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The Wheat & Chaff

Isn't it annoying how you never see prices listed on a website when it comes to video production? Yeah, we get it. And we're guilty of it. We have to do it that way and I'm going to spend the next 3,000 words telling you why.

Scenario: You're a business. You want a commercial.

You can have Kevin, your brother-in-law, come in with his iPhone 11 Pro (I have one and it's awesome!) and film a 30 second spot in a few hours for the price of a fancy dinner (knowing Kevin, fancy is probably optional).

You could also have The Richards Group spend 6 months producing an epic spot that stars someone recognizable and is topped off with a snazzy jingle for about Three Hundred Thousand Dollars (all written out doesn't that number seem even bigger?)

Most likely you need something in between these two options, but companies choose both of these extremes every day.

Why spend more? Why spend less?

Let's go through some of the variables.

Locations. Before we even spend money on production, the location can be a $10,000 factor. And I don't mean the location fee, I mean paying to get the client (you and your posse) flights, hotels and meals. That's a big variable. And there are lots more.

We are not the cheapest option out there. We don't want to be. We will fight vigorously (and creatively) to get you a product within your budget restraints, but there comes a point the restraints are so tight that it's impossible to get out powerful image.

And that image is what we care about.

Pre-Production. Sometimes people don't even pay for pre-production! This is crazy. You need to plan on paying around 10% of your budget on pre-production. If you're being told to skip this part, you're putting a lot at risk. Some projects require less pre-pro, that's very true, but pre-production is where everyone gets on the same page and decides,

"This is our message. This is how it will be told."

If you're leaving your message up to chance, there's very little chance your message will be received.

Beyond that, though, the whole shoot and edit process goes quicker (which means cheaper), and smoother (less complaining) when a detailed plan is crafted in pre-production. You don't need to shoot 3 more angles just to be safe, and you don't need to see 5 revisions of the edit because everyone has a clear a concise game plan that was agreed upon in advance.

Production. We can shoot it with one camera. But maybe we SHOULD shoot it with two.

We can shoot it on a RED ($650/day). But maybe we SHOULD shoot it on a Sony A7s2 ($175/day).

We can cast talent off of headshots, or we can spend $2,500 and get a casting director to make sure you have the voice and face that deserves to be placed next to your product. Plus, casting days are fun... they can be tedious at times, but I've never sat next to a client that isn't a little bit flattered by dozens of actors trying to earn a spot in their ad.

Do you have a logo? Probably. Do you have it created in 3D so that we can animate it into the commercial? Probably not. Yet another variable and reason why video companies can't post generic prices on their website.

I've just shown you about $15,000 worth of pretty important variables. With or without them you can still have a 30 second commercial. But is it useful? Do you get anything out of it?

We want to arm you with content you're proud to post.

We also want to arm you with knowledge of the process so that you don't get taken advantage of by companies trying to save you a buck. Because guess what? They're not. The value you receive from what you spend is far more important. We understand this. We want to understand who you are and what you need, then devise a plan to help you get there.

We're the wheat. You found us.


austin hines

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