How Much Does a Film or Video Cost? | Dr. Film Knows the Answer

How much does a film or video cost? © Image montage: Filmpuls / Pixabay Free-Photos

Reader’s question: In a call for tenders for a short web video, I received offers that differed in price by up to 320% (!): In my opinion, this does not speak for the seriousness of the providers of video productions! Therefore: How much does a film cost?

How much does a film cost? This question has the potential to spoil the appetite of many people in the film and video industry. The fear of mocking comments from competitors and the pressure in the industry is too great for the average video production to venture out onto the slippery slope with benchmarks.

You need to know

  • A film or video can be produced in three ways: Reality is filmed 1 : 1 (“filming”), reality is selectively assembled into a new reality (“filming”) or a completely new reality is invented (“staging”).
  • Filming is the cheapest way to make a video or a film, because the effort is small. Staging is the most elaborate type of production and is correspondingly expensive.
  • Examples of a filmed video are event videos. Feature films are staged reality. Image films are often filmed reality.
  • How much does a film cost? Indicative prices for all genres can be found in the Filmpuls online calculator. Film costs are always dependent on the quality and the time available for production.

How much does a film or video cost?

According to the Filmpuls editors’ many years of practical experience, there are three overriding questions that are particularly important in determining the awards. Since we are not in possession of their brief, you can easily use these questions to make an initial classification into price categories:

  1. Should the video film something existing (for example, an event, a factory/production line, a speech)?
  2. Or to elaborate, intensify and thus film a message that needs to be conveyed by cinematic means?
  3. Or even visualize and emotionalize things for the purpose of communication or marketing that don’t even exist yet, in other words, stage them?

Filming pre-existing reality has a completely different impact on film costs (in this case they are low) than changing reality specifically with a film concept and by choosing the point of view, narrative perspective and other tools from the pool of moving image communication (higher costs). Even more costly, also from the point of view of the cost of a video or a film, is only the creation of new worlds that have to be invented from A to Z, for example for a feature film. This, along with star salaries, is an important reason why Hollywood movies cost exorbitant amounts of money.

Whether filmed, filmed or staged: Each of these three types of play needs people for its realization. These have, as in the rest of the working world, in addition to their function in the production process of a video …

  • a varying wealth of experience,
  • different proven expertise and
  • varied talent

… to show for it.

It stands to reason that an experienced worker with in-depth knowledge, who likes to combine his experience and expertise with talent, will offer his services in the market at different prices than a rank beginner in the same function. The answer to the question of how much does a film cost also depends on this.

Knowledge, experience and talent have their price.

If you’re aiming for me-too for a video, you don’t need top talent to do it. For copies and for the average is also enough on the side of creation and production. Conversely, exceptional performance can rarely be achieved with mediocrity.

This leads to a point that may be somewhat uncomfortable to touch.

Does the briefing address these absolutely critical issues? Or is it simply ordering, mutatis mutandis, a quote for a “car” without narrowing down whether it’s a three-wheeled Vespa or a Bentley that’s being considered?

The right briefing is just as fundamental for obtaining a quote as the detailed definition of the type of film in the briefing: A web video can be designed as an image film, advertising film or for social media. The intended use and the desired effect also determine what a film costs.

But that only half answers the question, and only with a whole volley of counter-questions.

Let’s get down to business:

How much does a film cost?

Above a certain length, the cost of a film can be estimated on a per-minute basis. Of course, this is only an approximate guide and is not binding. In the end, it’s the details that count and it depends on the individual case.

The following list of guideline values is based on the assumption that not every video needs to be produced in the same quality in order to achieve its impact objectives.

What does a film costfirst film/video minute:per consecutive minute:
Image film30’000.-from 7’500.-
TV spot30 Sec = 50’000.- to 150’000.-
Product film15’000.-from 4’500.-
Video Testimonial9’000.-from 1’000.-
CEO Video12’000.-from 1’500.-
Report8’000.-from 2’000.-
Animated filmno reliable guide values possible
Explainer videofrom 7’500.-, depending on typefrom 3’000.-

Source: Erfahrungswerte With the exception of the TV spot category, the price of the first minute also reflects the average effort required for conception, creation and project setup.

How much does a film cost? Basically, the more details in a film or video that need to be deliberately designed, the higher the effort and thus the costs.

This is why TV commercials are more cost-intensive than other genres, such as product films or an image film. When it comes to selling products or services, nothing can be left to chance! Every detail has to be right. The colour of the main characters’ socks is discussed and optimised according to the principles of colour psychology in film.

Filming is completely different. At an event, the camera is “simply” held on it and that’s it. This requires neither a specialist responsible for the costumes. Let alone casting for the actors and specialists who negotiate fees and contractually secure for the transfer of rights.

Online film cost calculator

Just find out what a movie or video costs depending on length and genre? The online movie cost calculator makes it possible in seconds to answer what does a movie cost.

This makes it possible to easily and quickly determine both guide values for the costs and the required production period from the time the order is placed.

Cost of a series from Netflix, Amazon, Disney or HBO

Streaming providers do not officially disclose budget and production cost figures. However, some numbers have recently leaked out on a Netflix production. In this regard, the cost of the series Squid Game shows an amazing picture. Also compared to the numbers of other series formats.

In summary

The truth, what does a movie cost, is not in the middle.

You can’t get a gold medal as a breeder for a beautiful rabbit the same way you can for a beautiful Arabian stallion. It’s different with half a horse or half a rabbit – no one will get excited about that.

As a buyer, it is important to be aware that a production company must also include the costs of acquiring new customers in the prizing. From the point of view of many productions, this is the only way to survive.

Add to that the question of how much a film costs:

Movies are projects!

The know-how, experience and talent of those involved are the best insurance against unpleasant surprises. If you’re a film production or video maker with no reputation to lose, you’ll want or need to take more risks than a long-established provider.

If everyone could produce good movies and videos, there would only be good movies – instead of millions of video zombies ambushing new victims on webpages or YouTube.

Practice teaches us:

A film always has the right price when it achieves its intended, very specific function as a means of transporting emotions and information, and the client feels the costs are too high and the video producer feels the price is too low!

This is the only correct answer Dr. Film can give to the question “what does a film cost”. Together with the hint that the input (briefing, type of film) of the client determines the output (offered price).

Dr. Film answers questions

You have a question about video production, image film or storytelling? Then Dr. Film is the right place for you! He will answer your reader questions for free: Contact us here!

This article was automatically translated into English using AI. If you would like to help us improve the quality, we would be happy to hear from you.

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