How Video Production Agencies Price Their Services
With no industry guidelines in place for costing out videos, particularly in the marketing sector, the fluctuation in pricing can be downright overwhelming and confusing. Thankfully, our in-house team has worked across a number of different agency environments to be able to provide a more holistic overview of how content pricing works.
So here’s what we’ve figured out:
Prior to entering into a service contract, a production agency will consider all the elements of the project necessary to deliver the desired result i.e. video length, audience, style, content streaming or distribution platform, purpose of content etc. All these elements will determine what talent is needed, how much time will be required from each and what the overall production schedule and process will look like.
Video production typically has four stages; pre-production, production, post production, distribution.
This stage is all about shoot planning and creative development. This is where the creative team - script writer, storyboard artist, Director and potentially the Producer - come together to map out the shoot and the required deliverable. It’s also the stage when locations are booked, actors are auditioned and client meetings are held to ensure the team is hitting the right targets.
Lights, camera, action. This is where the magic happens on set and the script begins to come to life. Many video production agencies will already have set rates for certain skills, and will determine how a budget comes together based on the deliverable required. For example, a high quality, docu-style film shoot, that utilizes B-Roll footage and client or employee interviews, would likely only require one camera, a Director and a Camera Assistant. Thus, the budget for this would be a lower. A commercial for TV on the other hand, may require multiple cameras, actors, crew members and distribution licences for music, etc.
In an edit suite, the Editor, Director and sometimes the Producer, sit together to piece the footage together into a cohesive, and engaging story. Sound is synced and edited, ambient sound and effect are added, and music is overlaid. Every shot is also color corrected for a consistent look and feel, then encoded according to the desired deliverable.
this involves uploading and in some cases, building in tags and keywords in to the back end to help with SEO.
For every production there are two main components considered; crew experience level and equipment value. Each of these components is typically charged on an hourly rate, although smaller production agencies that utilize a network of freelancers for larger productions, may propose a day rate.
EQUIPMENT There is a lot of gear involved in video production, and it’s all quite expensive. Pricing for the use of camera equipment generally takes into account not only the cost of the gear, but also its wear and tear over time. Insurance, is also built in.
In addition to video cameras, there are also lights, lenses, and audio gear. Again, different types of gear are needed for different production styles and end products. For example, for commercials you may need a boom mic and clip on mics. For interviews, you may only need a boom mic. Lighting also depends on the location and whether you’re shooting inside, outside, in studio, etc. Post-production services require an even more substantial list of equipment needs. EXPERIENCE Similar to most other businesses, the more experience your crew has, the higher the price. A director with 15 plus years of experience is going to cost more than one who has 5 years of experience. And, each comes with its own benefits. A less experienced Director will keep costs lower, but the delivery may take longer or may not be as finessed as you might like. A more experienced Director will be able to work faster and more efficiently, but will cost more.
Pricing will also differ between solo videographers who provide raw footage, and a team of video service providers who handle everything from pre-shooting creative input to post-production expertise.
At 4CP, we operate a lean, core team with access to network of greater talent. This means we’re able to keep overheads, thus providing a more competitive pricing for our more senior talent.
It’s worth noting that Video Production Agency prices also fluctuate based on the location of their ‘home base’ or headquarters. Like in any other industry, the cost of hiring talent is relative to the cost of living. Thus, companies based outside of metropolitan areas like NYC are able to charge less for their services, whereas companies based in Manhattan have to charge a premium in order to make a profit.