7 key factors that could impact your video’s budget

A video is a major investment, and you should always understand exactly how much you’ll be shelling out, and why. Just as each video is different, the budgets will vary as well. Of course you know you’ll be paying for a director of photography and editing, but there are some factors you may not be aware of that will have to be factored into your budget as well. Here are a few of them:

Graphics and animation: There are times when a video production company will include a basic animation for the beginning of your video as part of the general editing process, but many times there will be a separate charge. This largely depends on how complex this element is, and whether a graphic designer will have to be involved. If graphics and/or animation are brought up during the concept development or storyboarding phase, be sure to ask what it will cost.

Makeup:  If a makeup artist is involved, you’ll like be billed for the service. Few production companies are large enough to have full time makeup artists on their staff, and even if they do the service can still be billed as an additional item. If only basic makeup is required, such as a plain base for men appearing on camera, then there may not be a charge. However, if this is the case be sure to ask about whether they’re using fresh applicators. You can tell if a makeup sponge has been used before, but if the company calls for mascara check to make sure they’re using a disposable applicator.

Plan to budget for services like makeup, graphics and animation, and travel expenses

Plan to budget for services like makeup, graphics and animation, and travel expenses

Audio sweetening: While basic audio should be covered in the cost of the shooting, any additional audio manipulation may be extra. In a best case scenario, the company will be able to anticipate whether this is needed and will let you know up front when they present a proposed budget, but if something goes wrong during the shoot and additional audio editing over and above the basic service is needed, it could get tacked onto the final bill.

Transportation: Of course you might expect to pay these expenses if you have to fly the video crew somewhere, but even if you’re just going to someplace that requires a few hours of driving, the company could bill you for the gas.

Meetings: Time is money, as they say. If a production company is spending time meeting with you, expect it to be factored into the final cost of the project, whether as a separate line item or as part of the general pre-production costs. The one exception is the initial discovery meeting, which the company may be willing to write off. If you give them the job, then it was time well spent for them. If you don’t give them the job, well, how gauche would it be for them to send you a bill? But every meeting after the initial consultation is fair game for billing.

Delivery: This is generally a separate service. Of course you should expect to get a copy of the final video. The company shouldn’t be holding it hostage. But getting a copy, and getting a copy in the right format, are two different things. And, while a production company should be willing to give you a DVD copy gratis, if you need several DVDs you could be billed both for the time and the materials (DVDs) needed to produce them.

Permits and entry fees: We’ve discussed these in previous blogs on travel programming and documentaries, but they bear mentioning again. If you need a permit to shoot somewhere, the video company will pass the cost on to you. They’ll also bill you if there’s an entry fee to shoot in a place such as a state or national park.

The most important factor in your video’s budget is you. Ask a lot of questions, and make sure to get a proposed budget from the video company early on. Depending on the project, they may be able to give you a rough estimate during the first meeting, but certainly after you’ve explained in detail what you want, they should be able to produce a detailed budget in short order. Be aware that there may be adjustments along the way. At Hencar, we are commited to keeping you up to speed on those changes, but we can’t speak for other companies. It pays to occasionally touch base with the company during pre-production, production, and post-production phases to ensure you don’t get a nasty surprise when the final invoice arrives.