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How Much Does Video Production Cost? Outsource vs DIY Price Breakdowns

As with most creative disciplines, the range of cost can vary dramatically. For this reason, the answer to “How much does marketing video production cost?”  can be frustratingly vague.

Before diving into ballpark figures, we want to emphasize something: No matter the size of your budget, video marketing can work for you. For instance, Blendtec spent less than $50 producing their first YouTube video - and so far has just over seven million views.

If you ignore video entirely because you can't afford the highest quality level of production, you will miss out on several key benefits - such as

  • Enhancing relationships with prospects through the establishment of the know-like-trust factor;
  • Increasing organic search traffic by upping backlinks and social shares; and
  • Increasing conversions on landing pages.

However, according to a recent survey, the two biggest challenges that keep businesses from using video are time and money. However, it's important to recognize that companies of all sizes have successfully implemented video in their marketing campaigns, for a variety of budgets.

No matter your budget, creating attractive content with video should be a top priority. It's one of the critical pieces of a Growth Marketing strategy.

How Much Do Professional Video Production Services Cost?

Outsourced marketing video production costs can range anywhere from $1,200 for a basic video to $50,000 for a premium video, while in-house solutions usually run less than $5,000 (for the equipment).

The decision on which solution to use often comes down to the objectives of the video.

For example, an explainer video communicates a business's unique selling proposition in a compelling way. Since this video will essentially be working on your behalf 24/7 and will be on your website homepage, you want it to be the highest quality you can afford.

If budget allows, hiring the project out is probably best.

Conversely, if your primary goal is to build organic search traffic with video, you will be publishing a lot of content! Obviously, calling upon a video production company for help with every video blog would be expensive. In this instance, you'll want to invest in the right equipment to produce high-quality videos in-house.

The good news? Videos that are featured on your company blog or YouTube channel won't be held to the same standard as explainer videos.

We're experienced in creating instructional videos to help us build organic traffic, so we decided to go the DIY route for our online video marketing

With these types of content videos, there is very little editing that needs to be done, which keeps production costs down in terms of hours.

There are at least nine different kinds of videos you can create to market your brand, products, and services:

  • Inspirational: Distill your core message, values, and vision into a compelling narrative.
  • Educational: Teach your audience how to do something.
  • Testimonial: Profile the benefits customers have received via your product/service.
  • Animation: Tell your story via pictures, drawings, and fun visual elements.
  • Explainer: Demonstrate the sequential process of interacting with your product/service.
  • Video Emails: Any marketing video can become part of your marketing list strategy.
  • Product: Showcase your product in a fun/dramatic way.
  • Company Culture: Give prospects an inside look at what it's like to work at your company.
  • FAQ: Answer questions commonly received by Customer Service in video format.

Also, check out 5 Storytelling Tips to Make Your Marketing Videos More Interesting.

What You Need to Know about Video Production Pricing

Fantastic explainer videos are designed to convert leads into customers; they are in essence, lead-generating machines. For this reason, they are often a better investment in terms of marketing video production cost than most companies realize.

The cost of outsourcing an explainer video varies dramatically, according to:

  • Video length
  • Video style
  • Videographer quality

Costs can range anywhere from $1,200 for a basic video to $50,000 for a premium video.

We know, that's a pretty significant price gap. However, it's safe to say that, for most companies, a project can be completed in 4-to-5 days, for less than $10,000.

Video Length

The longer the video, the more work will be required in post-editing; the more work required post-editing, the higher the cost.

Animated videos can be particularly time-consuming, which is why animated video studios typically begin the pricing conversation by discussing video length. Doing so allows the studio to budget the number of animators and designers they will need from the beginning.

Video length will ultimately affect turnaround time, production schedules, and storyboarding. Before filming, it helps to have a solid plan and budget for content creation mapped out to avoid bottlenecks when it comes to editing.

Day Rates

Videographers don't typically charge by the hour. That's because the majority of the work being done actually happens outside of shooting.

Most videographers provide estimates based on day rates. Thus, if a production studio with a $1,200-a-day rate estimates your project will take 5 days, your total cost will be $6,000. Again, day rates can vary significantly according to experience level and region.

Video Style

How many days your production studio needs will depend on your creative concept. A simple 3-minute video might take 3 days (at $3,600), while a more complex 3-minute video might take 14 days (costing more than $10,000). Total cost depends on the time required to accomplish objectives.

Average Video Production Company Price Breakdown

Script Development

Script development falls under the concept planning and pre-production umbrella of the video production process. Some elements included in this stage are outlining the overall approach to the video, deciding the flow of the content, and, of course, creating the script itself.

Generally speaking, script development costs about $50-$150 per hour to outsource. This process includes video concept, storyboarding, and scripting. 

Hiring On-Screen Talent

Who will appear in your video? If you plan to be the subject of your own video, you can save some cash here. If you plan to hire actors or models for your video, your pricing will range significantly. A few factors that influence pricing are:

  • Demand
  • Experience
  • Location

Of course, if you’re planning to hire Beyonce for your film, you’ll need to be willing to shell out a fortune. For local actors or models, however, you may expect to pay somewhere between $50-$500 per hour for their work. 

Music Licensing

Music licensing is another area where your budget will depend heavily on some specific factors. In this case, one specific factor: What song or songs are you hoping to license? 

If you are hoping to get your hands on a big-name artist’s track, you’ll need to change course or plan to budget several thousand dollars just for the song. However, if you want to use the music of a smaller artist, you can likely find a song you’ll be able to license for between $50-$150. 

Location Costs

Another cost to consider is the cost of your filming space. If you’re planning to use your own office space or a public location for your film, you will be able to save some money here. However, if you want to rent a studio for your video production, you’ll need to plan accordingly.

As is common with real estate, filming studio rental pricing varies wildly based on your location. If you’re in Los Angeles, California, for example, you can expect to spend a lot more than if you’re in Akron, Ohio. 

Overall, the average cost to rent a production studio starts at $100 per hour in most major cities, but can be significantly more based on the size of the space needed. 

Production Crew

Your video won’t produce itself—there will be a whole team behind its creation! And that team will require compensation to make your video production dreams a reality. Some roles you may need to account for include:

  • Director
  • Camera operator
  • Lighting
  • Sound
  • Make-up and Hair
  • Editor

 

The cost to hire these professionals ranges based on experience, demand, and your location. Experienced crew members tend to command a pay rate of at least $25-$75 per hour.

Post-Production

Lastly, you will have post-production costs. These costs include video editing, transcribing interviews, creating animations, adding necessary stock footage, and more.

The cost of post-production depends entirely upon your video type. If you need only a small amount of editing and transcribing for closed captioning, your costs will be significantly less than they will be if you need to create a fully animated sequence or series of graphics. 

If you need to add stock video to your production, you can expect to pay between $20-$50 per second. Transcription services can cost up to about $1.50 per minute. When it comes to animation, things can get pricey fast, but you can likely find a freelancer who will charge $100 per minute of animated video. 

In short, post-production cost is a bit of a choose-your-own-adventure, but even the simplest video will run you a few hundred dollars, simply due to the hourly rate of your video editor. 

There is a "hidden option" here, and that is hiring a semi-professional videographer. Whether that person is a freelancer trying to build his portfolio, or a student fine-tuning her craft, you can sometimes find talented videographers on the cheap. Expect to pay anywhere from $200-$750 per video for someone from this group. Just make sure to thoroughly vet their portfolio before hiring them.

How To Hire a Video Production Company

Before you hire a production company, you want to consider several factors: 

  • How well do you know your target market?
  • Are you answering the right questions (spoken and unspoken)?
  • Do you have a solid promotional plan for driving traffic to this video?

Assuming you have thoroughly done your homework, investing in high-quality video production can pay for itself tenfold. Dollar Shave Club became famous for the success of their explainer video, and Crazy Egg reportedly boosted their monthly income by $21,000/month after releasing theirs.

You can find the right video production company by following this simple process:

  1. Establish Your Goals: What do you hope to achieve from the project? Your goals will help you narrow down the list of companies to the ones that offer the services you need.
  2. Decide on Budget: How much do you want to spend? Using the estimates above, set a budget for your production. This budget will help filter out companies that are out of your price range.
  3. Do Your Research: Once you’ve decided on your goals and budget, research production companies in your area. Ensure that you read online reviews and testimonials from real customers to vet the service before you hire!

How Much Does DIY Video Production Cost?

As previously mentioned, vlogging is a fantastic way to both build brand awareness and increase organic search traffic. The two biggest misconceptions about video are that, 1. a good video takes weeks to create and 2. It is too expensive to produce.

However, thanks to increasingly affordable technology, regularly producing decent quality marketing videos is within reach for most companies. A few things to note before we dive into the details of DIY video production.

What You Need to Know About DIY Video Production

Firstly, whatever money you save by producing your videos in-house will cost you in time. If you’re using existing staff, you will need to account for the opportunity cost of having those team members out of their regular roles for the duration of the video production.

If you plan to make marketing videos a regular part of your content marketing strategy, you may want to explore hiring a specialist full-time. 

DIY Video Production Price Breakdown

What You Need to Buy

  • Video camera (iPhone or DSLR; $800 to $10,000)
  • Tripod ($20-$200)
  • Backdrop ($50-$300)
  • 3-Point Lighting ($300)
  • Lapel Microphone or Rifle Microphone ($140 to $220)
  • Editing Software (Final Cut Pro $300)

Additional Costs

  • Stock video ($20-$50 per second)
  • Music licensing ($50-$150 per song)
  • Time cost (Difficult to quantify)

TOTAL DIY VIDEO PRODUCTION COST: Less than $5,000

RELATED READING: Video Marketing Software: Our 7 Favorites and The 7 Best DIY Video Production Resources for Making Marketing Videos For Business

DIY Video Production Tips

Though it can be tempting to produce a video on the cheap, our advice is: Don't try to cut costs on any of this! Use the highest quality camera, microphone, and lighting you can afford.

Your biggest hurdle will likely be the technology learning curve involved in video marketing. The good news is that once you master that, and understand how to create the kind of content your audience is actively searching for, the whole process becomes a lot of fun.

  1. Pick Your Topics
  2. Pick Your Style
  3. Pick Your Set
  4. Have Good Lighting
  5. Capture Clean, Clear Audio
  6. Create Your Script
  7. Shoot the Video
  8. Edit the Video
  9. Publish the Video

Read about those steps in more detail at The Easy, 9-Step Business Marketing Video Process to Explode Your Traffic

What About Logo Animation?

If you're considering the DIY route, you can outsource video animation to add some professionalism and polish to your videos which can make a big impact.

Logo animation services create short clips for the very beginning and end of your videos for a relatively small investment. You can expect to pay anywhere from $100 to $5,000 depending on the level of animation and skill of the service provider.

Keyword Ninja-ing:

Target the keywords that are easy to produce. For example, producing a video demonstrating “how to tie your shoes” requires lower cost resources than “how to build a car."

RELATED READING: 5 Easy Ways to Optimize YouTube Videos for SEO

Third-Party Services:

For less than $50/month, you can use a service called Animoto to create videos in a few quick steps. Unfortunately, with limited styling options, these won't work for every purpose.

How To Make the Cost of Video Production Worth It 

There’s no question about it: Video marketing can be expensive. However, you can certainly expect a return on your investment if you do it right. Part of “doing it right” means that a single promotional video cannot be your entire content marketing strategy. Rather, video marketing efforts should be one piece of your larger marketing puzzle.

It’s vital to avoid “random acts of marketing” when it comes to a marketing effort that requires this significant of an investment. A standalone video without purpose is worse than no video at all. 

For maximum results, ensure that you have an overarching strategy grounded in customer research. Focus on guiding your leads through all the stages of the buyer’s journey, and ensure you have a solid go-to-market strategy.

To see how you can build a reliable growth strategy that will help you make the most of your video production efforts, check out our Growth Marketing Playbook today.

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Discover the Hidden Strategies We Use to 10X Our Clients' Growth in 36 Months!

The Growth Playbook is a FREE proven guide to planning, budgeting and accelerating your company’s growth.