How-To Figure Out Video Production Cost

video production costPricing out video production can be kind of tricky. Ask someone in the industry for help and you’ll likely get the typical answer… it depends. Not very helpful when you’re planning a budget and trying to figure out your video production costs.

Maybe that’s why so many production companies don’t advertise their prices. It drives me crazy when I can’t find pricing information at a website, so we at least try to give some ballpark figures. We’re also happy to prepare a quote for you anytime you’re planning a budget.

While I’ve had plenty of customers and prospects thank me for that, I thought a more extensive blog post on how we break down our costs might be worthwhile explaining.

While you’ll probably still have to contact me or another video producer if you have specific questions, my hope is that this post will give you more insight into what goes into producing a video so you know where your money is going.

Our “Day Rate”

First things first, we don’t charge by the hour. We’re sometimes asked for a 1-hour video shoot; however, customers don’t see all of the pre and post-prodution activities that take place. Things like travel time to and from the shoot, color correcting the video in post-production, and converting the files into something they can use. In short, video production takes a lot more than an hour.

We charge by using a day rate, $1400/day, or sometimes a half-day rate of $900. Basically, we figure out how much time will be spent on a project (how many days), then we apply the day rate to come up with our total cost.

The most frequent question we get is how much does a 3-minute video cost… or a 2-minute video… or a 60-second video? Regardless of the video length, the answer is always… it depends… and here’s why.

Let’s use the 3-minute video as an example. The finished video might be 3-minutes, but each 3-minute video can vary greatly in how long it takes to produce. We’ve had 3-minute videos that took just a few days to produce costing about $4,000. We’ve also had a 3-minute video take nearly 2-weeks to complete costing over $10,000. It all depends on what has to be shot and how much time we’ll need in post-production.

Let me walk you through the process for how we breakdown our time to help you understand it better.

Concept Planning

The first thing is simply getting on the same page with the customer to make sure we’re producing what they need to meet their goals. At this point, we’ve likely already met with the customer before preparing their video proposal, so this concept planning meeting typically only takes about 30-minutes to 1-hour and can be done in-person or over the phone. We do things like:

  • outline the approach to the video
  • discuss with customer the subject matter and raw video that must appear in the video
  • discuss how many on-camera interviews will be conducted; select interviewees and discuss plan for contacting and coordinating each person


Next, we start to assemble all the things we’ll need during the shoot. This can take anywhere from 1-2 hours. Preparations include:

  • create any necessary shot lists (based on the concept meeting)
  • prepare interview questions (based on the concept meeting)
  • prepare equipment (checking/testing the camera, lights, media cards, tripod)

Video Shoot

The day of the video shoot is the most obvious to people because we’re on-site, so what we do is on display. This is a big part of the “it depends” aspect of things. How many video shoots will be required to capture what we need for the video?

It’s talked about and decided in-advance when the video proposal is being prepared. Sometimes everything we need to shoot is in a single location and all available on the same day. Perfect.

On the other hand, sometimes there are multiple locations involved, someone critical to the video needs to be interviewed on a different day, et cetera.

As far as the shoot itself, here are some of the things we do:

  • videographer visits each site to shoot everything on the shot list
  • videographer also shoots other raw video he/she finds relevant or beneficial
  • videographer interviews predetermined people

Most of T60’s videos only require a single videographer, but there are cases where additional resources are needed or requested. We have helped coordinate things like additional videographers, sound technicians, an online streaming coordinator, a teleprompter operator, hair and makeup, et cetera. Adding professionals like these does increase the production’s cost.


This is where a lot of the time gets spent that the customer never gets to see. It’s the other “it depends” variable. How much time gets spent in post-production varies depending on the amount of raw video there is to sift through and how complicated the story is to tell. It could take anywhere from 2-5 days in most cases. Some of the things that need to be accomplished are:

Logging Raw Video

  • review all the raw video that was shot
  • transcribe sound bites from interviews

Script Creation

  • notes regarding sound bites and raw video are reviewed
  • sound bites are selected, then arranged into story form to create a script
  • script is emailed to customer
  • minor changes are discussed by phone, changes requested by client are made

Video Edit

  • edit video according to the approved script
  • relevant graphics are created
  • preview video is provided to customer for viewing
  • minor changes are discussed by phone, changes requested by client are made


  • digital files are created

Taking into consideration each of those phases… concept planning, pre-production, video shoot, and post-production… most projects take 4-5 days to complete, costing about $5,000 – $6,000

Price is always agreed to in advance with our customers, so they know what the cost is before production begins. We have had a few situations where a project takes longer than anticipated and the price has changed during the process. In all of those cases, the customers added shoots, or other components, and then agreed to an accordingly higher price. Communication is the best way to avoid any potential cost issues.

Low-Cost Videos

We do produce low cost videos for small business owners with tiny marketing budgets for $1,000.

Those videos are all about keeping a very strict production schedule. From beginning to end, the entire production needs to take us less than a day to create the video. We do that with a 1-hour video shoot, during which we follow our 3-step storytelling process. We ask a string of questions leading to answers that essentially create the script on its own, then we edit everything together.

These customers also relinquish creative control to us and trust we will deliver a video that’s on-message. They do not get a script to approve or a preview video that allows them to ask for changes in the final video.

This cuts down on a lot of the time it takes us in post-production. If a customer wants editorial control in one of these low cost videos, we recommend our full-service storytelling instead. Our customers who have purchased our low cost videos have been thrilled with the end result and, of course, the cost!

Making Multiple Videos Affordable

If you’re someone who produces videos on a regular basis, you might want to consider putting a video company on retainer.

A video production retainer is an agreement to perform regular, ongoing video production services at a fixed cost for an agreed to amount of time. In most cases the retainer provides video service at a discounted price.

Having said that… we’re not big fans of the traditional retainer model, which is why we created our VIP Video Club as an alternative.

We feel like a lot of retainers go unused, which is great for the video company that keeps collecting paychecks, but is a bummer for customers who are paying for a product/service they don’t end up using.

Our VIP Video Club membership includes monthly reminders and quarterly planning sessions to help keep our club members on track.

Need Help Finding a Video Pro

Okay, you might be thinking, all of this is helpful… but I don’t know anything about hiring a video production company! If only I had a handy guide that could help me with that process.

Cough, cough… we have you covered. We’re based out of Chicago and Milwaukee, so we have a buyers guide for both cities.

However, a third of our business comes from all over the country, so no matter where you are either one of those guides will give you a good sense of what to look for when hiring a production company.

If you have any other questions, feel free to call. We love being a video production resource for you!

Breaking down your video production cost

So… those are the basic steps for how videos are produced and should be pretty universal from company to company. Of course, every production company prices things in their own way, but that’s how we determine the cost of a video.  I hope this at least gives you some understanding behind the process.

–Tony Gnau

Tony Gnau - T60 ProductionsTony Gnau is a three-time Emmy-winning journalist. He is also the founder and chief storytelling officer at T60 Productions. T60 has won 17 Telly Awards for its work.
Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

[…] a video production company can be a tricky proposition. No doubt, price matters and you’ll want to find out if they fit your budget. However, there are some other things you […]


[…] I recommend that you contact a few video companies early in the decision making process. Ask for a ballpark quote. They should be able to help guide you and let you know how to figure out production costs. […]


[…] How-to Figure Out Video Production Costs […]


[…] Well, in my experience, that’s unlikely to happen with video. As a matter of fact, most people underestimate what their video is going to cost. It’s not because video production costs a ton, it usually has more to do with people not knowing how-to figure out video production cost. […]


[…] How-To Figure Out Video Production Costs […]


[…] I don’t really work in a business that’s known for transparency in pricing, but it’s important for people to know what goes into making a marketing video and its production cost. […]


[…] of video production cost, this is the number one question I get from clients. How long should our video […]


[…] also happens to be a great way to get additional value for the cost of video production. If you were planning to pay for a 5-minute video, you can produce two or three shorter videos for […]


[…] producing a quality video like this that tells a good story increase your video production cost? Probably, but I’ll add probably not as much as you might expect. Ask yourself this […]

Jason Knighton
4 years ago

Hello ~

Thank you for the cost information you posted on your website. It is very helpful. I recently started my educational nonprofit and am beginning the budgeting process for the 2016-2017 school year. I am interested in producing 8 to 10 short videos per year. I’d love to connect at some point about what that might look like and what the cost would be.


Jason Knighton
4 years ago

Hello ~

Thank you for the cost information you posted on your website. It is very helpful. I recently started an educational nonprofit and am beginning the budgeting process for the 2016-2017 school year. I am interested in producing 8 to 10 short videos per year. I’d love to connect soon about my vision for the videos and what the cost would be.



[…] Not to mention, focusing on production value adds up. All those bells and whistles will cost you more. For businesses, the trick is finding a balance between good storytelling and video production cost. […]


[…] be surprised how many people haven’t considered those questions. They might have considered video production cost, but not what they’ll need for […]


[…] charge per project, others by the hour. How can you determine what will work best for your company? T60 Productions opts to charge by the […]


[…] though, doesn’t mean it’s impossible. We manage to post our ballpark prices… even how to figure out video production cost. I wish more companies would do this for you, but they don’t. That means picking up the phone […]

William Hall
3 years ago

I am looking for a quote for a 30 minute interview style video and may do several videos per month.


Will Williamson
3 years ago

Excellent article!!! Thanks for the guidance!!


[…] However, it isn’t impossible. We know people need a little guidance in this area, so we put together some ballpark prices for our website. We even detail how to figure out video production cost. […]

Alvin Wright
3 years ago

I know I have been toooo kind to my clients in my pricing and now that my business is taking a upward turn, I need to get back to basic pricing. Good kick in the head reminder. I produce some pretty good short video projects that my clients love, but just don’t have the budgets to afford.

Taylor Bishop
2 years ago

Thanks for explaining how to figure out the cost of a video production. I’m glad that you explained that you should have some kind of concept planning meeting, especially to make sure everyone is on the same page. it also seems like a good way to establish exactly what the project will entail.

Edward S Jones
Edward S Jones
1 year ago

Thank you for the great information.

1 year ago

This is a very resourceful article that outlines the costs associated with video production! Some people don’t understand how much goes into creating a quality video. This is another helpful resource for people to use to identify the elements of quality video production:

camera on rental
1 year ago

Great Analysis.worth visiting blog.Must appreciate your effort. keep publishing this type of useful information with us. Thank you.


[…] Here’s where production quality can make a big difference so work with an expert. Costs for professional video production can range from $1k to $50k. Expect a range of $5k to $7k for a well-produced conversion-focused video. Here’s an excellent guide to video production costs. […]


[…] instance, our company has created ads with creative and production budgets ranging from $10,000 to $300,000 (a recent video had a budget of over $1 million dollars, but it […]

Judith George
1 year ago

Quick question – when you do the low budget version for $1000 – how much of a lighting set up do you do? Thanks! Very helpful article.

1 year ago

Tony, it’s a good read. Any recommendation on how to create quality classroom setting oral presentation video under DIY type? Any thoughts welcome. Thanks.

1 year ago

Thanks for this post-great ideas!

Chris Elfert
1 year ago

Thanks for the info! I’m working on a part time startup videography business also here in Milwaukee and really appreciate the insiders look into the business end of things.


[…] This process may vary a bit from one company to the next, but you’ll find that many are similar to that of the award-winning video production company, T60 Productions. […]

Ronit Pinto
1 year ago

Hello, thank you for the article. When you say ‘day rate,’ does that include one or two cameras? And if it’s one, what is your ball park figure for 2 cameras?


Ronit Pinto
1 year ago

Hello, when you say day rate, does that include one or two cameras? And if it’s one, how much is the ballpark day rate for two?


[…] a range of $5k to $7k for a well-produced conversion-focused video. Here’s an excellent guide to video production costs.When you’re ready to big, our friends at Richter Studios offer full digital cinema. Check it […]


[…] animations, and other editing will also contribute to the price of your video. Ultimately, the cost of video production per minute depends on what you want to see on the screen during those 5 minutes. Getting an aerial […]

Steve Trebowski
Steve Trebowski
1 year ago

Call me to talk about Troubleowski 3-5 minute sizzle. 480-686-2864


[…] Each video company has a different style, different capabilities, different thoughts on video production cost. […]

rachel frampton
9 months ago

My sister is looking for a company that can do a promotional video campaign for her project. It’s a great thing that I’ve stumbled upon this article; she’s been looking for tips on how to know the estimated amount of production cost. I never knew that a meeting for pre-production alon can take 2 hours, and numerous preparations are required such as shot lists, interviews, and preparation of equipment.


[…] Animate360 PRO unlocks to your customers 1Million+ Stock images and over 100k+ premium HD stock videos and an in-built image Editor. Plus a step by step training on how we get high paying video customers every time. […]

7 months ago

visit here

How-To Figure Out Video Production Cost – T60 Productions


[…] A big reason for our initial content marketing success is we created a juggernaut. We wrote the post, How-to Figure Out Video Production Cost, targeting the key phrase, video production cost. […]


[…] A big reason for our initial content marketing success is we created a juggernaut. We wrote the post, How-to Figure Out Video Production Cost, targeting the key phrase, video production cost. […]

Vivian Black
5 months ago

You made a great point about pre-production and how you will need to create a shot list and any equipment you need. My husband and I are looking for a video production studio that he can rent to record the commercials for his business. We will keep these tips in mind as we search for a professional that can help us best.

Huynh Nguyen
4 months ago

Amazing. Thank you for sharing