A solid marketing strategy is important for any business. As we know, including video in that strategy will be essential if you want to keep ahead of the curve – regardless of whether you’re a large corporation, start-up or local business.
If you are a small business or start-up, there may not be a lot of spare funds to invest in video or, if you’re new to the video marketing world, you might be looking to keep that investment small to begin with.
However, as with most things, you really get what you pay for and opting for the cheaper option isn’t always the best move when it comes to having a video made for your business.
The Main Costs of Video Production
There are many elements that make up a video production. If you’re looking to hire a video production company, it’s important to understand and consider each of these elements so you’re aware of all the costs that will make up a quote.
Before a production company even thinks about hitting record, there’s a lot of planning and preparation to be done. It can take many hours to brainstorm and develop a concept. Then there’s scriptwriting and storyboarding; all important stages if you want filming to be efficient and successful. Each of these steps will incur an hourly charge or a pre-agreed sum.
There can be many costs involved in the filming stage of production depending on the scale of the project. The biggest costs will often be crew, studio or location hire, film equipment and lighting. A typical crew member can cost between £100 – £500 per day and camera kit between £250 – £3,000 per day. Studio hire can be hundreds of pounds per day – and that doesn’t even include set design!
Editing and post-production will bring your entire project together. Depending on the brief, it could take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.
The hidden costs
The production company will be responsible for catering and travel costs, and will also need someone to project manage and take care of the admin side of things (looking after release forms, call sheets, location details, liaising with hire companies, etc.).
If your video requires music and voice over, this will also incur costs. These costs are often set by organisations like the Performance Rights Society. Everything is negotiable, but it’s good etiquette to follow and respect these union guidelines wherever possible. A music track or a voice over can cost hundreds of pounds, with actors costing similar amounts.
Getting a quote
As video is very much a bespoke craft, many video production companies won’t have prices on their website. You’ll need to get a tailor made quote by contacting each company directly with any ideas and requirements you might already have. Send a variety of companies – large and small – the same brief. We recommend requesting quotes from at least three companies. You’ll most likely get back a wide range of prices, so you can start ruling out the ones that are way out of your budget.
The Drawbacks of Cheap
That being said, you should think twice about immediately opting for the lowest price. The cheapest quote won’t necessarily be the best choice for your business. Sometimes, video production companies offer cheap prices for a reason – and not a good reason!
Here are a few points to be aware of:
Quality should be the most important factor when choosing a video production company, alongside cost. The cheapest price may buy you a poorly made video, which can be as harmful as not employing video marketing at all. It’s all about trying to strike a balance that is appropriate for your company.
You can get a good idea of the quality that a video production company will provide by taking a look at their portfolio. You don’t have to be an expert to judge whether their videos are up to scratch. Ask yourself: are they aesthetically pleasing? Do they sound good? Are the motion graphics and/or animation professional and effective?
The right equipment plays a big part in producing a well made video. If a video production company is asking for a low price, they may not be offering you the best resources. They might have access to a top-of-the-range camera, but do they have decent lighting and sound equipment? These are assets that are often under-considered but will make or break a video.
A low price can also buy you an inexperienced team. This may not only compromise the quality of your video, but could mean slow production timescales and unreliability.
Look at the clients who have commissioned the production company in the past. If you see names you recognise – whether it’s big companies or a few local businesses that you know of – then that’s usual a good sign. Even if you don’t recognise any clients, a varied portfolio shows that a company is probably more versatile and experienced.
If you’re new to video marketing, you may not have many ideas. So, when you’re hiring a video production company, you should hope to take advantage of their knowledge, creativity and expert opinion.
A company that is offering you a low price, they may also be offering you a passive approach and could be unwilling to offer any creative input that will help you leverage the total potential video has to offer.
When cheap is good
While there are many drawbacks of cheap, you shouldn’t immediately dismiss every cheap quote you receive.
If you’re a new client and a company really wants to work with you, a good video production company will sometimes offer a lower quote for the first video to gain your business. This is just good customer service and is also a financial gamble for the video production company.
Companies that have just started up and don’t have a massive portfolio of work might also be looking for their first clients. If the company is honest and the quality of any videos they’ve produced is high, there’s no harm in considering them.
If you have a good idea of what your budget is, don’t be afraid to be upfront about it. A good, experienced production company will be happy to work out a proposal for you based on your budget. They will find creative ways to keep costs low without affecting the overall quality and may have contacts in the industry that will allow them to source cheaper options.
Trust your gut!
Sometimes gut instinct, regardless of price, will be your best guide. Be sure you’ve seen examples of the production company’s work, spoken to someone from the company directly, received a quote, and ensured that the company understands your business and vision.
If you get the feeling that you can trust a company with your business, then you should trust that judgement.
As the CEO & Founder of a Video Production Agency, I know a bit about video marketing. Need help with video? Drop me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org!