The Cost of Video Production

20.05.2021 Content Strategy
Eoin Dowdall
Creative Director

Money, money, money. It’s everyone’s main concern when producing video content. Considering so many aspects, crew members and the efforts that go into a single, short video, you can’t always make head nor tail of location hiring costs and daily rates of crew operators and actors.

Of course, if you want a video that’s as cheap as chips, there’s no harm in filming your video on a smartphone. If you’re able to coax your camera-shy colleagues to step into the spotlight and use your office space as your set, you’ll also save on costs for hiring a location and actors. But if you want specific effects and a professional sheen to your video content, that’s also reusable and purpose-built to boost your SEO rankings, collaborating with a video production content agency will be your best option. We pride ourselves on producing high-quality video content for a significantly lower budget.  

Here at Kartoffel Films, we like to make things simple. The big bonus of partnering with a London-based video content agency is that you know exactly where your money is going every step of the way. After consulting with us, you’ll know what sort of footage you’ll need, how long the planning, shooting and editing stages will take, and who to feature in your video. We will sort out the rest. You won’t need to worry about every individual part of filming your video, as we’ll have done the hard work for you. 

So let’s have a look at how much time, energy and, most importantly, money you’ll save by consulting our expertise. 

Time of Your Video Content

The time needed throughout the whole process is what we call resource time. Resource time is a huge factor in how much money you’ll spend on your video. The aspects of resource time include:

  • Creative development
  • Shooting days
  • Video editing
  • Sound design
  • Animation (if needed)

If you require more than one shoot day, costs will rise, because you’ll need to hire the relevant crew, cast, location, and equipment for the additional days. It’s important to discuss and allocate these days with your crew members beforehand because if you’re filming a live-action video and you’re unhappy with the final version, it will be very difficult to edit. This would mean reconvening with all of the crew members, which would be a mammoth task to organize, as there are lots of people involved with filming your footage.

The people you need to bring your vision to life work at daily rates. Especially with crew hire costs, these can amount to a significant amount as so many members are involved in the technical side of things. Their costs also depend on the location, the gear you need, and their experience. 

Crew Hire Costs for Your Video Production

We’ve listed below all of the crew members you’ll potentially need to shoot your video content.

1. Commercial DOP (Director of Photography)

The DOP is the head of the camera department, working closely with the director to shoot the footage.

Cost: £650-£2000 per day

2. Documentary DOP

This DOP does the same job but only on documentary shoots.

Cost: £400-£1200 per day

3. First Assistant Director

The first assistant director controls the set. They are responsible for ensuring everything runs on time and acts as the first point of contact for all departments.

Cost: £200-£400 per day

4. Commercial Video Editor

The commercial video editor does what it says on the tin – they watch, cut, and put together all of the footage you need for your final video.

Cost: £400-£1000 per day

5. Drone Operator

If you need fleeting footage of an overview, such as a city skyline, a drone operator will fly the drone with a camera attached, sometimes operating simultaneously.

Cost: £500-£1400 per day

Drone Operator
Drone Operator

6. Sound Technician

The sound technician is in charge of recording and mixing all sounds, including music, needed on set.

Cost: £300-£700 per day

7. Gaffer

Not just Superintendent Hastings on Line of Duty, this term is also synonymous with the head of the electrical department. In other words, the gaffer is responsible for all of the lighting on set.

Cost: £300-£600 per day

8. Grip

The grip is in charge of the equipment that supports the cameras. 

Cost: £200-£600

Crew Hire Costs
Crew Hire Costs

All the Logistics for Your Video Content Strategy

1. Video Pre-Production

Before you know what exactly you want to film, lots of time has to be spent devising your video’s content and structure. If you’re unsure about the capabilities of your creative vision, you can outsource an independent scriptwriter or copywriter to plan your storyboard. A storyboard breaks down your video into specific scenes and is useful for the rest of your creative team to work from. Storyboards help you visualise your video and understand the overall flow.

Cost: £400-£500 per day

2. Equipment Hire for Your Video Production

Cameras, lights, microphones, audio cables and memory cards are the bog-standard equipment you’ll need on shoot days. But high-budget videos need more costly items, including gimbal stabilizers, tripod dollies, drones, and 360-degree cameras. Depending on the visual effects you want, make sure your budget is prepared for hiring the relevant equipment to achieve your desired final video.

Cost: £500-£1000  

3. Location 

Your cheapest option is using the office space you already have. If you’re looking for a venue that meets specific visual requirements, you’ll have to pay a permission fee, which varies depending on the size and grandeur of the site you have in mind. It’s also worth noting that the cast and crew you want to work with will have to travel to this location, so make sure that it’s convenient for all.

Cost: £300-£5000 


4. Actors

If your colleagues are reluctant to exercise their drama skills in front of the camera, you’ll need to hire actors. An actor’s pricing depends on their experience and reputation, so make sure you know how many people you’ll need to film.

Cost: £400+ per day

5. Video Post-Production

The post-production process is really where the magic starts to happen. The time spent cutting, editing, colouring, animating, sound mixing, and adding voiceovers and captions will add to your costs. Depending on the complexity of your video content, this can take a lot longer than planned, so ensure that you’re aware of the time and money it will take to finalise your video.

Cost: £500-£3000 

Live-Action vs Animation in Your Video Marketing Strategy

Now that we’ve given you a breakdown of the potential costs included in producing video content, it’s important to distinguish the differences in price between live-action and animation. Weighing up the variations in cost between both video content formats doesn’t always give you a clear-cut answer; it’s all about what you want your video content to accomplish and how you want your audience to respond. 

It’s worth bearing in mind that costs for both live-action and animated video content vary on their complexity. Animated video content being the cheaper option is a myth, as it doesn’t consider the length of time it will take to design and create the necessary graphics. Similarly, live-action video content has the potential to include a lot of the cast and crew members detailed in the aforementioned points. Here is some more information on how to choose between the two different video formats.

Live-Action Video Content

Live-action video content is best for promos, explainers, and informational videos. If you want your video content to develop a connection with your audience, and therefore potential clients, live-action video content naturally incorporates that personal and humane touch. This is particularly beneficial if you’re just starting with either promoting your brand or with a video content marketing strategy. You want to show the real faces behind your company.

Depending on the number of shoot days needed, a live-action video will cost between £3000 and £5000. If you partner with us, all of the above costs are included in the final price and we will discuss with you your preferred timeframe. Many of our clients want a quick turnaround, so we know how to produce a live-action video quickly without compromising quality.

Live-Action Video Content
Live-Action Video Content

Animated Video Content

On the other hand, animated video content is excellent for condensing information and relaying it in an aesthetically pleasing format. You also have more versatility, as pretty much anything is possible with animation, be it 2D or 3D. Animations last longer, meaning that you can leave out elements that would otherwise date the production and make it lose relevance, which you can’t achieve with live-action. 

Although animated video content doesn’t require the whole works as opposed to live-action, it isn’t always cheaper. Creating a simple animated video would cost you around £4000. Something longer and more complex would see a rise to £8000, sometimes even £10,000. This includes everything in the pre-production process, which often takes longer than live-action because creating storyboards requires much more detail. But the time spent on an excellent animation can also be more cost-effective if you’re looking for a video format that lasts for years.

Final Thoughts

It’s clear to see that independently outsourcing all of the relevant cast, crew members, and graphic designers required for your video can lead to astronomical figures. Tight budget constraints can often seem like a hindrance in producing high-quality video content. But we believe that a significantly lower budget doesn’t have to result in poor quality footage. With over 2000 videos, both animated and live-action, we can sort all of the logistics associated with your video, meaning no hassle or stress on your part. Still interested? Give us a call to get our creative partnership started.


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