Why do video production companies ask for your budget?

January 14th, 2022

Imagine this, you give your local video production company a call, explain your idea and goal, and suddenly they ask that big question, “so what’s your budget?” There it is, the walls go up and you put your cards to your chest! “They are trying to squeeze as much out of me as possible,” you may think.

Relax! Take a breath! It’s actually a very common question that gets asked in the video industry and it’s due to one main thing, video is scalable and every project has requirements that are unique.

The number of locations, crew needed, complexity, and scope of the project all depend on the budget provided. When video production companies ask for a budget they are actually sizing up what type of end product best fits your business needs. It is the video production companies job to find a solution within or close to your budget.

Here are a few things to consider when you are budgeting for video production.

Development and Pre-production time

People in meeting around table discussing video ideas

Every video has different requirements, some need little planning and can move into production quickly. Whereas other projects may have a bigger scope and require more pre-production work. If your project requires scripts and storyboards, or actors needing to be cast, or locations needing to be scouted, these things can all add to more time and money in the pre-production stage. Some of these things can be done on your end in order to keep costs down such as writing scripts, organising questions for interviews, scheduling talent etc.

Production time

Video production set at Sutton Grange in Bendigo

A major factor to consider is how many days you will require your video production team to film and what type of equipment is needed. This has a big impact on the final price for the video. Some shoots can be completed in one day, whereas others may require multiple days to complete. The shoot days required, the more expensive it will cost to produce.

Most of the time the production company will have what’s needed on the day and it will be included in the price. However, If you require specialised camera equipment this may add to the production budget too.

Another consideration is how many crew members will be required on set. More complex projects will require additional hands to ensure the production runs smoothly. Sometimes an additional crew member does not always equate to more money, as it can allow the videographer to work quicker and more efficiently.

One trap many clients fall into when it comes to estimating shoot days is making assumptions themselves about how many days or hours will be required. If a client doesn’t have much experience working with video production teams it’s not uncommon for them to underestimate how much time is really needed. Don’t stress though, you’re not expected to know this and most of the time your video production company of choice will listen and explain to you how long things will take and how best to maximise that time.

There are a few ways you can help keep the shoot time down. This could be as simple as organising talent or interviews on the same day so that you’re limiting the total number of days required.

Locations are also a big factor as well. Different locations take time to travel to and also will require new camera and lighting setups. This will eat into your shooting time and is often overlooked by clients. Travel time, set up, and pack up time can quickly add up and eat into the production time available.

Another big consideration is the time of year and what you are shooting. Time of day, weather conditions, and season all factor into how long things will take on set and will have a big impact on scheduling for your project. It’s important for clients to be realistic when they estimate how many hours or days.

Post-Production Time

Video editor sitting at video editing suite

Once production has been completed, and it’s time to start editing your video together.

Here is a little fact for you. Did you know that the longest time spent making a Hollywood film is in post-production? It’s true. Even with all the big money and resources, available post-production can take months to complete as it requires careful attention and detail. You just don’t throw things together, you need to consider quality, how much time will be required, accuracy in colour correction and grading etc.

Even for small video productions, editing always takes longer than shooting. This is where your videos come to life. It’s very important that you factor in time for post-production, especially if the video production team needs to provide a quick turnaround. Tight deadlines may also increase costs as the video editor and post-production team may need to reschedule other jobs or work overtime to complete the project on time.

Storage and Intellectual Property Fees

Computer on desk with a bunch of storage drives

This is often an optional fee, and most video production companies will keep your raw unedited footage on hand. This may be used at a later time or sometimes is disposed of once a certain amount of time has passed.

When you request a video to be made, you are purchasing the final edited product. The video production company owns the intellectual property rights of the raw unedited footage. This means that if you would like a copy of the raw footage to use in other projects using another production company or editing in-house you will be required to pay a licensing fee. This is not a fee you need to pay if you plan to hire the original company to edit the footage however you may be subject to an unarchiving fee. It is important to let them know this may happen so they do not dispose of the footage.

Advertising and Distribution Costs

Facebook adverisment website on computer monitor

This is not always a cost you will incur from the production company however if you plan to advertise on TV or through social media, you need to consider budgeting for ad spend, distribution, and broadcast fees.


When you are looking to hire a video production company. You can be sure they’ll ask you about your budget and they will have every right to do so. They need to know how much money they have to work with in order to provide the best service possible for you, the client. It’s important that you know that you don’t necessarily need to give an exact figure however giving them a budget range will help provide them with a guide to accurately quote your project.

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