If you’ve already done a little research on video production in NJ you have undoubtedly seen a comment such as: “there are so many things to consider when making a video”.
Having worked for Grey Sky Films in the northern NJ and greater NYC area for the past few years, I know there are a ton of factors that impact a video’s cost. While it’s quite difficult to dictate pricing information due to the incredibly vast nature of video projects out there, I’ll do my best.
I’m going to help you understand the stages in the process of production and where time and man-power come into play. Then, I’ll touch on some common production costs that you might need to think about when planning your next video production.
The 3 Stages of Video Production
The first variable that affects the final cost in video production in NJ is the total amount of time needed for the project. The second is the number of people working on the project.
The hours worked by a producer or crew will generally be used in the main three phases of production, and the scope of the project will determine what services you’ll need and the amount of people involved.
Here are some general examples from each phase of the process:
Stage 1: Pre-Production
Your project may require creative development, script writing, a casting session, searching for stock footage or photos and location scouting. Or, at the very least you may require basic scheduling and coordinating.
- A basic 2-minute testimonial video being filmed locally can still require 2 or more hours of pre-production time for a producer to:
- 1) Get acquainted with what statements needs to be captured on film.
- 2) Craft interview questions or a script and have it reviewed and approved by the client.
- 3) Potentially hire a hair or makeup artist.
- 4) Schedule a shoot time with the interviewee and production crew members.
- 5) Lock down other details such as discussing visual preferences, gathering additional assets (logos, photos, existing or stock footage files) and more.
A much larger project may require a team of several people to:
- Conduct research.
- Coordinate dates.
- Schedule casting sessions.
- Get storyboards made and approved.
- Source locations, props, wardrobe or other items.
Stage 2: Production
When it comes to production, you need a minimum number of crew members to make your video project a success. While many think you can simply use one team member to keep your production costs low, it’s typically not possible.
The size of the crew can range anywhere from two team members to dozens, depending on the production.
- A simple in-office overview or interview can likely be accomplished with a lean crew of 2 or 3 people.
- A larger event with multiple simultaneous activities (such as a cocktail benefit, charity auction, or fundraising event) may need two or more crews (5/6 team members minimum) to divide and conquer.
While filming sounds like it’s as easy as pushing a record button on a camera, the truth is that there is much more to it.
Some of the common things that are overlooked when considering the cost of video production include:
- The time allotted to load in equipment.
- Time to setup lighting stands and backdrops safely and securely.
- Finding the best outlets or electricity sources for proper power supply.
- Ensureing the camera is level and in perfect focus.
- Ensuring audio is clean at all times.
- Consistently reviewing the monitor to review what is in the frame (and if it’s correct or clean).
- This can include: hair and makeup, items in the background, lighting glares or shadows, and so on.
The main takeaway is that your goals for your videos will dictate how many staff members we need to properly film. In turn, the cost of your video production will be impacted.
Stage 3: Post-Production
While many people believe that the post-production process should be quick due to the video already being recorded, it can sometimes be the longest part of the process!
Let’s take a look at an example:
- For a basic testimonial video using 1 hour of interview footage, an editor (and potentially a producer as well!) may need a total of 4 hours to:
- Watch all of the footage from start to finish.
- Select the best footage from the 1-hour recording.
- Work the selected scenes it into a cohesive edit.
- Layer on text or graphical elements (like logos or lower-thirds) to ensure they flow with the video.
- Perform several rounds of revisions with the client to reach approval.
- Perform a run-off and quality control check of the final video file.
With all of the steps necessary to create the final video, it’s possible that this becomes the longest part of the process.
If you’re working on an extremely large production it’s not unheard of to have individual staff members dedicated to one task. That means the cost of your video production (regardless of your location) can change rapidly.
Other Variable Costs
We’ve covered the variety of ways in which people and their time are used in a production. Other contributors to video production costs could include the following items that come with their own price tag:
Talent and Casting
Your project may require hiring a voice-over talent or on-screen acting talent.
Professional actors typically cost more, but they also come with experience that helps ensure a great performance. If the success of your video relies upon strong talent, ensure your talent budget remains a priority.
If you’re looking for talent in the NJ and NYC area, you can typically find extremely qualified actors without breaking your video production cost goals.
Websites can also be used for virtual casting (a less-costly option) but will still require time for your producer to weed through any applicants, perform phone or Skype auditions, and select the best candidates.
Or, your project may require a live casting session (or multiple sessions!), allowing you to see many people, hear them speak, and film them to evaluate how they look on camera as well.
Scouting and choosing actors for your video production is often an overlooked cost as many businesses believe that they can do it themselves.
Location Scouting and Rental
Does your video need to be filmed in a home, an office space, a roller rink, theme park, or football stadium? These are just a sliver of the many locations that could be needed for a video shoot.
In addition to this, many settings can be created in professional studio spaces. Securing a location may require a producer’s time to find and secure options.
There are practical concerns such as size, proximity, and potentially permit issues. Also, the look and style of a location can speak directly to what your video communicates to your demographic or audience.
In addition to the time it takes to lock down the perfect location, a home, commercial property, studio or other location brings it’s own range of hourly or daily rental fees.
Props can include: furniture, to toys, to food, dishes or cookware, appliances, phones and tablets, cars, signs, wall art, plants…the list goes on! A video can benefit greatly from the right props, because even on a sub-conscious level, a viewer can pick up on a setting that doesn’t look realistic or complete.
This can have a negative effect by making your video seem low in quality or devoid of the richness that helps pull the viewer in. As props vary so very drastically, obviously so does their pricing.
I think you can now understand why it’s hard to toss out actual figures in a single article. If I tried to provide a complete list, it could be so overwhelming that it would potentially be more detrimental than helpful.
I highly recommend finding a video production company in NJ that can talk to you about all of the above details, whether you have clear ideas of what you’ll need or whether you’ll need to lean on them for direction.
And as a final piece of advice, when you speak to a video production company about costs be sure to have a range in mind for your budget as well an understanding of your video’s purpose or goal.
The beauty of having so many variables and moving parts is that you can mold them to fit both your goals and your budget if you are willing to be flexible on the parts that amount to the final product.