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“I NEED A 3 MINUTE VIDEO. HOW MUCH WILL THAT COST?”

At Real Visuals, we get this type of question a lot.

Our clients tell us approximately how long they’d like their video to be, and then ask us to give them a quote based on the length.

It’s not the size of the grocery bag that determines the cost. It’s what you put in it.

It’s not the length of a video that’s necessarily going to determine the price – it’s what goes into making it, and also – who makes it. Generally speaking, how much a video is going to cost is dependent on what goes into these three buckets:

  • Pre-production
  • Production (live action)
  • Post-production

Pre-production, as the word implies, is all the work that happens before production begins. This is where meetings, concept development, research, emails, calls, scheduling, story-boarding and some script writing frequently occur.

We typically try to bill this as a flat fee. Sometimes if scripts need to be re-written or storyboards go out the window on a whim, we might need to bill beyond our proposal. But we always let our clients know in advance and the reason is super clear to all parties.

Production is typically the actual shoot – for a live action video. It’s where you see real people and real locations.

In production, the pricing is mostly dependent on how many days we’re shooting, and what kind of crew members, talent and equipment need to be on set to make that shoot happen. At Real Visuals, we pride ourselves on a pretty lean crew, mostly consisting of two people: the shooter (also called Director of Photography, or camera operator), an assistant (also could be called AC, grip or PA). Our production price also includes what we typically need to accomplish most of our shoots – 1, 2 or 3 x 4K / HD cameras, our portable LED panel studio lights and professional audio recording.

At times, if more than one person is speaking at a time or we’re doing an outdoors shoot where noise levels can’t be controlled, we’ll have to include an audio operator. Other production costs could include makeup artists, actors, additional camera operators, additional lights, additional cameras, backdrops, green screens, studio or location rentals, teleprompters, stabilisers and jibs. The list goes on, but what I’ve mentioned here is usually the extent of our extraneous costs.

Post-Production

After we shoot what we need to shoot, we bring all the footage back to our studio and begin the process of turning it into a video. This is called post-production.

Post-production primarily refers to editing, but before our editor can edit, we need a roadmap in the form of a script. The script needs to reference what goes in what order, where to find interview sound bites, where to find b-roll, whether there are any graphics, what kind of music to put in the background.

In order to do this, we frequently need to send all of our interviews for transcription and our writer needs to spend a good part of the day going through those transcripts and viewing the interviews again – before beginning to weave the story together.

If our clients have narrated a pre-written script to camera, transcription is not necessary.

In addition to editing, transcription and script writing, there’s also the cost of purchasing royalty-free music, any stock footage or images, voiceovers, graphics or animation.

Typically we tell our clients to expect to pay $1500 to $2500 per finished minute including script writing, voiceover, music and pre-production. Onsite costs such as location/venue hire and extra equipment hire, catering and makeup are extra.