through. You don't want unexpected costs popping up along the way due to a lack of planning. While investing in a fully developed creative brief might have a larger upfront cost rolled into your overall video project cost, such an investment will ensure the project stays on time and on budget, paying for itself later in the video production process.
2. Location, Location, Location
With a fully developed creative brief in hand, you should have a good idea of what kind of location will work best to convey your video's message to your target audience. Whether that's an outdoor location, a residential home, or a commercial location, they'll all have a different cost associated with them - with commercial locations being some of the highest. Choosing between these options and selecting the right location is crucial when it comes to video production, and usually requires the expertise of a professional location scout. Many people think location scouting is as easy as hopping on Google, finding a place that looks good, and hopping in the car to go shoot. In reality, location scouting is a complex process that requires a fair amount of logistics and legal work.
Depending on what location you choose, you could have a fair amount of legal paperwork and permitting to go through to ensure you have the proper credentials to shoot there. Some locations are more "film-friendly" than others, which can make this process go quickly, so depending on the timeline you have for your video, some locations' processes could be prohibitively long. You'll also want to ensure your crew, models and actors have enough time to commute between multiple locations and days if your creative calls for those particular logistics. Both the location itself and the expertise of a professional location scout will add to your overall video project cost.
3. Crews and Equipment
It takes a village to produce a high-quality video, and that village will contribute to your overall video project cost. Your creative will dictate some of the crews and equipment required, but there is usually a minimum crew you'll want to have on set during the shoot. Some non-negotiables we recommend having on set are the director, producer, director of photography, sound personnel, gaffer, key grip and a production assistant. These are just a few, who all have their daily rates that add to your video project cost. Depending on the scope of your video, you might need more crew to ensure the shoot and post-production go smoothly.
4. Miscellaneous Video Project Costs
While the sections above are some of the largest categories that will contribute to your video's project cost, there are some miscellaneous costs that will be built in as well. Your video production agency should have adequate insurance coverage—and we say should have because not all of them choose to include this. Other items like overages and non-billables will also be built-in beforehand. There is usually a line item built-in for "miscellaneous" which is usually used as a cushion if a shoot day goes over the allotted amount of time.
While the initial price of a high-production video might seem high, it's important to have a clear understanding with your production company of what all is built into it—there's usually a ton of value you get for the price tag beyond industry experience alone. Approaching your high-quality video with a focus on quality instead of quantity will help set you up for success and have the right mindset when it comes to your video project cost. Having help with your creative development, location scouting, crew and equipment selection, and other miscellaneous items are just a few of the many ways investing in your video will help create an amazing final product.