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How much should you pay for a corporate video?

It’s a good question and one that we’re asked quite frequently. So how much should you pay for a say a 3-minute corporate video? £2k, £4k, £8k or £10k?

They’re all potentially legitimate costs. There’s a very wide margin of difference though. It’s no wonder businesses are left bewildered when it comes to identifying a production partner.

The duration of the corporate video used to dictate the cost. The old adage was £1k per minute, but this no longer applies. With developments in technology and a variety of approaches comes an even wider range of video production costs.

Whilst a longer production is still likely to cost more than its more modest cousin, there are 20 second commercials that cost fortunes.

So, why is there such a difference? More importantly, why pay more when you can pay less? Firstly, let’s look at the production time, which falls into three phases.

Pre-production

Whether you’re looking to commission a branded short business video, a community news piece, an animation explainer or interactive video, every film should tell an original story. And these stories should have relevant, interesting visuals and accurately reflect your company’s personality, and voice.

You’ve guessed it, this takes time. During pre-production, a brief is carefully considered. Concepts are developed, storyboards created, and scripts written. An experienced videographer will know how to pair the right amount of creativity with corporate messaging. If you afford them the time, they’ll come up with concepts to increase conversion rates, customer engagement and acquisition, as well as generating brand awareness.

There are practicalities to consider too. Every element is dissected and even challenged, if needed. Whilst spontaneity can be exactly what makes a difference, leaving aspects of your video to chance is risky business. It may be as simple as asking permissions in advance to film on the premises or finding the best place to unload the kit, but without that level of detail, the effects can be disastrous to the final product.

Production

This is ‘the shoot’ - the exciting bit. And it’s full of options. The cost largely depends on what type of video you want to produce. An animated video explaining your business requires a different production set-up than a full commercial with actors. The higher-quality video you need, the more you can expect it to cost.

Since most videographers charge by the day, your video production costs will largely depend on the number of hours or days required to do the filming. You’ll need to consider:

  •  Is a sound recordist necessary?
  •  Is a studio required?
  •  Would autocue help the presenter?
  •  Are actors required?
  •  Will there be multiple locations?

Then there’s ‘production values’ to consider; a term used to describe the creative and technical quality of the image and sound. Is your video going to end up on a massive screen? Is it going to be shown online and if so, you’ll need to carefully think about the value of ultra-high value resolution? With 2k, 4k, 6k even 8k imagery now on tap, your customers expect the highest possible viewing experience.

These are just some of the questions that pop to the surface when looking at the right resources and deciding whether what you’ve been quoted is likely going to cover what you need.

Post-Production

Sometimes viewed as the place of mystery – The Edit. Good editors make the whole three minutes greater than the sum of the parts.

Once more, it’s the time taken that directly influences the cost. On the surface, the video may appear straightforward. However, with advances in motion graphics and computer-generated imagery comes greater expectations from clients and businesses alike.

Techniques that used to take forever are now much easier to achieve. Take colour grading, for instance. It is now available to create that cinematic look to enhance brand perception, but this does require expertise.

Another overlooked area of expenditure is music. Well, despite views to the contrary, music is not free – either to use or to copy. Different applications for the use of music attract equally differing rates for usage. And while it may be tempting to just use a convenient electronic track, time spent researching and trialling music that creates the right emotion is invariably well spent.

The video commissioner's dilemma

Do you go cheap and cheerful or high-end and cinematic? Or perhaps somewhere in the middle?

Let’s look at the stats first. HubSpot reports that in a survey conducted by Wyzowl of over 600 marketers and consumers, 87% were using video as a marketing tool and 87% of consumers said they would like to see more video from brands in 2019.

Unsurprisingly, 99% of marketers already using video will continue in the year ahead -with 88% planning to increase spend. HubSpot

It makes good sense to invest wisely and create videos you know will gain your clients’ trust and accurately portray your brand.

When do low production values damage your brand?

For businesses that operate a cheap and cheerful high-volume sales approach – they’re unlikely to need a more sophisticated video production. If, however, you are serious about protecting your brand image you’ll want to join the 88% planning to increase their video production spend.

This is particularly important in professional services. If you provide business-critical advice or perhaps you’re pushing the boundaries of science or technology, you’ll want your video to reflect this.

No matter how impressive your message, if your video comes across as second rate your audience will second guess your business values and proposition.

Taking the middle road on video production costs

This is where some smart compromises come in. Effective video doesn’t need to be expensive, if you make some wise choices. An experienced production company should have plenty of ideas to trim costs without losing the sense of a good quality brand.

There are times when ingenious simplicity will save you money and still produce highly effective results.

Think back to one of the most memorable TV commercials of all time - for Cadbury’s Dairy Milk – and one of the simplest to film too – consisting of a single camera, one room, one drum kit and a man in a gorilla costume. No fancy locations, expensive celebrities or computer graphics. And not a single crane, steadicam, drone or jib used – all extra bits of kit that would involve additional cost.

Understand where your costs are coming from

Be clear to your prospective video companies what you are looking to achieve and have an open mind to the time and commitment that may be needed.

Seek early cost guidance from your production company. Costs are something that should be discussed as openly as the script, location or quantity of graphics. After all, they are determined by all these production elements.

Allow some contingency within your budget, especially if you think there may be changes and amendments down the line.

Talk. Don’t rely on emails alone. It’s easy to make assumptions about what’s needed if your brief is not discussed. A transparent conversation from both sides will ultimately lead to a more trusting relationship and a better outcome. So be prepared to show your hand about your budget too.

But wont they simply quote to my budget limit?

No. If they are honest, they shouldn’t do. Put yourself in control and set the boundaries of what you are comfortable in spending. By sharing information about your budget constraints, your quote can be refined to give a clear illustration of what are the achievable options.

This will also give you a more meaningful way of evaluating one production company proposal against another.

With over 30 years creating business videos, we believe that an established track record and long-term relationships with clients are good indicators that a production company’s prices are fair.

To discuss the vast opportunities that video can bring to your organisation, call us on 01787 378422 or contact us here.

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