A Guide to Cost Considerations During the Video Production Process

Let’s face it, budget is often a sticking point in every marketing plan. You want to effectively reach your audience without breaking the bank. We agree. To discuss your video production budget, let’s start by thinking about the nature of video.

Variation is part of the power of video. It is a multifaceted communication tool with unlimited possibilities. But with freedom comes some limitations, and cost is usually one of them. Like most things in life, you get what you put into it. A big budget can definitely afford you a lot of options. However, some creative planning can get you an effective video on a modest budget, too.

Though we recommend talking with an experienced professional about your specific project, this article will tackle the complicated topic of video production budget.

This budget resource is broken down into three parts. First, we reveal the underlying variables that most heavily influence cost. Second, we introduce you to The Production Process. Last, we’ve compiled a few helpful tips that come from years of experience in the industry.



With video, pricing comes down to two important variables: Time & Team. Everything inside a video project is based on the time it will take to create the desired video and the professionals required to accomplish your video within the deadline.

There are other factors included in the budgeting process (type of equipment, travel expenses, or hiring talent, to name a few) but these tie back to the Time & Team primary component.

A tight process is the key to keeping Time & Team on track. Understanding the basic video production process is helpful when considering how to build your budget. Luckily, Silverback guides you through the whole process to get the right video for you with budget strategies that won’t break the bank.




Conceptualizing a project is the beginning. Concept is the message and the intended result from the message, including goals and audience. Once the message and purpose of the project are decided, the producer and director work with you to outline a scope of work to set a preliminary budget and content parameters. Because there are so many options with video, it’s important to consider cost early. Here’s just a few options that effect cost differently:

  • Are you shooting on-location or in the studio?
  • Does capturing your message require a custom-built or virtual set?
  • What kind of graphic support is necessary to tell your story?
  • Are you using hired talent, existing employees, or animated characters?

Our team can guide you through options that best align with your message and budget (more tips on this later). There may be some adjustments to the budget if the scope of work changes based on the final script. Preliminary schedule and deadlines are set based on this loose project outline.



Collaboration is important to the development of the script. Regular meetings between you and the producer ensure the script is solid before beginning production. This open communication sets expectations between you and your video vendor. In other words, there won’t be any surprises along the way. Upon final script approval, a production schedule is set. At this point any adjustments to the budget are made and you and the producer agree on a final budget.



With the approved script ready to go, we begin the production phase. Based on the production schedule and project budget, this step includes studio and/or location shooting. We hire crew and talent. Crew may include a director, videographer (camera operator), lighting, grips, sound, production manager, carpenter, electrician, etc. Talent will include actors and extras. Actors are people with speaking parts and extras fill in the background. Shooting involves lighting, cameras, special gear such as cranes, booms, chroma-key screens, props, sets, and other equipment needed for the project.



That’s a wrap! Once all of the video is shot, it’s brought back to the studio for post-production. This step includes recording voice over, sound design, video editing, special effects, motion graphics, 3D animation, and mastering.

Though underestimated, sound can make or break a video! Sound design is the music and sound effects mixed with voice to create a final soundtrack. If custom music was a part of your budget, a recording artist may be involved. Graphics and 3D animation are brought to life by a designer or animator.

Last, but certainly not least, are approvals. You’ll get the opportunity to review the project and offer feedback before the final is completed. Once all of the final edits are made, the project is mastered in the format and media specified by you and the producer during the concept and/or scripting phase.



The final delivery to the audience is the most important step in the process. No matter how good the work is before this step, if the audience does not see it as intended, then the message gets lost. Fulfillment can take several forms. A TV commercial or program will need a digital file delivered to the network. A website video is converted into a compressed file formatted for its specific use. Social video is exported with settings specific to each platform.

As you can see, there’s a lot of variables during the whole process that can add to or reduce the cost. This is why discussing Time & Team aspects of the budget with the producer through the concept and scripting phases is important.



If you’re not in the video business, it can be a challenge to visualize a video that will fit your needs. Luckily, our team has been doing this for a while. Here’s just a few tips you might not have considered:

Voice Over – To create a video with a long shelf life, using a voice over versus real people speaking on camera often helps your video stand the test of time. Utilizing interviews of real people is a great tool, but people change jobs or opinions, and sometimes become a competitor. If you’re looking for your video investment to last several years, it may be a good idea to consider voice over with b-roll and/or animation.

Talent – If your video project requires acting, or speaking into the camera, it is a good idea to consider professional talent. This is often viewed as an added expense, but professional talent can decrease production time by delivering a consistent performance and save you money by utilizing the full crew for less days.

Animation – When approaching a video project, most people think animation is more expensive than shooting real people. Sometimes that is the case. However, there are instances when animation is actually less expensive and even resonates better with the audience than in live action shooting. This is an important consideration to discuss with your producer during the concept phase of your project.


Having a conversation with our creative team is usually the best way to sort through options that align your message and budget. Give Silverback a call at 866.828.8384 or contact us to talk about your next project.


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