We get asked this question a lot. We’ll try and give an answer here.
The difference between a professional video and a video that was recorded on a smartphone, or by someone who shoots videos as a hobby and doesn’t know the fundamentals of communication and video production, is twofold: a professional video is designed and created by a professional, and with professional equipment. Period.
What do we mean when we say “made by a professional”?
First of all, if you ask a professional video producer how much it costs to make a video, he will ask you a whole range of questions to understand the kind of video you want: what’s your purpose, the kind of audience you want to reach, your target, whether you already have a story scenario, whether you are going to require actors or shooting in specific locations, whether the video is intended for the television or the Web, what’s your budget.
If a “video artist” gives you a quote without asking these questions… you’re better off choosing a different one. Either they’re an amateur (and will show up unprepared on the day of the shooting), or they are plucking a figure out of thin air, and it will not be the same when it’s time to pay.
Second of all, a professional… uses professional equipment. We mean equipment on a level with tools used in professional cinema shooting. Forget the tiny sports camera or those smartphones that promise unlikely Hollywood-level results. What’s more, a professional has access to varied equipment, so they can choose the right one depending on the kind of video they are shooting (interior/exterior, day/night, static/dynamic) and the kind of effect they want to create.
Let’s now have a look on possible approximate costs for different kinds of videos. But keep in mind: when it comes to producing a video, there is no fixed price list!
The cost of any video depends on its complexity, which in turn is determined by: the kind of location used for shooting, the kind and amount of equipment that is needed, whether or not actors are used, the number of technicians needed for shooting and editing, whether or not special digital effects are used, the level of detail in editing and adding animated graphics, the time needed to shoot and edit the video. That’s why seeking the advice of a professional is paramount: they will help you understand what you can do with your budget, and will suggest how best to tweak your idea.
It is impossible to submit a quote without considering all these variables.
If you want to make a video for your company, in which to showcase products and services, tell your story and explain your values and your mission, you need the video to be at least 2 or 3 minutes long. Corporate videos are usually uploaded to corporate websites, and projected during trade shows and events. Consider a base cost of between 1,000 and 2,000 € for a 3-minute video.
The final price will depend on the variables we mentioned in point 1. For instance: in corporate videos, drones are often used, and they can cost up to 400 € per day.
For a commercial, many factors come into play, but the most important of all is strategy. It’s important to understand who you are, what you sell, who is your target, who is your audience and how to reach them. It’s important to know whether the goal is to give value to your brand or to make it more widely known. Finally, it’s important to choose the distribution channel: is the video meant to be shown on social media or on TV? Will it be broadcast on a national, regional or local level?
Usually, video commercials last no more than 30 seconds, and the short version for Instagram and Facebook runs between 10 and 15 seconds.
So the base cost, including conception, storytelling and communication, can start at 2,000 or 3,000 €. Once again, this is a base cost; it does not consider the variables mentioned in point 1, which can drive up the total.
Making a music video seems easy enough, because the audio track is ready made in the song itself (and this means less work for the editor), so the goal is just to enhance the artwork.
If production includes simply shooting the performance of a singer + editing (about 4 minutes) + delivering the video, the minimum cost will be relatively low, between 600 and 900 €. However, if you request special locations, or if you require the artist to write a story to go with the song (which means that you will also need actors), the cost draws nearer to corporate videos or commercials, at 2,000 or 3,000 €.
You don’t necessarily need a big budget to create a good video. What you need is a professional video artist: they will help you define the right budget to turn your idea into a professional product that will help you towards success. And they will make it look easy… because they are a professional.
The final product will be high quality and long lasting; it will be good advertising for you for years. In the end, the budget is not one-size-fits-all: it all depends on what you want to get from your video, and how much you want to get, too.