Part One of the Series:  How Much Does it Cost to Make a Video?

10 Questions You Know The Answer To


“How much does a video cost?”

As a video producer I am asked this question with, literally, no other information or context whatsoever. Before classifying this as a “stupid” question I am quick to remember once asking a contractor how much a kitchen remodel would cost.

“Anywhere from $500 to $50,000” He replied.

“Oh. What do I get for $500?” I asked.

Right away he knew I was a cheap clod who did not have $50,000.  

I have heard some crazy things floating around the industry pertaining to estimating video costs. “$1,000 a minute!” – I have no idea where that came from, but I can tell you I’ve seen some one minute videos that cost 50 times more than $1,000 and yes, I’ve seen some 10 minute videos that were produced for $500.  

The truth is, estimating the cost for any video production takes some doing. A truly dependable quote for a video is based on a script and/or outline that has been developed to represent the desired video. However, if you’re not that far along, a completed treatment form should be enough for a video producer to provide an initial estimate so you know the ballpark you will be in.
Stop me when I start telling you things you already know, but in my experience every treatment form starts with a handful of questions you probably know the answers to.

  1. Who is going to be watching this video (customers, clients, internal employees)?
  2. Why is this video important to them?
  3. What do you want them to walk away thinking about you or your product or your service or your overall business?
  4. What is the tone (humorous, smart, formal)?
  5. How long should it be (how long would you watch something from a vendor or partner)?
  6. Where will they be seeing it (live event, Facebook, website)?
  7. What “Style” or “Type” of video are you envisioning? (Documentary-style with interviews, Animated, Scripted with an on-camera host, etc)
  8. Have you seen some videos from competitors or other organizations from outside industries that have appealed to you?  
    1. (If you can find an existing video that is very close to the purpose, look and feel, tone of the video you are envisioning – this may be the most valuable contributor to a solid estimate)
  9. How many shoot locations may be required and where are they?
  10. When do you need the video completed?

The answers to these 10 questions are the foundation of a solid video treatment form. This form we established ourselves based on the experience of producing multiple types of videos for the past 10+ years. But If you already use a treatment form that works for you great! The goal is simply to have a written foundation for your video.

HERE is an example of a completed treatment form from the featured VISANOW video above.

To download a free treatment form template click the link below and one will be emailed to you.

Treatment Form Download

Again, an initial estimate should be possible once the treatment is completed, but a thorough quote really comes after the script or outline is finalized.  Stay tuned for two more installments to this series that talk a bit more about how to get to a solid quote.

P.S. Our kitchen still has yet to be remodeled.

Written By: Curtis Gilbert – Creative Producer/Owner, p3 mediaworks