In a busy digital world, video has become a major focus for marketers, and with good reason – people love videos.
It is now the most preferred form of content, with 54 percent of consumers saying they want to see videos over email, social images, blog articles, and PDFs. And we all know the best way to please the people is to give them what they want.
But unfortunately for marketers, while video is now the most popular form of content, it’s also the most expensive to produce. Marketing teams often face major obstacles when it comes to understanding video production costs.
Companies need to know how much it costs to produce a high quality promotional video and whether or not the results justify the costs.
What You Need to Know Before Understanding the Video Production Cost Breakdown
It’s difficult to pin down an exact budget for video production because prices can vary greatly between projects.
When it comes down to it, the cost of producing a promotional video depends on a huge number of factors – all of which you need to carefully consider in order to determine what’s the best option for your company.
In-House or Outsourcing?
There are two ways in which you can produce a video – with an in-house team or outsourced to a freelancer or production agency. Both options come with their own unique list of pros and cons.
With an in-house team, you maintain full control of your production, but it requires you to invest in the tools, space, and talent for shooting and editing a high quality video. It can also eat up a lot of time, between shooting, editing, and project management.
When you outsource to an agency, you know your project will be in the hands of a well-vetted production company who is known for creating top notch videos, because they’re experts in their craft. However, hiring an agency can be expensive, and you could easily end up paying a higher rate per hour or per project.
Types of Videos to Use In Marketing
One of the most important elements of building a successful video marketing strategy is understanding what kinds of videos you need to produce to please your audience and make optimum impact. This is an essential factor to maintain direction and drive with the project.
In terms of video marketing, there are several kinds of productions you can create, but all of them fit within different stages of the buyer’s journey.
Awareness Stage Videos
In the awareness stage, your audience is looking to identify a problem. At this point, buyers need videos that are going to help educate them about their problem and present potential answers. They’re looking to learn, and it’s your job to provide the knowledge they seek.
The goal here is to really impress your audience, as it’s important to make a strong first impression.
Well, this one is pretty self explanatory, right? Explainer videos provide information that guides the audience toward a better understanding the topic. If you’ve ever watched a ‘how to’ video, then you’ve seen an explainer video.
Explainer videos often receive a high number of views, as people who are looking to learn about something commonly turn to the quickest and easiest avenue for digesting information – videos.
Creating an explainer video is a great way to introduce your brand to your audience and establish your knowledgeable authority within your industry.
If you couldn’t quite tell by the name, the purpose of this kind of video is to introduce your brand to the world.
These videos tell the story of your brand, emphasize your company’s core values, and explore the overall purpose of your business and how it fits into the world. What makes your brand stand out?
Depending on your company and the nature of your brand, they can be narrative and inspirational, or more direct and hard hitting. Usually, the most impactful brand videos are emotional and punchy because they resonate strongly with your audience.
Consideration Stage Videos
At this point in the buyer’s journey, your potential buyer has identified their problem and is now looking for a solution. This is the time when you need to show your buyer how your product can provide value and resolve their challenges.
A product video introduces your products and services to your audience and explains how they can provide value to your customers by solving their unique problems.
These videos show your product in action, often being used by a person to display how it works and why it’s so great. This allows buyers to envision themselves using your products too.
On the other hand, if you offer services instead of tangible projects, you could create an animation video to present them in a unique and engaging way.
While how-to videos fall under the umbrella of explainer videos, which we touched upon in the awareness stage, they’re also a great option for buyers in the consideration stage.
As with general explainer videos, how-to videos aren’t explicitly promotional, they simply provide valuable knowledge for your audience. They allow you to address and answer your audience’s questions before they even have a chance to ask them.
These videos may not even necessarily include an extensive discussion about your products or services – they may simply fall in the realm of providing useful information about a topic within the greater expanse of your industry.
For example, a company that sells dog leashes, collars, and harnesses may create a video like “how-to train your dog to heel.” The video is focused on training your dog, but it’s likely that the company’s products will be used in the production to subtly display their value.
With webinars, you get to go into the nitty gritty details of your products and services.
At this point, buyers are probably coming close to making a decision, but they’re still shopping around and really starting to look into the specific features between a few different product options to consider which one is the best for them.
Webinars allow you to go in depth about what you can offer to your customers and how different products and solutions may serve unique needs well.
One popular webinar method is to host Q&A sessions, addressing unique and commonly asked questions from prospects and customers. By acknowledging and responding to all the inquiries of your audience, you display commitment to your customers through your active engagement with them.
With this in mind, webinars are also a great way to show off the quality of service your company provides.
Product demos are another kind of popular webinar. These kinds of videos allow you to expand on your traditional product videos by bringing a real customer on camera to use the product and then genuinely discuss their thoughts on its functionality and value.
These videos can be upbeat and entertaining to watch, and your audience will be able to better connect with and understand your services through their ability to relate to the customer.
Event videos are one of the few production options that may not cost you a pretty penny to pull off. As live event videos are becoming more and more popular, you’ll at least save time and resources on the post-processing end of the production spectrum.
Social media has become the go-to platform for hosting event videos, and live streams are the norm these days.
Facebook live is a popular option for streaming full event videos for your audience. If you want to post shorter snippets, Instagram Stories are a commonly used social format.
These videos keep your audience in the loop (it’s the whole reason people use social media), and they can provide a better insight into what your company is all about.
Decision Stage Videos
Ah yes, the glorious decision stage. The buyer is finally ready to buy. Now is the time for you to go in for the close. The videos you produce for this stage are made to nudge the buyer toward that final decision. But how do you do this?
Customers want to know about the companies they buy from, so this is the time when you show them what your business is really all about.
You need to establish trust with your audience, as it’s one of the most important factors in a buyer’s decision making process – plain and simple, people like to buy from brands they know and trust.
Company Culture Video
Company culture videos allow you give your audience an inside look at your brand. Show them what your core values are, and what’s at the center of your company.
Display your brand’s (and employee’s) passion for your industry and purpose, and you’ll be able to connect with your audience on a much more personal level.
If you’re not exactly sure what kind of direction to take with this production, consider this question: If you were to create a video that embodied the character and lifeblood of your brand, what would it involve?
Good company culture videos go a long way in encouraging brand advocacy throughout your audience, so put plenty of time and effort into considering how you want to present your brand.
One of the best ways to build trust with your audience is through testimonials. A vast majority of buying purchases are made based upon raving recommendations from other people. Why? Because people trust the words of other customers more than they trust you.
Testimonial videos allow people to see your real, satisfied customers talking about why they love your brand and how it helped them solve their problems.
Gather up a few of your happiest customers, and ask them if they’d be willing to sit down and do a quick video with you – you can even throw in a deal for one of their future purchases as a little incentive, if you’re so inclined.
The Video Production Price Guide
Once you understand what kinds of videos you need to produce for your audience, you can start to consider whether you want to invest in in-house production or outsourcing.
But how do you do decide? Understanding the real price of these two options can be tricky to navigate. To help you out, we’ve put together a little video production cost breakdown for both options.
In-House Video Production Costs
In order to produce an in-house video, you’ll need to acquire some equipment and resources for the project. It’s all too easy to say, “I’ll buy a camera and do it myself!” We’ve all had that thought, and we’ve all had our hopes and dreams crushed when we realize we’re not award-winning documentary filmmakers.
No, unfortunately, a little more goes into making a high quality video than running off to Best Buy and coming home with a shiny new DSLR.
However, you will need a camera, but you’ll also need a lot more than just that. It’s easy to quickly get buried under equipment costs, so let’s take a closer look.
Cameras and Lenses
Cameras come in all shapes and sizes, and their costs vary tremendously.
At the very bottom of the quality tier, you can use the camera on your $800 iPhone (we know you have one). These days, iPhones can shoot decent quality videos, but if you’re looking to make this video appear more professional, we recommend opting for something a little less novice.
Semi-pro DSLR cameras range anywhere from $500 to $3,000. However, DSLRs are primarily focused on static image capturing, so you’ll need to do your homework to find out which models are optimum for video recording.
If you’re looking for the big guns, a fully professional RED digital camera can run you $20,000+.
But remember, you can’t use a camera without lenses. Unfortunately, you can’t drop $1,000 on a nice DSLR camera and expect that you’re done there. And that stock lens your camera comes with? It won’t do you any favors.
The better quality glass, the better quality shooting. In some cases, a lens can actually cost you more than the camera. Decent lenses run anywhere from $250 up to $2,500.
In addition to a camera, you’ll need a tripod or some kind of steadicam. Why, you ask? Have you ever watched a shaky video? Exactly – it’s horrible.
You can grab a cheap tripod for $20, but if you want to work with something that doesn’t make you want to throw it across the room out of frustration, it’s better to opt for a higher tier option around $200.
Microphones are also a necessity for video production. You can’t rely on the microphone built into your camera – I don’t care what the camera company tells you, the sound it records is terrible quality, and you likely won’t be able to make out what anyone is saying.
There are tons of different kinds of microphones – lapels, rifles, shotguns (no really, these are microphones, not firearms). If you intend to do interviews, you’ll need a lapel mic – that’s the tiny little one you clip onto someone’s shirt.
Rifle mics are often on-camera mics, and shotguns are those really fun things you see at the end of a pole that some guy is holding really high over his head. They all pick up sound in different ways, so do some research into which kind is the best for you before you just run to the store and pick up any old microphone.
Lapel, also known as lavalier mics, cost anywhere from $20 to $600. Rifles can range from $50 to $250, and shotguns can run you between $200 and $1,000.
Now, depending on what kind of video you’re making, you may need a backdrop.
This is definitely an optional piece of equipment, but it’s great to have if you intend to do a lot of interview work. Similar to tripods, you can grab a lower tier backdrop for $50, or go with a better quality option for around $300.
Finally, you’ll likely need lighting equipment. Nothing impacts the quality of a video like bad lighting, and if you end up with a dark, shadowy production then your audience will have a hard time taking it seriously (remember all the outrage from that poorly lit Game of Thrones episode?)
You can grab a decent budget-friendly three-point lighting kit for between $150 to $500, and your video editor will thank you later.
Unfortunately, videos don’t just magically put themselves together into well-crafted masterpieces. Once you’ve shot the video, it needs to be edited. While you can use a free video editing software like iMovie, this likely won’t cut it for top quality productions.
If you’re looking to get serious about making high quality videos, you’ll need to invest in one of the more advanced editing softwares, such as Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premiere Pro. You can grab Final Cut Pro for $300, or pay a $20 to $30 monthly subscription for Adobe Premiere Pro.
Don’t forget – once you have all this fancy equipment, you need someone to actually shoot and edit the thing. Unfortunately, we don’t all have the artistic talents and technical skills to be world class professional videographers. It requires training and experience.
Hiring a full time in-house videographer costs on average $43,000 per year, plus benefits. But depending on the scale and number of videos you’re producing, you may need a small video department to meet your needs.
This could include a videographer, post processor, and production assistant. In this case, you’re looking at shelling out well over $100,000 in salary for your video department.
Outsourced Video Production Costs
The cost of outsourcing video production can vary greatly depending on the agency you choose and the size of your project. For example, a full service video production rate can run anywhere between $1,500 and $300,000. That’s an enormous margin that can be a little difficult to wrap your head around.
On average though, semi-professional and professional video production costs between $1,500 to $20,000. Don’t worry, you won’t be hitting that $300,000 marker unless you’re looking for a video that’s up to Hollywood’s standards.
In addition to flat rate, you can also find individual professionals who you can hire on a by-day basis. Here’s a breakdown of the typical rates that professionals charge:
- Sound Technician: $300 to $700/day
- Commercial Video Editor: $400 to $1,000/day
- Drone Operator: $500 to $1,400/day
- Videographer: $400 to $2,000/day
- Motion Graphics Editor/Animator: $500 to $2,000/day
Invest Now, Reap Benefits Later
Choosing which option to invest in for video production isn’t easy. For many companies, the production costs aren’t easy to come to terms with.
However, video will largely shape the greater conversation between your brand and your audience, so it’s important to do it the right way, but without exhausting resources.
Once you get over the hump of determining the method that will work best for your company – be it an in-house team or outsourcing – and you manage to swallow that staggering production cost, you’ll find that the video marketing assets you walk away with will make an immense impact within your audience, and thus within the success of your business.