How much does it cost to make video or animation?

Apr 21 2021

If you’re looking to make a video for your company, how much budget should you set aside? 

What type of video is cheap to make? Can you make it yourself or will you need a video production company?  

When you’re starting out, you will probably kick off by recording yourself on a phone. But as your company grows, you might need something more professional. But whatever your budget, it’s all about getting a good return on your investment. And this comes down to the messaging and how you reach your audience.  

For one of our clients, just one view from the right person won them a £2m contract. For others, what they needed was to build brand awareness with a campaign that targeted their audience across multiple platforms. As you start your video project, have a think about the potential returns, so you can weigh up how much you should invest in production. 

Why video marketing is so important

Your video budget should include not only the cost of production, but also the cost of video marketing. The average person will spend 100 minutes a day watching online video this year. In a world where people consume hours of videos every day, how are you going to bring yours to their attention? 

– Will you make versions optimised for different channels? 

– Will it be organically searchable for your keywords on YouTube? 

– Can you allocate budget for a social campaign?  

But first things first… 

How do you set out a budget for production? 

At Skylark Media, whether it’s live action or animation, we separate video production into 3 stages, all of which will need to be budgeted for:  

Pre-production, this is where plan the concept and write the scripts 

Production, the part where we’re filming or animating 

Post-production, adding the music or voice over and colour grading 

Download a FREE production process template

Organise and plan your team in a filming and animation schedule
Production Process Checklist
Disclaimer *

Budgeting for live action video 

On set at a live action shoot for Longleat

Live action is your cheapest option. This could be an interview with your CEO, a testimonial from your best client, a ‘how to’ guide or even a dramatised brand video. Whichever of these you’re about to embark on, the filming is likely to be most expensive element because of the kit you’ll need. However, the most time consuming will be the edit, especially if you are making multiple versions.  

If you want to make your video in-house, this blog post has lots of tips and prices for the tools you might need.

If you want to employ a professional, there are two routes you could go; a videographer who will carry out the filming and editing to your brief, or a video production company like Skylark Media who will work with you as a video marketing agency, helping to develop your visual concepts, brand identity, competitor analysis and offering the latest video marketing techniques.  

What to include in a budget for live action 

When we’re budgeting for an live action video we’ll include the following: 

  • Concept development 
  • Script writing 
  • Story boards 
  • Location recess
  • Prepping interviewees 
  • Filming 
  • Editing including two round of amends 
  • Graphics 
  • Music 
  • Sound design 
  • Colour grade 
  • Multiple iterations for social channels 

Budgeting for animation 

Karshare animation
Skylark animation for the app, Karshare

It often surprises our clients to find out that animation can turn out to be more expensive than live action. That’s because of the time it takes to develop a visual style. With live action you just turn the camera on to get a screen full of moving pixels. With animation this is all created from scratch. 

Take a look at an animation we created for a TV ad featuring a hand-drawn character:

Animating a hand-illustrated character (Skylark AdSmart)

But there are cheaper options for animation. This list goes from cheapest to most expensive: 

Kinetic typography > vector animation > frame by frame animation 

And when it comes to animation styles from cheapest to most expensive: 

Graphical text > icons > abstract minimalism > multimedia > character animation 

If you have a talented digital media person on your team, they could take on a graphical or text based animation, combined with still imagery or screen capture. But if you want a more conceptual brand piece we would advise that you collaborate with a professional agency.  Find out more about our animation production process in this section.

What’s included in a budget for animation? 

When we’re budgeting for an animated video we’ll include the following: 

  • Concept development 
  • Script writing 
  • Story boards 
  • Illustrations 
  • Mood boards 
  • Animation 
  • Music 
  • Sound design 
  • Multiple iterations for social channels 

Quality versus Quantity 

When you are considering the budget for your video, you might want to consider your strategy for quality versus quantity. Do you need multiple cheap and cheerful guides to how to use your product? Or do you need one high impact video campaign that will engage with new prospects and drive conversions? 

Creating video on a budget 

If you’re a start up taking your first steps into creating video here’s some low budget options: 

  • Web cam presentation combined with screen capture – a great way to show off your software user interface. You could use the following software: Loom or Jumpshare.
  • Web cam testimonial – how about recording a testimonial from your key client over the webcam? This is something we’ve seen a lot of over the last year and it’s a great way to get authentic content. Make sure that your interviewee is well lit, that their eye line is close to the webcam and most important of all, that the audio quality is good. 
  • Kinetic text – how about creating a social video campaign with bold textual calls to action.  
  • Filming and editing on your mobile phone. 

Still unsure about budgets? Here’s our guide to building your own video budget.

Before you embark on your video, you might like to run through your plans with an expert. At Skylark Media we offer a free video consultation and would be happy to offer advice. Get in touch.

Jo Haywood

Jo is Managing Director at Skylark Media. She founded the business in 2005 after carving out a career making climate change documentaries for the BBC and Discovery Channel. She is an environmental campaigner and avid tree-planter.