UNDERSTANDING VIDEO COSTS
VIDEO RUNTIME & COST
It’s important to estimate the runtime of the video that you want to produce because this will allow you to estimate how many days shoot you require, which will directly affect your video cost.
Shooting is quite an expensive and time-consuming business, so you need to order exactly the amount of shoot days you require, no more and no less.
As a rule of thumb, we reckon that each 5 minutes of runtime in your programme will need a single day of shoot.
So 15 minutes runtime equates to a 3 day shoot, and so on.
Now, this is only a rule of thumb as there are many things that may change.
For example, if your video is based around interviews (voxpops and talking heads) and you can organise the shoot to have a lot of interviews take place all in one room during a single day, you can come away with 20-30 runtime minutes shoot from a single day shoot.
On the other hand, there are other instances where you might only get 1 minute of final video runtime, or even as little as 10 seconds, from a single day’s shoot, such as when travelling to shoot a VIP just for one soundbite - or to film a special process in a special location.
Taking this further, one of the common errors corporate clients make is to overestimate the amount of runtime they need, especially with training videos, and multimedia sales presentations.
It’s not unusual to hear a manager say they need 45 minutes to an hour of runtime, only to discover the actual runtime they need is 15 minutes.
The reason that managers often overestimate is because they compare a corporate video with a spoken presentation, particularly a PowerPoint presentation, that they’ve done.
Generally a 45 minute PowerPoint presentation can be collapsed down to 15 minutes of runtime. A 20 minute presentation might go down to 5 or 10 minutes.
This is because all the asides, the anecdotes, the fat, in a spoken presentation can be cut out. And the actual information you need to relate can be structured quite tightly with focus on the essentials that really count, and less on peripheral issues.
Your video production company will guide you in this.
Brevity is crucial with corporate video.
You need solid, punchy, clear messages, sufficient for the audience to absorb and remember. You don’t need to go into every detail as you would in a PowerPoint. A video is not conversational.
It’s that clear fluidly flowing message that counts. So underestimate what you need rather than overestimate.
On the other hand, for costing purposes you may estimate that need 8 minutes runtime. We advise that you round it up to the nearest 10 so you don’t leave yourself short. Likewise if you want 4 minutes, then round up to the nearest 5, and so on.
Always round up rather than round down.
If you round down and you’re wrong, then you’ll find yourself terribly pushed trying to get a quart out of a pint pot. And you may well over-run your budget, which means having to go and ask someone for a budget extension.
Video runtime and video cost are very closely associated, so it pays to think more carefully about runtime than almost any other element of your video production budget.
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