Understanding the costs of video production
Standard definition to high definition, Track and Dolly to Steadicam. What do all these things mean and why do they matter to my production? We try to demystify the process of budgeting for moving content.
How long is a piece of string?
One of the biggest challenges we face as an organisation is helping clients understand how the cost of creating a video can vary so much. Be it live action or animation there are so many variables and decisions to be made early on that will impact the quality of the finished production and ultimately the amount of money you can spend on getting it produced.
In many ways it is like building a house. There are many skill sets involved, from craftsmanship to creativity and many choices to be made, certainly in terms of the quality of material you may wish to use down to the finish of the kitchen.
You could give us a design for a house and we could build it out of cheap materials and fit a cheap kitchen and although it will be what you asked for, it certainly won’t have that immaculate oiled oak floor, granite worktops and soft close drawers you were hoping for but it may well do the job.
Making a production look good
Ultimately the cost of video production is increased in the same manner. Better cameras and equipment have more flexibility and produce a more filmic high end looking production. Combine this with additional grip equipment such as camera cranes and lighting equipment and you achieve those impossible shots that are straight out of a film immediately engaging the viewer with the expectation of something good. Audiences are strange creatures, they won’t always understand technically what has made a production look good or bad but they do have a subconscious expectation set most probably by TV and film. Add to that a professional script writer and voiceover artist and additional crew to run the shoot and setup equipment and suddenly the budget has increased. Then back to the edit suite where an editor will have more footage to cut together, a professional colour grade to add that final filmic gloss and we have pushed the budget a little further.
Understanding what you should spend
At the end of the day it is not about spending huge amounts of money. It is about spending the right amount of money, for the finished product to do it’s job effectively. Be it to showcase a product, or a training film for staff, careful planning and the right type of advice is critical in achieving the desired outcome. We would always prefer to plan and execute a project for the amount of money it takes to produce it and have a client come back time and time again to make more films that to throw too much money at an over egged pudding.
Don’t get your fingers burnt
There are plenty of companies out there that will create videos for you at very cheap rates but be wary you don’t get anything for free in this life. Creating moving content is a creative, skilled and demanding process. Ending up with a sub standard cheap finished visual product that does not represent the quality of your brand or product line is as useless and not bothering to produce it in the first place!