Over the last few years, the cost of producing videos, TV ads, and video ads for social media has dropped dramatically.

For example, in 2008, the cost to shoot stabilised aerial footage with a helicopter and a $1.3M Cineflex camera system was $2,800 an hour.

Now, we just send up a drone.

Back then, production costs were based on the investment in equipment worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Now, the price is based on the experience and artistry of the director, videographer and editor.

Here’s what’s had the most impact:

1. Videos and commercials are getting shorter

In the early 2000’s, videos were usually 5 to 10 minutes long. TV ads were mostly 30 sec. to 90 sec. long.

Today, videos usually run 1 – 2 minutes. TV ads are 15 or 30 seconds. And video ads on Facebook, linkedIn, Youtube, Instagram, etc., are mostly 15 sec. or less.

2. Video production equipment is getting cheaper

A few years ago, a broadcast-grade camera with cinema lenses and accessories could cost $100,000 – $250,000.

Now, ultra high definition broadcast quality video cameras, fully rigged, can cost less than $15,000.

3. Equipment is getting smaller and lighter & crews are getting smaller

Equipment has shrunk. A camera dolly & tracks with three crew, a rental van, and an hour to set up and break down can be replaced by a hand held gimbal.

35kg camera and tripod systems are replaced by 6kg set-ups small and light enough to be carry-on luggage.

Today, on location shoots, the camera operator and director can carry and set up the gear, reducing the size of the crew.

4. Editing systems cost less

Formerly a full broadcast editing system cost over  a million dollars.

Now we edit ultra-high definition footage on computers & high speed drives costing less than $10,000.

Even powerful laptops can handle today’s editing software.

Now, the major cost-component of editing isn’t the hardware, it’s the skill, creativity and experience of the editors.

5. Audio production is cheaper

We used to commission musicians to produce original music tracks. Now, we search online and download library music tracks costing from $50 to $250.

Voice Over artists who used to work for fixed, industry-scale fees, are now quite negotiable, and even have their own recording equipment.

What does it mean? What’s the bottom line?

Logistics: A location shoot that would have taken a week and five crew, now takes 2 days and two people.

Costs: A production that would have cost $30,000 now costs $10,000. And a $10,000 production now costs $5,000.

What hasn’t changed?

OK, well the day-rate of the fewer people involved hasn’t changed much. Even though we’re each more multi-skilled now.

And while shoots are quicker, editing a minute of finished video from 6 hours of camera footage still takes as long.

Which is pretty good, considering people now expect videos with more complex edits, more effects, more pop and fizz.

So, how much is a video?

$2-3,000 will get you a short, clean, punchy, video – with product or premises shots, slick titles, good music, a professional VO, and some help with the script. Plus you’ll have a handy stockpile of footage to make video ads and different versions of your video.

$5,000 will get you one or two more unique videos – more specially tailored to you and/or your product, with a professional, persuasive script, more dramatic shots, and more detailed editing effects, to make a greater impression on viewers. Plus some sets of video ads.

You send the video ads out on social media – Facebook, Youtube, LinkedIn, etc., or on TV – to bring people back to your website to watch your longer videos which persuade them to purchase.

And voila! Your web traffic, engagement and sales jump right up, and your cost-per-sale jumps right down.

So now, with cheaper production, and cheaper, more targeted ways of reaching your customers on social media, there’s never been a better time to harness the power of video to promote and grow your business.


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