How Much Does A Video Production Cost?

How Much Does A Video Production Cost?

Last Updated: 2 months by Astral Studios Staff

“How much does a video production cost?” is the first thing many business people ask us. There is no easy answer to this question. It makes as much sense as asking “How much does a house cost?”

If you’re serious about your next video production, you’ll find this article informative. It explains most of the costs that go into a typical professional video production, to give you a good idea of what you can expect to pay and why.

If you’d like to cut to the chase and start putting a cost to your next video, click here:

How To Cost Your Next Video Production

BEFORE YOU CLICK – WAIT!

With video production, you usually get what you pay for. It makes sense to spend a few minutes to understand what’s involved.

My advice is to read the whole of this article. It’s important to have a good understanding of the production process and the crew requirements. You’ll find that these are a huge benefit when it comes to your next video production.

So, why is it so important for you to have this knowledge?

I have around 30 years of experience in the industry. I’ve discovered that the more informed my clients are about the production process, the better.

When a client understands the process and the costs involved, there is a much better chance of success. They are also much more likely to be satisfied with the end result.

My first exposure to video technology goes back to the days of VHS and Betamax cassettes, and then the broadcast technology of Betacam.

Although the technology has advanced beyond expectations, the basic principles of advertising and promotion have not changed. People still make the decision to buy a product based on logic and emotion.

The way content is distributed and consumed has changed dramatically. Understanding the process will give you the knowledge to find value in your video project.

This will allow the money and energy you spend on your next video to produce a return. You will generate more leads, convert leads into prospects and maintain the growth of your customer base.

People who have not been exposed to the video production industry are often shocked by the cost of having a video created for their business. On the other hand, many marketers have had tremendous results from video marketing. Video will continue to grow as the prime medium to connect and engage with customers around the world.

The demand for video content as part of a marketing strategy continues to rise. Understanding the video production process and the costs involved will help you to get the best value and return from your video content assets.

Here are some insights into the structure of a video production and the various elements, talent and digital assets that are usually considered when estimating the cost of a video.

Having this knowledge will give you the confidence to select a producer and a production company to achieve your desired outcome.

You will be better able to assess the production company you will be working with. This will allow you to tap into the value that your video will bring to your business in terms of branding, advertising and promoting your company and its products and services.

The Video Production Process

There are three main phases of video production. These are pre-production, production and post-production.

Pre-production is the planning stage, where the objectives and goals of the video are established. Planning takes into account all aspects of the process, with contingencies in case of setbacks.

Production is the phase where the principal photography is completed. This is when the largest number of people is involved – wardrobe, makeup, talent, lighting and sound crews and more. It’s usually the most expensive stage of the process.

Post-production is where the final product is assembled. This might include the recording of music and voiceovers as well as the addition of visual effects and titles. Editing the footage together into a cohesive story is a vital part of the pos-production process.

Types of Video Production

Essentially, there are two types of video production:

Animated Video

These days, animated videos are created with computers, using special software. This allows a talented artist to design and animate characters, infographic elements and text, to tell a story about a product or service.

There are hundreds of visual styles and many ways to creatively express and promote your product or service.

Live Action Video

This involves recording with one or more video cameras. It could mean recording a company spokesperson or actor in a video studio or in your office space, factory or warehouse. It might involve staff interaction and perhaps a physical demonstration of your product or service.

Green screen studio facilities let us digitally insert any background behind a presenter. For example, we could shoot footage of activity in your warehouse and insert it behind a spokesperson. This provides the illusion that they are standing in the warehouse, while  they are actually being recorded in a controlled studio environment.

Stock footage is often used to include a local or global perspective or theme in a production. If you want a shot of an African sunrise, there’s no need to send an expensive camera crew out at dawn. Carefully-selected stock footage can save a lot of time, money and resources.

When appropriate, live action footage can also be combined with animation and visual effects.

Crew and Personnel Requirements

Who are the people behind a production company and why are they important to the video production process?

Marketing videos require a level of professionalism and artistic flair. This needs to be combined with the insight to convey the right message that will engage with your audience.

Pricing is indicated for a middle of the road highly professional and seasoned crew.

Level of Production – Low budget is for quick event and internal videos.

Why do you need a producer?

Apart from you, the producer is the most important person in your production.

The producer will plan and coordinate your entire production. More importantly, they will work with you to ensure that your creative, marketing and financial goals are met. They will make sure that your production successfully conveys your intended message to your target audience.

The producer will carry out or oversee a number of essential elements of your production. These include:

  • Research and script development
  • Coordination of the video shoot
  • Selection of people to interview
  • Selection of voice artists, presenters, locations and venues
  • Scheduling of the production process from pre-production to post-production editing and distribution.

The producer is also responsible for arranging and managing the finances of the production.

Why do you need a director?

A director’s role is vitally important. The director is responsible for the creative aspects of your video production. This includes the production design as well as the overall “look and feel” of the video.

The director’s job is to tell a story with video and audio.

 In the corporate world there are many situations that need to be portrayed in a way that makes sense and that will be well received by the target audience.

Each company has a brand ethos and certain values that they pursue. The director’s role is to ensure that  these values are reflected in the final production.

This includes thoughtful handling of sensitive issues and industry-related nuances to environmental, safety, health and security aspects.

The use of lighting, camera angles, tone and pace should be in line with the topic and underlying theme of the production.

Directors and producers need to constantly keep up with the  technological and artistic advances in their field. 

Cameraman/Videographer/Cinematographer

If you are planning a live action video, you will probably need at  least one of these people.

A cameraman (a.k.a. camera operator) is responsible for the operation of a video or film camera. They are technically well-versed in all aspects of camera operation, including recording formats, camera settings and the various lenses available.

The job is a bit more complicated than just placing a camera in position and pressing “Record”.

The cameraman is expected to collaborate with the production team. They may be required to work in a two-person production unit, with only a producer/director. In this case, they will often be responsible for performing the work of a sound recordist as well. In practice, this entails microphone placement and audio monitoring in addition to operating the camera.

The term videographer is usually associated with the video recording of functions and other events, such as weddings etc.

A Cinematographer (a.k.a Lighting Cameraman, Director of Photography) is usually associated with large scale productions for cinema, high-end television commercials and television series. These use high-end digital cameras with 4K or 8K resolutions, and sophisticated lighting setups. The cinematographer will be in charge  of the lighting and camera crews, and will be directly responsible for achieving the director’s creative vision.

Some of the costs involved:

Lighting Cameraman/D.O.P.         R4,500.00 per day
Camera Operator                          R2,800.00 per day
Camera and equipment                R3,500.00 per day

Selecting the right camera and lenses your director will discuss the overall look and feel for your video production. Choosing the right camera equipment and lenses is paramount when it comes to getting the right look.

The general principle is to record at the highest resolution available, to capture as much detail as possible. It’s always possible to remove unwanted details in post-production, but more difficult (and expensive) to add details which aren’t present.

Most professional video cameras these days will record in 4K or 8K resolution. Of course, this level of quality won’t be visible on a mobile phone, but it’s essential for large screen viewing.

Camera kits, including basic lighting and sound recording, may vary from R1,500.00 to R5,000.00 or more per day, depending on the type of shoot.

So all in all, a day’s shoot may cost between R5K and R10K including cameraman.

Post-production – Editing and Grading

The video editor is one of the most important people in the video production process. Editing is the key to combining pictures and sound in a way that makes us feel emotionally connected to the story we’re watching.

Editing is the art and technique of assembling the recorded footage into a sequence that tells a story. But the editor is not there to mechanically splice shots together. Editors usually play a critical and dynamic part in the making of a video.

Colour correction (or grading) is done in post-production. Most videos are captured in a “flat” format – as much information as possible is captured, without alteration. This results in a basic, plain look, which is not aesthetically pleasing.

Colour grading allows the image to be altered for aesthetic and communication purposes. A good example is “Day for Night”, where video is shot during the day time and colour-corrected to look as if it was shot at night.

The colourist creates a “look and feel” to suit the needs of the story.

There are 4 stages in the editing process:

  1. Offline editing (piecing the story together) – around R3600.00 per day
  2. Online editing (grading and finishing) – around R4220.00 per day
  3. Logging, Digitizing and Subtitling – around R1150.00 per day
  4. Sound design and music selection – around R3500.00 per day

Example of a one- day shoot comprising 2 hours of RAW footage.

One day offline editing R3 600.00
Online Grading 3 hours3 x R525.00R1 575.00
Log/Digitizing and subs 3 hours3 x R140.00R   420.00
Sound design & Music selection 3 hours3 x R435.00 R 1305.00
TOTAL  R 6 900.00

Animator: Why use animation?

Animation can help you to communicate clearly. Indeed, it provides a professional way to explain your business model and processes.

It can educate your target audience so that they understand how your products and services can help them. Moreover, this is particularly important for people who are actively seeking solutions to their problems.

For more information about 2D and 3D animation and how they can help you to communicate ,please see our article: How 2D & 3D animations are used in business communication and marketing videos.

Video Effects (VFX) and Compositor

The VFX/Compositor is the digital artist who makes it all “shine”. They create a look that engages the imagination with awe-inspiring visual entertainment.

This is where the digital effects are added to a video. They are added to or composited over live footage to enhance the visual experience. These could be dynamic layers of infographics and text elements as well as realistic digital simulations.

Elements like light effects, glints, sparkles and fire can be added. Smoke and clouds, water, digital worlds and computer data simulations can be used. High energy viscous motion effects, fluid bursts, swirling slow-motion and a myriad of combinations can add a visual dimension that makes your video stand out and gives it that creative polished look.

Voice and Narration Recording

Many corporate videos use a voice-over to guide the audience. A professional voice-over artist will be engaged to narrate the script for your video.

It’s the director’s job to find the right voice artist to provide the required delivery, tone and pace. Astral Studios have worked with voice artists in many languages, and can readily match the requirements of the script to an artist with the appropriate vocal skills.

Music – Sound Effects and Final Mix

There are a number of music libraries available. Some are free, and others are paid. The paid libraries generally offer better selections.

In fact, some of the paid music libraries specifically cater to corporate, documentary and product launch videos. They offer a huge range of musical themes for action, fun, heroic, peaceful, cinematic and calming emotions.

In cases where the budget allows, you can consider having a unique theme song or jingle arranged by a music composer.

Review and Distribution

This is the whole reason for making a video in the first place.

Here are some distribution channels you may want to consider, depending on your target audience:

Company Website

These days, buyers tend to do detailed research before ever talking to a sales person. This means that it’s important to provide useful product and service information on your website.

Email

If you have a database of email subscribers, you could send a link to the video page to all of them, or to a segment (e.g. people who have expressed interest in this kind of product).

Landing Pages

Including video on a landing page can help to increase your conversion rate.

Blogs

If you generate leads with a blog, you may find that people visit it with the expectation of finding videos. A huge number of people actively search for videos when making purchase decisions. In addition, people who watch videos are more likely to buy.

Social Media: YouYube, Vimeo, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram

Your target audience and their buyer’s journey will help you to decide how and where your video content should be delivered.

Target audience:

Just because you’ve made a video doesn’t mean that you should share it everywhere.

The first thing to consider is the platform or platforms to use. Your buyer persona should guide you here – where would your target audience go for the type of information you want to share? How appropriate is your content for that platform?

As an example, a detailed product demo might work better on a website page about the product rather than as a social media post.

People may see it as too promotional and sales driven. Not only will they not watch it, but they may find it irritating, and could unsubscribe, unfollow or down-vote it.

On the other hand, a video like this can increase the conversion rate of a landing page, simply because videos convert better than text. Research has shown that visitors who watch videos tend to stay on websites longer and visit more pages than those who don’t.

On social media, videos that focus on the awareness stage of the buyer’s journey tend to work better.

The Buyer’s Journey:

Video can be effective at each stage of the buyer’s journey.

On YouTube, you can make use of annotations to direct viewers to relevant pages on your website, to other social media channels, to blogs and to other videos.

You can also make use of links in the description to steer viewers to content which provides further information for their consideration.

Interesting visuals and a well-written description will increase the chance of your videos being shared. If your content is properly branded, you can tap into a much wider audience.

How to Cost Your Next Production

Choose the style you like. This includes the pace, the emotional feel and the way to drive your message.

Think about how best to demonstrate your product or service. Would animation or live action video work best?

Write these thoughts down – they will give your producer an idea of where to start conceptualising.

Don’t stifle your imagination and enthusiasm at this stage. You may think that you can’t afford animation and visual effects. Modern technology provides some very affordable solutions.

In 1980, an animated clip of flying through the clouds might have cost you R40k – or around R400k adjusted for inflation. With today’s technology, it could cost as little as R70.00!

Script – Pre-production

Who is driving the story?

Will it be told by actors or by professional presenters? Will you use interviews? Narration? Will there be titles?

What’s the best way to tell your story so that your target audience will understand and appreciate it?

 

The Simple Way To Estimate The Costs Of A Video Production

1. Choose the Animation Style

Here are some examples of animation styles so that you can decide which approach you would like to take.

Infographics – Motion graphics animation utilizing infographics, text, iconography with simple backdrops. This style takes about 5 days per minute to animate.

EXAMPLE: Energy Management Systems UNIDO & CSIR

2D animation – 2D Flat character animation with detailed 2D appropriate scenes, text and effects. This style takes about 7 working days per minute to animate.

EXAMPLE: Nextour Business Management Software

3D animation – 3D characters, products & scenes. Realism, detail and depth of microcosm, internal workings, assembly, and interactions. Good for marketing and informative videos depicting technical aspects. This style takes about 10 working days per minute to animate.

EXAMPLE: RotoTank Septic Tank & Soak Away Promo

EXAMPLE: CIPC – XBRL Explained

2. Determine The Length Of The Video

Write down a rough draft of what you want to say in the video and count the number of words

  • 60 seconds is about 110 – 120 words
  • 90 seconds is about 165 – 180 words
  • 120 seconds is about 220 – 240 words
  • 180 seconds is about 330 – 360 words

3. Check with our Rate Sheet

Please enquire with a brief description of your proposed video project to info@astrastudios.co.za to receive this.

  • Once you have chosen the style and length, you can determine the base price for the video.
  • Please note that the Rate Sheet is V.A.T. exclusive, so V.A.T must be added.
  • The Rate Sheet includes scripting, storyboarding, narration, animation, editing and music from our library.
  • Should you choose to have a custom jingle composed, please add R15,000.00 to the base price.
  • We can most certainly adjust pricing according to your specific requirements.

4. In the Meantime, Collect Data To Save Time

Please source all technical designs, (as per your website), photos and descriptions of the material that will be needed to create the animation models and sequences.

Examples: Studio Production Recording Rates

  • One day Studio Recording
  • 3 days editing

For Training and Promotional Marketing videos

R xxx

Includes lighting, camera and cameraman and studio.

Basic editing with clean background and intro titles R xxx

Add visual effects R xxx

Add custom-designed backdrop set to suit your brand R 5K

Add stock footage R 25 per clip from our library.

Additional rare and exceptional stock $70.00 per shot

For Corporate Videos

On location

1 Day shoot

3 DAY edit

Add Stock, R xxx

Add Visual Effects R xxx

No two videos are the same.

There are too many variables that affect the right production choices necessary to achieve your goals.

Let us help you determine the best value for money options with a free consultation. 

Length of video / animationInfographics / motion graphicsStock footage & visual effects2D animationShoot footage & animationFull 3D animation
 Motion graphics animation utilizing infographics, text and iconography with simple backdrops.  Another alternative whiteboard style animation.Combination of stock Footage (stock HD & 4K footage library across all industries) and themed graphics and visual effects. Quick production turnaround time.2D flat character animation with detailed 2D appropriate scenes, text and effects. Good for storytelling, explainer and educational videos.Combination of Footage (shot on location or in studio), some stock footage, and animated infographics. For real live demos / scenarios.1 main 3D character, products & scenes. Realism, detail and depth. Microcosm of human anatomy and chemical interactions at molecular level.  Architectural walkthroughs.
30 sec19,99930,36523,05542,39557,225
60 sec30,18038,89534,66849,64581,645
90 sec40,79045,99547,88058,180106,890
120sec OPTIMAL50,15052,45559,89664,930131,250
3 min68,09063,45585,10875,615182,615
4 min86,15575,690105,32087,610235,820
5 min105,08886,955121,80099,575288,065
5 min plusPlease contact us to quote you as per your requirements at irene@astralstudios.co.za
  
 The following comes standard with each animation / footage package
 * Scripting – up to 3 revisions
 * Storyboard depiction of the final script
 * Professional narration – choice from voice artist bank
 * 3 rounds of revisions to the animation / editing
 * Digital editing and sound track from music library

Advertising and Promotional Reel

Startup slideshow display advert

  • Client supplies photos OR studio supplies photos from stock library.
  • Client provides info in 5 – 10 short sentences.
  • We compile a short slideshow display advert with music only.
  • Can add script and professional narration.

Big Time

Zamalwandle

Kriel

Stock footage and visuals effects

  • Combination of stock footage (HD & 4K footage from library across all industries) and themed graphics, visual effects & animation.
  • 2 – 3 weeks production time.

Differential Capital

Rancor 2020

WellCorp

Live action footage, VFX and animation

  • Live action footage (shot on location or in studio and stock footage from library), graphics, VFX & animation.
  • Company, products & services. 
  • 2 – 3 weeks production time.

Galencia Properties
(shot on location with ‘actors’)

Kimleigh Ambidex
(shot on location with ‘actors’)

Emperors Palace 60 Sec
(shot on location with ‘actors’)

Infographics

  • Motion graphics animation with infographics, text, iconography and minimalistic backdrops. 
  • OR whiteboard-style animation.
  • 4 – 5 days production time per minute

Infographics & Motion Graphics Explainer Video

Energy Management Systems UNIDO & CSIR

2D animation

  • 2D Flat character animation with detailed 2D-appropriate scenes, text and effects.
  • Storytelling, explainer and educational videos.  
  • 5 – 7 days production time per minute

2D Animation Explainer Video with Characters

JN Residential

Nextour Business Management Software 2 min corporate

Nextour 30 sec Advert

ACSA Feather Awards Renaming

3D animation

  • 1 main 3D character & scenes.
  • Realism, detail, depth.
  • Human anatomy microcosms and molecular chemical interactions. 
  • Architectural walkthroughs.
  • 10 – 12 days production time per minute

3D Animation Explainer Videos

One97 Hyde Park

RotoTank Septic Tank & Soak Away Promo

CIPC – XBRL Explained

OR Tambo Welcome

Rototank New Year competition