How much does it cost to make a promo video?

August 28, 2019 · 11 min read

A standard promotional video is likely going to cost you somewhere between $39 – $50,000 depending on the length and quality. That’s a huge range, obviously, so we’ll break down where the costs come from, how they add up in common scenarios, and the different options you have for video production. 

Before we begin, we just want to quickly point out another question you really need to ask yourself:

How much is it costing you to NOT be creating promotional videos for your website and digital marketing campaigns?

In an earlier post, we already discovered that video ads on Facebook are converting at a lower CPA. So if you’re not using video ads and just using images, you’re spending more on ads that are less effective. This adds up quickly—look what happens when you run digital ads for a $1,000 budget in this example: Your image ad CPA is $10, and your video ad CPA is $5. This translates into your image ad getting 100 leads, and your video ad getting 200 leads. 

image ads vs videos

By not using promotional video ads you’re leaving half of your prospective leads on the table, completely untouched by your sales process. If you know your average customer lifetime value and your lead conversion rate, you can easily calculate just how much money you’re losing by not producing promotional videos. And it’s not just advertising, because videos are proven to increase your landing page conversion rate, so you tell us—how many more leads per day would you get if you increased the conversion rate of your landing pages by 10%?

But, we digress—we realize that you’re a business and you have to plan your video production budget with actual figures on how much it costs to produce business videos, and that’s exactly what we’re going to do in this post. 

Today, we break down the factors that influence the cost of creating professional videos, the different options you have for the actual production work, and we’ll also take a quick tour of some of Promo.com’s features. Our goal is to definitively answer the question of how much does it cost to create a promotional video. 

Factors that influence cost

The first thing to understand is that not all promo videos are created equal. Video marketing is much more than just ‘I have a video’ or ‘I don’t have a video.’ There are different videos for different marketing purposes, different levels of video quality, and of course, different business results achieved through video marketing. 

In terms of the video production cost, here are the main factors that will determine your budget. 

Quality

The day rate for a college film student vs. an experienced professional is going to be huge, but the difference in quality will also be noticeable. But lack of high-quality video is not always a bad thing—instructional videos, entertainment videos, explainer videos, and many others can function great with amateur-level quality. But branding videos, corporate videos, testimonials, and profiles that appear less than professional can erode your credibility, so be mindful when cutting costs on these. 

Length

The longer the video, the more expensive it will be. In fact, there can be a huge cost increase from increasing your run time from just two to three minutes. 

You might be thinking, “What could possibly account for the increased cost? It’s just 60 seconds!”  

It’s true—the end product of a 3-minute video is only 60 seconds different than a 2-minute video, but there’s a lot that goes into that extra time. 

  1. Concept: The longer the video, the more elements are involved in the storyboarding process, which takes time. 
  2. Footage: In order to keep the plot going, you made need to shoot in multiple locations, which takes multiple days. 
  3. Editing: The more footage you shoot, the longer it will take to edit into a polished promotional video. 

As you can see, even just extending the length of your promo video by 60 seconds can increase the time to create (and therefore the cost) dramatically.

Type

In addition to length and quality, the type of video also influences video cost. For example, if you need aerial shots of your subject matter, you’ll have to bring in a drone (and a drone operator) to get the footage you need. If you have a need for a super-slow-motion close-up of your product in action, you’ll need special equipment and technical expertise to pull that off, which increases the cost. 

While all of those factors will influence the cost of your video, you also have to consider how you’re going to execute these tasks—hire somebody, do it yourself, or use an online video maker? 

Each one has its pros and cons, and associated costs, so let’s break down each possible way to create a promo video to provide some insight into how a professional commercial video comes together, including the estimated cost of each.  

Hiring a production company

The first option for producing promotional videos is to outsource the entire project to a production company. There is a huge range in costs depending on the size/scope of your project and the reputation of the company, but this is likely the most expensive option. We’ll dive into the costs in a moment, but here’s an overview of working with an outside company. 

Note: All of the following assumes you hire a legitimate outfit that focuses on video production. 

Benefits 

One of the major benefits of working with a production studio is that you can give complete ownership of your project over to somebody who has all the experience and tools to make it happen. All you need to do is show up with your goal and your checkbook, because a good production studio can take you all the way from creative concept to finished product. Sometimes, these types of companies can also help you plan your promotional activity, which you’ll definitely need to ensure your video gets traction. 

Equipment is also a benefit of a hired gun—the production house will already have all the tools they need to make your video awesome, from cameras to lighting to gimbles to editing software. The type of equipment they have may even influence which production shop you choose. For example, if you need aerial videography shot in 8k, you’ll need to find a production house with a drone and a RED camera, which can both be exorbitantly expensive pieces of equipment. These costs are built into the videographer’s fee, which we’ll get to later in this section. 

Another benefit this method provides is an outside perspective. Occasionally, in-house creative teams can get a little tunnel-visioned on their brand and not see how their video will be perceived by their target audience, the media, and the general public. Does everybody remember the notorious Pepsi ‘protest’ video advertisement featuring Kendall Jenner created by the corporation’s in-house creative group? Yikes. 

An outside production shop will listen to your goals and aim to please, but the good ones will make sure they’re creating something that will actually achieve those goals by resonating with the target audience. 

Fee structure

Generally, you’ll receive one bill for your entire video project. It is usually calculated by their day-rate multiplied by the number of days to complete. So if the day rate for the video company you’ve chosen is $800 and your project takes 4 days to plan, shoot, edit, and deliver, your cost will be $3,200. 

Here is a more detailed breakdown of the activities within a day rate: 

Concept: This is the creative space needed to come up with the idea and unique approach to the video. It might take hours or days, depending on the complexity of your project. 

Pre-production: Once the idea is approved, the team needs to create a shot list, schedule talent (actors) if necessary, and arrange permits for locations, gather equipment, etc. 

Video shoot: The actual time spent shooting in the video production industry is calculated by day rate, not hourly. If your shoot is a single location and very simple, such as a talking head video shot in their studio, some shops might offer a half-day rate. 

Post-production: Now it’s time to bring it all together by taking all the raw footage and polishing it into a finished product. Editing for audio, color correction, and dozens of other tasks occur during post-production, including the digital file creation and transfer of ownership to you. This is often the lengthiest part of the process. 

Hiring a video production company is a great option if you have the budget and you can find a company that has experience in your niche, but it’s not your only option. 

Do it yourself in-house

While the “If you want something done right, do it yourself” maxim has been somewhat debunked in modern business, there are certainly some scenarios when taking your video production in-house would be a good fit. 

One such scenario would be if you plan to shoot a lot of videos in the future—while the initial investment in equipment and training will be steep, it may be more economical than buying a production house’s day rate 365 days a year. 

Another instance would be if video production is close enough to your core business model that it may eventually become its own revenue-generating arm of the company. With the amount of content that brands produce these days, along with the pivot to video, this is not so far fetched. 

Either way, here’s a breakdown of what it’ll cost you to produce your own professional marketing videos. 

Equipment

Let’s try this two ways—the startup method and the expert method. In that sense, we’ll give you a range from beginner to intermediate equipment. 

If you’re just getting started with video and you’re willing to accept less than Red Bull Media House production quality, you can get started relatively inexpensively. The bare bones equipment list and associated costs include a video camera which can range between $750 and $9,000.  A tripod will go for $10 to $200, and the backdrop can cost between $50 and $300. The lighting can be between $200 and $500, the microphone between $20-$400, and the video editing software can cost anywhere from $100-$300.  Note: These costs are on the low end of the video production spectrum. For example, an 8k RED video camera costs $49,000+ 

video production cost

If you’re doing the math from the previous section, you’ll see that this equipment budget ranges to the equivalent from a single day rate to a multi-week engagement. Of course, that’s just the equipment and not the skills and training to know how to use it, but that should give you a general sense of what it costs to gear up. 

Locations

Now that you’ve got your camera gear, you need to find a place to get great footage. Again, you have a range of options depending on what type of video you want to produce. Shooting from home or your office won’t cost anything, but a studio can set you back more than $2,000 per day. Custom locations can cost even more, around $3,000 per day, and you can’t forget about meals and transportation which add another $200-$500 to your total. 

video production location cost

There is a huge difference between driving three coworkers down to a free location and buying lunch, and renting a specialized studio, which accounts for the large price range. 

Note: If you’re using an unusual venue or you have to close down a street, you may have to purchase certain types of insurance and/or permits. 

Actors/models

Depending on the type of video asset you’re creating, there’s a good chance you’ll need some acting talent to pull it off. Needless to say, there’s also a huge difference between hiring Kendall Jenner to act in your video vs. a kid from your neighborhood, so your costs depend on the level of fame of your talent. A local actor or model can cost you between $50 and $400 per hour, with up to another $100 for additional expenses. 

cost of hiring actors

Note: For some commercial scenes set in film-heavy areas like New York and California, You may have to hire Screen Actors Guild actors and pay standardized market rates.

Post-production

Apart from the cost of video editing software, which we included in the equipment section ($100 – $300), the biggest investment in post-production is time. Not only does it take training and to know how to craft a great video, but the actual editing process is also laborious in itself. And if you’re looking for fancy motion graphics, the video cost goes up substantially. 

And don’t forget audio and sound design! The right music, voice-over, and effects can make a huge difference in the finished product. Video editing for an hourly employee can range from $300 – $900. Sound editing is also in this price range and music licensing (via Music Vine) is between $45-$720.

how much does sound editing cost

To summarize, here is a breakdown of the range of costs by section:

    • Equipment: $1,100 – $9,700
    • Locations: $200 – $3,000+ per day
    • Talent: Total: $50 – $500 per hour
    • Post-production: $645 – $2,520
  • Grand total: $1,995 – $15,720

video production cost summary

If you are looking to take video production in-house, you’re looking at around $2,000 minimum to produce your own promotional video, and low five figures to produce something a little glossier. 

But there’s still another option!

Using an online video maker

There are lots of online video editors, but we’re going to focus on Promo.com today because: 

  1. We’re proudly leading the way
  2. We have a full set of features to take your promotional video from start to finish

Promo.com isn’t just a video editor; we provide an end-to-end solution for entrepreneurs and small business owners to create their own stunning marketing videos in minutes, not days. You can check out the full list of features over at Promo.com, but we’ll quickly go through some important features and their associated costs. 

Promo.com features

15 million video clips

That’s right, the footage is already shot for you. This means no costs for camera equipment, locations, or acting talent. While it may not be completely custom, we literally have millions of clips to choose from, so you’re bound to find something that works for your situation. 

Promo.com video library

Go ahead and try it yourself—search our massive library of clips by typing in a keyword related to your business or creative concept. Keep in mind the purpose of a promotional video is to grab attention, so quality and creativity are a top priority, not necessarily the fact that you shot the footage yourself. 

2,000+ video templates

Beyond shooting the actual footage, one of the hardest parts of video production is putting it all together in the editing process. If you’re not familiar with the tempo of promotional videos, how to transition seamlessly between shots, or when to add text, our templates provide the framework you need to produce a professional videos. 

We have templates for tons of different types of industries, topics, and even social media platforms. 

  • Need an eye-catching vertical Instagram Story video for your eCommerce store? Done.
  • Looking for a business-oriented horizontal video for LinkedIn? We have that, too!

instagram ad templates

Browse through thousands of promotional video templates until you find one that looks and feels the way you need it to. 

Fully licensed music

Every great promo video needs a soundtrack to match. Music can help you increase the energy of a video, lighten the mood with humor, or set a more serious tone. But it can be hard to find the right track, and oftentimes, it can be very expensive to license the music you need. While there are many affordable music licensing services available to support the rise of independent content creators, a more popular song used for commercial prices can fetch upwards of $25,000

With Promo.com, you can grab any music in our audio library and use it for whatever you want—no complicated licensing contracts to figure out. Sort by genre, mood, tempo, or even instrument.  

Promo.com music library

Video editor

No online video maker would be complete without an editing tool, and the Promo Editor is the best in the business. While there are many online video editors available, Promo.com is purpose-built to (you guessed it!) create promotional videos. 

Use templates, transitions, text and captions, trimming, and video resizing features to create the perfect video for social media, advertising, websites, landing pages, and more. We could talk about the Promo Editor all day, but if you really want to see the full range of capabilities, the best thing to do is to get in there and see for yourself. And you can get started for free

So, back to the question of costs, here’s your investment for using Promo.com for making promotional videos: 

  • Equipment: $0
  • Locations: $0
  • Talent: Total: $0
  • Post-production: $39 per month
  • Grand total: $39 – $249 per month (pricing details) 

So there you have it—there different ways to create professional promotional videos. We truly believe that each method has its time and place. Should you consider using an online video maker, may we suggest Promo.com?

Author


Head of Content at Promo.com. * * * Storyteller by day. Content consumer by night. Habitually inspired.

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