How much have you got?

It’s not a silly question, or the question of someone simply trying to maximise their profit from you. It’s how filming works.

You can make a feature film for $50k, or $50m, it will still be a two hour film.

What really matters is what you want to do, and what you want to do depends on what you want to achieve with your film.

If you have a product that pretty much speaks for itself, we can film it, chat to you and maybe a customer and turn that into a short, punchy film for about £3k. If this sounds like a lot, you will have to wait for a later blog post in which I break down the process involved for even a straight forward video.

If you need to tell a story to get your point across, maybe you want some animation or motion graphics or a full on drama shoot, you start to enter a different realm of film making that will be more expensive.

The wonderful John Lewis ‘Red Dress’ ad was sublime storytelling that reduced many to tears. The creative concept was important, but equally so was the beautiful lighting and photography. I don’t know how many people were on the Blink crew, but I suspect a lot.

It would have been possible to make that ad on a smaller budget, but it would have been worse and may even had backfired by appearing too mawkish or sentimental. Getting that balance right wasn’t just down to script, it was down to film grading, acting performances and lighting as well.

John Lewis are rumoured to spend around £1m on their ads, with a further £5m - £6m spent on the subsequent promotion. Fear not, you can make a perfectly targeted film for your company for a lot less! We advise clients to budget around £5k + expenses for a short web film. This is generally documentary style – in other words not a fictional setting.

Scripted video (as opposed to using interviews to tell your story) takes more resources to create and as discussed, it’s important to get it right. You will start to creep toward the £10k mark for a short drama (although we made that film on a very small budget for a charity that we worked very regularly with).

If you budget won’t stretch to that, we (and other companies) offer short animations for less than £3k. These can be great, particularly as explainer videos.

There are lots of important steps you need to take to ensure you get maximum value for your money, and that starts at the earliest planning stage. It is often possible to turn a two day shoot into 3 or 4 separate videos, thereby slashing the cost per video. But I’ll leave the planning process for a later blog!