The question “How Much Does a Corporate Video cost” makes us smile wryly almost every day. Unfortunately it’s like calling a car showroom and asking how much a car costs. It depends on what kind of car you want and how much you want to spend.
We really do want to answer this seemingly simple question but we seldom get much information on which to base an answer. It then becomes a question and answer session with the prospective client to extract the information we need. We can only do this by talking directly to the decision maker, not their secretary.
It is understandable that a client may not be an expert in video production but some are (having done it many times before) and we always seek to advise those new to the process.
Clients always want the very best product for the very least price, and don’t we all want that!
How much easier it would be if quality, content and creativity played no part in the business of video production and it was simply down to unitized cost. It’s not.
Often the reason there’s no information is that it’s a purely speculative question upon which to allocate a company’s marketing budget, often part of a scattergun approach to getting a quotation going out to the whole market.
Sometimes the client doesn’t want to divulge too much information as they see this as a way of protecting themselves or because they feel it reduces their negotiating power with the production company.
So, perhaps the best way forward is to describe the Corporate Video process in bite sized chunks, for those not familiar with why these things cost what they do…
Cheap films make good companies look cheap to the public. Driving a Skoda instead of a Mercedes sends the same message. Sorry. As in all of life there are advantages and disadvantages in who you associate with, so reputation is a factor.
Freelance operators will always be cheaper than production companies because they carry lower overheads but is the lowest price really what your company is all about? The one-man-band may be good doing one thing but generally does not have a high skill set across all disciplines. There is only one of them rather than a team and they may go to the highest bidder (or on holiday!) just when you need them.
Production companies provide greater creativity, capability and reliability and are in it for the long term. Initial costs for the client are higher but it’s worth it in the long run, that’s if you are in it for the long run.
Going through an advertising or communications agency simply costs more. The agent quite rightly wants his mark-up for work done. The wrong agency can also distort the message from the decision maker to the creative (the production company). This can be disastrous and costly.
Not all humans are the same. Creatives with real talent and experience, whether directing, using a camera, lighting, sound or in the edit suite cost more than the hungry young man or woman making it up as they go along, or fresh from University. They also produce better quality work so we think it’s worth the higher cost. That’s why we pay for a talented team.
Filming and its associated costs add up quickly. Financing cameras, paying for filming permissions and paying salaries mount up. This is the reason that getting as much information regarding locations and what should be filmed is so important. A four day shoot generally costs four times a one day shoot so its simple arithmetic. If we can reduce the shooting time by pre-planning it cuts shooting costs.
Aerial shooting can be either a simple drone at a reasonable price or gyro stabilized cameras in helicopters with dedicated operators. The latter is extremely expensive. Pretty models, famous actors, boats, or even car chases are all possible if you have the money!
Animation is usually required for the story. Simple animation is included in the edit costs but once you start to talk of 2D or 3D animation costs spiral by the second. High-level 3D animation is the preserve of large companies with large budgets.
Detailed scripts and voiceovers can double the cost of a simple Corporate Video.
The edit process impacts the price but not obviously. Shooting more footage than is required incurs extra time in the edit suite to sort through it. This wastes money.
The greatest impact comes where decision makers only get involved once the film is in the final stages and multiple re-edits become necessary. Pre-planning with decision makers tends to avoid this.
Within reason the duration of the film has much less effect on cost than you would imagine.
So that’s it really. Decide exactly what you want and how much you want to spend then it’s very easy for the professionals to deliver exactly what you need, just like at the car showroom.