Q: Need to develop a corporate video production that will sell the services of our company but I have some difficulty understanding all the prices and styles of video available
National Sales Director
A: Understanding corporate video production costs can be complex even if you’ve already produced a DVD or two before.
Corporate video productions are produced to a very sophisticated level these days, so it’s worth taking a short tour of the major cost elements of a video.
The costs neatly fall into three categories:
> Preproduction costs
> Shoot costs
> Post Production cost
These are all the costs that happen or need considering before a camera gets switched on. These are often based on your overall production decisions such as:
> How long your DVD will be. The longer it is, then generally the dearer it’ll be.
> How much animation and titling you need to achieve the overall look and feel you desire. Animations and tilting obviously have costs associated with them and they’ll tend to force the price of your video up.
> Who writes your script & storyboard. An established highly creative production company is going to charge more to write your script and storyboard, than a more basic production company.
Stating the obvious, a short DVD comprising mostly video footage (ie no graphics) and written by you, will cost a lot less than a longer programme scripted by a top creative team, and using lots of 3D animation and text effects.
The biggest single cost factor affecting any video is the number of days shoot. A 3 day shoot costs a lot more than a single day’s shoot.
This is closely followed by shoot location.
For example, to travel 200 miles to shoot what will end up as only 30 seconds of runtime is relatively expensive. This will need to be justified by the business. And it might well be justified if the 30 seconds of video is a priceless testimonial from a high profile director of a Times 1000 company, or government organisation.
Shoot costs also include actors and cast.
Using actors with a plotted script injects life and credibility into a video. But the actors don’t just charge their daily rates. They’ll also expect their travel, and possibly their hotels for overnight stay, and they’ll need feeding and looking after.
Finding quality actors with the right experience who aren’t expensive and live conveniently near your shoot location obviously becomes a bonus, while shipping them 150 miles to the set isn’t.
The same applies to Presenters. They cost more than actors. A print and design agency I know recently paid £4,000 per day for 2 days of a well-known presenter. It was worth it because the face of the known presenter was all-important to the promotional message they wanted to convey.
Now here’s the rub: This particular Presenter said that if they’d gone direct to her instead of through the casting agency, she’d have done the job for half the price!
All the same, a Presenter puts a face on your video production, and can be essential for its success.
And it’s not unusual to use two presenters – think Richard & Judy, or Ant and Dec.
Post Production Costs
For any corporate video production this is a key area, and a very diverse area.
It ranges from simple video editing using regular video editing software such as Avid or Final Cut or Premier Pro, right through to producing the programme using a dedicated post production tools such as Adobe’s After FX or Boris’s Continuum.
In the first instance, the simple edit, your video footage is simply sliced up in a pleasing tidy manner to produce a programme that tells the story, usually to voiceover.
In the second instance, every second of the video is treated or affected in some way.
> Cameras can appear to pan or zoom very quickly
> Every scene is individually colourised to create a movie or colour style effect
> Lots of dubbing is used, for example, moving dubbed people and objects over background scenes. This has been standard fare in TV ads for years, and now becoming an established part of corporate video production, especially now that high end production prices have dropped.
The above are just a few of the impressive looking effects that can come into post production and they all lift the price up from the basic point & shoot to voiceover style of video editing.
When you also consider stylish titling and captioning you can see costs increase further.
Quality music also adds to the bill. But a brilliant music theme can make a vital difference in winning hearts and minds.
Perhaps you can start to see how one corporate video production company can charge as little as £5,000 while a more upmarket creative company might charge £15,000 for the same project.
Corporate video production standards vary widely.
It means you have to look at lots of samples of different work to find out what you think you really need for your corporate DVD message to work. It’s usually best to be open about your budget, as this will encourage a video producer to tailor their price and creativity to what you have available.
You’ll get more this way than by simply asking production companies to bid blind against your video specification.
Hopefully you’ll also have a little less difficulty unravelling the price points behind different corporate video productions.