How Much Does Video Editing Cost?
We get this question every single day – how much does a video cost?
While it would make our lives easier if post-production pricing was standard and straightforward, this question is akin to asking how much a house or a car costs. There are many different elements that go into a video project and each one can have a large effect on the price.
This article will lay out the major factors that we take into account when quoting a project. This will help you set expectations and understand everything that goes into editing a great video.
Factor #1 – Length (both raw footage and output)
How long of a video you’re looking for is probably the most obvious piece of the puzzle. Regardless of anything else involved, as a video gets longer the more work it will take to create and perfect.
However, the effect of amount of raw footage can sometimes be overlooked. Whether the finished video is 15 seconds or 15 minutes, the editor will have to sort through every bit of content to find the right clips to use. When we start talking about hours of raw footage, the time required can quickly skyrocket.
Factor #2 – Story
Here’s where things start to get hairy. One of the first things we take into account when scoping out a project is the storyline of the video. When we’re working with something that is linear or scripted (like a talking head interview or a how-to video) there’s a single path to follow which streamlines the edit process.
But, when it’s our job to do a comprehensive breakdown of the footage in order to find the best storyline that fits the goals of the project, the work becomes more complex.
Genres like event recaps, travel videos, social media content, interview mashups, sizzle reels, and many others are often created by going out and getting a TON of footage, then figuring out how it fits together later. These projects are where having a great post-production team will be the biggest difference maker, because they’re doing the work to create the story and excitement that will delight your viewers. On the other hand, for videos that are scripted or planned out ahead of time it’s the editor’s job to tell the best version of that story – a less intensive task.
Factor #3 – Graphics and Effects
While editing requires finesse, rhythm, and great visual taste, good content can often guide its own edit and stand on its own. But when it comes to adding in graphics, titles, and other motion elements it’s the editor’s job to create something and make it move.
There are many levels to this element. Popping in some lower thirds or basic text titles is routine and editing software is built for that kind of thing. But when you start bringing in graphics or effects that are more advanced and complicated, it can take a ton of time to create and adjust everything for a perfect final product. You’re also potentially using additional software, multiple renders, or custom creating assets.
Here’s an example of some more advanced and customized text graphics:
Bringing in other effects and styles can also be a great way to add new dimensions and flair to a video. Split screen, changing the look and feel of the footage, transitions, and so much more. These can be done at the discretion of the editor, or can come from a carefully planned aesthetic. Either way, they will likely make a project more difficult and therefore expensive – but the result is a major uptick in production value.
Factor #4 – Specialty Tasks
On very rare and very coveted occasions – raw footage will come out looking and sounding perfect. To be honest, we’re convinced that these occurrences are pure coincidences. For all the other times, editors need to do things like color correcting, audio editing, and other technical tweaks to make sure everything looks and sounds its best.
Oftentimes it does just take some small adjustments. But for more sophisticated projects there is a lot of room to spend time fine tuning things like color and adding special touches to the sound, special effects, and branding aspects of a video. Sometimes it will even take a specialist to handle a specific task. Hiring multiple people and spending time on the details means requires a higher budget.
Factor #5 – Turnaround Time
The last one is simple. When a client needs a video fast, it’s all hands on deck and everything gets pushed aside. We’re always ready to accommodate, but a quick turnaround usually means a higher bottom line.
While we’ve just scratched the surface, the info in this post should serve as a useful foundation for understanding post-production pricing.
If you have a specific project you’d like to discuss, we’re always happy to chat. Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s talk!