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How much should you pay for a video?

The age old question of marketers and content creators a like, how much should my video cost? The cop out answer is, depends on the project, and while there is a lot of truth to this statement there are ways to at least give yourself a ball park of how much your next video should cost you. If you are looking for the quick answer, it basically comes down to how much are you willing to spend? Any project is scale-bale to any budget. Personally I would not have watched a Jurassic Park made for $1,000 but it is possible. Let me give you a very simple principle to keep in mind as your start budgeting for your next marketing masterpiece.

The Production Triangle

The production triangle is a simple but effective way to figure out where your priorities are. Each corner represents a vital aspect in every production; Quality, Budget, and Deadline. As you get closer to any point of the triangle you get further away from the other 2. So if you want a very cheap video the quality will be low and may take till next year to finish. Need high quality and have a short deadline? Expect to pay out the nose. Ideally you are looking for an even triangle, but you must figure out where your priorities are up front. For the rest of this article we will assume a well balanced triangle for a traditional video so adjust accordingly as you read on. We will also be focusing on short promotional videos or commercials done in order to generate interest about a particular product, service or cause. Not that making a Hollywood blockbuster wouldn't be fun, the budgets for a traditional feature film vary so drastically that ball park figures would be anything from 500 thousand to 500 million dollars. So assuming you're not Spielberg, lets talk about what you should expect to pay for a traditional video.

As of now there are really 2 distinct types of videos being made in mass today, animated and live action. Thanks to massive advancements in computer and software technology over the last 2 decades animated videos have become increasingly popular and are generally much cheaper than live action. If you are looking to shoot a live 30-60 second commercial with cameras, actors, and explosions be prepared to spend around 50 thousand and higher. There are of course cheaper options out there but again you will get varying degrees of quality. To pull off a video shoot it takes an incredible amount of personnel and then add in the post production process, you had better have a decent budget. You need people to make your script a reality and people will be the most expensive part of your video. Generally every time you write a check to get your shiny new video, you are simply paying for the man hours that went into making it. Due to this, live productions take more people than animated videos therefore they tend to cost more.

So whats the bottom line? How much should I expect to pay? At the risk of over generalizing a very complicated industry I will let you know what I have gathered thus far in my career, as far as numbers go. For a basic 60 second 2D animated video you are looking at around 4-6 thousand dollars to be done well. The high end can hit 10 thousand or more, which is still very in-expensive considering you are getting the most powerful marketing tool available today custom made for your purposes. There are options as low as 2-3 thousand but keep in mind that's a very low budget and you shouldn't expect an abundance of quality. Also keep in mind that this is only 1 MINUTE of content. If you need longer run times be prepared to pay more because the longer the video the more time it takes to make.

This is only considering 2D animations, once you dive into the world of 3D the prices will of course go up. 3D takes more time to develop and execute than 2D. Base price for a fully 3D animated video will be closer to $10,000. Again this is only 60 seconds of content. Luckily there are options where you can mix 3D and 2D, adding a little flare to a simpler format. So budgets can vary.

If your jaw has dropped to the desk and tears are welling up as you realize you now have to tell your boss that a new video will be triple the budget you were given, take heart. Your job is the get the very best product for the money that will serve your purposes and well beyond. Spending thousands on a video may seem dumb but keep in mind that A LOT of work goes into making a high quality video and will be far more effective at bringing in new customers than any other medium available today. Also keep in mind that cheap is rarely better or even as good. Low budget videos just are not as effective as high end ones, why do you think big companies spend millions on commercials every year, because quality matters.

In conclusion, cost of a video depends on where your priorities are and how much you are willing to spend. In very general estimates; Animated 2D is in the mid-thousands, 3D is 10's of thousands, and live production are 50 thousand or higher.

If you need an exact number for your particular video then please don't hesitate to shoot us an email with the details of your project at and we will respond within 24 hours with a custom quote and your next steps completely FREE. Thanks for reading!

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