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Handheld to Hollywood: Levels of Video Quality and Cost

Garick Giroir
Senior Account Coordinator
  Back To All

In a recent DEVENEY post titled The Psychology of Video and How It Can Elevate Your Brand, we explained why video has become one of the most impactful ways to speak to an audience and why it is an essential selling tool for any business.

But How Much Does It Cost?

We’ve partnered with many clients to create videos of all lengths, budget and quality. Despite these differences, the process always begins with the same question: “How much will this cost?” To answer this question, you must look ahead, and assess the talent and tools required to produce the video. These factors eventually influence dozens of small budget decisions that impact the quality of the final product.

Here’s a breakdown of the different levels of production quality and the investment associated with each.

D.I.Y.

The do-it-yourself approach to video has become common among marketers looking to create quick and inexpensive content. If your video isn’t complicated, you don’t need any special tools; most social media apps that support videos allow you to record directly to their platforms. In 2014, Mirabeau Wine, a small family-owned winery, generated over 11 million views with their video How to Open a Bottle of Wine Without a Corkscrew, a video filmed in one take without any paid media behind it. The D.I.Y. approach can hurt your brand if you’re not careful. Lack of proper lighting or a microphone can distract from the message, which makes your video and brand look amateur. Users are accustomed to seeing high-quality videos on a daily basis, so they will notice if your video has been shoddily pieced together.

Best used for internal training, personal blogs, webinars and live streaming.

Average cost: $0 – $200 

Enthusiast

This level requires someone with experience using somewhat-more-sophisticated tools, such as a prosumer camera and video editing software. This level of film tends to rely on having a pre-established relationship with a part-time videographer or hobbyist. The equipment alone makes this a step up from D.I.Y. in terms of quality, and while the price may be higher, it’s often worth the extra cost. However, this approach can be hit or miss since talent level is inconsistent and time commitment is often low. Additionally, amateur videos tend to be less dynamic and can often be boring to watch.

Best used for video blog posts, capturing educational events, internal training.

Average cost: $600 – $2,000

Corporate

This is the most common level of video production. At this level, you get an experienced production crew using professional tools to create a sound, credible video that may not stand out from the crowd, but can be broadcast confidently over many channels. Despite the higher quality, it’s vital that you do not lean on aesthetic alone. Good storytelling will help your video get noticed in an oversaturated market.

Best used for case studies, profiles, instructional videos, sizzle reels and recruitment videos.

Average cost: $2,000 – $20,000

Premium

At this level, the amount of leg-work needed from you significantly drops since there will be a director or producer present to oversee the crew, talent and overall process. This level of investment ensures access to a full crew, specialized lighting, closed sets, custom sound, animation and graphics. Use this production level to truly wow your audience.

Best used for branding spots, overview videos, case studies, recruiting videos or service introductions.

Average cost: $20,000 – $70,000

Cinematic

If you want Morgan Freeman as your spokesperson, this is the level for you. This “no compromise” approach features cutting-edge production equipment, studio rental, set design, global travel and stunning visual effects. Be prepared to spend months on creative concepting and scheduling as a project of this mass requires detailed planning. 

Best used for high-end advertising, trailers, viral campaigns or a signature piece about your company.

Average cost: $200,000 – $1,000,000 plus

Remember, you don’t need a massive budget to make an impact. A strong concept trumps quality every time. If you’re realistic with your expectations and clear with your direction, you can produce a home run video at any pricepoint.

If you’ve recently seen a video that inspired you, or you want to share your own brand video, tweet @DEVENEYnola using the #DEVchat hashtag.

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