Video Marketing

Video Production Costs – How to Figure Them Out?

Marton Mundy
Video Marketing
Jan 25, 2024
•   Posted:
Jan 25, 2024
‘I can’t even imagine how much that would cost… A fortune, for sure. Is it worth the effort at all?’

Almost every marketer thinks that when they have to plan the budget of a marketing campaign including video for the first time. And who would blame them?

Yes, a video produced by a professional video crew is expensive. Have no illusions about that. But don’t forget, though, that it’s an investment, and done right, it always pays for itself. Here’s why:

A unique, well-developed, high-quality video can elevate your brand experience and help achieve – and even exceed – your business goals. Better than any other type of content.

 Whether it’s an explainer video, a corporate video, or a video ad, there are two things you need to be aware of to understand video production costs:

1. Key cost drivers: the major factors that affect the overall video production cost.

2. Production phases: costs covering each phase of video production.

Now let’s dive into what you should consider when asking for a quote.

1. Factors that affect video production costs


Video type

Video type is one of the major factors that affect pricing because production requirements depend on what’s in the video.

The crew, techniques, equipment, and of course, the time spent on your project, can vary for each video type to a great extent – resulting in considerable differences in pricing. For example, the production requirements for testimonial live-action videos where you usually film interviews and you can save money by recording all of them in a day, can be minimal compared to an explainer video where you present a complex concept in an easily-digestible way, using extensive animation or filming in multiple locations.

Length of the video

Longer videos mean more production days, equipment rentals, locations, editing, and post-production. These costs add up. 

The difference between a 1 min and let’s say a 3 min video is significant. For instance, for a 3 min video, you have to produce 3x more content in each production phase meaning that if there need to be adjustments, the production team needs to review 3x more content. It doesn’t always mean that the costs for the project triple, but the length heavily impacts the budget.

Plus, you should also take the video type into consideration. A 30 sec explainer video is likely to be more cost-effective than a 30 sec video ad. 


Besides the cost of expertise, the size of the crew plays a huge role in production costs. Consider this: how many team individuals do you need to bring your vision to life? If you need to hire voiceover artists, stylists, and production assistants too, that will show on the billing. But it’s also true for a project that needs a 3D artist.


For most teams, video production costs are calculated with day rates. Keep in mind that it applies to pre-production and post-production as well.


To cover procurement, mileage, and protection, equipment is frequently packaged into day rates. 


When the shoot take place in a different region or country from where the team is based, the team design costs accordingly, including the flights, accommodation, and catering.


Renting a studio means an extra cost. It can happen that you can finish filming in an hour or two but make sure you schedule for multiple takes.


Location costs can make up a major part of the budget, so make sure you know all your options and organize your shoot accordingly. How many days do you need the location for? Do you need to shoot at night? A lot can come into play.

Actors and royalty fees

Featuring your own team members is always a smart idea — it not only builds trust with your customers but also supports your employer branding efforts. Usually, there's no need to calculate extra costs in these cases. However, team members don’t have acting experience in general, so if you want to make sure that everything runs smoothly, consider hiring professionals.

Hiring costs for professional actors consist of 2 factors:

1) Daily rates

2) Customized copyright fees based on the place and time of distribution

 2. Production phases

The pre-production and post-production phases carry just as much weight as production itself. In other words, these two phases mean valid billable time besides the production itself.


There are multiple activities that have to be executed before the shoot, such as concept building, storyboarding, or scripting. And these take several days. The heads of the project work together on these tasks in the pre-production phase.

Pre-production days are usually billed as “prep days”.


This is the actual filming and creation of the video. Every team member participates in this phase.


This is the final phase when the production team brings the raw footage to life. It requires editing and a ton of adjustments and fine-tuning.


How can you balance the costs and the quality of the video?

Knowing that there are so many factors that can increase the cost of a video, and so many elements are essential to a high-quality video experience, you might be wondering if there’s a practical way to balance costs and quality.

Here are a few questions that will help you prioritize your needs without making a compromise:

- Is your video idea defined well enough or do you want to test it out? Modification rounds can increase prices.

- Do you need a short or a long video?

- For how long your video ad will be promoted?

- How many countries will you run your video ad in?

- What distribution channels will you use? Consider your website, social media, PPC ad campaign, email marketing, broadcasting, and theaters.


- How many characters do you need?

- How many background characters do you want to feature?

- Do you want to feature famous or non-famous people?

Props (theatrical property):

How many will you need? Do you need custom-made props?


Are you okay with stock music or you’d rather go for custom music compositions?

Special effects:

How many do you need?


How many locations do you want to shoot in?

Are they famous or unknown places? For example, you can shoot a video in the Colosseum in Rome, which is an extremely expensive location to reserve. Or, you can do a virtual shooting with the Colosseum displayed in the background on LED screens. The latter one is also expensive but it can be a big cost saver.

Does your vision require 3D production and composition? If yes, will there be complex scenes?

Does a video ad cost more than other video types?

A video ad doesn’t necessarily cost more than another type of video, but your budget and goals must be well-balanced to be in control of your finances.

However, what you should remember is that video ads can be more expensive than any other video content when a higher quality video is required. Plus, the costs of music and hiring actors can climb if it is an ad they are contributing to.

So, the ultimate question you should ask yourself is this: if you have a EUR 100k budget for your ad campaign, is it a good idea to let a EUR 500 video do the heavy lifting or you should expand the budget of your video to ensure top quality?

Spilling the beans: what’s the impact of low-quality videos?

At Sublight, we always talk about the success you can achieve through video because we believe that visualizing success does attract success.

But at this point, we have to call your attention to the potential results of going for low-quality videos. In short: it can have a dreadful impact on the overall perception of your brand. According to a Brightcove study, 62% of people will think of brands negatively after watching poor-quality video content from them. And you definitely don’t want to ruin long years of work and risk the reputation of your brand.

Why does getting a quote from a video production team takes so long – usually?

Marketers often get shocked about how much time getting a quote from a professional video team takes. This will help you understand why:

There are an enormous number of possible solutions for every video project. And while a production crew can do them all, you certainly don’t need each and every one of them. So, the fewer solutions you ask for, the sooner you get your quote. But for that, you have to be crystal clear on your expectations.

A solution-oriented video team provides you with the best list of options possible. They want to present a deal that is ideal for you and they definitely don’t want to scare you away with a pricing based on production details that are just assumptions and won’t happen anyway. The majority of agencies give you an approximate figure during your first meeting with them and then they need a week or so to come up with a specific proposal. They may email or call you in the meantime with a few questions. Then, if you want to tweak the proposal, it takes a few more days for them to finalize it.

How do we calculate costs at Sublight?

1.      We discuss your goals and ideas in a discovery call.

2.      We define the video type that serves your goals best.

3.      It’s time to figure out what techniques we’ll need to use for the video to help you achieve your goals.

4.      We work out how many professionals and how much time will need to allocate for your project.

5.      And then we calculate all the costs including the planning phase, equipment, location, shoot, and post-production.

We leverage our expertise to find the ultimate variables for you such as the location, and techniques. If you can prepare the details of your vision beforehand, that’s perfect. We’ll get to know the rest by asking you a few guided questions by phone or email.

Wrap up

Based on the quality you’re targeting and the factors mentioned above, a creative team may quote you between EUR 15k – EUR 150k for a 1-2 min brand video, product video, or video ad. This involves live-action, 3D animation, or a mix of these two. In our experience, you can get exceptional results with reasonable compromises with a 30-40k budget.

Got a video project in mind? Click here to ask for a quote.

Ready? Book a free discovery call with us now to find out how we can propel you towards your goals!