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Comparing Your Video Options And How They Affect Pricing

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How much does it cost produce a video? This is a question we hear every day. The costs and quality of your video will vary depending on what’s involved in it and the number of professionals needed to complete your project.

Some people will tell you length is the largest determining factor when it comes to the cost of a video but I’m here to tell you that’s not the case.

For a small business, you have 3 options when producing video:

Self/Employee/Intern

Solo Videographer

Video Production Company

Let’s talk about the differences of each video production option and how the variables affect the cost and the quality.

Our goal is to help you see the progression of quality as the level of video options increase. So, let’s see how many people it takes to produce your video. Here are your options:

Self/Employee/Intern

Number of professionals required: Zero
Costs: Low (Possibly under $500 – depending on employee salary)
Quality: Low to Ok

More and more companies are using internal staff to produce videos. People have grown up with video and many play with video on the side. So, there’s a good chance someone on your team has the desire and maybe even the ability to produce your video.

Often, this approach meets the needs of the company, especially if it’s an internal training or they are trying video out. While it might appear you are saving money, this decision often comes at the cost of employee productivity. While professionals cost a lot more per hour to produce videos, they are faster and more efficient.

How about doing it yourself? Sometimes this is not a bad idea. The most common problem you run into is time. Do you have time to learn a whole other industry and still run your own business? You don’t want to fall into the trap of losing enthusiasm for your video by being too involved in the technicalities.

What could take a professional 5 hours to produce, could take a non-professional employee five to ten times longer to complete. You must weigh this cost when deciding whether to use your internal staff. Is it worth it to remove your employee from their regular tasks? You also run the risk of losing that employee. Whether it’s over working them with out increasing the pay, or they decide to pursue more video opportunities with an actual video company.

We often run into companies willing to look for interns to do the heavy video work. The sole purpose of a student internship is for the intern to learn and gain more experience about their craft. They are simply not learning what they need for the field is the company itself don’t know anything about video production. You’re simply abusing the intern for free work.

Note: Just Because You Can, Doesn’t Mean You Should

Just because you may have someone in your office who can operate a camera, doesn’t mean they are qualified to shoot professional videos for your business. Users are more selective (and educated) than ever, and they can spot a video that looks like a cheap commercial in a heartbeat. And if you’re planning on choosing an internal videographer, there’s certain equipment cost you’ll need to provide:

  • Video Equipment: Though cellphone footage has come a long way, you’re still missing the essential equipment for quality video. Sure they shoot HD video, but with a fixed lens, built-in microphone, and rely on ambient light.
  • Audio Equipment: Professional videographers often argue that audio quality is equally (if not more) important than the visuals. If you don’t have your subjects properly mic’ed up and are relying on your camera’s built-in microphone, be prepared for the wind and ambient noises to take center stage.
  • Editing Software: You have more “wiggle room” to fix a shaky video shot with some of the editing software out there today (though you should also be using a tripod!). Even so, post-production shouldn’t be a crutch, and you also need to know the ins and outs of a professional editing software to do it well.
  • Lighting Equipment: For some reason when people are on a budget for a video, they typically axe this. Big mistake! Even if you’re shooting outside, you can never bank solely on natural light. Plus, relying on artificial overhead lighting indoors won’t highlight your focal point and can leave subjects looking shadowed or discolored, even if you white balance the shot a dozen times.

Solo Videographer

Number of professionals required: One
Costs: $500 – $5,000
Quality: Decent but room for improvement

A good way to keep costs down but bump up your production value is to reach out to the independent videographer, often known as the one-man-band. This person does it all: shoot, edit (sometimes), graphics (maybe), etc.

Often, the lone videographer is excellent at some tasks like shooting or audio but might lack skills in editing or vice versa. That’s okay though. You are still going to get a quality product that you’re comfortable showing the general public.

The video might not be flashy but it’s going to serve its purpose. Usually, you’ll use an employee for the on-camera talent. You’ll stick to one location for the shoot. Graphics will be limited. But again, you will get a decent product.

Note: Limitations on Solo Videographers

Simply because they don’t have a team to back them up, solo videographers may not be capable of everything that you’d ideally like done to your video. It’s important to know where their strengths lie and if they have all the proficiencies needed for your project.

  • Camera Angles: A videographer team working together allows for multiple cameras running at the same time, which means there can be various camera angles for cutaway scene, B-scene, or just varying up a long stretch of conversation by switching between frames.
  • Editing Techniques: While there are many “beginner” editing systems out there today, they lack some of the efficiencies that a more complex editing system can offer — from special effects, graphics, transitions and more. You’ll have to make sure that your solo videographer knows their stuff when it comes to editing. A professional video editor is trained to know what looks pleasing to the eye; how to arrange shots in a particular sequence; how to eliminate any audio “pops,” how to spot a jump-cuts — the list goes on and on.

Watch an Example

This example was done by a solo videographer prior to hiring us to produce the video. The on-camera talent is an employee but appears comfortable and knowledgeable. There are cut-away shots to show the action. Lastly, there is music in the background. The quality isn’t top notch, but the videographer did what the business asked them to do. All in all, this is a successful video in that it shows me how to replace a drive belt.

Video Production Company

Number of professionals: 2+
Costs: $5,000 – $50,000
Quality: High

When production value is important, it’s time to reach out to a professional video production company. This usually happens when messaging is important, a strategy is required, and the final product needs to be visually appealing. Examples include company culture overviews, marketing videos, etc.

The number of video professionals required to complete the project determines how much the video will cost. At a minimum, we’ll provide you a videographer, a producer/director and a sound engineer.

There are instances where one or two more people like an audio technician, makeup artist, editor or a lighting professional are included. This increases the quality and the budget.

A video production company has experts who write scripts, develop the creative strategy, and ensure you have a high-end video you want to show the world.

Watch an Example

Here is an example of the same company as above, just now they hired us as a video production company to produce it. Notice the quality and pacing of the video has gone up.

Maybe using an employee is perfect for your next project. Maybe production value is important, a strategy is required, and the final product needs to be visually appealing. Then you’ll want to utilize us as a video production company. Whatever you choose, just remember, the cost isn’t determined by length. The number of professionals needed to complete your video determines the cost.

When producing videos for your business, you have multiple options. You simply need to take a look at your goals and resources.

So, how many professionals does it take to create your video? Give us a call 678-744-3908 and we can help make that decision for you.

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