Understanding the Value of Video and Associated Costs

By Rachel Jellinek, Partner at Reflection Films

 

The value of video for businesses is growing. Whether you capture customer and staff testimonials, create a PSA, or showcase the features of your product or service, video is a tool from which you can get a lot of mileage to promote what you have to offer. Online video not only expands the reach of “your voice” and therefore your market, but it also can play an important role in boosting your website’s SEO (search engine optimization).

In light of all these possibilities, I thought I would share a bit about the video production process and some of the costs associated with it. The video production process can be divided into three parts: pre-production, production, and post-production. In order to help you understand where the costs come from, here is some information about each phase.

I should state that the process outlined below isn’t representative of every video project. Some videos are simpler to put together; others require more effort. This is to give you an overview, but is in no way meant to overwhelm or intimidate you! Producing video is a fun, creative process that we enjoy sharing.

Pre-Production

In pre-production, the focus is to determine what messages need to be conveyed to whom. Figuring out what style of video and what content will appeal to your target audience(s) is a key part of this stage. Discussions about where to film, whom to film, and what images to capture to enrich the interview voices (“b-roll” is the term for this supplementary video that helps illustrate the spoken word) are integral to pre-production.

The costs of pre-production are related to the strategic planning time needed to come up with the road map that will make the video production a success.

Production

The costs for production depend upon a variety of factors, including but not limited to:

  • The size of the crew to be hired for your project
  • The equipment needed, including cameras, lights, and sound
  • The number of production days to capture the footage you desire
  • Travel costs, if footage is to be captured in different locations
  • The rental of studio space
  • The hiring of professional actors or voice-over talent

Post-Production – The Editing of Video

When we speak with people who have attempted make their own videos, whether for professional or personal reasons, almost always, they mention how surprised they were by the amount of time needed to edit a video. And this is true. Unless the video is simple in nature, the post-production most often is where a significant portion of the expense comes from in video production.

Here is a list of some of the things that can happen after the completion of filming:

  • Review of interview transcripts
  • First draft, or “assembly” edited, based on interview bites from script
  • Editing in b-roll to create the “rough cut”
  • Researching and identifying appropriate music; editing that into rough cut
  • “Mixing” the sound (making sure the audio levels are balanced)
  • Incorporating client feedback
  • Creating title and ID graphics
  • Delivering “fine cut” to client
  • Final tweaks to edits to make things “polished”
  • Delivering the video (which often is designing and creating a DVD, or compressing the video for upload to the internet)

So post-production can be a somewhat involved process. There are usually variations to this, based on what kind of video is being produced, but almost always there’s a significant amount of time invested.

In addition, in the post-production stage, there may be costs for ordering music that accompanies the video, as well as the expense of copying any videos onto DVD – although we are seeing that less and less due to the prominence of using online video instead of the distribution of hard copies.

I hope this article has answered some questions you may have. Please feel free to contact me if you have additional ideas you would like to discuss.

Rachel Jellinek is a partner at Reflection Films: www.reflectionfilmsonline.com. Reflection Films produces marketing, fundraising, and training videos for businesses and nonprofits. She is a TCI Forum member. If you have any questions, she can be reached at 617-680-2019 or rachel@reflectionfilmsonline.com.