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How Much Does It Cost to Create a Video?

You may have seen prices ranging from $2k to $200k for an explainer video. You’re probably wondering about the Grand-Canyon-sized range. Should a simple one-minute video really cost $200,000 to make? In some cases, yes, but it’s more complicated than that. Let’s explore the true cost to create a video.

It can be tricky to understand what exactly you’re paying for. You want great video but you don’t want to pay through the nose (especially if you suspect your money will go toward fancy coffee for the production team). Unfortunately, many production companies charge exorbitant amounts for videos without any rhyme or reason. 

You’re not alone. Let’s demystify pricing and bring some transparency to the broad price range out there. How much does it really cost to create a 1-2 minute video?

What factors determine cost?

To determine a fair price for your video, the most significant factor is the length. Unless you’re shooting a ten-second advertisement on the Moon, a ten-second video should cost less to produce than a two-minute video. Every second of screen time can take hours upon hours of creative work to perfect. Depending on what you want, multiple people might be involved in crafting what appears on the screen. For instance, you might need a costumer, a camera operator, a sound recordist, a composer, an editor, a color correction specialist, an animator, a copywriter, a motion graphics designer, and more. 

Pricing will vary depending on whether you want a live-action video or an animated video. If you can incorporate high-quality stock footage, you may be able to save some bucks without sacrificing on aesthetics. 

When it comes down to it, you could choose to spend less on your video but the correlation between price and quality is strong. With high-quality graphics, clever strategy, and spot-on voiceover work, your company could have a fantastic video that brings in millions of dollars in revenue and thousands of new clients. 

Why it’s so confusing

It’s not always easy to figure out the reasoning behind a company’s pricing model. On the one hand, it would be highly unusual for a production company to provide a detailed, line-by-line budget to customers with every single element that goes into making their video. That’s just not how most companies work, and it’s not how most jobs work either. If you’re a salaried employee, you get paid the same amount each week to complete a varied set of tasks, some of which are easier and some of which are harder. Filmmaking is similar. Sometimes a company will set its fee high in order to compensate for occasional highly complex projects or because the team is in demand. That’s where the cost to create a video comes from.

Alternatively, it wouldn’t make sense to charge the same amount for two very different projects even though they both use stock footage and are sixty seconds in length. For instance, a short stock footage video with voiceover narration and a simple motion graphic may only take two weeks to complete. On the other hand, a sixty-second video that requires multiple voice actors, animation, and brand new footage as well as stock video, should be priced much higher. 

But companies don’t have the time to individually price out every single project. It wouldn’t be efficient, and it’s impossible to predict exactly how long production will take. Even major Hollywood films constantly go over schedule and over budget. Your explainer video can vary in cost, too.

To get around this, many production studios set pricing levels which allow for a bit of differentiation but mostly reference the level of difficulty. You should always feel like you can ask your production company about their pricing model. Transparency is a hallmark of a great business partner, so don’t hesitate to ask for more information. Even if they can’t point to specific line items, they should be able to break down general fees related to production, software, and personnel costs. 

What tiers we offer at DreamItReel

As far as our pricing, we offer three tiers: Starter, Mid-Tier, and Premium. Our starter package begins at $5k and can include a variety of video options, including animated, live-action, stock footage, media strategy and scripting, and more. 

When it comes down to it, companies should be thinking not about how much it costs but rather how they should pay. In other words, consider the amount of time and expertise that will go into creating the video. Consider the benefits of outsourcing your video creation process to a team of trained marketers. Then, evaluate the rewards you’re likely to gain by strategically using this video to bring in more business. 

In the end, a $5k video could be a drop in the bucket of the millions you could generate from the views and new clients the video attracts. 

Speak to our in-house marketing advisors about which video could be right for your company. We’ll discuss your pricing options and content goals and find something that meets your needs.