This article is designed to help you understand the value of an investment into video and content marketing, the things that affect the costs, and how to maximise the return on your investment.
I have spent over a decade working for international brands, broadcasters and corporates and the question that I have been asked more than any other is “How much does video cost?”.
There is no easy answer as there are a number of factors that dictate how much any video project will cost and different companies and agencies charge very differently, some charge per minute of finished film, some charge by the hour of work.
This article will provide a deep dive into these factors so that you can budget accordingly and ensure your content marketing gives you valuable results.
Before we begin, I want to point out a statistic from Cisco – “ In 2021, video will account for over 80% of ALL internet traffic”. So very soon we will start to see businesses without video being left behind – in short, can you afford NOT to use the fastest growing media ever to engage with your audience in a way that they clearly want?
Video costs vary – but ultimately video (and marketing in general) should be seen as a trackable investment – leading to an increase in traffic, views, customer understanding and ultimately sales. In this modern world you shouldn’t ask what video costs you, but what it is costing your business not using video at all, or, perhaps even worse, having a video which shows you in the wrong light, to the wrong people.
Every business is different, even ones which share the same commercial space so you need to figure out, (or work with an agency who can help you figure out) what type of video, what content and what budgetary investment would work best for YOUR BUSINESS – there is no one-size fits all (and don’t believe anybody who tells you that there is).
What affects the cost of video?
There are myriad elements which can drive the cost of your video up or down, effectively this list could be infinite but I have distilled these down into the key areas:
In simple terms, it is quite easy to see that two days of filming is likely to cost double the price of just one day filming however that is not the only time consideration.
For example, when filming an event, there will be less planning and preparation involved than for example filming a narrative drama with a cast of actors – each individuals’ time would need to be taken into account.
Time is one of the most critical elements of any video production to get right, invest too little time in your project and you may end up with a video which isn’t as good as it could have been – invest too much time into a single video and you eat up your remaining marketing budget which could be used on additional video content in the coming months.
Have you ever thought about how different NETFLIX documentaries look when compared to a daily news show? Essentially they are both ‘talking head’ interviews but the Netflix approach looks so much better. A small part of this difference can be attributed to differences in equipment however the biggest difference is made by providing TIME to the crew to create stunning imagery whereas the nature of news dictates the tight timescale. Would you say you’re looking for Netflix or just the News? Another element to consider is the efficiency of time spent – for example – a full day filming for a single 3 minute video compared to a single day of filming a suite of content which could result in as many as 10-20 separate videos or even more which could feasibly give you enough content for a years’ worth of social media posts.
It is important to consider how you want your brand and your business to be perceived and who your key audience is – what do they expect to see? Who are your competitors and how does their digital presence make them look to potential customers?
We live in such an exciting time – we now all carry with us devices which are capable of producing very high-quality photos and videos so in this section I just want to give a basic outline of the kinds of equipment used by most videographers, the benefits and how this can affect the cost.
As mentioned above, the most basic level of videography is by simply using a mobile phone, if you’ve ever seen the ‘shot on iPhone’ adverts you’ll know that these devices are capable of producing stunning imagery however what the adverts often fail to point out is the equipment around the camera itself – tracks, cranes, lighting and so on – so it’s never quite as simple as it seems.
The next ‘level’ of videography is small cameras, known as “DSLR” or “Mirrorless” cameras. These devices were initially designed as still photography cameras but also have great video features built into them and provide a truly accessible price point for those new to the industry or for businesses looking to purchase their own equipment which represents an upgrade over their mobile phones.
They do have drawbacks though in terms of their ability to record high-quality audio and often lack professional video features – for example, some are even limited to recording 30 minute clips which can be a problem for live events or shows!
We like to use ‘industry standard’ equipment where possible – we use databases produced by both BBC and Netflix which outlined their recommended camera equipment. To ensure our clients always get the best possible quality of footage, we primarily use equipment from these two lists.
As I touched on, the main consideration with equipment is actually all of the things that go around the camera – lenses, lighting, audio, cranes, drones, dollys etc. It is also worth considering how many camera angles you require. For example when filming a live production or stage show we often use around 6 or more cameras at once – as you can imagine that does affect the cost however it is an essential part of this kind of production.
I’m sure your head is spinning (or your inner geek is getting a bit hot and heavy) with all of this talk of equipment and I’m sure you’re wondering what on earth all of this has to do with you….? The simple answer is NOTHING – when you hire professionals to do a job, you don’t NEED to know anything about the technology they are using to deliver your project – what you should be worried about though is how will the content make you look, how will it be received by your audience and how will it further reinforce your brand identity. Have you ever asked a plumber what kind of wrench she uses? No, you trust her to use the right tool for the job, but you will definitely be calling her if a leak pops up a day or two later!
The way we approach equipment is that it is much like an artist’s brush – merely a tool to create. That said you can rest assured that with us your content will be of cinema-quality and will absolutely stand the test of time (and most importantly, you’ll look amazing).
Equipment is nothing without that squidgy thing behind it – the operator! The size of your crew is a big consideration when it comes to pricing for obvious reasons. That said it can be tempting to ‘buy cheap’ and go with a single operator however this could actually result in the project taking longer to capture than if it was a team working together. Again, just consider the amount of equipment and creative thought that goes into any video production and you can see how quickly projects exceed the scope of a single person.
For our typical, corporate projects we would provide 3 crew members – this allows us to strike a balance between ‘Hollywood’ quality and realistic costs whilst letting you focus on what’s important (your message). It also allows us to work very efficiently, capturing a huge amount of content in a relatively short timespan.
Another consideration is that, as humans we all occasionally require sick days or cannot work for one reason or other – particularly in the age of COVID. Our team means that even if one of our crew members is out of action, we can still shoot,
without needing to reschedule – something you simply don’t get with a sole trader.
This has been touched on in all of the sections above as it really does over arch everything we do. It is not to say that a young, inexperienced videographer couldn’t deliver outstanding results (just look at YouTubers!) but for us our experience allows us to effectively bridge the gap between business and emotion, between sales and marketing and between your goals and the project outputs themselves.
We are experts at conducting interviews which bring out the best possible answers from even the most nervous contributors and we know how to react if something goes wrong.
The idea of experience is a very broad scale which goes right from a young person with their first camera right through the Spielbergs and Tarantinos (with everything in between).
Our team are all award-winning in their own right – prior to founding Squashed Robot I was actually responsible for producing a film which was nominated for a BAFTA, other members of our team have created BBC shorts which have gone viral (39 million views and counting!).
As with everything relating to video (or marketing in general), it’s about figuring out what is right for YOU.
Smaller businesses looking for a personable way to connect with their audience may well benefit from more ‘home spun’ content which they have filmed themselves, particularly if this content is relatable, useful and engaging. Whereas a fashion or clothing company looking to compete with highstreet brands would likely need to create content which stands up next to their
competitors as brand comparisons are inevitable.
That said, both kinds of content should be used together to create a holistic content journey for your audience, a mix of short and long content, vlogs, testimonials, how-to’s, top tips, case studies and anything else you can think of.
Ok – Brass Tax – How Much?
Every project we do is bespoke but to give you an idea of the investment involved, we have provided two example costings for you below. Please note this is an example only as we price everything on an individual, bespoke level to make sure that the content is the best fit for your business, your budget and your marketing objectives. There are an infinite number of options
when it comes to content production, for example, we work with some clients on a monthly, retained basis which allows us to become part of their marketing team, being able to react with little notice and deliver ongoing content.
Example project 1 – Basic Corporate Package – £3500.00 ex VAT
This is our most popular package for businesses looking to create a single video, advert or piece of content – we do provide two lengths as standard though. For example, we would recommend a 2 minute version for your website and a 30 second version for use on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and so on.
Whilst this represents a great value proposition, the outputs are relatively limited with only two videos being produced. Meaning that with some basic maths you can see the ‘per video’ cost is actually closer to £1750.
1 day of filming
This includes interviews, filming of your location and photography of you and your team. We will also complete comprehensive planning sessions with you to ensure that the content will have the best possible chance of success.
Editing and Post-production
To produce one long film (2-3 minutes) and one shorter one for use on social media (30-60 seconds)
We store your footage for 2 years, that means if you would like additional edits, or would like any changes, we’ll be ready. We also include fully licensed music
Total (ex VAT) £3500.00
Example Project 2 – Content Library – £9950.00 ex VAT
This project is designed to provide as much content as possible for companies with ongoing marketing needs – this is our recommended approach as it yields a much greater amount of content which brings down the ‘per video’ cost considerably.
For example, this project can easily facilitate 20+ Videos – meaning that the price per film is in the region of only £500. On top of all of this, we would also capture still photography of your whole team, your premises and your customers – couple these images with transcriptions of your interview content and you will have rich content for months to come.
2 Filming Days
We would recommend including filming your team, your site and your relevant content as well as a few clients who can provide video testimonials. You could also look to record training content, tips and tricks films and content ready for regular social media updates.
Editing and Post Production
As well as editing of 20+ videos – this phase would also include the creation of bespoke animated elements to further enhance your films, providing a high level of brand recognition and a greater sense of overall ‘production value’.
We store your footage for 2 years, that means if you would like additional edits, or would like any changes, we’ll be ready. We also include fully licensed music
Total £9950.00 ex VAT
How about doing it yourself?
As mentioned above, video works best with regularity and the whole company buys in – a great way to produce a huge amount of content relatively cheaply is to film the content yourself. I’ve already discussed how great mobile phones are as video cameras these days so the chances are that you already have the tools you need.
The biggest consideration here is time – you will likely need to brush up on your technical skills to get the best out of the content, this isn’t by any means a comprehensive list but I would suggest learning about the following elements.
– How to record good sound
– How to compose a shot for the best image
– How to interview people on camera
– How to edit your videos together
– How to add your brand to your videos
As you can imagine, this is no small undertaking so it’s important to remember that for every pound you save, you will be investing the time to learn and deliver this content. To give you an idea – our projects generally consist of approximately 200 man hours to produce, including planning, preparation, filming as well as editing and post production – not to mention
the years of experience, talent and skills that our team have amassed.
If you are interested in learning more about creating your own content then why not sign up for one of our self filming workshops where we cover everything you need to know to start producing video content today.
Getting (and tracking) return on your investment
So you’ve decided to invest in video – what’s next? How do you ensure that you get a return on investment and can we guarantee your results?
Firstly, as much as we’d love to be able to, only you can guarantee your results. You could have the best video in the world, but if you never post it, it will not get any results. Likewise, if you post it in the wrong place, then you’re simply talking to the wrong people.
It is important to have buy in from your whole organisation – ensuring that they know that this content is designed to support not just your marketing activity but also your SALES activity.
Some metrics are easy to track – such as views on YouTube and impressions on LinkedIn, although it’s important to remember that there are other elements to consider. For example, if a new customer finds your website by Google presenting the video as a
search result – or if your sales team are able to provide customers with video information which potentially saves them a huge amount of time and resource that comes with repeating the same message to every new customer.
The first thing you need to do is have clarity on your objectives – what is a reasonable goal and in what timeframe? For example, you may want to expose your brand to 1000 new potential customers – platforms such as Facebook make this really straightforward – simply target your content at people who have shown an interest in your product or service. In terms of the level of investment, this will vary depending on your own objectives, for example, larger businesses might spend in excess of £20,000 per month on pay per click advertising but you can get started for as little as £50. We suggest starting relatively small and regularly analysing your data before increasing the most effective work you are doing.
Alternatively, you may want to simply increase the amount of website visitors who convert into qualified leads – in which case video is a great tool to both humanise your brand, and provide instant information before your lead even gets in touch with you. Again this is relatively simple to track by comparing historical data to data following the launch of your content.
As you can imagine, there are far too many usage scenarios to go into depth here (we will in the following article though don’t worry – but in the meantime, you have nothing to lose by booking your Creative Session now and allowing us to create your bespoke, effective plan.