Video Production Costs Broken Down – 35 Prioritized Factors

The axiom ‘you get what you pay for’ still holds true in video production. Today, you’re getting a bigger bang for your buck as video production costs continue to drop.

Video production costs have come down dramatically over the last ten years – that’s the good news. The AVERAGE quality of most business videos has also dropped significantly over that same time period. That’s the bad news.

The barriers to entry for corporate video production are now zero. ZERO.

Anybody with a camera can make a video for a business. As a result, it’s getting harder for businesses to know where to go to find good video production help.

Even before you start looking for someone to help you develop your next marketing video, one of the biggest challenges for businesses is determining a proper budget for their next video project.

Here is a link to our video production cost calculator – a tool we developed to help businesses understand the type of costs that go into making a video.

Cost isn’t the only thing that has changed in business video production.


Something fundamental to the success of video production has also changed over the past decade. You’re not hearing about this as much… yet. What matters in business video – the place where all the value is created in video production has changed.

Back in the day the ‘magic’ in corporate video was created by the directors, the cameramen and the editors. Their experience was unique and their day-rates were high. Neither is true today. (High-end broadcast commercial production is the exception.)

The ‘Magic’ today happens in pre-production. The structure of the video, the ideas and the words that go into making video – that’s where the value is created in business video.

While the supply of production talent (those with technical skills) continues to grow as more people enter the industry, we’re not seeing the same growth in pre-production talent. While anyone with equipment and a bit of experience can make a corporate video, very few can make a video that’s going to move the business dial in a meaningful way.

Consider the Dollar Shave Club Launch Video.

Arguably the most effective marketing video in history, it relied on two things for it’s success:
1. A great script that delivered a pitch-perfect combination of humour and shame aimed at a bloated and closed Shaving Razor industry and,
2. A standout delivery by the presenter/owner Michael Dubin.

What that video didn’t rely on was high production values. While good production and post-production skills can certainly elevate a video, you cannot make a great marketing video without great pre-production. Pre-production is where the ‘magic’ happens today.

Top Ten Gydes Launch Videos


Here are the 35 Factors (in Priority Order) that effect video production costs:

(click on links below to jump to definition)                   

Pre-Production Expertise Actors Direction
Cameraman Editor Animation (Custom)
Animation (web-based tools) Graphics & Motion Graphics (custom) Graphics & Motion Graphics (web-based tools)
Narration Music & Sound Effects Location
B-Roll Footage Production Time Camera & Lenses
Production Equipment Crew Extras
Studio Filming Set, Props & Equipment Stock footage & photos
Geographic Location Teleprompter Length of Video
Direct or Third Party Event-Related Equipment Licensing & Union Fees
Catering Hair & Makeup Digitizing, transcoding, transfers, rendering & uploading
Formats Language & Translation Interactivity
Hosting Miscellaneous


1. Pre-Production Expertise (Concept, Storyboard and Script Writing)  

It doesn’t matter that your video looks good.  It only matters that your video accomplishes something. There are many facets of pre-production work: Planning, scheduling, project management… but the one that is critical to the success of your video is the development of the storyboard and script for your video. The ideas, the structure, the style and the language of your video – that’s what your storyboard outlines and that’s what matters.

What’s surprising is that pre-production remains largely a black box activity. Many businesses don’t give it much thought.  Many production companies simply include this into the production costs or they assign a small percentage of the budget to this task.

Pre-production work is the most important part of the video production process by far, and yet it’s often given far too little attention compared with the more technical aspects of production.

This is analogous to constructing a new custom home by rushing though the design stage to get to the ‘real work’ of building the house. Ideas are still (and will always be…) the hardest thing to charge for and yet those ideas are what matter the most – the rest is execution.

What measurable business objective are you trying to achieve?  How is this video specifically going to achieve that objective? And of greatest importance, do the people creating your video have the experience and expertise to create a video that will actually move your business forward?

Video Production Cost:
Expect to spend between $75/hour and $250/hour for an experienced marketing writer and creative team (does it make sense to have an entertainment script writer or video production assistant develop your marketing script?) to develop a concept, script and storyboard that serves as the blueprint for you video.

2. Actors / Presenters

Do you need to hire professional presenters, actors or models to improve the quality of your presentation? Not every video needs a live presenter and not everyone is good on camera. You may need to make some difficult decisions about who should represent your company.

Many companies choose employees to act as presenters to save money or they choose senior management because they believe ‘that’s their job’. Quite often this is a mistake. Most sole practitioners/professionals and small business owners want to be on-camera because, after all, … ‘they are the face of the company’. Quite often this is a mistake.

Steve Jobs, the greatest pitchman to ever grace a stage, was (almost) never in Apple promotional videos. Just because it’s your company doesn’t mean you should be in your video. “Authenticity” is not an excuse for a bad delivery.  ‘Authentically bad’ is still bad. It takes a brave video production company to talk a business owner off of the ‘on-camera’ ledge.

Video Production Cost:
This factor has the widest cost range, by far. Presenters can be free (folks from your company) or they can cost millions (I.e. Morgan Freeman…). Models and actors can range anywhere from $50/hour to $500/hour or (lot’s) more depending on experience, demand, location and union costs.

3. Direction

Once shooting starts who is responsible for the look and feel of the video, for getting the on-screen talent to say the right things in the right way and for making sure everything that needs to be captured is actually captured? That person is the director whether they are getting paid a director’s wage or not. On small productions the ‘Director’ is typically the camera operator. On mid-level jobs the ‘Director’ is often a jumble of people replete with widely varying opinions, priorities. and levels of experience. On large productions it’s a dedicated Director, supported by an assistant.

Video Production Cost:
Many small and mid-sized productions don’t employ an experienced corporate video director and that’s often a mistake. The average cost of an experienced director ranges between $75/hour and $250/hour. Higher-end projects (broadcast commercials or Fortune 500 video projects) can pay day rates of $2,500 or more for Directors with high quality reels.

4. Principal Cameraman / DOP (Director of Photography)

Cameramen can have very different roles on video projects depending on the budget and the supporting crew. As well, the need for cinematography skills will vary depending on the specifics of the job.

Filming a talking head is usually quite straightforward. Filming an action scene is not. Framing a shot, recommending the best use of gear and motion rigs and ensuring the lighting reflects the mood of the video are all skills learned through experience.

Video Production Cost:
Cameramen will range in cost from  $50/hour to  $175/hour depending on experience. If your video project is designed only for an internal audience or if it’s very basic production you can probably get a recent film school grad to shoot your project for between $25 and $50/hr. You’ll normally get better rates on a second cameraman if a two-camera shoot is required as one the second camera operator is usually a junior role.

5. Editor

I would be inclined to place editing higher up this priority list but the reality is that if you don’t succeed with the first four factors mentioned above, no amount of editing is going to save you.

The editing process is highly nuanced. Editing is where you create the style and substance of the video – you sequence all of the available assets into a cohesive story that communicates your key messages in a clear and engaging manner. Editing is a skill that takes time to develop.

You’re also starting to see more industry specific editors emerge as the priorities in editing vary greatly between business sectors.

Video Production Cost:
Typical editing costs run between $50/hour and $150/hour. (You can get off-shore editing done for between $10/hr and $25/hr but that route is only effective on volume work or production videos that don’t require nuance and a soft touch.)

6. Animation (Custom) 

Some videos are entirely animated and some business videos require only a modest amount of animation. There are an infinite number of animation styles you can employ – each available at multiple cost (and quality) levels. Businesses typically end up going with the ‘house’ style of the video production company they hire. (Some animators can create a wide variety of styles while most have specific, identifiable styles.)

Video Production Cost:
You can outsource animation quite easily now to many countries in Asia at very low hourly rates ($10/hr – $35/hr) but you really need experience doing this to manage those jobs properly. (If you try to outsource animation by yourself, with no outside help, for the first time… your project will likely end in hair-loss and tears.) If you are paying video production companies to produce animation for your video in western countries then you are likely paying rates between $75/hour and $175/hour. (Complex 3D graphics or key frame animation can cost between $200/hr and $500/hr or more for Broadcast Commercials and High-end Product Demos).

7. Animation (Web-based Tools)

The internet continues to run roughshod over most industries and Animation is no exception. Web based tools like GoAnimate and PowToons allow anyone with an idea and a bit of patience to create decent, to good quality videos using a variety of web-based templates and animation tools.

These tools will continue to get better and will continue to lower the cost of creating things like presentations and animated explainer videos. Businesses still have to assess whether this activity is the best use of their employees skills and time. (Just because you are able to perform a task doesn’t mean you’re the best person to perform it.)

Video Production Cost:
Monthly licensing costs typically start at $0 for feature-limited trials and then move to tiered plans offering different options that range from $50, $100 to $200 per month.

8. Post-Production (Graphics and Motion Graphics – web based tools) 

As with Animation, it’s getting easier to find web-based tools and templates to help you build things like lower thirds, motion titles and basic graphics for use in a video. Motion graphics and background templates are available from many websites now as creators try to leverage their work by selling components that they have built for themselves.

You still have to know how to manipulate the templates and edit them into your project but if your requirements are modest and you don’t require a high degree of customization then this may be your best route.

Video Production Cost:
Motion Graphic and Graphic templates typically cost between $25 and $200 per item. This cost can run into the thousands of dollars on large projects.

9. Post-Production (Graphics and Motion Graphics Services) 

Most production houses either have an in-house graphics specialists with skills in programs like After Effects or they can easily outsource this requirement to a local expert.

Video Production Cost:
Typical motion graphic development runs between $75/hr and $150/hr.

10. Voice-Over / Narration 

The internet (and technology) has had the affect of lowering voice-over costs by well over 50% in the past ten years. Back in the day, if you needed voice work done you would hire a union voice actor – usually starting at around $1,000 and then you’d also need to rent sound studio time which would set you back another $500 to $1,000.

Today, most voice-actors work from home and work through one of the many web-based narration service providers.  Even if you have on-screen presenters for parts of your video it still may be helpful to include voice-over narration to tie the video together.

The challenge today is that anyone with a computer and a microphone can call themselves a voice artist and it can be very time consuming finding a good and reliable voice for your project.

Video Production Cost:
For lower cost projects you can budget between $200 and $500 for a 2 minute read . On larger budget projects where you need a very high quality read you can be looking anywhere from $500 to $2500 or more depending on the experience / talent of the voice artist.

11. Music and Sound Effects 

Music is very important to the overall mood of your video. Music sets the tone and tells the viewer how to feel as they watch your video. Music complements what is happening on screen and at times music can be the most important component of your video.

Sound effects and sound design is usually only employed on higher-end video productions but these sound elements can elevate your video from good to great if done well.

Many will argue (…and I tend to agree) that audio is more important in a corporate video than the visuals. If the audio is bad in a business video – the video is bad. If the visuals are bad but the audio is good, the video may still be fine. Audio is subtle, it’s subliminal and when down very well, it’s sublime.

Video Production Cost:
A good quality music track for video starts as low as $30 for a two or three minute track. Custom audio can cost $1,000 or more depending on the experience of the musician and what is required. Licensing popular music is prohibitively expensive for all but the largest budget productions. Sound effects can be purchased for a few dollars or custom created for hundreds of dollars.

12. Location 

Video is a visual medium. Insist on strong visuals to support every aspect of your project. Choosing the right filming location is very important in the video production process and yet it’s one aspect of video production that is quite often overlooked.

I am continually having to talk businesses out of shooting in their office. I appreciate that shooting in your own office is cheap and it’s convenient, but most offices look like… offices. Most are dull, and small, and lifeless… sometimes depressing… and… I digress.

If you have a showpiece of an office, super – shoot there. If you don’t, (most don’t) then find a location that looks vibrant and reflects the mood you are trying to set in your video. Ask business associates for a favour,  or go shoot somewhere cool in a public spot until you get kicked out, or get permission to shoot somewhere, or pay for a location services company to find the perfect spot to shoot.

What about “authenticity” you ask. isn’t it ‘fake’ if you don’t use your own office? What if your office just sort of… sucks?, I respond.

How is there benefit in showing the world that your surroundings are dull, unimaginative and lifeless. You can pay your local coffee shop a couple bucks to shoot during a quiet time, you can shoot somewhere that reflects the context of what you do or who you serve, you can shoot outdoors, in a friend’s cool studio, in a museum, on the moon… anywhere but in your insipid, grey, cramped, cubicle infested, {can’t… stop… typing…} Orwellian, soul sucking, creativity stifling…

Video Production Cost:
Location costs vary from free (using your own dull office… I’m working through my issues in therapy…) to anywhere between $200 and $2000 a day for the use of a specific location to use as a backdrop for your story. Permits for access to public or private spaces can run from the hundreds to the thousands of dollars.

13. B-Roll Coverage 

Do I have enough footage to tell the story properly? Do I have enough interesting shots to keep the viewer engaged? Do I have enough transitions and angles to show how something works? Coverage is often the single biggest problem for an editor. Shooting b-roll footage is a consideration for both pre-production (you have to think through and plan this into your production schedule) and production (you will discover opportunities or deficiencies as you shoot, that require you to shoot more b-roll footage than you planned.)

Even simple talking-head interviews can be made watchable if you cut-away to something the person is talking about. Showing the viewer what is being described in the video is more informative (show me, don’t tell me) and also helps to maintain the attention of the impatient viewer. Keep in mind the viewer doesn’t really care about you – they only care about the things you do that can help them. Show them those things.

Video Production Cost:
The length of time and equipment used to capture b-roll footage will increase production costs. You can add anywhere from 10% to 50% of the total shooting costs if you need to supplement interview footage with b-roll footage.

14. Production Time

There is a direct correlation between budget and time. The smaller the budget, the more frenetic your shoot is going to be. Business owners think they are being smart by minimizing the number of shooting days to save a few bucks. They are not. If you’re rushed, you might be able to produce good work, but you’ll never do great work.

How long will each scene/interview/shot take? Are you shooting in one location or many? What are the specific requirements and constraints of each location? Are you indoor or outside? If you are shooting outside is weather a factor? If so, what happens if it rains? How much set-up time is required? Are the locations close together? What if the key executive is late? What happens when things go off the rails (…something will)?

The most important factor is the total amount of time required for production. There are few economies of scale for time – but with good planning you can do a lot within a specific period of time.

Video Production Cost:
Video production shooting costs are arithmetic. Two days of shooting is generally twice as expensive as one day. (If shooting extends for many days or is regularly scheduled then most companies offer a discount). Some production companies charge half-day rates, some do not.

15. Camera and Lenses

Like software, the differences in hardware are starting to decrease to the point of not mattering. Most cameras today shoot 4k, slo-motion, high dynamic range and come equipped with good or very good optical sensors.

That said, the quality and flexibility of the camera you shoot with can still make a difference in the finished quality and editing options for your video. Are you shooting on a a $1,500 mirrorless camera, a $15,000 Full featured Cinema Camera or a $150,000 ARRI Alexa?

The pace of technological advancement and change in videocameras continues at break-neck speed. Spending money on a good set of lenses is a better investment than buying a camera which will be rendered obsolete a month after its release.

Bottom Line: You should be able to see the difference in the final output quality in more expensive cameras. If you can’t, then it’s not worth paying for. Your final delivery channel will also determine the need for specific cameras. Streamed video on the internet (where the vast majority of corporate videos are seen) doesn’t require 4k or higher resolution cameras to capture your content because most of that quality will be lost in optimization for web delivery.

Video Production Cost:
You can spend between $50/hour and $500/hour or more depending on which digital camera package is used.

16. Production Equipment

The more experienced video production companies will have a wide variety of tools and equipment on hand for each shoot. Do you need a track dolly, a jib-arm or a motion rig with a gimbal to create a shot with movement? Do need a drone to capture aerial footage? Do you have a high quality field monitor to know exactly what you are getting (or not getting) as you shoot? Do you have all the necessary audio equipment (lav’s, direction mics, booms etc) to capture the audio you need?

Lighting and framing are everything in video. Do you have lights – lots of different lights to accommodate a wide variety of shooting scenarios? Do you have a variety of lenses to create the specific feel you are after – wide angle, fixed focal length or Cine lenses for narrow depth of field, etc?

While most production companies don’t charge line-item prices any more for most of these various pieces of equipment (drones are the exception here as they require special skills and licensing) these costs will be factored in to the total cost of production.

Video Production Cost:
Equipment cost can run anywhere from $25/hour to $100’s/hour or more depending on what specific equipment is required.

17. Crew

If you’ve ever watched a movie or television show being filmed you’ve likely noticed the need for a rather large crew on the set. Production assistants, camera crew, lighting tech, audio tech, drivers, etc., can all be employed depending on the scope of your project.

Most business web video productions don’t require more than two people (and sometimes one is enough) but depending on the complexity of the shoot you may require a crew of three or more. If you are conducting man on the street interviews as an example, you need a cameraman, a sound man and a directer / interviewer. Concept videos like broadcast commercials will often require a large crew to help with the logistics of handling more expensive equipment and gear.

Video Production Cost:
Expect to pay between $ 25 and $75/hour/person for experienced crew. A field production engineer who has his own equipment (i.e. field recorder, mics, boom pole etc.) typically costs between $50 and $75 per hour. A lighting technician may cost between $30 and $50 per hour.

18. Extras

You want your video to have energy. You want your business or location to have life – to look busy and not like your entire office is out in the parking lot during a fire drill.

You also need the “right” people to be in the background of the various shots in your video. Getting the right people into your shot (aside from the on-screen talent) is very important and yet it is quite often a significant challenge. Businesses typically on’t want to pay ‘extra’ to have people standing around and yet businesses will happily drag their overworked, unwilling employees away from their paid jobs to stand around.

The problem with this is that these co-opted employees (who hate to be volun-told) may or may not (usually ‘may not…’) be the right people you want in your shot. They’re probably going to be grumpy and they’re almost always under some time constraint. Perfect!

A small investment in extras can go a long way.

Video Production Cost:
Hiring extras can run between from $10/hour to $30/hour depending on who is needed and whether you are hiring them directly or going through a service.

19. Studio Shooting

Do you require the use of a sound stage or studio? Do you need a controlled environment to shoot in? Are you shooting green screen and keying out the background in edit? The use of a studio has to be factored into the overall cost of the production one way or another.

Larger companies often add studio time into their overall shooting costs while other companies include it as a line item as studio rental time. Owning a contained video studio used to be standard practice for video production companies but the number of companies that own their own studios has dropped significantly as most have found it easier to rent/book studio time rather than owning a complete sound studio. Studio owners pay for their studio whether it gets used or not.

Video Production Cost:
Factor in between $100/hour and $ 400/hour depending on the size of the studio.

20. Set, Props, Equipment

Are there other special props or pieces of equipment that need to be included in your shoot? Do you need to hire a van, rent furniture, hire a plane or helicopter for an aerial shot or bring in special equipment for the shoot? These all have to be factored in to the cost of the shoot.

Video Production Cost:
Costs will depend on the unique requirements of the shoot and can range from cheap (if you do it all yourself), to moderate (if you rent equipment yourself) to expensive (if you hire a company to perform all of these tasks for you.)

21. Stock Footage and Photos

Do you require supplemental footage or images to support your video? Why pay to shoot and edit a time-lapse video of your cityscape if you can buy a good one for $25.

There are many, many websites that sell high quality still images and video footage. Like everything else on the internet, the quality and availability and price of stock footage and images continues to improve. There are some websites giving free footage away as a loss-leader. (Everything tends to ‘free’ on the internet.)

Video Production Cost:
Stock images start at free and you usually pay between $3 and $25 for a good quality image. Stock footage starts around $30 and can go to around $500 on higher-end websites like Getty Images. As always, you tend to get what you pay for.

22. Geographic Location

New York City is more expensive to shoot in than Traverse City, Michigan because the cost of living is much, much higher in New York. Half-day rates don’t exist in some large cities today.

Small cities won’t have all the equipment and facilities that production companies in large cities do. The same holds true for countries. Shooting in parts of England or France can be very expensive. the cost of living in large western centres is considerably higher than in smaller towns.

Shooting in Shanghai can be very cheap if you find the right local company or very expensive if you (are able to) bring in a production team from outside the country. Often the best arrangement is to have key personnel like the director and DOP travel to your location and hire crew locally.

Video Production Cost:
Expect to pay between 25% and 50% more if you are shooting in a large city.

23. Teleprompter

A teleprompter can save a shoot. Even the most experienced speaker can be intimidated by lights, crew and camera. While it’s true that you can often tell when someone is reading a teleprompter, that may still be preferable to the agony of a shoot spiralling out of control because your CEO couldn’t remember his lines.

The best use of a teleprompter is as a guide to give the presenter queues on what to say rather than having them read word for word. It’s also very difficult to inject emotion and passion into something that you’re are reading verbatim. You will also need to hire an experienced teleprompter operator who can make changes on the fly and keep pace with the read.

Video Production Cost:
Teleprompter and teleprompter operator usually cost between $300 and $600 for a half day.

24. Length of the Video

The longer the video, the more it will cost you to make. Viewership drops off precipitously after a minute on the web. Business videos tend to be around a couple of minutes although this varies considerably depending on the type and purpose of your video.

There are no hard rules for the correct length of  a video on the web but there are some good general guidelines for video length. Keep in mind that filming an articulate talking head (limited editing) for ten minutes is much, much cheaper than creating a 30 second commercial. So…

Video Production Cost:
All things being equal (they never are…) consider longer to be more expensive, but it’s not arithmetic. An extra minute of video might only cost you 10% more if you have planned the extra requirements into your overall production workflow.

25. Are you dealing direct or going through a third party for your video?

Are you working directly with the video production company making your video or are you going through a marketing firm, ad agency or some other middleman – who is contracting the project out to a production company? While many agencies now have in-house video capabilities, many still outsource this work.

Video Production Cost:
You should expect that you are paying at least a 20% mark-up if you are going through a third party.

26. Special event-related equipment

Are you creating a live feed that needs to uplink to a server and the web? Are you doing live mixing on-site to feed on-stage screens? Are there special location-based requirements that your event requires to coordinate video between multiple rooms at your venue? Do you have to get footage to media or event partners on the same day? Events have their own unique requirements and equipment.

Video Production Cost:
You can pay hundreds or thousands of dollars extra for specialized event-related video gear.

27. Licensing/Union Fees

Are you using any media assets that are subject to ongoing licensing or usage fees? The web continues to drive all costs down including licensing fees – but these fees still exist.

Are you employing specialized talent that require you to pay union rates and fees? There is more non-union talent available than ever before but the top strata of talent are usually members of  SAG, ACTRA or some other union.

Video Production Cost:
Costs vary depending on the project and talent and assets required.

28. Catering / Craft Services

Whether your crew is small or large you have to take care of them. Feed them well and treat them well and you will get your best work from them. I’ve worked through many lunches and worked many very long days and I know that when I start to get fatigued and / or hangry, I am not doing my best work.

Video Production Cost:
Costs for catering / craft services will depend on the size of the crew. $25 per person per day is reasonable on a small shoot.

29. Hair and Make-up

On lower budget projects a brush and a container of neutral blush (to remove an oily or sweaty appearance on your talent’s face) can go a long way. If you have both the budget and the requirement then it is a good idea to hire a hair and makeup expert to help ensure your subjects look great on camera.

It’s also a good idea to have them watch the shoot to ensure continuity. These professionals typically work full-time in the industry – mostly on entertainment projects or come from the beauty industry working as cosmeticians specializing in weddings.

Video Production Cost:
Cost vary considerably but a reasonable range is from $35/hr to $75 per hour.

30. Digitizing, transcoding, transfers, rendering and uploading

There’s a great deal of digital fussing with video. Some production companies bury all of the digital handling costs and others break them out. Are you getting footage from your client to include in the video? Do you need to transfer video and create special back-up files based on the clients requirements? How many times do you have to render files for preview and final delivery? How are you transferring the files and where are they all going: your web server, YouTube, The Academy Awards?

All of these tasks may only take a few hours of work each but, depending on the complexity of the job and the known (or unknown) requirements of your client. you could spend many man-days doing this work.

Video Production Cost:
Sometimes these costs are buried, sometimes they are line items. Tape transfers, while infrequent, are very expensive ($100’s of dollars).  Rendering and uploading time are usually buried in the costs but can also be charged out at an hourly rate ($30 – $75 per hour).

31. Formats

How many different formats does your video have to be rendered in? Where is your video going to be seen? Do you need a short version (editing down) and a long version? Does it sit in a multiplayer or is it in three different players? Should you break it up into pieces to make the length of it a little less evident and also to allow the user a bit more control? How many different devices and screens will this be seen on? Do you need to create multiple format of your video for different delivery methods (i.e. 16×9 for web, 9×9 for facebook and instagram and 9×16 for mobile devices?)

Video Production Cost:
Adapting multiple formats for a video can add 5% to 10% to the cost of the job depending on how much editing is required.

32. Language and Translation

Do you need closed captions? Do you need language versioning? Do you need sub-titles for a different language? Do you need to dub in different language narration for different markets?

Video Production Cost:
Language versioning can add 5% to 15% to the overall cost of the job. (Editing and proofing of multiple languages can be very time consuming.)

33. Interactivity

Are you creating linear video or are you building in interactivity? Is there a direct call-to-action that you want to get the viewer to follow? Do you require special programming or a custom player to realize the potential of your interactive video? You can create a video with multiple paths, multiple endings or you can create a video that drives a specific action, such as going to a website to order a product or stopping the linear video to interact with some tools embedded in the player. The options are endless.

Video Production Cost:
Expect to pay between 10% and 30% more to develop interactivity and programming to support the functionality of your video. Back-end, database work will cost even more.

34. Hosting

Is your video is going to live on the web? If so, where is it being hosted? You might end up hosting it on different servers (your own, YouTube, a business portal, etc.) depending on your business needs.

Video Production Cost:
Hosting is either free or relatively inexpensive ($ 5 – $25 / month/video depending on bandwidth usage.)

35. Miscellaneous Fees

Everyone hates lawyers ‘disbursement fees’. Video production has the equivalent in ‘Miscellaneous fees’ which cover things like travel costs, mileage, hotels, transportation, contingency fees, out-of-pocket expenses, etc. It all adds up and someone has to pay for it.

Video Production Cost:
Often in the $100’s
of dollars and typically in the $1,000’s of dollars on larger shoots.

Whew! So I need a video produced. Where do I start?

Now you understand the cost of various elements associated with video production how do you develop a budget for your video? Here are some questions (and answers) to help you through the process.

Do you have a budget and are you willing to share that budget?

Every business has a budget and yet most businesses are reluctant to share budget figures hoping they will get an amazing deal if they don’t disclose anything.  I’ve been on both sides (client and agency side) and I always had better results when I said, “Here’s my budget, here are my business objectives, what can you do for me?” If you don’t declare a budget then the production company has to guess at your budget. Does this make sense? Does the company that guesses closest to your undeclared budget win? At some point you’ll have to determine how much money you can spend on your video project.

What if I have no idea what a video production costs?

If you don’t know what different types of videos cost then I’d recommend calling a video production company or two and get them to show you their work and have them tell you approximately what each video they showed you cost and why. You can also show them a reference video that you like and get them to tell you ‘about’ how much something like that would cost to make. Most production companies can provide ballparks like this very easily.

What if I have an idea for a video and I want to cost it out?

That’s another great opportunity to chat with a video production company to determine if they understand your business and your business needs. Having said that, it’s always a good idea to tell the video production company your business problem (instead of the type of video you want) and listen to what they have to say. They might surprise you (in a good way).

How can I tell which production company will do the best work?

I present to you an easy, three step answer to solve this conundrum:

1. Ask people whose opinion you trust for video production company recommendations.
2. Check out the work of those production companies on their websites.
3. Call a few of them and talk to them about your project.

Let us know what we missed or if you have any comments or questions about this post.


Set, props, equipment, extras.Aside from video production equipment are there other special props or pieces of equipment that need to be included as part of the costs. Do you need to rent a van, rent furniture, hire extras, hire a plane or helicopter for an aerial shot or bring in special equipment for the shoot. These all have to be factored in to the cost of the shoot.
Costs:Depends on what is required.
Jimm Fox


Jimm has been working in video and marketing for the last 25 years agency side, client side and in video production.

    1. Trenton – I’ve used it many times to explain /rationalize my production estimates. I find it works best if you show it to potential customers before you provide a quote. Thanks for the feedback!

  1. I didn’t even think about how small cities won’t have all the equipment that large cities do. The cost must vary a lot in each place, from country to country or even city to city. I’ll have to make sure the place I choose is on the cheaper side.

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