McElroy Films Expert Releases Tips on Gauging How Much Video Production Costs

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Benjamin J. McElroy, President & Executive Producer at McElroy Films explains the top 4 phases of video production that baffle many potential clients seeking professional video production.

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Every project is unique and likewise every budget varies. Therefore, the cost of video is derived through carefully measuring the volume of pre production, production, and post production needed to create a professional video.

More and more, companies, non-profits, and schools are turning to video to add flare to their website, advertise, or concisely state their message. Video works in ways pictures and text cannot to draw in new clients, donors, or students and is easily viewable and shared from desktops to laptops and mobile devices. The question then becomes how much will video cost? The beauty of video is that every project is unique and likewise every budget varies. Therefore, the cost of video is derived through carefully measuring the volume of pre production, production, and post production needed to create a professional video.

1. Pre Production entails all the preparation leading up to the shooting and editing is the most important step in video production. It’s at this stage that we ask what message does the video say. A producer can then take this message and help find the best possible way to show it through video and even prepare a script to help illustrate the structure and look of the final product.

In the pre production stage, costs are derived from how much preparation is required before the shoot day. Most corporate projects consist of interviews, B roll, and voice over narration and can easily be handled by a producer, cinematographer, and a lighting specialist. Additional crew might be necessary on complex television, music video, or product videos with complex lighting setups or scheduling. If the project requires actors or unique locations, there might be a cost for finding the talent and locations. Using several locations often forces the project to span multiple shooting days. The producer will work with to schedule shoot days, determine the size of the crew, and focus the message so that the end result is effective and high quality without breaking the bank.

2. Production is the process of shooting the video. When the crew arrives on set, there are 3 steps: Lighting, rehearsal, and shooting. Lighting is very important to the professional look of the video and can range from very simple interview setups to complex scenes. The producer will build the appropriate amount of lighting time into the schedule. Rehearsal time is only necessary for scripted commercials, music videos, or scenes and not only involves practicing the delivery of lines, but also the placement and movement of the actors or performers within the scene. After the location is lit and the actors rehearsed, the cameras can roll. Productions costs are based on the amount of lighting, props, and camera equipment needed to complete the project. Most corporate videos require simple lighting, no props, and one or two cameras, but more complex projects such as short films, skits, and music videos likely need additional equipment to maintain a professional quality. Yet again, the producer will work closely with a company to suggest the proper amount of equipment and time to shoot the video.

3. Post Production, After the video is filmed, the editing, or Post Production process begins. This is where the footage is trimmed, color corrected, polished with graphics, voice over, and music and delivered in the format of choice. The producer and the editor of the project will discuss the editing style and structure of the video in the Pre Production stage so that the video is shot with the end result in mind. When interviews and testimonials are part of the video, the footage will have to be transcribed and sent to the producer. The producer will then adjust the script written in Pre Production to include the transcribed interviews and send for approval. After, the editor will use the new script to edit the footage. During the editing process, the status and versions of the video will be sent for review. The cost of Post Production is based on how many days it will take to finish the video. The addition of professional voice over narration, intensive graphics, and mass reproduction of DVD or Blu-ray disks also affect the cost. The total cost of Post Production is determined in the Pre Production process by the producer.

4. Building the Budget - When the producer builds the customized budget for the video, all elements from Pre Production, Production, and Post Production will be considered and listed line by line for review. With a budget presented in such a detailed form, it’s easy to add and subtract line items before agreeing on a final cost. Our goal is value: To provide the highest level of quality, professional video at the best possible cost and we will work to provide a product the client will be proud of.

Contact us for more information. video production, give us a call at 781-229-5900.

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Benjamin J. McElroy
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