How much does it cost to create a commercial?
Good question that there is no exact answer to, as no two projects are alike! Below I will do my best to sort out and answer all the questions related to the cost of producing a film, whether it is a commercial, animated film or a case film.
One of the first questions you ask yourself when you have decided to produce a commercial is “how much will it cost?”. In connection with this, it is often assumed that the best way to deal with production costs is to spend less money on more commercials to get the most “bang for the buck”. It is not believed that it will have any major impact on quality, which is often wrong.
There are many factors that affect the cost of video production (equipment, teams, etc.), but the solution is not to create more low quality content. Instead, your market budget should be adjusted to produce fewer, but more efficient and high-quality films. Producing most films with low cost and low quality will damage the brand. However, investing in quality can create content that ages well and creates value for your business.
- 62% are more likely to have a negative opinion of a brand that published a poor quality video experience
- 23% who have had a poor quality video experience would hesitate to buy from the brand 60% said that a bad online experience online would discourage them from engaging with a brand in all its social media properties
- 57% are less likely to share a poor quality video experience.
With that said, it is of course important to maintain an appropriate quality, everything does not have to be of the highest quality
So how much does a commercial really cost?
The short answer is that it depends on what is to be produced. Video production probably costs more than any other content medium but it is often the most effective. When it comes to video, you get what you pay for. So if, for example, you want a high-quality commercial, but are only willing to spend SEK 20,000 to produce it, then you will not get what you want. If you want people to watch your commercial, you need to produce a video that is worth watching.
As I said, there are many factors that affect the cost of video production. A commercial for an international brand such as IKEA or Volvo can cost millions of kronor, while an animated explanatory film that should be on the web for a medium-sized company can cost about 100,000 SEK. The costs depend on, among other things, the type of video you need, the location, the production team, the equipment, the amount of pre-production, editing, sound and post-production. A good way to estimate your budget or to get an exact quote from a production company is to write a brief for the production. For example, it can contain when, where, what, why and how you want the video produced.
The different costs of a video production
To get closer to a more detailed answer to what the costs will actually end up on, you need to weigh the factors below.
Type of video:
The cost of video production depends on the type of video you want to produce. An animated commercial that explains your business requires different skills than a commercial with actors. The higher quality you need, the more you can expect it to cost. Depending on the video type, you can also consider whether the production can take place in-house or whether it should be outsourced.
Length of film:
The length of a commercial does not have as great an impact on the price as you might think unless you compare a feature film with a short commercial. Whether you are producing a commercial in 30 seconds or three minutes, the production team and equipment will often be the same. It is also not certain that it will even affect the post-processing unless the film needs to be cut a lot. The reason for this is because it often takes the same number of days to produce the material in both scenarios. It is thus the number of days for production and the amount of post-processing you need to take into account and not directly the length of the commercial.
Pre-production, such as concept development, writing scripts, finding a suitable filming location, obtaining a permit and planning a driving schedule, can take up both part of your time and budget. If the content (such as the script) changes, your video production costs will likely change as well. If you have the resources, you can write the script internally, which can then be adapted for the production of the production company you work with. If you do not know where to start, most production companies offer this service.
If you need to find a recording location, you also need to budget for this. If you hire a local production company, for example a production company in Stockholm if you want to produce in Stockholm, you will probably get a lot for free when it comes to finding a filming location as the company probably knows most of the good filming locations. For more specific recording locations, however, time will need to be taken to find the correct recording location. The more time you need to put into pre-production, the higher the final cost.
The costs for the production team depend, among other things, on where the creators are active, market, equipment and experience. If you need a more specialized production team and equipment, for example for VR production, you may need to spend more.
Each individual creator has their own awards, but below are some examples of daily rates for some of the more common roles in a video production:
- Producer: SEK 6,000 – SEK 20,000
- Director: SEK 6,000 – SEK 25,000
- Cameraman / A-photo / DOP: SEK 4,000 – SEK 20,000
- Drone driver: SEK 5,000 – SEK 15,000
- Sound technician: SEK 3,000 – SEK 8,000
- Lighting: SEK 3,000 – SEK 8,000
- Production assistant: SEK 2,000 – SEK 7,000
- Video editor: SEK 4,000 – SEK 12,000
- 3D animator: SEK 4,000 – SEK 12,000
If you need to hire, for example, actors and extras, it costs extra, which you also need to take into account in your market budget. However, not all productions need extras and actors. Many types of corporate films, such as case films, are usually used by existing staff and customers. However, make sure that the people you put in front of the camera can deliver, it is not only up to the director to make sure that the film is good.
Everyone knows the phrase “time is money”. This also applies in the film world. Time is directly linked to daily prices. It is often most cost-effective to produce based on whole days. This is for several reasons. You often rent technology, equipment, supplies, etc. based on daily prices, so you do not get a price deduction because you only need to rent for 4 hours. When you hire a cameraman for half a day, they will charge you more than half of their daily rate (some only work full days). This is to compensate for lost time and money when they can not schedule a second gig that day. As much as possible, try to plan full days to get the most out of your marketing budget.
Travel costs can in the worst case be as costly as the production itself as you still have to rent technology, equipment and staff (although it is often at a lower price than the daily rates). In addition to transportation costs, the costs also include hotels and meals. Can you use a local production company alt. a production company with good contacts at the place you want to record on to avoid travel costs is preferable.
As we have mentioned before, it costs to rent technology & amp; equipment, often per day. This also applies if you hire a photographer with your own equipment, then they will still charge you for the cost of the equipment even if it is included in the daily price. It helps them to protect their equipment and to cover the original costs of buying the equipment. <br> On a larger recording, you may need to rent cameras, lights, tripods, microphones or other film equipment. You can save money here by being flexible when it comes to camera and gear requirements (without compromising on quality). The higher the requirements, the higher the cost is likely to be.
The majority of the work in producing a high quality commercial is usually put into the post-production, so budget well for this. First you will want to find the story in the cut – usually with a few rounds of feedback from the customer. The film is then completed with, for example, coloring and grading. Cutters tend to specialize in different parts of the cut. One clipper can be a good color setter while another can be good at cutting story. As a result, you may need different skills in the post-processing – ensure that those you hire have the right skills based on your needs. If the film contains moving and / or 3D graphics, specific skills may need to be used for just that as well.
Save with Freelancers:
If you can do parts of the production in-house – for example writing a script, finding a suitable filming location, producing actors / extras, fixing props or managing the editing, you can reduce video production costs. You can then save money by hiring a freelance production team (cameraman and sound technician) instead of hiring a production company. If no one in your team has experience of how to handle and lead a production, however, you will probably get a better result by turning to a production company and letting them be responsible for the production.
Adjust your budget according to your marketing strategy
When you have a better understanding of the costs of producing a film, it can be good to think about what resources you have available and what you want to achieve. <br> For example, do you want to attract new customers, recruit employees or build a brand? Do you have something relevant to tell your target group? You usually want to put a little more powder on that type of film then – partly because they will be seen by many but mainly because you probably need to arouse the interest of someone who, for example, did not know you existed.
For example, if you are producing a tutorial or conveying information to an already interested audience, it may be enough to do it professionally without sacrificing credibility.
Smaller companies with limited budgets may need to accept lower production values, but commercials can make a big difference here as well. Here it is important to produce smart and what you really need to recoup the investment.
No matter what your needs are or what type of video you are going to produce – be realistic when it comes to your expectations. Do not forget that you get what you pay for. If you are not willing to pay for a premium product, you will probably not get one.
How do you maximize your budget?
It is natural to feel discouraged if you are not an experienced customer. Below are some tips to maximize your budget and get the most out of your shopping experience.
First of all, you should know what it is you want to achieve. A major reason why a project does not meet expectations is when the brief is not clear and the client (in this case you) can not decide what they want and change the content during production. This is not unusual but it does incur unnecessary costs and degrades the quality. It’s not fun for either party.
Choose the production company / partner carefully and do not just look at the price. There is often a good reason why some charge more / less and there is always someone who can do the job at a lower price. However, a lower price can mean lower quality, which in the end is more costly than doing the right thing from the beginning. Check out portfolios and reference jobs to ensure that the quality is in line with what you expect. Have they done similar productions that you request? Also, make sure they understand you, your industry and marketing – not just video production. The chance that the message will be greater if the producer also understands how the video will be used after the production is finished, for example for marketing purposes
Make sure you can be available and provide the resources the producer needs, you will work as a team during production. This can include everything from access to people, filming locations, logos and graphic manuals to quick review of concepts, scripts and new versions of the film being produced.
Most people who work in the project want to produce a good product. If you can facilitate in their work of creating a good product, all parties will benefit from it.
After producing hundreds of films, you can still see a certain pattern when it comes to costs for different types of productions. An example is that a 1-3 minute company presentation that should be on the website can cost between SEK 40,000 and SEK 100,000. A more professionally produced corporate film can cost between SEK 60,000 and SEK 250,000 as a starting point, which in this case would give you a reasonable idea of where in the budgeting process you should start. It can also be an idea to calculate what results you need to achieve to justify the cost you intend to invest – a tool for that can be found here
Reaching the price for a specific production is often an advisory process, which is good. This ensures that the production company becomes aware of your company and all the necessary details about the project to provide a correct price statement. Once a project is defined and you can identify the costs, you may need to negotiate prices to find a home. Sometimes you as a customer need to let go of your requirements for production to get down in price and sometimes the production company can offer a small price reduction / offer a few hours to close the deal.
Tip # 1: Share your budget
Almost all companies have a budget and yet many companies are reluctant to share budget figures. It may come from a fear that the production company will use the information to maximize its profits or alternatively in the hope that the company will get a great deal if they do not disclose anything. Both parties should strive for a long-term cooperation – it costs more than it tastes or alternatively that you do not pay enough, it often eats away at one of the parties, which is not a good basis for a long-term cooperation. The result is almost always best when you can say “Here is my budget, here are my business goals, what can you do for me?”
As I said, you want to get the best solution, if you do not share all the tools to achieve the solution, it will often not be an equally good solution. It costs both time and money to look for new partners time and time again – then it is just as good to get to know each other as well as possible for as fruitful cooperation as possible. If you do not provide a budget indication, the production company must guess at a budget which is time consuming (costs money) for both you and the production company. For example, the production company can produce a quote where the level of ambition is insanely too low / high in relation to what you want, which means that you have to go back to the drawing board again.
Tip # 2: Be open
Many companies start the development process with;
- A specific video type or style in mind,
- A prepared script and / or
- Especially creative approach in mind.
Be careful not to base your decision solely on the price. Make sure you know what is included in each quote you receive, it increases your understanding of the project and what is included in the price. Insist on a breakdown of budget items before signing a contract. This will make it easier to compare prices and services from different production companies. Which production team is included in the various quotes? How many days of work? What final delivery do you get? It does not hurt to listen to alternative approaches. The production company you decide to hire will probably be hired thanks to their knowledge and expertise.
Do you need help with a project?
Megapixel Group AB has completed hundreds of projects and produced over a thousand films. We are used to putting together projects and budgeting to maximize the value of money. We have over 10 years of experience in marketing, sales and video production and are happy to sit down with you to explore how we carry out your project in the best way.