Live action video vs animation video – which one is right for you?

Feb 12 2021

One of the most commonly questions we’re asked is ‘how much does a video cost?’ The short answer is, it depends.

How will video fit into your marketing goals? What type of videos do you need? How much are you willing to invest in promoting it?

The good news is: video production is getting cheaper. 79% of consumers prefer to learn about a product through video rather than text. There are an abundance of free video editing apps – even a promo clip shot from a smartphone can deliver impressive results. While the cost of video production is going down, competition for eyeballs is up. How do you cut through the noise? To really make an effective video, you’ll need to focus on the customer journey and create videos that for every single point in the journey.

We’ve outlined this in our guide to the Hero, Hub and Help framework. Essentially, by addressing every stage of the sales funnel, your video message is more relevant, more focused and shorter too.

You’re better off investing in fewer, high quality and impactful videos than going for the low-quality option that does nothing for your business.

In this post, we’ll cover:

  • What’s in a video budget?
  • What the video budget is spent on
  • Budget for software
  • The cost of working with a video production agency
  • Distribution and promotion

What’s in a video budget?

Pre-production – discovery sessions, scripting writing, creative design and concept, location scouting and story-boarding

Production – crew rates, equipment hire, talent and agency fees, travel expenses, animation

Post-production – editing, graphics, sound composition and licensing

Distribution – ad clearance fees for TV, paid social and paid search.

As a general rule of thumb, the more you invest in your pre-production, the better your concepts – so you can budget accordingly. In production, allow additional costs for hiring specialists or equipment. A drone operator costs more because a licence is required to fly a drone. A print-ready still taken from video footage requires the use of a costly 6K camera. In post-production, licensing a music track is inevitably cheaper than hiring a composer, whereas stock footage and voiceover artists can drive up costs.

But seriously. How much?

It’s actually more budget-friendly in the long-term to create a suite of videos which can then be edited into cut-downs, ready for distribution across social channels. An explainer can range from hundreds for social shorts to several thousands if you’d like a 3D animation.  For a drama-led, brand film, prices can range from £5k to six-figures for a large-scale TV campaign.

Budget for software

If you’re thinking of going in-house, consider the costs behind video hosting, screen capture apps, video editing software and online storage. Monthly fees start from around £200 for the best applications. Social platforms including Facebook and YouTube provide basic editing software, but if you wanted a professional colour grade or sound mixing, you’ll need to call in the professionals.

Are video production companies or animation studios more costly?

In short, yes and no. You could argue that production company overheads are more expensive but this is driven down once you include equipment hire and software fees. For production companies, adhering to a brief is crucial in the pre-production stages so that client’s expectations are met and budgets are stuck to.

An in-house videographer is able to churn out video content regularly which works for responsive video content. Taking a hybrid approach might work best for most businesses. If budgets are really constrained, consider production companies for ‘hero’ videos if you’re able to create your own ‘help’ and ‘hub’ videos.

Distribution and promotion

Sweat your videos assets across your website, email signatures and social channels. But to introduce your videos to a broader reach, advertising is a no-brainer. Are you able to invest in advertising to get your video out there? Which social platforms work for you – paid pre-roll YouTube ads or Facebook and Linkedin promotions? How about hiring a video seeding agency to boost your video impressions and online PR? Or enlisting influencers to boost your reach? If you’re business is considering advertising on TV, consider ad clearance fees and the costs for advertising across addressable, connected, linear and OTT channels.

If you’re not sure about setting advertising spend on social, do your research. Facebook click-through rates are around 1% (you can find out your industry average here). Remember, a click through rate doesn’t mean that someone has signed up to your service, or purchased a product after viewing your Facebook ad. It is just simply a click through. Be mindful that a strategic campaign, where you’re sequencing video ads to take a customer through a series of ads before buying, or a campaign that targets customers granularly, are more effective than boosting an ad.

A good video can be a powerful investment. Minimise the risk by going for quality over quantity. If you’d like to talk to us about your video budgets and requirements, give Skylark a call on 0117 258  0011.

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Nina Postans

Nina is Head of Marketing and Video Marketing Consultant at Skylark Media. With a background in advertising and publishing, Nina has an interest in consumer and technological trends. She has written for Marketing Week, Fashion Monitor, Advertising Week and Creative Review.