As video content producers who work with businesses of all sizes, we know for business owners and marketers that one of the trickiest parts of the video production process is understanding cost and budget.
We’ll be sharing a new series of posts that give real-to-life examples of video production projects and how their costs are evaluated. We hope this will help you, our faithful readers, to understand how to plan your video marketing projects a bit more confidently.
First, let’s take a look at a staple of most video marketing efforts: the interview-style testimonial video.
Testimonial Video Basics
Typical testimonial videos should be no greater than 90 seconds in length. They utilize interview footage of one or more people, edited together with smooth transitions, a backdrop of subtle music, and a branded end slate.
Here’s a classic example of what a testimonial video may look like, using one of our own:
At times, a testimonial video may also include B-roll footage in addition to the interview footage. B-roll can be footage or photos of a related product or environment, such as an office or home.
What to Consider When Budgeting
Even the simplest productions have a lot of moving parts. Using the above videos, let’s look at the many details these productions involved, and how those details translate to cost:
WHO is being filmed? The more people being filmed, the more time it will take to film them. The actual interview typically takes 1-2 hours per person, depending on their level of preparedness, their comfort level, and potential interruptions.
WHERE are we filming? In most cases, a film project like this does not require a location rental; we typically film in the subject’s office or professional space, or we film in our own studio on white or green screen.
Filming in one location takes less time than filming in multiple locations. Travel time should also be factored in. Also, filming in an office or other available space opens you up to the potential for interruptions or time limitations that can affect production time.
If B-roll is also being filmed in addition to the interview, a shot list will need to be prepared and time taken to capture all of those related visuals on camera.
HOW MANY crew members are needed? To ensure timely setup and progress, we recommend three crew members to film an interview like this:
- A producer/director to run the dialogue with the interviewee. The producer can focus on pronunciations, expressions and help ensure we capture the content required for the end product.
- A camera operator to run the camera, and observe audio, lighting and camera settings and standards throughout production.
- A lighting/grip technician to perform equipment setup and adjustments during filming.
There will be time committed to the project by your producer before the film date in order to understand the goal or synopsis of the testimonial, coordinate a schedule for filming, craft interview questions, prepare the interviewee to be on camera, and coordinate the production team and equipment.
To prepare the interview subject we’d want to make sure they were familiar with the questions they will be asked, the points we’d like them to address or cover; ensure they look their best on camera with regard to wardrobe or grooming; and set their expectations clearly so they are comfortable on set.
Lastly, if B-roll is to be filmed, a producer will need to work with the client to come up with a list of related shots that can be filmed. Plus, they’ll need to coordinate the people and locations or items to be filmed for B-roll.
This preparation also takes time which will be accounted for in the budget.
Most videos of this style take a minimum of 5 hours to edit in post-production. The editor will need to re-watch all footage and single out the very best clips of dialogue and visuals. They will then begin to formulate a full edit from the best takes.
The editor will also need to ensure the audio is aligned and that there is no background noise or strange sounds. They will also lay in a mild music track. Trust me, videos without the subtle music track can seem starkly odd!
This time estimate also allows for three rounds of review and update, meaning corrections or improvements to the first edit, plus final prep, export, quality control and file delivery. All of these steps take time, but it is crucial toward ensuring your final video file functions correctly and is free of any digital glitches.
Let’s Talk Budget
Don’t be scared! Many blogs about cost don’t actually give you the real numbers. But, I wanted to not only show you the various factors contribute to producing a high-quality video, I want to share a typical estimate with you.
To recap, these details are figured into our cost:
- Producer’s time to schedule, coordinate, write questions or scripting, ensure approvals, prep the crew and more – est. 6 hours
- Three crew members for the production with camera, lighting, audio and other necessary equipment
- Filming one person, and some B-roll at the same location, including average travel and setup time – est. 6 hours
- Total editing time including 2 to 3 rounds of review and update – est. 5 hours
- Post-production project management time spent selecting music options, prepping any images or logo files, reviewing with the producer, communication with client throughout updates, as well as final file prep and delivery – est. 4 hours
And for this example, we’re excluding the following:
- location rental or set-building
- actors or extras
- wardrobe or makeup stylists
- long-distance travel, accommodations, travel to multiple locations
- specialized technicians – colorists, storyboard artists, animators, etc.
Our total estimate, taking all of this into account, is placed at a range of $4,000 – $5,000.
Making the most of your investment
We always seek out efficient by-products of a shoot. Think of it this way: You wouldn’t go grocery shopping 6 times in order to make 6 different meals, would you? You’d go out and get the ingredients needed to create a variety of meals. So why plan one shoot just to create one video, when you can get more for your investment?
You can maximize your investment by grouping more than one interviews on the same day, or by filming the same person speaking to different products, or entirely different topics. By seeking to produce more than one piece of content out of the footage, you are truly leveraging a benefit of video.
You can also create videos that speak to the same idea, but in different lengths – full length for your website, and an under 15-second version for your social media feed. You can also extract still images from your shoot to use on webpages, banner ads, or in many other ways.
These are just a few of the ways an experienced video production company can help you get the most out of your video marketing budget and strategy.