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“How much does a video cost?” Is nearly always the first question I am asked as a corporate videographer. My answer is always the same: I can make you a $500 video or I can make you a $5,000 video, so tell me what your budget is.

The next question is usually “what is the difference between a $500 video and a $5,000 video?” 

There are many variables most people aren’t aware of when it comes to professional videography. In their head, most people envision someone standing there holding a camera that they purchased at BestBuy. First of all, they don’t sell high end professional production cameras and gear at BestBuy. But there are many other factors to consider…

Professional video production usually has multiple elements including 1 or 2 camera operators, professional quality sound gear (and sometimes a dedicated sound recordist/mixer) and lighting specifically designed for video production. More expensive productions may also have a makeup artist and one or more production assistants. If the video is scripted it may require someone running a teleprompter. If you want to hire actual actors to be in your video or you want to rent out a nice location or filming studio as the backdrop to film it in – that adds even more to the cost.

Then there are additional options to give your video an even higher end look. Ever see someone in a video walking through an office or warehouse and the camera appears to be following or leading them with perfectly smooth motion almost like the camera is floating in mid air? Or a video where you see the camera sliding perfectly sideways? Those shots are done with specialty gear called “camera sliders” and/or “motorized stabilizers”. Also, a new thing people are adding to some videos (depending on the situation) is aerial footage via drones. All this specialized equipment is very expensive and those shots take time to set up so you won’t get these “perks” unless you pay extra.

Once the video is filmed, that’s not the end of it. Someone has to piece all those clips together to tell your story. In other words, the video has to be edited. Adding music (which always has to be licensed), custom high end motion graphics, special effects or voiceover talent adds to the final cost of your video.

So all this being said, what is the difference between a $500 video and a $5,000+ video? Well for $500 I will show up, setup my camera and microphone, film you talking and do a simple edit. For more money (depending on all the variables or “extras” mentioned above) you get a much less “boring” video and something that looks similar to commercial productions that cost tens of thousands of dollars.

Video production is one instance of “you get what you pay for”. Also understand that a video represents you, your company and your product or service. Do you want that to appear cheap? Or do you want people to immediately think of your company, product or service is professional?

There is some good news if you decide to have a professional video produced for your business… doing this is an advertising business expense which means you can deduct the cost on you tax return. So dont be afraid to save up a thousand or two and have proper video(s) produced that will represent you and your organization well.