I need to make a video. I’ve got a good idea of what I need, but I need to know how much this will cost.
 

 

We get that question a lot. The answer, of course, is “It depends”. Making videos can be complex, with lots of moving parts. Or it can be pretty straightforward. You want to know what you are in for. We get that. There are 2 approaches:

 

START WITH AN ESTIMATE

AND

START WITH A BUDGET

 

 

In both cases, we need to know a little bit of background. We send a briefing document and we ask you to let us know about your objectives, audience and if possible your wider communications and marketing activity. That’s a prerequisite.

 

IN ORDER TO:

START WITH AN ESTIMATE

WE'LL THEN ASK YOU:

 

The Idea

Do you have a script and treatment ready to go?
Or do you have the basis of an idea but that’s as far as you’ve got right now?
How much creative input is required?

Editing

The end product. What is it?
Are there cut downs and versions for multiple platforms and uses?
Is it just one video?

Production

Are we looking at a multi-camera crew, lighting, a studio? Over several days?
Or one cameraman in natural light for one day?

Animation

Are any graphical elements required?An animated logo, on screen titles, transitions?
Fully animated sequences?

Location

Will filming take place in one location or across several?
Do you have access to these locations or will they need to be scouted and hired?

Soundtrack

Will we select library music?
Or will a track be composed?

Talent

Are trained performers required for your film? If yes, they may need make-up and sometimes they (and the set) require styling


Quick questions. Quick answers.

Once we understand at least some of these things, at a high level, we can glean a sense of scope and we can put some numbers to the whole thing.

And the more you can answer, the more accurate we can be with costing.
This works beautifully when you’ve already got a very good idea of what you want.
When you can rattle off the answers.

However, if the answer to some of these questions is “TBC”, things can become a little trickier. If you don’t have fixed ideas about what your video should look like or should be (beyond a sense of objectives and audience) then you’re unlikely to want to answer them.

This is not a bad thing.

It is a bad thing if we do provide a cost estimate, based on too many assumptions, and we don’t know each other very well yet. We’re in danger of getting off on the wrong foot. 

Things change. The creative develops. The scope creeps.
And then we need to adjust the estimate.
And then everyone is a little further down the line with a different idea of what they thought they were in for.
Not good for you.
Not good for us.

There is another way.


WHAT CAN WORK BETTER, is to:

START WITH A BUDGET

We acknowledge that there are enough unknowns for it to make sense for a prospective client to tells us their budget upfront, and we start from there.
We focus our response more closely on the briefing document and the wider picture.
We ask:

What is the purpose of the video?
What are the business and marketing objectives that you are looking to achieve?
Where does this project fit into your wider communications and marketing activity?
Who is the audience? Are there more than one?
Is there precedent for existing work that is relevant here?
What is the tone of voice?
The brand values?

We develop the creative always working within the parameters that have been established. We don’t anchor ourselves to a specific treatment or approach.
Everyone is open to ideas. We are free to propose a set of creative responses, and you are free to choose the one that works best. And, in terms of budget, we can cut the coat according to the cloth.

The ‘budget up-front’ approach has some other benefits too:
It naturally removes the awkward feeling-out process that can take place when you’re looking to find an agency to work with.
It serves as a filter for both parties…is this a relationship that they can commercially commit to?
It sets the tone for a relationship of trust, and we believe that trust between agency and client is what allows for the best, boldest and most effective work to be created.
 


Two possible approaches to costing video projects.
The best way to start, is to start talking.