Public Speaking, Presentation Skills & Media Training

This is the fourth blog in a series that will help you start or rethink your video strategy: Video Is Expensive! Or Is It? 

Video production is expensive—I hear that a lot, often from those who are paying too much. There’s this perception that paying more is the only way to get better quality, but that simply isn’t the case. So, how do you know what is reasonable?  

There was a time when video cost a predictable $1,000 per minute to produce, but the traditional formula simply doesn’t apply anymore. Instead, the price will depend on what kind of video project you want. The important thing to remember is that the low-cost approach can be just as high-quality, if it is the right approach for that project.

For example, if you want a production company to concept a video, then you should expect to pay a producer’s fee. The producer will use the information you provide (or interview experts) to develop messaging and content for you. Then they will give you different approaches or treatments. If you are not prepared to act as your own producer, hiring the right one will be the key to getting your project off the ground. Fees vary, so you can shop around before hiring someone. You can also head into the process with a rough budget that can help inform your choice of treatments. Don’t let an excited producer talk you into something you don’t need and can’t afford!

How much is too much? Again, that depends on your needs. For interviews and office/retail locations, a site survey is usually wasted money. However, a site survey for manufacturing sites, customer case studies, or unique settings can actually lower your costs. The survey helps the location prepare for the visit and helps the producer find the most efficient way to schedule the shoot. I have seen crews sit for hours because they arrived at a break time or when a facility was not busy enough to show well. Time is money.

When it comes to the actual production, there are some easy ways to figure costs. How many locations? How many people will be interviewed? How much additional b-roll will you need, and how easy is it to maneuver through a facility? Will you need actors onsite or use real employees or customers?  One camera or two?

The size of the crew should be determined by the complexity of the shoot. If it is a simple interview with additional b-roll, you do not need “Hollywood.”  More people can simply mean more disruption and unnecessary cost. I’ve seen people pay $25,000 day for productions with a crew of more than ten. A typical video case study can be accomplished with just two to three experienced production people. You can imagine the difference in cost.

Once the shoot is complete, you move to post-production, including editing and graphics. Lots of special effects will add a lot of sizzle—but do you need that sizzle? Maybe you do, and we can do it for you! But if the added cost isn’t going to bring you extra sales, go for a cleaner, simpler look.

The important point is there is no one right budget number that works for all projects. More money doesn’t lead to better results if you’re paying for things you don’t need. I like to say that I can give you the Mercedes of video production—but if what you need is a Kia, I’d rather give you a Kia, on a Kia budget. I’ll help you determine what you need for your project, and I’ll give you a very well-made Kia, if that’s what you want!


Need help with video production? I run a video production company. Let’s chat.