How much does it cost to create a video? That’s a hard question to answer without additional information. But, there is an easy way to ensure you get the most value for your budget: a video consultation.

The biggest mistake we see our partners make when considering new video projects is committing to a video cost without really understanding what their creative needs require. After all, the investment necessary to produce a quality video (or videos) can vary greatly depending on the answers to questions like:

  • How long is the video?
  • Is it live action, animation, or a mix of both?
  • Will you need live actors or voice over talent?
  • What unique creative does the script and concept call for?
  • What’s the visual style?
  • How quickly do you need it delivered?

As with many creative projects, the possibilities for building videos are virtually endless. You wouldn’t commit to a price for building a new home, for example, without knowing exactly what you’re getting for your investment. Why would you do so with a video project?

The good news is: you don’t have to.

A better way to build a video

We at Polymath take a different view of things: rather than arbitrarily “guesstimating” a price for a video that may or may not deliver on your project goals, why not define those variables upfront, so that the video’s creative parameters can be optimally tuned to your needs, budget, and situation?

We call this a video consultation, which can be conducted quickly and at no additional cost than what you’d pay over the entire video project anyway.

You wouldn’t commit to a price for a home without knowing what you’re getting for your investment.

Why would you do so with a video project?

In the end, you’ll have maximized the value of every dollar you’ve spent, without hastily rushing into production.

Making a wise investment

What does this process look like in practice?

There are three simple steps:

  1. First, work together to generate a script. Ultimately, your script is what dictates the video length and creative concept. The creative concept is what dictates the style. The style, length, and other factors are what inform the cost and production timeline to turn your vision into reality.
  2. Using the script, develop style options at various price points. Different video styles have different price points, of course, and you can get a sense for how style complexity affects your all-in investment by reviewing options prepared by your creative partner. This step usually involves reviewing “inspiration” screenshots and videos from other brands that mimic a similar visual look to that of your future video.
  3. Select a style that matches your brand, vision, and budget. Of the style options presented, each should come with an estimate: how much it will cost to produce this video in this specific style at this length, using this script. Many factors can influence your decision-making here: Which style you feel best reflects your dreams for this video? Which look feels most like your brand aesthetic? Which style is most within your budgetary comfort zone? (As a bonus: if you know your available budget upfront, this entire process can be conducted in a way that maximizes the video’s creative potential while working within the confines of your planned spend.)
Low risk, high reward

The beauty of starting with a video consultation “mini-project” is that you get a bunch of benefits from taking this approach:

  • You only make a minimal upfront commitment. Concerned about locking yourself into a long and expensive relationship with a vendor you don’t really know yet? With a video consultation, you’re not permanently on the hook for thousands more dollars to complete the video project.
  • You allow for maximum creative flexibility. What if your understanding of what the video should be as of today changes as the video concept is further fleshed out? What if the budget you’ve agreed to is way higher than you need, or not nearly enough for what you now know you want? A video consultation helps you properly align expectations with the investment you make in the final product.
  • You can do what you want with the script and style concept(s). Prefer to shop the video work around after the consultation? Not ready to pull the trigger on production? If your priorities change midstream, if you just want to move on to a new partner, or even if you’d like to make the video in house, you’ll at least have a well-defined concept, a finely honed script, and a clear estimate of how much the production should cost—all of which you can use to ensure you’re getting the best value for your investment.
  • You avoid over-paying for the video. In choosing a video consultation, you’re not captive to an over-estimate from your creative partner, who’s probably trying to price you high to account for the uncertainty and “scope creep” that could happen during subsequent ideation.
A winning way to make a video

We’ve used this kind of video development approach with many partners in the past, who’ve appreciated the adaptable, budget-conscious planning of this consultative phase.

On your next video project, don’t make the mistake of settling on a price without answering key foundational questions around length, content, and style and how those definitions intersect with your video budget.

And be wary of creative vendors who’ll give you a quote based on a single meeting or phone call without first working with you to define those many variables that go into making a successful video. If you do, you’re setting up yourself and them for disappointment down the road.