There are many factors that influence the cost of a corporate video, I covered some of the obvious ones in Part 1.
Part 2 covers some of the less obvious but very significant factors.
A corporate video can cost anything from £500 to in excess of £20,000. In practice most corporate videos in the UK, produced for on-line use range from £1500 to £4000 (all costs quoted +VAT)
To help explain the wide variation, here are some of the less obvious factors that drive the cost:-
- The production style needed to suit your reputation and target audience
- The type of video or format you require
- The ability and experience of your people talking on-camera
- The filming location(s)
- The availability of you participant(s) to be filmed
- The timescale for filming and post production deadlines
- The experience of your main contact (coordinating the project) as well as their availability to give information and feedback
Additionally for product videos
- The reliability of the product to perform it’s task and the experience of your person who’s demonstrating your product
- The level of understanding/familiarity of your target audience with your product or the technology it utilizes
- The number of products to be filmed and the time it takes to prepare them for demonstration
To cover these corporate video cost drivers in brief
The production style needed to suit your reputation and target audience
While we’re on the subject, it can be a great help to your video producer if they have an example or benchmark of the style and quality you require. This can reduce the miss-understandings and errors in communicating this point. The level of production value will be in part dictated by your sector or even your main competition. Having a corporate video to explain what your company does and how well it does it, is a tremendous selling tool but only if the quality of production is worthy of your sector and your position within it. Having filmed and produced videos for a TV channel and at the other end of the scale companies that had far less demanding expectations I would say the key to satisfying clients expectations is understanding their requirements and the needs of their target audience. This will look different for each company but with enough time spent on research and communication can be easily defined.
For example, to achieve a cinematic treatment with cinematic lenses producing a shallow depth of field, controlled camera movement with a motorized slider and a crane would add a vast amount of production value but would also add to the basic cost. For many companies this is required for their outward facing videos but not necessarily their internal training films.
The type of video or format makes a difference to the amount of work involved.
Some of the main video types are listed below:-
- Testimonial/case study video.
- Product demonstration video
- Company Promotional Video
- Training Videos/instructional Videos
- Talking-Heads (Interview/statement) Video
- Virtual Tour Videos
- Live event videos
One of the most simple and therefore cost effective formats CAN BE a “Talking-Head” video. If the camera lighting and sound recording equipment is set up in one room and all the talking-to-camera is done without having to relocate, then a lot of content can be recorded in one day. In reality, if your staff are not experienced at talking in front of a camera then they might need time to settle in and feel relaxed and then make several attempts before they are happy with the result. It is important that enough time is built into the filming day to enable candidates to become relaxed with the camera and crew as this will reflect on how they come across in the final video. Some people need far more time to settle in than others but an experienced film crew will have an ability to put candidates at ease before and during filming to help get the best results possible
Even then, it’s quite possible the recordings will not be word perfect from start to finish. However, all is not lost as this is where the editing process comes to the rescue. There are various ways of hiding edits in a video by changing the shot to the second camera (if used) or cropping into the video to a close up to simulate the same effect. As a quick explanation; when filming in 4k, because the resolution is 4 times HD it is possible to crop into the image (as per the diagram) which will hide the fact that footage has been removed and avoid a “Jump Cut” which is prevalent in amateur YouTube videos and needs to be avoided at all cost to maintain professional production levels.
These video formats often cross over and include elements from one or more of the others. For example; a Company Promotional (or Corporate) Video may include “Talking-Head” (interview or statement) from the CEO, testimonial content from a client and a brief virtual tour of the premises.
Training can take many forms depending on the subject and audience. One thing is constant though, the benefit of showing a client or member of staff what you want to teach them rather than just talking about it. It has been calculated that a minute of video is worth 1.8 million words, so it’s no wonder people prefer to absorb information through video when given the option
Training videos are often a longer form of film due to the volume of information that is being covered. The style and tone will need to not only suit the subject matter but the intended audience. The format could be as simple as a talking head style but add some titles/graphics and some video or photographs that illustrate the message and it transforms the film into a much more engaging learning experience.
Talking Heads Video
Mainly consists of one or more of your people talking to camera to get the message across. This may have some titles and simple graphics but is predominantly someone talking
Virtual Tour Videos
These can be used to replace client visits to your work place or relevant site. Clients aren’t always available to visit in person so this is an alternative to show off the premises, manufacturing capability and staff. In a manufacturing company the video could be as simple as some video footage of different stages of the process with a music track but to include supporting text, a voice over or interview audio to explain what the viewer sees will provide a much stronger video. The cost of course will also vary in line with the amount of time it takes to film and edit the project.
Live event Videos
Can make further use of your content than the event duration itself. There are two main ways of filming an event.
1. A promotional video that shows the flavour of the event. This would typically show the venue, delegates registering, exhibition stands, people talking and smiling, keynote speakers on stage, positive audience response, including enthusiastic applause.
This simple format could be augmented by including voxpops from the organizer, keynote speakers and delegates. All aimed at explaining what the day consists of and positive comments on how useful the experience has been.
2. An alternative format for events is to film the whole of the keynote content in full. This would require 2 or three cameras in prime positions within the auditorium and the facility to record audio from the lectern and or radio mics attached to each of the speakers.
Some auditoriums have in-house audio technicians that can facilitate an audio feed direct to the cameras (within the infrastructure of the building). Otherwise the cost of several radio mics, a sound operator as well as the additional cameras and crew all has to be taken into consideration. The post production process will take several times as long as the example in 1. above. Another cost factor is the inclusion of PowerPoint slides which are commonly required and can add to the value of the films as a company resource.
As with all of the video formats mentioned, the additional cost of adding further features to the video can be well worth the investment if you are able to leverage the video for your company.
The ability and experience of your people talking on-camera
At one extreme of the scale, an experienced TV presenter would be able to execute the task of producing all the necessary words in exactly the right order and look like they were having fun; a member of your team without training or experience may not have the same success. Therefor the amount of time to film and especially edit the footage into the necessary video could take several times as long and therefore several times as much for the post production.
The filming location(s)
There are three main factors that influence the time and therefore money involved in filming locations. The first is if it is one or multiple locations. That includes multiple locations within the same site. Packing up cameras, lighting and audio equipment and setting it up again in multiple locations is time consuming and has to be factored into the equation when estimating how much time is required for filming. If the additional locations are vital to the message then there is no alternative but to allow time for them to be captured.
The second influence is whether the geography of location is problematic. For example, filming in central London needs to be carefully planed. Is the venue on a “Red Route” limiting times of access to unload /load equipment? Any traffic issues in the London area are on a different scale than much of the UK. Based on past experience I prefer to stay within walking distance when filming in London. This does of course add to the cost but does guarantee a more reliable journey to the venue.
The third influence is the suitability of the location to being used for filming. For example, if the location suffers from external noise that is unacceptable in the final video such as the bleep of a reversing fork-lift truck. A directional microphone will minimize most extraneous audio but if the sound is too loud the only option is to wait until it stops. Depending on the frequency it might be possible to work round it but needs to be considered when deciding if a location is suitable for filming.
Another issue could be lighting complications caused by the location. To explain; if interviews were to be filmed all through the day, it is important that the lighting looks similar when it cuts from one part of the day to another. I was once asked by a client to film in such a way in a building with a south facing glass fronted building. The only way to reduce the impact of the potential changes in sunlight was to firstly black out the front of the building and secondly to use several filming lights inside to stabilize the internal light level. As it turned out the sunlight changed from overcast to patchy direct sunlight. Without the additional blackout and lighting measures it would have been impossible to match footage from different times of the day.
This all took time and additional equipment and therefore had an influence on the cost of the final videos. For the client it was worth the additional expense to have the filming completed at this particular location, so worth taking the trouble to achieve the desired result.
The availability of your participant(s) to be filmed
If you have people to be filmed that have a lot of flexibility, it is likely you will be able to get them and any other footage captured efficiently and therefore minimize the number of filming days. Alternatively, if there are several candidates to be filmed and they are all available on different days, this has an effect on cost as not only is it going to take additional filming days and travel time but each day of filming is preceded by preparation time for the equipment (to ensure it is ready and working as needed for the type of filming required).
One way to maximize filming time with testimonial videos is to arrange for all participants to be available at one venue for consecutive time slots. This way you the cameras, lighting and other equipment can be set up for the day and could film 6 testimonial videos without wasting time relocating.
The timescale for filming and post production deadlines
If a project can be filmed with some flexibility on timescale and then flexible on the length of time before the completed video is required, it is more likely the video producer will be able to use this variable timescale to help production efficiency integrating workload with other videos in the production pipeline and therefore be more favorable on cost.
The opposite of course is true if there is urgency and no flexibility.
The experience of your main contact (coordinating the project) as well as their availability to give information and feedback
When the person coordinating the video project for your company is a natural and has the authority to make things happen it facilitates a very efficient and pain free filming process. Alternatively, if the person is juggling too many jobs or does not have the status in the company to arrange people and places then it can cause filming time to be wasted
The reliability of the product to perform it’s task and the experience of your person who’s demonstrating your product
This might sound very obvious but if the person performing the demonstration is not familiar with the product or the product does not function as it should, then there will be a lot of wasted time and unusable footage. This will either extend the filming time beyond what was agreed or reduce the number of products filmed. It will also extend the post production time as the editor turns the disjointed footage into something fit for purpose.
The level of understanding/familiarity of your target audience with your product or the technology it utilizes
A video aimed at a trade audience will not need the basics explaining but most likely the new or unique features. These videos can often be very brief and therefore allowing a great number to be filmed in a day.
When the audience are seeing something they are not familiar with, a greater level of detail is required to answer the viewers questions. This significantly reduces the number of products that can be filmed in a day.
The number of products to be filmed and the time it takes to prepare them for demonstration
For the maximum number of products, the key is for the demonstrator to have all the products ready to bring in front of the camera and have a list of key points to cover for each one. If any of the products require a significant time to prepare then this has to be factored into the calculations when planning the filming day. Obviously it helps to start with the most important product and work down the list.
To reduce the reliance on the demonstrator getting the spoken words right, it is more efficient if the product is demonstrated on camera in line with a script but without talking. The audio is then added as a voice-over in post production. This is not only far easier for the demonstrator to concentrate on the physical task alone but results in a more natural scenario for the viewer.
As you can see from the details I have covered here, there are an almost infinite number of factors influencing the cost of a video. The best strategy is to discuss the project with your producer and decide between you which of the above benefits and features are required for your video and whether they are possible for your budget.
If I have still left you with unanswered questions about the cost factors then please feel free to contact me and I will do my best to answer your questions.