Explaining The Cost of Video
Explaining the cost of video is sometimes our biggest challenge. It can be really hard to understand what’s involved in costing in an industry that isn’t yours.
There’s so many production companies around these days, and the quotes you receive can be vastly different. We’ve been in competition on jobs where some quotes have been half our price and some more than double our price. You have to think carefully about the balance of cost-vs-quality when making your decision. Here we’re going to explain what goes into costing a job…
Entry-level kit has become really cheap, but the fast moving pace of technology means it’s important to keep ahead or at least up to date with the field. A small production company may have a filming kit that costs at least £10,000+. Over the years this will be upgraded, changed or repaired to keep it in perfect working order. It will also be insured. To account for those costs, production companies will charge a small percentage per job. For us, it’s factored in to our rates – we think it’s simpler that way.
Some jobs require a lot more equipment that may need to be hired in externally. The hire company dictates these costs. Whether it’s a particular camera or lighting rig, the costs depend on the value of the equipment and are unavoidable. There may also be things like studio hire to consider, and audio mixing/mastering – the list could go on.
Post-production (the edit) involves thousands of pounds worth of equipment, from computers and software to hard drives. It is important that your production company has the correct licenses for all their editing software. It’s no surprise that post-production costs can run very high. Most small production companies will charge between well over £300 – £500 per day of editing with a trained editor. Factor in things like motion-graphics and after effects, and you can easily see how post-production often takes up far more time than the filming.
For smaller productions that can be crewed in-house there will be set day rates. But remember if they are to be any good they will be trained and experienced. These are highly skilled jobs and their daily rate needs to reflect that. If you are paying below £300 for an experienced camera operator you have to question whether they’ll be capable of meeting your objectives. Occasionally we bring assistants who don’t need knowledge of cameras, which is cheaper, but they still need to be paid fairly.
Of course, there are all the other normal overheads that any business has to cover, and these are all built in to our rates.
The key thing I want you to take away is this. Producing video well involves a lot of resource and skill, and as a result it is not cheap. If you do just want the cheapest, make sure you check exactly what you are getting for your money. A badly done video is worse than no video at all, and working with an inexperienced or underskilled production team can be extremely frustrating.