How much? Video production for small business

Very few have advertising war chests filled with millions of dollars let alone hundreds of thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars.  So where does this leave small business when it comes to video production?

This is not about TV airtime or online in-stream advertising budget requirements.  This is about the cost of creating video content for small business that can be used on a website or YouTube channel or even broadcast television.

Shopping for creative video production is like any other shopping experience. Yes cost is a factor and the range is as broad as the horizon.  It’s a bit like buying a car.   Everyone may like to have the luxury sedan but the budget may not allow it and you do get what you pay for.

“How much?” is a question I’ve been asked hundreds, if not thousands, of times however I prefer to assess client needs and goals first and then present a solution or range of solutions including the answer to “how much?”.

The answer to the “how much?” question is to not ask.   Not at first anyway.

But let’s take a step back to shopping by price.  It’s the decisive factor for most.  There are many companies that offer template production packages at a reasonable cost.  How much?  Packages can start at $1000 for a 30-second spot but you have to be extremely organized and plan the shoot well to maximize the investment.  You may only get an hour of a videographer’s time and it goes very fast.  Don’t be fancy and let the videographer suggest the best spots.

These “run and gun” type of productions are best suited for testimonial or interview style spots that are interspersed with a few on-location shots.  A videographer will know how to best use available light because they won’t be coming with much, if any, lighting equipment.  There are many situations that a videographer can’t fix without lighting equipment and time which are not often part of the package.  You may also think your business is quiet but microphones hear everything from cars passing by outside to phones in the other room to conversations down the hall and so on.   Beware of the little white lies too.  A client of mine was told by a videographer “…cameras are so good now that you don’t really need lighting…”.   That’s not true at all and it’s a discussion better suited for videography and photography blogs.

The next step is a customized approach which means an increase in budget.  There’s no denying it but, as I said before, I prefer to assess client needs and goals first in order to present solutions.  A professional company or individual will want to see the client succeed within an acceptable budget.  Client satisfaction and success leads to repeat business.

How much depends on what you want to do or, preferably, what is the best creative approach.  A custom small budget 30-second commercial can cost $2000 to $5000.  The truth is that it’s just a range quote to cover the minimal crew and equipment costs, a few hours in post-production, an announcer, a music cut and some graphics.  It’s a starting point and a company that wants to earn your business will present options to maximize your budget to creatively achieve the goals.  For example two or more video spots could be created within the same budget if the client supplies customers to be interviewed for testimonials.

The answer to the “how much?” question is to not ask.   Not at first anyway.

The better question is “Can you help?”  Pick up the phone.  Send an email.  A company that wants to earn your business will meet with you, ask questions, take the time to learn about your needs and goals and then discuss possible creative approaches and budget ranges.

About the Author:

Doug Kronlund
Doug Kronlund is a marketing and management professional with an extensive track record of strong leadership and project management skills leading multiple media and internet projects with overlapping timelines across separately managed accounts. Multidiscipline skill set includes writing for video and online content, directing, producing, editing, WordPress, communications, sales, creative concept development and execution and budget management within freelance, small and large business environments and corporate settings.

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