“How much does a music video cost?” Running a production company, this is a question we get almost weekly. It’s like... asking a contractor, “how much will it cost for you to build me a house?” There are so many variables! The same goes when asking us to quote a music video project. This guide should help you know what to plan for.
We want to accurately quote and meet the expectations of all of our clients. In order to do so, it helps if the client knows what to ask for. Let’s take a walk together so I can give you a quick tour on some of the specifics you should be aware of before asking, “how much will it cost to make me a music video for my new hit single?” It is immensely helpful to have a budget in mind. If you haven’t worked in video production before, you may not know all the places money can get budgeted, so let’s explore!
First, is your song recorded yet? You wouldn’t believe how often we have been asked to put together a music video for a song that has not been well recorded or even finished. It is important for us to know the song. If we can’t feel the sadness or want to jump up and dance to the rhythm of your beats, then it's difficult for us to portray those feelings into a video. We ask you provide us with a quality recording before we deep dive any of the following:
•Do you have a story or vision for your video? Here at DF Production Services, we LOVE narrative. The freedom to stretch our creative legs is part of the reason we love working here; however, it takes time to script and storyboard. We are happy to help you with it! A solid, professional script and storyboard are wise to budget for, especially if you don't have a clear idea of your video concept. We can either create full treatments and send them your way for approval or meet with you and storyboard together, or really anything in between.
•What about casting? Do you need extras or talent for your video? Actors, dancers, and extras can be organized at every price point, if your video needs them. On a tight budget, friends and family are often a willing and affordable resource to consider, but can have some performance limitations. If you want professional talent, they generally will require pay for their work. Talent can start around $250/day. If professional talent is in your budget, we're happy to help arrange it.
•Where is the video set? Just like talent, locations are available at every price point. There are a lot of free options for shooting locations. You can look for public spaces with minimal traffic or a private location with the owner’s permission. However, if we're looking for locations closed to the public, privately owned facilities, or studios, it's fair to expect some kind of rental fee. You can save a little bit of your budget by scouting locations yourself, but if you'd like us to do the scouting and location work for your project, we're happy to offer that as a service, assuming it fits into your budget. If you are attached to certain locations, be prepared to fit that into your budget, as well.
•Do you need props? Props can dramatically increase the production value of your video, and (yet again!) they're available regardless of your budget. We have had requests for larger props, like vehicles and animals, as well as smaller props like light fixtures, couches and even weapons. If you're after big props that will require renting, we're happy to arrange the rental, assuming the cost fits into your budget. If you know what you need, try reaching out to family and friends to see what they may have to offer. Discuss your needs with your production team; we are happy to help provide what we can when we can. However, we do not have a Mary Poppins bag to pull out single use props for your video if we don’t already have them. If props are essential to telling your story, budget for it and we'll help you find/rent what you need.
• How long is your song? We break down our cost into Pre-Production, Production,
and Post-Production. The aforementioned considerations (story, cast, location, props) fall into Pre-Production. Production includes days shooting and any additional gear rental (we’ll get to rentals later). It is difficult to say how many days we will need to complete your video until we know the storyboard: complicated set-ups, multiple locations, wrangling talent all take time. We also have to be able to shoot enough content to provide quality visuals for the duration of your entire song. If it’s a long song, please be aware that it may take multiple shoot days to complete a project, all of which affect a final budget.
•What about the rental wishlist? Most production agencies, including ours, have a set catalog of gear. It is usually enough to cover daily field work. If you are needing extra lighting, technical camera movements, or are looking for specific gear, we will most likely have to rent some additional gear. Rental prices can range from a $25/day stand to $2500/day cameras. We are happy to quote rentals for you so you can decide what fits into your budget.
•We can just fix it in post, right? Many may think editing is just a few cuts here and there
and voila! a video. Nope. An editor must sift through all of the footage, pull the best few seconds from each clip they decide to use and make a story. It takes many passes through your song to cut and refine footage. In addition to the sequence edit, there is color grading, animations, visual effects, transitions, titling, and end credits. There is a ton of work that goes into an edit! It takes a ridiculous amount of patience, an extensive knowledge of their editing system, and an eye and ear to create a visual that artistically interfaces with your music. The best way to prepare us for what you're looking for in the final edit is to find other videos that may have samples of what you are looking for. Those examples will allow us to properly quote you and guide you in the right direction for your final edit. Some editors charge hourly and some charge for finished minute of video.
•Teamwork makes the dream work. Put aside some time to meet your production team, you never know what resources they have available to them. At DF Production Services, we want to give you the most bang for your buck and we will make whatever we can, work. If you’re working with us, don’t hesitate to call, text, consult, or ask our opinions. You never know what locations we may have connects with, what strange props we have leftover from another shoot, or what contacts we have for local talents wanting to score gigs - it’s always worth the ask. We are here to help and communication is key!
Once you've answered these critical questions, we should be able to quickly answer what your music video will cost, and what your options are. Let's make a music video!
Check out some of the music videos we've tackled in the past! -
Amerine - Fine
Peak Physique - Penny Patterson
Senryu - Giving Up The Ghost