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Setting a budget for a video – where to start?

Commissioners guides

How long is a piece of string?

How much does a video cost?  If we had a pound for every time we’ve been asked that question…  we’ve made films with budgets from £1,500 to £300,000.  However, it’s fair to say that most of the films we make tend to have budgets of between £5,000 and £40,000.  This article aims to help consider how to set a sensible budget for your project.

As with all things in life, there is an element of you get what you pay for.  However, some elements of video production are more expensive than others.  For example, animation and motion graphics generally need to be created frame by frame so can quickly consume a budget and every additional second will increase the cost.  However, talking heads and interviews tend to be more economical, but not necessarily any less powerful, and leaving an interview clip long has virtually no financial impact.

What’s it worth to YOU?

We believe your budget should be linked to the value a video might deliver.   Consider the potential direct and indirect financial impact increased sales, better informed staff or reduced travel costs for training may have and base your budget, as far as possible, on these figures.  Commissioning a £30,000 training film may save you £20,000 in direct travel and accommodation costs every year but it will also result in more people being trained to a consistent standard over a number of years to come.   Equally, if you want to promote a service that may increase sales by hundreds of thousands, investing in high quality graphics, celebrity voiceover and commercial music, to ensure the greatest possible impact, makes a great deal of sense.

Conversely, if an internal communications exercise will only reach 50 people and have limited impact, you may be unwise to allocate a significant budget to that project.  Whereas if it reaches thousands and has the potential have a major impact, inspiring your workforce, making a bargain basement video has the potential to do more harm than good if it damages your brand values and fails to engage with your people.

No production company can tell YOU what a video is worth to you – that’s your call.

Cut to the chase

Some production companies offer set prices – but they tend to be companies that will film an interview with your CEO, based on your questions.  While that may work for some clients, we add value to your video by helping you strategically, which is why every client gets a personal, bespoke service.  That doesn’t mean expensive,  just that every production is tailored to each clients requirements.

Perhaps the best guidance we can give is that we can deliver a very basic, short “talking head” video from £1,500 + VAT.  Videos that include multiple interviews, cutaways, music and basic graphics might range from £2,000 to £10,000 + VAT.  Animation or 3D graphics heavy projects tend to range from £5,000 to £20,000 + VAT.  Larger, more complex projects which may involve commercial music, celebrity presenters or voiceover, considerable research, complex graphics, filming abroad, helicopter aerials or other specialist facilities will generally require a specific quotation based on your detailed requirements.

The most important point to take away here is that we don’t charge for quoting or preparing proposals. We strive hard to advise clients on the best way to maximise the return on their investment. So give us a call and challenge us to do that for you.