Whether you are a video producer or a business looking at video production costs, all the production cost elements discussed in this blog apply, but of course video production companies will add to their profit margin. A good analogy for determining video production cost is, ‘How much is a piece of string’, i.e. it depends on so many variables, such as:

  • What type of video is being produced?
  • What is the desired style/ look/ production value?
  • Where and by who will it be seen?
  • What elements are being included?
  • The pricing strategy of the video production company.

Whilst the client and the producer will eventually have to settle on and work within a budget, understanding what elements cost and what they will add to the finished product can be the difference between a good and a great video being produced. So let’s dive in:

What type of video is being produced?

The type of video to be produced will dictate variables such as the duration. A Microsoft study recently found that our average attention span has decreased 25% over the past decade. As we become more reliant on electronic devices, our attention span has dropped to eight seconds before we inadvertently switch our attention to another task, which is one second less than a goldfish. So regardless of what type of video is being produced, quality not quantity and standing out from the noise will increase cut-through. Clever storyboards and creative ideas can result in a high effectiveness-to-cost ratio. Regardless of what type of video is being produced, the adage ‘If you can’t say it in two minutes you’re probably saying too much’ should apply. The ultimate touchstone is memorable 30 or 15-sec television commercials that still resonate years later.

What is the desired style/ look/ production value?

In general, viewers have become more receptive to the sizzle, rather than the steak, i.e. the feeling around the product or service rather than the facts. They have high expectations of the quality of the visual aspects of what they give their attention to, which dictates to some extent the production value and the cost of video production for the product or service. However, the quality of cameras has increased to the point where the film look and bokeh that can be achieved with an iPhone is not that much different to one costing over a hundred thousand dollars.

What is more important is what’s in front of the camera, the creativity and style/ look of the subject matter. Location, talent, sets, costumes, makeup, lighting and camera movement are the magic ingredients that captivate, capture attention and elicit the desired response from the viewer.

In relation to the cost of corporate video, the look and feel can depend on the product or service being promoted and the demographic of target viewers, from avant-garde to conservative, whether it is more about function or more about form. Videos for fashion and beauty are often creative with high production values, whilst information and educational videos tend to be more conservative with lower production values.

Where and by who will it be seen?

Social media videos are often specific to the medium, e.g. often portrait rather than landscape aspect ratio, only viewed for days or weeks. Whilst anything for broadcast should be well produced, the cost of video production is often relative to where it will be seen and how long it will be viewed. If a client is spending tens of thousands a week on TV advertising, it’s false economy to skimp on production value. Likewise, a corporate or product video that will feature prominently on the company’s website for the next year needs to be good. In general, the more important the video is to the business, the higher the standard required and the video production costs.

What elements are being included?

The big variables in the cost of video production are equipment, creative talent, on-screen talent, location, set design, costumes, animation, special effects, post-production, soundtrack and importantly, production time required.

What is pitched may sound great but video production costs can quickly escalate according to which of these elements are required. Expensive doesn’t always mean better, although it often is. Remember your objectives and question what is the best way to achieve them, then discuss it with the video production company/s.

The pricing strategy of the video production company.

In general, the higher the acumen/ track record of the video production company, the higher the video production costs will be. Choosing a leading video production company may minimise the risk of receiving an inferior result, but it doesn’t mean that an up-and-coming one can’t create something as good or even better. They may be just as creative and skilled and willing to put greater effort into your project.

A good start in the process of pricing a video is to create a brief of what you expect and give examples of the sort of video you are after. Then get quotes from a number of video production companies. Where a budget has been set, you may or may not choose to let them know how much you are looking to spend. Having some knowledge of the cost of the above mentioned elements will provide insight into the quotes received. Don’t be afraid to ask a preferred video production company to ‘Sharpen their pencil’, i.e. discount the quote, or increase the production value of the quote by adding or increasing an element. A common extra is receiving social media edits as well as the main video.

Ensure that the production agreement includes all aspects of the production discussed and verbally agreed to in negotiations. This will avoid undocumented aspects being charged as ‘Project creep’. Once signed, stick to the budget wherever possible. Make sure you provide assets and feedback in a timely manner. If you are needing more videos in the near future, it may be advantageous to include them to save costs.

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Hopefully, the above advice will help you receive the best result at the right price. It’s important to consider whether you feel the production company is right for you and your project, and that you are confident they will follow through with the same enthusiasm as their pitch, once the production agreement has been signed. Talk to their referees or phone the clients on their showreel to ask about their experience working with your prospective video producer.

If you need a Gold Coast videographer, video production services or even live streaming services, get in touch with the team at Able Video for a quote today.