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A Complete Guide: How To Save on Professional Video Production Costs

Are you a business owner looking to create videos to promote your brand and drive sales? Video has exploded in popularity in the marketing…
A Complete Guide: How To Save on Professional Video Production Costs

Are you a business owner looking to create videos to promote your brand and drive sales? Video has exploded in popularity in the marketing world. Eighty-six percent of businesses use video as a marketing tool, and 93 percent of marketers who use video say it’s a crucial part of their strategy, according to Wyzowl’s “State of Video Marketing Survey” released this year. Plus, 84% of consumers have been convinced to purchase a product after watching a video. This means that you are likely to see a return on investment for your video production costs.

But when it comes to video production, quality over quantity is the name of the game. Don’t know how to get started and how much it will cost? We’ve got you covered.

Storyhunter is home to more than 36,000 world-class freelancers and production companies. So, we’re going to break these costs down and explain how you can save every step of the way.

How Much Does Video Cost?

The quick answer? It depends. A commercial shoot by a big-name company could cost upwards of $500,000, while a short branded documentary may cost $5,000. The type of video, filming location, crew size, range, and quality of equipment, as well as talent, will play a role in determining the cost of your video. The amount of pre-production and post-production your idea requires will also be a factor. If you want to get a sense of your budget or get a quote from a production company, the first step is to write a video production brief. Use the video production brief to outline your goals for the video and the scope of the project. It’s also crucial to make sure that the company you choose to work with has high-quality work samples and experience producing the type of video you want.

Getting Started: What Do You Need to Consider?

Here are the factors to weigh when determining the cost of your video production:

Video Type

What type of video do you want to produce? An animated video explaining your business requires different production skills than a cinematic commercial with actors. The higher-quality video you need, the more you can expect to spend. Spend time identifying the type of video that can best tell your brand story. In this way, you are wisely investing your money to create the most engaging outcome.

Language-learning company Rosetta Stone produced the above TVC through Storyhunter.

Instagram, the world’s largest social media network, used Storyhunter to produce this vertical mini-documentary. (Interested in vertical storytelling? Check out tips from Storyhunter freelance filmmaker Bjorn Nilsson here.)

Duration

The crew and equipment will be the same whether you are creating a one or five-minute video. For this factor, the cost will not make a huge difference unless you compare a feature film with short, branded content.

Pre-Production

The pre-production process includes scriptwriting, location scouting, and scheduling shoots, and it can take up time and money. Many production companies offer script writing services. But, if you’re looking to trim costs, opt for writing the script in-house. You can potentially receive script guidance from the production company you’ve hired. Secondly, if your shoot requires you to scout a location, then you will have to adjust your budget to include travel expenses for a scout. You can avoid this cost by hiring a local production company that already has options on where to film. In short, the more intense your pre-production, the more it will cost you.

Have a project in mind? Hire a production company or freelancer.

Crew

Production crew rates will depend on the scope of your project, type of equipment, freelancer experience, as well as the region. You can opt to hire a production company to handle the project from start to finish, which will cost you upwards of $3,000.

Here are the standard video rates for production crew members on Storyhunter platform. Please note that these don’t represent day rates or industry averages. These are entire project costs (let it be half day, couple of hours or several days) that range in location, duration and complexity. Take these as a reference point but the best way to evaluate your project is to post a brief and get direct quotes from available freelancers in your area.

  • Senior Producer $250-$3,000
  • Commercial DP $2,000-$5,500
  • Drone Operator $2,500-$3,400
  • Gaffer $250-$2,500
  • Grip $250-$2,500
  • Sound Designer $250-$2,000
  • Post-Production Manager $500-$8,500
  • Video Editor Commercial $500-$3,500
  • Colorist $250-$2,000
  • Motion Graphics Designer $250-$6,000

Are you looking to hire talent? If so, then this will dip into your budget. The good news? Unless you’re producing a big commercial production for television, you probably won’t need to worry about hiring actors, influencers, and hosts. If you’re making a branded short documentary, testimonial, or product video, consider featuring your employees or loyal customers.

Time

Time and day rates are linked. Day rates are high because they generally account for pre-production and the cost of gear. Most videographers charge by the day, so naturally, your video production costs will increase with more shooting days.

If you hire a videographer for half a day, they will charge you more than half their day rate to make up for lost time and money as they could not schedule a second gig on that day.

Travel Expenses

You may end up spending as much money on flying out a production crew to the shoot location as on the production itself. Travel expenses also include hotels and meals.

Hire a local production company or freelancers to cut costs.

Plus, the pandemic has changed video production workflows. We’re moving toward a more hybrid future: there will be a limited number of people on set (perhaps hired locally), and the director can manage the shoot remotely from the comfort of a home office. There are production companies with highly efficient remote video production workflows in place. So, look for production companies with remote technologies in place, which will help you slash costs.

Equipment

A videographer will charge you for equipment costs even if they don’t need to rent any. But this is usually part of their daily rate. It helps to protect their expensive equipment and cover the original cost of buying the gear. For bigger productions, a crew may need to rent film gear. Some companies will add this extra cost to the total, while others may incorporate it in their flat-rate fee. Save money by being more flexible about your camera and gear requirements.

Post-Production

Budget well for post-production because this is where the magic happens. Post-production includes editing, the feedback process, coloring, and grading. Editors tend to specialize in one or the other, so you may need to hire someone for editing and another person for color correction. If you want to elevate your story with design elements, you’ll need to budget for a motion graphics designer. (Check out this piece on freelance motion graphics designer Maple Shipp, who worked for Red Bull and BBC through Storyhunter.)

Get started on Storyhunter

Save with Freelancers

You can save money by hiring a freelance crew (a couple of shooters and sound technicians) instead of a full-service production company. However, if no one on your team knows how to manage video production, you will get better results by finding a production company that can see the project through to completion.

Simpler, Cheaper Payout

A major pain point for many brands is finding an easy way to pay members. Whether you’re working with an individual freelancer or an entire crew, you can use our Freelancer Management System to make simple and fast payments.

We’ve also rolled out our revamped Advances experience to give you more flexibility and features when it comes to paying your freelancers. Advances allow you to pay a freelancer while your Storyhunter projects are still underway. In the past, advances were restricted to a certain percentage of the project price. Moving forward, you can advance as much or as little as you need as well as distinguish between an advance for expenses versus project payments. Plus, making these advances is completely free and a freelancer will receive them within 30 days. There is also an option to expedite the payment for an additional service fee.


Contact our sales team who will help you get started.