The Real Reasons Why Video Content Costs so Much

January 1, 2019 Katja Presnal

How much does it cost to produce marketing videos?

Video marketing is one of the biggest marketing trends for 2019 – as high as 90% of people say that video content helps them to make a purchase.

Our marketing agency Presnal5 Ltd offers video content production, and pricing the video production has been one of the challenges we’ve solved.

I’ve been selling and producing online content for ten years, and specialize in compelling storytelling that builds loyalty,  but I personally have really focused more into video content only for a year. However, my team members are seasoned professionals who have produced short films, starred in their own reality TV show, and have created video content for multiple brands in Europe and the USA alike.

In the name of full transparency, I wanted to share some of the factors that effect the price of video content. Whether you are a video content producer and need help pricing your video, or a brand buying video content, here are some factors to take into consideration regards marketing video content pricing.

But before you even start reading, the most important questions you should be thinking are what are your goals, what are you trying to accomplish, and what kind of return for your investment you are looking for the video content. Our agency focuses in marketing strategy, so typically our offer would be for the type of video we think would fit your goals and budget at the time the best.

 

1. Concept Planning & Preproduction

Time & team: how many people working on the shoot.

Time is money – and the amount of people working on your video production and the hours they work reflect on the price. The time spent shooting can often be the shortest time spent in producing the video. But the amount of cameras/team members also matters – if you have two people shooting for 3 hours, you will have 6 hours of footage. Audio is another factor adding to the production time and cost. Filming B-roll or content that you know will have a background music is different from filming video with a dialogue.

Preproduction takes time too.

But before we even get to film anything, there is a lot of work done: storyboard, (loose) script, shot list, equipment list (and possibly hiring extra help), scheduling and other team meetings. Sometimes all of this needs to be approved by our client, and then changes made, sometimes they just expect a finished product and are not as involved in the process. The more that has been done ahead of time, the faster the actual shoot day(s) usually go.

The video team can consist of these people: videographer(s), sound recorder, director, production assistant, and sometimes video talent(s). We try to keep our services affordable for our clients, so we often have people pulling a double-duty in the shoots, and a typical number of team members in our shoots is two to four.

Don’t try to save time in the cost of not shooting B-roll (B-roll = supplemental footage inserted as a cutaway to help tell the story). Well filmed B-roll is vital in creating a compelling video and to gain the attention of the viewer.

Take-aways:

– Well produced can shorten the shooting time.
– The more people you have working, the higher the price.
– When you hire a team that works well together, it shortens the time/lowers the cost.
– Always shoot B-roll.

2. Time: the content length versus time spent editing it

Editing takes longer than shooting.

What might be most surprising though: the end result and the length of the finished video might not always reflect on the price. Longer videos might not cost much more. (Of course here we are talking about a difference in one minute video versus 3-4 minute video – not 5-10 minute and up videos.)

We live in a time of social media videos where the first 7 seconds matter the most, and the ideal length of a video is somewhere between 30 seconds to two minutes. But when you shoot compelling video content, and the shoot can take several hours, sometimes days, and you have hours of great footage to choose from, the only talent needed is not for the shooting part – but editing as well.

We typically estimate that editing takes at least three times the time as it took to shoot something. The real skill creating video content that sells is the ability to tell the story in one minute or less.

Typical editing process can go something like this: editor goes through all of the content and picks the best ones needed to tell the story, picks the the good quality shots, and then starts cutting the footage. The first draft can have a few hours of good quality of video content that clip after clip, cut after cut is shortened to 5-20 minutes to match the script of the content. I personally don’t usually even see the content before it is shortened to this, and hours of editing has already been done.

The hardest part of editing great material is to compress is from the last 3-5 minutes of content to one minute. I often look at our team’s footage and think there is no way we can take anything away, it’s all good. Usually in this final compression part we also involve multiple team members to gain a different perspective.

Take-aways:

– Typical editing time takes 3-4 times the shooting time.
– Shorter videos are not necessarily cheaper.
– The real skill creating video content that sells is the ability to tell the story in one minute or less.

 

3. Audio

Videos always need audio editing.

Whether you want a music-only “vibe video” or a video with dialogue affects the video price significantly.

When you choose a video with music, the song itself can cost a lot to use – or create. There are multiple creative commons music providers that you can get the music for free, but someone still needs to do the work of finding the perfect song. We do mid-range budget videos, where we don’t purchase songs, but use free material.  We typically take 2-4 hours just to find the right music/audio.

Editing a video with a song still requires much more than just editing the video footage and adding music – the footage needs to be edited to match the beat of the music, so it does not confuse the viewer’s senses when they view the video. Even videos with dialogue or other sounds often need a background music. So even if we produce let’s say an interview video, we typically add some background music to it.

If your video requires audio recorded when filmed, the recording itself adds to the price, and then editing audio adds hours of work. Let’s say we record an interview-type of a video or someone speaking, we edit out pauses, unrelated comments, unfinished sentences etc. Have you ever seen those videos where someone is speaking and then it awkwardly jumps because it has been edited? That’s where using B-roll comes handy. The audio file is separated from the video file, and you will hear someone talking while something else is happening in the video – this makes much more interesting content.

Take-aways:

– Dialogue/natural sounds or background music only – big difference in the price.
– Audio always requires editing.
– Even “free music” is not free, because it takes time to find the right music.

 

This is one of my favorite examples to show how audio matters. Omar Najam changed the music for Amazon’s Holiday commercial making it from upbeat and happy to resemble a horror movie trailer.

The original:

 

4. The final touches – more editing

We already went through many of the editing process steps, but there is more!

The video needs color correction. Some shots might need stabilization or zooming in. Perhaps green screen was used and that has to be edited to look as natural as possible. Masking might be needed if something got into the shot that is not meant to be there. Transitions need to be added or created to match the video. Some shots might need speeding up, or slowing down. And more cuts, and trimming to get the high editing quality you are looking for.

There is still more to audio-editing too. The sound levels might need adjusting, so it is on a constant level, and not jumping from high to low, and that the background music is just that – quietly in the background and not over powering the video.

Does your video need animation or text? The more complicated, the more time it takes, and sometimes requires hiring an animator just for the animation parts – even if it is just a 10-second intro or outro.

What about subtitles? We recommend them especially for Facebook and LinkedIn videos, which people often scroll without sound.

Or do you need help creating the SEO-friendly title and description for publishing the video? In addition to great marketing video content, you will need to do whatever it takes that as many people as possible will see it. That’s where publishing help comes into play.

If you opted for a longer video, do you need a short social media teaser for it? You have all great content filmed – the best bang for your buck is to use as much of it as possible, and purchase multiple videos of the same content.

Take-aways:

– Don’t underestimate the high quality editing.
– Are you looking for just a video file ready to be published on your channels – or do you need help getting the most amount of viewers for it too? Then more work needs to be done.

5. Visibility

Who will see your video?

Before we get to the point #6 – the actual examples pricing how we at Presnal5 price our work at the moment, I want to point out that this post has been focusing only on the actual video content – meaning that the end result is a video file that you can publish.

Getting views for your video can cost you anywhere from double to triple to what the video production cost you. When you are purchasing influencer videos – or creating them – the price does not reflect only on the video itself, but who sees it.

Influencer content is actually a whole another animal, and then it is equally important that the video reflects on the influencer’s brand as well your company’s brand. The most successful influencer video content looks authentic and true to the influencer – as well as shows your brand in the best way.

So when you are purchasing video content, make sure that you understand what it takes into making the video and what kind of quality to expect, but also what kind of viewership numbers you are expecting if you are also purchasing the visibility. 

In today’s competitive content landscape even excellent content can be dismissed without a marketing plan how to gain viewers for it. Even if you have amazing video content – plan how to promote it too! (Better yet: let us do it for you).

Getting the best marketing results with video content can be about balancing the budget between the production quality and the views. Higher production quality does not always mean higher visibility and better results – but of course you want the quality to be something that reflects on your brand, and you can live with.

Some questions to be considered when thinking the visibility:

– Multi-channel strategy – where all and by whom the video content will be published.
– Talent/influencer strategy – are you paying for a talent for appearance fee and to use their brand in the video, or also for them to publish and promote the content?
– Goals with the video – why are you making the video and what are your goals?

6. Example pricing.

One minute video can cost anywhere from a few hundreds to hundreds of thousands, so knowing what you want, and what you want to accomplish with your video and how many people will see it is vital.

 

Amateur quality video for social media.

A few hours at an event, shot mainly with iPhone. Free music, edited with iMovie.

Price: €250-500 / $280-$570

 

Low-budget video for social media, no dialogue.

Four hours shooting, three team members including video talent, shot with two videocameras, no audio. Free music, edited with Premiere. Minimal editing to keep the cost down.

Price: €1,500-2,500 / $1,700- $2,800

 

High quality video for social media with dialogue.

Shooting in 3 different locations across two days, three team members, including video talent, shot with two videocameras, audio recorded. Free music, edited with Premiere.

Price: €4,000-6,000 / $4,500- $6,900

 

High production value videos for social media with dialogue, shot with influencers on location in Iceland.

Shooting on location in Iceland for five days, seven team members including audio recorder, not including video talents/influencers. Shot with two professional cameras and drone. Free music, edited with Premiere.

The location/travel costs and the video talent/influencer costs where the most expensive in this case, and the goal was to produce multiple YouTube videos. It was a marketing campaign I designed, and lead from hiring the team to execute to managing the influencers/talent. Alexandra from Presnal5 team was one of the video talents, and Isabella from Presnal5 edited all of the videos.

Unfortunately this was a campaign that was never finished, and all of the content was never published, due reasons not related to us or the quality of the work we did. To the day it’s one of my favorite video content productions, and I wish the company had been able to publish all of the content filmed.

Price: anywhere between €50,000-300,000 / $57,000-$340,000

The price for larger productions depends on the filming locations & days, talents/influencers, how many videos produced, and if the influencers are also used to gain the views for the content. Typically productions this size are done in co-operation of multiple agencies (for example advertising agency and video production agency), but we are able to offer even larger productions thanks to our global freelancer team.

 

Contact us.

Looking for video marketing content? We are mobile team that works in Europe and the USA.

Are you a video content producer and want to pitch your work and be part of our freelancer team?

Let’s talk! Email: katja@presnal5.com

 

Follow us on YouTube.

 

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Katja Presnal

Katja Presnal shows how to live Nordic inspired life to the fullest and plan your dream life. Katja owns Presnal5 strategic marketing intelligence agency and wants to help marketing professionals to combine a dream career and dream life via freelance work.Katja is an award-winning marketing strategist, and a well-known speaker. Katja has lived in five different countries, and seven states in the USA. Her three children were all born in different countries within three years. When not working or jet-setting the world, Katja is at home cooking big family dinners.She has been featured in NY Times, Glamour, Redbook, Fodor's, Forbes and Woman's Day magazines among many other national and international publications and written for MTV3 and Lifetime TV networks.

Comment (1)

  1. Totally agree with you on the time and effort put into a video production. I spent 3 full days to edit a personal family trip to Bali. Videos from drone, from camera, from phone. Tedious but rewarding.

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