How much does a video cost?

Video production costs can vary quite a bit. I’ve seen 30-second commercials as cheap as $500 and as expensive as $5 million. So, how much will your video will cost?

There are multiple elements in video production that have a cost associated with them. Here are some typical examples of what will increase the cost of a production:

  • Shooting in numerous locations
  • Shooting with high-end, HD cameras
  • Working with professional SAG actors from Los Angeles
  • Using lots of computer graphics and animations
  • Requiring extensive wardrobe and makeup
  • Shooting multiple days
  • Licensing iconic music for the video

Many times, video production costs are given as “price per finished minute”, and this is sometimes used to estimate the “ballpark” cost before getting started. Marketing and promotional videos fall primarily into three categories and associated costs:

  • Corporate Productions ($1,000 ~ $3,000 per finished minute)
  • Narrative Stories ($2,000 ~ $5,000 per finished minute)
  • Animations ($3,000 ~ $10,000 per finished minute)

Note: These numbers should only be used as a starting point to estimate the costs of producing a video. For a more accurate estimate, give us a call and talk to one of our producers.

Corporate Productions

Businesses often use corporate videos to promote a product or service that they provide. These types of video consist of:

  • Interviews of leadership, marketing folks or subject matter experts
  • B-Roll may include products, services, employees or manufacturing
  • Slider and jib camera movement for B Roll footage
  • Lower third graphics show the name and title of interviewee
  • Opening and closing graphics of the company name and contact info
  • Clean, balanced interview audio
  • Subtle, instrumental background music
  • Straightforward, simple editing

If there is no travel involved and the interviewees are readily available so that you can shoot all interviews and B Roll footage in one to two days, then the $1,000 to $3,000 per finished minute is a good estimate to start with. By adding more days, a variety of locations, additional editing for different versions, and travel, your production costs will increase accordingly.

Narrative Stories

A video that utilizes the narrative to communicate its message tend to be more expensive. Instead of sit down interviews and B-Roll, narrative stories tend to require more resources like actors, sets, props, wardrobe, makeup, more locations and unique story requirements.

Narrative stories may include these kinds of videos:

  • A day in the life of a consumer who uses your product
  • A humorous storyline to communicate the benefits of your company
  • An office setting that needs your service to operate efficiently

When done properly, narrative stories can have incredible impact on the viewers.


Another common video type is animation. This is where you build your entire video using photos, stock footage, computer graphics, 3D models and other non-captured assets. Like corporate and narrative stories, animation videos require quality scripting, tight editing, and good storytelling.

Animations tend to be more costly because each element on screen has to be created, modeled or rendered in sync with the script and narration. Assembling those elements in a clean, creative way takes time. Motion graphics artists will spend days, even weeks, building high-quality animations.

Animation videos tend to be used for the following:

  • Trade show videos
  • Marketing videos
  • Online, web videos
  • Corporate communication
  • Service videos
  • Work-flow and diagram videos

How do we estimate the cost for your video?

We start with lots of questions. The better we understand your video requirements, the more accurate we can estimate what it’ll cost to produce the video.

These are some of the questions we ask in the proposal process:

  • Who is your target audience? Who do you want to watch these videos? Customers? Investors? Clients? Businesses? Mangers? Can you define your target demographic (people your trying to reach)? What is the social target: age, income, marital status, number of children, education level, etc. Is this video for a particular region (east cost, city, state, etc.), or nationwide, or global?
  • What is the video about? What are you wanting to communicate through this video? Brand, company stability, services, offerings, value, training, a new product, etc.?
  • Is it more like a documentary (facts, information and education), or more of a narrative story (fiction, storytelling, hypothetical use, etc.)?
  • What are some emotions or feelings you would like to communicate? Trust, confidence, strength, etc.? List some adjectives that you’re want to convey about what you’re wanting to communicate through this video.
  • What is the estimated length of the video? If you don’t know exactly the length, then estimate the range, like 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Do you want to interview someone — company leaders (CEO, president, manages, etc.), strategic partners, random audience or customers, or a mixture of those? How many interviews do you expect per video or total?
  • Do you want live action coverage shots (B-Roll) of certain things happening — factory lines, people at work, customers in their environment, etc.? If so, what are you looking for, and what do you want others to see?
  • Do you need any special graphics or animations to demonstrate a technology, a process or something futuristic that’s not created yet?
  • What distribution options are your considering? Website, YouTube, DVDs, Broadcast, etc.?
  • Do you have a format preference: Standard Definition (SD) or High Definition (HD)? NTSC (Americas) or PAL (Europe)?

Once we know the answers to these questions, we simply plug in the details to a budgeting spreadsheet, and an accurate estimate is generated.