Responsible for a Video Production Budget? Top Notch Ways to Spend It.

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Picture This Video Sharon Sobel
Sharon Sobel

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Responsible For A Video Budget? Picture This Video can help!

Whether you’ve got a video production budget for a specific project, or for the year, there’s efficient considerations you may want to make as you plan how to spend it best. Let’s divide them by scenario.


$ – in the hundreds of dollars, per day

$$ – $800-$1500, per day

$$$ – $1500+ , per day

Let’s first look at a budget for a specific project.  Project costs are affected by several factors that can make a project cheaper or more expensive.  

Videography choices

  • Do you need a studio ($$$) or can you shoot on-location? If you can shoot on-location, you need to be able to ensure quiet during the shooting periods.  You may need to factor in a location fee, too. 
  • Are you looking for a specific feel or look in the footage, like an out-of-focus background? This may require specific cameras ($$$), or if you’re looking for something more gritty, you may be able to shoot with a mobile phone! Depending on how high-end of a look you’re going for, you may need to hire lighting professionals depending on the desired look and lighting conditions at the location ($$).  Just make sure you’ve got a professional sound recordist ($$) if the audio in the scene is to be captured as primary audio.
  • Is a teleprompter needed ($)?  Unless there’s three sentences or less, we never recommend that non-professional talent try to memorize lines that are being read to camera. You’ll spend more time in retakes than you would have spent on the shoot if you’d just hired a teleprompter operator and their equipment.

Scripting ($-$$$)

  • If your script is technical, a professional script writer will be able to tailor your message and adjust the tone of voice to connect with the audience.
  • If you want to bring more than just information and data out on the screen, you need a scriptwriter. Otherwise, make a powerpoint.
  • A good script will not only provide the narration, it will provide the visuals as well.  A two-column script will allow the reader to “picture this video” by seeing what visuals were in mind for that particular part of the audio.

Here’s a quick example of a simplified script. As you can imagine, this can get pretty lengthy depending on your content and length:

Production Budget Scripting

Editing ($$-$$$)

  • The best way to save money on editing is by having a finalized script in hand.  The editor will refer to the script to know exactly what was in mind, so that revisions (ideally) are minor.
  • One rule of thumb may be one hour of editing for every minute of finished video. This isn’t ALWAYS the case, particularly if there are a lot of effects, or if there are motion graphics ($$) to be included. And we typically add ⅓ of the editing budget extra to cover revisions. We allow up to two rounds of revisions in our proposals.

By the way, if you’re curious about letting someone else handle the editing and post-production, you can learn more about our post-production services here.

So, now let’s assume this one project is just part of several video projects needed in a year. How can your money be spent most efficiently?

  • Make a list of what projects you want to get done throughout the year.  When will they need to be done?  Which ones need shoots, and which ones are just editing projects? Are there social media videos that can be done without the need for the video production company?
  • From your list, are there items that can be repurposed or re-edited for other audiences or purposes? Identify those sooner, rather than later.
  • Make sure that your shoots all use the same videographer and camera to ensure a similar style and ease of mixing footage from various shoots.
  • Use shoot days to capture footage, not just for the primary project, but if it makes sense, additional footage that might be needed for projects down the road.  Video crews generally work in half day or full day rates.  If you’re booking a crew for a full day because you don’t think you can get what you need within 5 hours, then what can you get in 10 hours? Additional footage at the location (b-roll: general footage to support narration)?  An interview or two with others for upcoming projects?  It’s smarter to work with a crew for a 10 hour day than to book three half-days because you weren’t organized enough to get what you needed on the initial shoot day.  
  • If you have a CEO, or someone who has limited time, try to get as much recorded with them as you can, in the time you have them, particularly if you have a teleprompter booked. Teleprompter operators are booked by how long they are working, not by how many scripts they run. If anyone has teleprompter material to read, they should be booked in the session where there’s a teleprompter.  The same goes for studio bookings and hair/makeup artists. Studios and hair/makeup ($$) are expensive, and you don’t want to book them without knowing you can use them to their fullest potential.
  • Let your video producer ($$) know about what media assets you already have, and give them access.  The more you can provide, the less needs to be shot (unless the footage won’t match, or needs updating, etc). 

Of course, these are not the only costs to consider, but they’re the big ones, and most common.  As they say, “your experience may vary”.  

We work with clients on a per project basis, but also have clients who allow us to produce a number of projects under one annual cost. Learn more and contact us for either situation you find yourself in!

Sharon Sobel

Owner, Picture This Video

Sharon Sobel provides a range of services for a wide array of clients, from freelance work to script-to-screen production. We serve production companies and television stations requiring specialized freelance services, as well as businesses and organizations needing help with script-to-screen video marketing and production.

Picture This Video Sharon Sobel During Production

Freelance & Editing Rates according to role

T-shirt that reads: I am an artist. This does not mean I will work for free. I have bills just like you. Thank you for understanding.
  • Role Title

    Up to 5 hours
    Up to 10 hours
  • Associate Producer

  • Videographer – labor only

  • HD Videography w/gear

  • Teleprompter Operator w/gear

  • Remote Recording

    $105 per hour
  • Webcast/Event Producer onsite w/client

  • Webcast/Event Producer from PTV office

  • Terms

    • Mileage: Picture This Video works in the Metro DC area within a 25 mile radius of Fairfax, VA, with no travel fees. Additional mileage is charged at the current IRS rate.
    • Time is charged from arrival on site to departure from site.
      Our rates typically are based on 1/2 day (5 hours) or full days (10 hours).
    • For each hour over 10 in a day, the cost will be time and a half times the hourly rate for that job’s full day rate.
    • Cancellation of a scheduled scripting, videotaping or editing date may incur a kill fee:
      • 24-48 hours notice: $250
      • less than 24 hours notice: $300
      This is in addition to the cost of any rented equipment, and sub-contractors' kill fees.
    • Other rates & services available on request.
    • Invoices are due upon receipt. Deposit may be required.
  • Editing Rates

    Up to 10 hours
  • Logger / Digitizer – external system

    $36 per hour
  • Logger / Digitizer – internal system

    $55 per hour
  • Adobe Premiere editing – external system

    $75 per hour
  • Adobe Premiere editing – internal system

    $95 per hour