Why Do Live Action Corporate Videos Cost So Much?

Wednesday March 3, 2021

When we talk to people who’ve not commissioned video content before, they can sometimes be surprised at the cost of it. But why are the costs what they are? And is there a cheaper way of doing it? We’re going to try and explain for you.

We’ve explained on our page about pricing what the range of prices can be for different type of videos, and we’ve also talked a bit about what push the costs of different types of videos up and down. For the sake of this article though, we’re going to concentrate on just one type – live action corporate videos.

Let’s keep it simple. we’re talking about a straight-forward corporate film, based around an interview/talking heads, and cut in with some nice supplementary footage (called ‘B-roll’) that makes the film more engaging and visually interesting (and it helps us hide cuts).  But what goes into that?

Pre-Production Planning

We can’t just turn up and film. we need to understand what you’re wanting to achieve, who you’re talking to, what your key messages are etc.  We will then work these into a Brief we can all agree on, and then into some interview questions and notes we need to ensure the answers cover.  There’s a fair bit of back and forth in that to ensure you know what to expect when we arrive to film, and we ensure the time spent filming is as efficient as possible.

For more complicated shoots, you need to start thinking about booking of locations/studios, models/actors, getting filming permits, doing health and safety checks – the work can be fairly extensive, and that’s just on the logistical side, not the creative!

Production

We’re assuming there’s just one day of filming here.  Even for a fairly simple shoot as we’ve described though, there will be cameras (we always use at least two for interviews to give varying options), lenses, lights, microphones, tripods, gimbals, sliders and all sorts. Setting up all of this for an interview takes about 60-90 minutes – and that’s for an expert to do it. This can be made quicker by having camera assistants, sound recordists etc. but obviously that in turn adds to the cost, so it will always be a consideration for us – what crew members are vital for the right balance of cost and efficiency.

Yes, there are cheaper ways such things can be done ‘On The Fly’ or with much simpler kit, but it very much depends on the quality if the end product you’re aiming for. Better cameras and lenses will give better colours, depth of field and flexibility for the editor.

When shooting B-roll, we may use a track or gimbal to get shots with steady movement – it takes time to get the rigs for these set up, the lighting right and walk through the action with the subjects to be filmed.

We always film with a minimum crew size of 2 – a camera operator and a producer.  The camera op concentrates on the tech side of everything and the producer the content. One covers WHAT is be filmed, and the other covers HOW it is being filmed.

This all adds up though – you’ve got £10k+ of kit, plus two experienced professionals for the day. Of course that comes at a cost!

Post-Production

This covers multiple parts of the production process – editing, colour-grading, adding music, cleaning the audio on the video (like removing any background noise), graphics, any animation, transcribing for subtitling and translation if needed. All of these take time – and the equipment needed to do it can cost a fair few quid as well. We’re not saying every video needs to be edited in a post-house in Soho, and in fact the ability to edit good corporate videos on a laptop is what lead us to believing we can offer a competitively-priced high-quality solution to companies needing corporate video.

But we ask that you think about hat’s involved. It is absolutely not just a case of cutting one shot after another and watching the finished product. The ability to stitch all of the content together in a smooth, engaging and powerful manner is what makes the best of us good at what we do.

So the elephant in the room – can it all be done cheaper than we quote you? Absolutely it can. And can it be done more expensively. Damn right it can! It is all about the quality of the end product – if you compromise on price, you WILL be compromising on part of the production process. It might be the experience of the producer of camera operator, or the restrictiveness of the kit being used. But you will be able to notice in the end product. The same goes for us versus some of the big boys – they are much more experienced than us in delivering high-end commercial content. And you pay for that experience – but so you should.

We’re always up for chatting through what the costs are made up of for what you need – and if you need us to we can suggest ways you can potentially get it done cheaper.  But w charge fairly for the end product we give to you.  And we believe we are the best return you will get for the budget you give to us. We’ve a long list of clients who will back our claim if you want to chat to them :-).

And if you’ve no idea what your ideas are going to cost, just get in touch with us – we won’t bite (and we will quote).