How much does a video cost?

A video production costs much less than you think it does, when you consider return on investment.

As you would imagine, when we receive enquiries for our video production services the first question that we are usually asked is “how much does a video cost”. Inevitably we say “well that depends” and I assume we sound a bit flaky. Hopefully this blog will help explain more about video production costs and why we can’t give a 100% accurate price without first  understanding more about the project.

What kind of video are we producing?

This question relates to the content but also the style. Many video production companies are only able to deliver what we call ‘live action’ productions, which is what can actually physically be filmed. Now this is definitely the style that you would use if you were showing a wedding venue or a large engineering factory, because they are things that the viewer wants to see. But on the other hand you might have some innovative software, a unique process or a series of messages which are statistic heavy, and live action just isn’t the best way to communicate this.

If we’re doing a live action video, the length doesn’t play a massive factor, if it is 30 seconds more than expected, it shouldn’t really push the cost up by much, if at all. However, if it is an animated video then length really does play a factor. On average we can animate around 20 seconds of footage a day, so if the video runs over by 30 seconds……well that does have quite significant ramifications on the budget.

So before we can give a ballpark figure on how much your video production costs, we need to know:

  • What is the message you are trying to communicate?
  • What production style will we use to deliver the message?
  • What level of detail do you require, so we can make an assumption on length?

So, what does a live action video cost?

The way we price anything up is based on time, and we always make that really transparent. We insist on a comprehensive initial meeting in order to understand the questions above. The answers give us a very good idea of what the production will look like, the shots we’ll get, the equipment we need and the length of the final edit.

Depending on the brief, we can do a full or half day shoot, but we never try and squeeze a full day into a half day, as you just end up with rushed and sub standard footage. We also decide on whether to send out a one, or two person crew. If there are any interviews to film then we always have two people, one to concentrate on the actual filming and the other to focus on helping the interview deliver the best content they can. A two person crew delivers better footage overall.

After the location filming, we back up footage on a separate hard drive just in case anything happens. We then sort through the footage to find the shots we need and begin laying out a ‘rough cut’, which allows us to see if the edit works, or if we need to swap some shots out, or re-arrange the flow. We normally do the rough cut with the audio bedding (or soundtrack), as it helps to link timing of footage to the audio track for a better outcome.

When we’ve nailed down the rough cut, we then do colour correction. Colour correction means that shot by shot, we amend the colours to their true form, so that they are all the same, creating a professional output. Often filming in several different areas can produce different visuals, so we need to make these uniform to ensure the production looks amazing. Sometimes we also do ‘colour grading’ this is different from colour correction as ‘grading’ involves manually changing colours from their natural state to a different one using software.

At this point we add any on screen graphics or effects, such as motion tracking, typography or rotoscoping. For more information on motion tracking, read our previous blog – and for more information on rotoscoping, check out this post. Ultimately all of these elements help to tell the story that you’re trying to tell. As the video progresses, there may be information you wish to share which isn’t obvious on screen. We use our post production expertise to help make these obvious to the viewer in a really cool way. We want your video to really stand out from the norm with a premium feel, it has been delivered by a professional video production agency after all!

Once this is complete, we export the video and upload it to our feedback software so you can view and make comments.

Amy editing on her Mac in the office

So how much does it cost? Well here is a crude example with costs:

  • One day shoot, two person crew including equipment hire – £1000
  • Backup, audio and rough cut – 1.5 days
  • Post production editing including colour correction, graphics and effects – 2 days

Total time – 4.5 days
Total cost – £2750.00

Depending on a number of factors this price could go up or could go down, but we’ll always try and work to your budget while delivering what your business needs.

How much does an animated video cost?

Animated video is different to live action as we are not capturing something that exists, we are creating something from nothing. An animated video needs much more attention early on in the process to ensure we get the foundations right before we plough on too far and have to make costly amends. Timing becomes a much bigger factor in this kind of video production. Adding twenty seconds of footage to a live action video may take another two hours to adjust, adding twenty seconds to an animated feature will likely take another full day to edit, and a few more hours to create the graphics which get animated. This is why we follow a really stringent process, which we have turned into an animated video to help explain it, which you can see below:


How animated videos are created from Square Daisy on Vimeo.

Here are some numbers on animated video to give you a feel for how that works based on a ninety second video production:

  • Production meeting, script and storyboard – 1.5 days
  • Voiceover recording and mastering – 0.25 days
  • Graphics development and layering – 1 day
  • Editing and audio – 3 days

Total time – 5.75 days
Total cost – £2875.00

As with all of our videos, we offer a bespoke quotation, so the cost may come down or go up depending on the detail of the graphics or the complexity and length of the edit. For instance the process video you just watched is less complex so would take around 4 days. A full character edit may take a little longer as animating all those facial expressions and arm movements can be a time consuming process. Again we can work to your budget and produce the best possible video that is relevant for your business.

Are there any other production styles that might be better?

In principle yes. Ultimately we’re either filming something that exists or creating something graphically, but within these two headline categories there are lots of other options. All of which we can deliver in-house so we have total control over everything (only voiceovers are outsourced). We can do green screen videos with graphics behind them, aerial videography, live streaming, product videos. Depending on your business message we can recommend the best way of getting them across to your target audience. That’s where we have a real edge on some other production agencies and freelancers, as often they are only able to deliver live action content, so if that isn’t the most appropriate way of getting the point across, you’re going to end up with a video that isn’t as effective as it could be. We recommend the best method available, and if it is something we can’t do – like 3D modelling, we’ll help you find the people that can.

If you have a project in mind and want to explore it a little further, why not give us a call and we’ll be more than happy to run through some ideas and costs with you. Don’t let the idea of video production costs stop you from investing in your business.


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