What’s the Difference Between a $4,000 and $40,000 Video?

Everyone wants to save money when making a video for their brand. But it’s a bad idea to spend $4,000 on video content that should have a budget of $40,000.

If your concept is complex, you’ll want to spend the right amount of money to make sure your ideas are being made the right way (i.e. the way that makes you proud). Let’s start with the basics.

What goes into a $4,000 Video?

Don’t get us wrong: for smaller videos, like quick recaps and shorter ads, this price will definitely work. Watch this Enterprise Fish Co. commercial for an example of a $4,000 video that really works:

For more intricate videos, a low budget video can be pulled off, but sacrifices will be made in the production process. If you want to create a more complex concept you should consider these drawbacks to optioning a smaller budget:

Pre Production: In a $4,000 video, the pre production stage, where your vision really comes together, will be practically nonexistent. Most of the time, small budgets are achieved by “showing up and shooting” to save on concept development and script writing fees.

This means creative won’t have time to craft your message before showing up on set.

The result? Less time to shoot because you conceptualize as you go.

Production: For $4,000 you’ll get the minimum on set to make a shoot work. That likely includes:​

  • One or two talent (most likely not actors) to appear on camera;

  • One or two camera operators;

  • Minimal lighting;

  • And an afternoon’s worth of filming.​

The result? A cast & crew just big enough to get it done.

Post Production: In this stage, a number of tricky situations may occur: the concept developed on set may not work as predicted, you may not have captured enough footage because of time constraints, or the footage just doesn’t look as good as your competitors.

Often, low budget videos are accompanied by just one round of editing revisions. As a client, you may not be satisfied with the video until additional revisions are made, but they’re simply not in the budget.

The result? A less polished final edit that may not be exactly what you want.

What goes into a $40,000 Video?

So. Much. More.

Now you can afford to work through your concepts in pre production to ensure success on the shoot date. You can also hire real actors, a director, a director of photography, and a gaffer (aka a lighting genius).

You will be able to have multiple locations. There will be an increase in the quality of the equipment. And you will find yourself in the right professional space to bring your concept to life.

The result? A polished and professional video that makes your brand look good.

Check out this spot for LivePerson for an example of a $40,000 higher concept commercial:

Why did this cost $40,000?

  • High concept with meticulous pre production

  • Professional studio location

  • Production design that made the location look and feel like an airport

  • Expert crew: Director, Producer, Director of Photography, Gaffer, Wardrobe Stylist, Hair & Makeup, etc.

  • Professional actors and background talent

  • Multiple days of shooting

  • Visual FX & Screen Replacements

We’re not saying you need to spend $40,000 on a single video if that video doesn’t warrant that large of a spend. But we are saying that you should pick a budget that matches the complexity of the content you want to create.

The takeaway? Spend $4,000 on content that should cost $4,000 and know when your dream video should cost more (and don’t forget to listen to the experts who can guide you to success).

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