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How Much Does a Camera Crew Cost? Paying for Your Corporate Video Shoot
You’ve decided to create a professional corporate video — this is a very common decision today, with a vast majority of companies now seeing the value of video. But what should you expect when it’s time to pay a team of experts to work on your video?
There’s no one answer — a short clip requiring only a few hours of filming and little post-production may have low overhead, while a feature-length video with full production values can be a larger investment, requiring tens of thousands of dollars.
When slicing the various costs of hiring a video crew, you have to think about how many people you’ll need to achieve your vision, as well as how your intended video type and production model will impact the price tag.
Thinking about these costs now can help you establish a long-term video approach that suits your brand’s goals.
What Types of Crew Members Work on a Video Production?
It’s clear that the more people you have on your video production, the more salaries you’ll have to pay. With that said, in an era of high expectations for video quality, it’s unwise to cut too many positions. Finding a perfect balance is critical.
What kinds of roles might you find on your video set, and which professionals will only be present on larger-scale shoots?
- Producer: On a large video shoot, the producer arranges contacts between departments and teams behind the scenes.
- Director: The person with the final say over a production’s shoot — on a small shoot, there may be a solo videographer taking on the roles of director, director of photography and more.
- Assistant director: Larger productions have assistant directors tasked with roles such as managing the shot list.
- Location manager: Location managers liaise between the production and the owners of any necessary shooting locations.
- Director of photography: Also known as the cinematographer, this professional is tasked with the final say on technical visual decisions.
- Camera operator: Camera operators each manage a camera, meaning the larger the shoot, the more operators are on the set.
- Audio technician: Larger shoots will have dedicated technicians to make sure clear audio is captured on the set.
- Lighting director: Another production crew member only used by big productions, a lighting director works with the cinematographer to light the set.
- Gaffer and key grip: These members of the lighting team rig the lights and serve as lead electricians respectively.
- Hair, makeup and wardrobe: On small shoots, talents may style themselves, but as the scale increases, there will be more hair, makeup and wardrobe specialists available.
- Effects coordinator: Effects coordinators aren’t just for videos with flashy visuals — they could work with practical matters on set or handle various editing tasks in post-production.
- Digital imaging technician: While directors may store the footage themselves on small shoots, larger productions have people specifically there to keep the digital files.
- Editor: Editors work closely with directors to assemble raw footage into a coherent whole, and are used on productions of all kinds.
- Production assistant: Production assistants handle any and all day-to-day tasks on the set. The larger the job, the more PAs will be available.
A shoot aiming for full Hollywood production values may come to a set with an assistant director, multiple grips, a lighting coordinator, full hair and makeup departments and numerous PAs, while a production aiming to quickly capture B-roll may simply send a single videographer. In between, you’ll find the perfect mix to optimize video production cost.
What Are the Cost Impacts of Video Production Decisions?
Your production decisions regarding what type of video you’re shooting will have a massive impact on the final crew expenses. Are you aiming for a simple testimonial from an executive, in an office your company owns? Or would you like to have professional talent on camera in a location that you have to close off for the duration of the shoot? These types of questions will set the final price tag.
Even seemingly similar video types can differ widely in the necessary crew and gear. For instance, a hybrid conference video may require multiple camera operators and sound technicians alongside a director, while casting an all-digital meeting to a wide audience might be a job for one or two people.
A few of the considerations that will set the cost of working with a corporate video crew include:
- Location or studio expenses: There are costs associated with renting studio time, and also with arranging permits for a chosen location. Your budget math should also account for risks such as outdoor filming being delayed by inclement weather.
- Fees for advanced equipment: If your intended video includes shots such as drone-captured aerial footage, you’ll have to factor in costs such as gear rental and any special permits needed to shoot the footage.
- Parking or other transit costs: Parking is a potentially surprising source of expenses for on-location video shoots. A large crew with a significant amount of gear will need to travel in a van, which can limit parking options further and raise costs.
While it may seem logical to slash expenses as far as possible for your chosen production, all choices should be guided by your vision for the finished product. Working with an expert video production partner can help you get the results you want without being overwhelmed by surprise costs.
How Do Different Video Production Models Impact Crew Expenses?
In an age of widespread production decoupling, businesses are taking very different approaches to end-to-end video production. Your choice of model may play a large role in impacting your video crew costs:
- All-in-one agency production involves all crew costs being rolled into a single price tag to work with your creative agency of choice. This model is somewhat opaque but very simple.
- In-house production means crew and talent salaries are on your company’s books. The more you use these employees’ services, the better the arrangement works.
- Third-party or hybrid production lets you find a crew for each job. While more complex than an all-in-one model, it does allow you to hire the right people and take competitive bids.
How Does Hiring an Expert Camera Crew Help Maximize Cost-Effectiveness?
Working with video production experts is a way to carry out an ambitious corporate video shoot at the lowest possible price tag. Longtime industry professionals are empowered by their hard-won insights about best practices in their home regions.
Crews Control can pair your business with experts who understand exactly what level of video production crew staffing is needed to get the results you’re looking for. They also know how to operate in their respective areas, working around local weather patterns, finding ideal spots to park and securing permits from local authorities on time. They also use industry-leading gear, to avoid extra costs associated with finding the right equipment.
To find out more about the financial side of corporate video productions, download our ebook.