Buying Video by the Pound

There was a day not that long ago when clients would ask us, “How much do you charge per minute for videos?” This question always set off alarms for us because there are various factors that affect a video budget beyond the video’s length. 

The bottom line is that you cannot buy video production like produce at the grocery store. 

So, how do you budget for a video project? What factors should you consider?  Let’s break down how to approach a video project and maximize your return on investment.

The Value of Video Marketing 

If you’re tempted to scrap your video plans altogether after reading this far, remember that a low-budget video is better than no video at all. In Wyzowl’s 2022 State of Video Marketing report, 86% of marketers said that video contributed to lead generation. Eighty-one percent even reported that video content helped directly increase sales. In short, video marketing is a powerful tool that will strengthen both your brand and the bottom line–and its benefits far outweigh the time it takes to create. Plus, with the right agency at your side, “low-budget” doesn’t have to mean “low-quality.”

Purpose, Use, and Style

So, where do you begin? First, you must identify the type of video you need and how it will be used. Is it an internal communications or training video, a brand video, a company overview, or a sales and marketing video? Once you’ve pinpointed the purpose and use of your video , the next step is to determine the style and elements you will use. 

There are three main components of video content, which can be combined or used individually.

  1. A live-action video is structured like a short story (think TV commercial). It is usually scripted and filmed using hired talent. This was the most common style among companies in 2022, accounting for about 42% of the videos produced (Wyzowl 2022). 
  2. A testimonial video involves interviewing clients or employees and building the video around the interview bites. 
  3. Finally, an animated graphics video is typically an infographic-style video using text and graphic animations.

Setting an Appropriate Budget

It is important to understand how the style you choose will impact your budget. Factors that will drive up a budget include hired talent,  the size of your production crews, the length of the video, travel required, number of cameras, level of graphic animation, and scripting needs. 

These expenses need to be weighed carefully against the value they can add to the final product. For instance, a larger crew will typically set up faster, move around more easily, and thus acquire more footage in a shoot day. Meanwhile, hiring a gaffer (lighting person) will result in better-looking shots and a higher production value. Sound technicians are also advantageous if you are shooting testimonials or live-action footage in areas where the surrounding sound cannot be totally controlled. (After all, nothing ruins a video faster than bad audio!)

Another factor to consider is whether to hire talent or use volunteers for front-of-camera work. Often, you can opt for the budget-friendly route and enlist the help of your employees or other volunteers, depending on the video’s needs and their comfort level on camera. However, if you need a large speaking role and complex action, then hiring professional talent will likely save you time and headaches in the long run. 

Graphics are another crucial consideration. Not all graphics are created equally, and the more complex the animation, the more costly. Three-dimensional animation, for instance, is more expensive and time-consuming than 2D. The levels of animation styles and complexities vary greatly, as does the budget you can choose to allocate.

So, can you buy video by the minute (or pound)? No–we cannot price out video by the minute. Instead, we encourage you to be prepared before approaching your agency about producing a video. Define the video’s purpose and use. Have some examples prepared of videos you like, and consider your budget range ahead of time. The right partner will have a conversation with you, ask lots of questions, and collaborate to find the best video solution for your audience, goals and budget. There are many ways to approach a video project, and an experienced agency can tailor the final budget to fit your brand’s  needs.