So you’ve decided to take the leap: it’s time to enlist the help of an agency or other third party to produce your latest video project! Whether you’re ordering a video for marketing purposes, training and development, or to aid in public relations, we’re sure you want your video content to be the best it can be . . . within budget, of course.
And there’s the key word: budget. How much is this going to cost you, anyway? While we have a detailed production cost guide elsewhere on our site to help you think through project briefs and agency proposals, in this blog, we’ll give you a few more tips for how to create a budget and draw up your brief in the first place.
Form a rough production plan
To start off, think about your needs and your audience. Will customers respond best to a beautiful 3D animation of how your product functions? Will board members be most satisfied with heartfelt testimonials from senior executives on screen? Are you anticipating a custom-built film set with a relatively large acting cast, or do you want a simple motion graphics video at a very digestible length?
Quick tip: It’s okay to not know exactly what form your video will take.
Being openminded means you’ll get some exciting and varied concept pitches!
A great agency will help you think about what makes your audience tick—and they can offer the best creative solutions tailored to your situation—but if you already have a type of video in mind, you’re well on your way to envisioning budget needs.
It’s all about time
From pre-production planning and concepting to days on set and post-production editing, your project will encompass several different stages, each with its own set of creatives and the hours they’ll spend on perfecting the finished product. To work your way towards a video budget, it’s best to think about how much time the process will take.
Let’s look at an example.
One of the most costly portions of a live-action video is the production phase, where your agency will rent a location, hire actors, compile equipment, and gather crew for an exciting day (or days) of filming. If your video only requires one location and a handful of actors—and if the finished video is to run less than five minutes long—an experienced creative agency should be able to film your project in one complete day, incurring only single-day rates for all the production needs listed above. If, however, your production requires a location change, a larger cast, a custom-built set, or a running time longer than five minutes, you should prepare for two or more days of filming.
Add up the estimated hours of production to get a better idea of how much that phase may cost you. This will form a sizable portion of the final product cost.
Quick tip: Don’t forget the brainstorming and pre-production process!
Set aside at least 6-8 weeks for the planning stage of any project. This will allow your creative team to think through every detail—making the production process smoother overall—and it’ll give you plenty of breathing room to approve scripts and styles.
Take a cut of your normal budget
Lastly, consider your typical yearly budget for whatever function this video will perform in your company. Take a cut of your marketing, training, or PR budget and allot a certain percentage—whatever is industry typical, or whatever number you feel is best for your stakeholders at the time—to high-quality video solutions.
For example, last year, most companies spent around 19% of their digital marketing budget on video alone. And when evaluating total marketing budgets, companies reported that they spent around 22% on agencies, then 26% more on media.
Take a good look at your overall budget for the year, and ask yourself: what function is this video performing for me, and what is that function worth?
Quick tip: Video can have a long shelf life, depending on how you use it.
For example: one stellar marketing video could last you for an entire year as a feature on your website, various shortened social media versions, a TV spot, and an event video! And a great creative concept, used for multiple external or internal purposes, can last even longer.
Creative, high-quality video is powerful.
Developed carefully and used wisely, video is a force to be reckoned with—meaning you get value from every dollar spent on it. Think through your production plan and total budget to help you understand the cost of professional-grade video even more fully.