How Much (4)

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By Doug Darling, Executive Producer

“How much does a video cost?” is the most common question we get. So, we’ve asked video creators to identify a video they like & let us know what they thought it would cost to produce. The only catch: IT’S NOT THEIR VIDEO (so all posts are merely an estimate by each video creator on what they thought a similar video might cost). Enjoy the series!  

So, how much did that video cost?

This video has popped up a couple of times in the last year at both events we’ve worked on and on TV and it really stuck with me as a beautiful, clever video with a simple concept and stunning execution.

The first thing that impresses me is the creative.  An organization like Export Development Canada has a potentially dry subject matter – and even if you try to excite it a bit, the first inclination may be to show lots of freightliners, crates and things that relate to the physical act of exporting. That’s cool and all, but this has a much more crafty, simple and most likely, more affordable approach.

Now there are several things I can’t know about this production, but here are some things I will take the liberty of assuming:

For instance, there’s a chance that they may have done custom music, but I feel that this was stock. Also, it’s hard to say how much the creative cost on this due to how much brand discovery work was done prior, or if they made the concept and created the verbiage and tone from scratch.

Also, I’ll assume the actor was an ACTRA member, although they could have potentially found a model that had basic acting skills.

They brought in a lot of artificial light to fake the sun (you don’t want to plan for the location of the real sun or your time is really limited) and they may have used a large tungsten Lamphead to give that yellow sunset look. And as there were limiting camera moves (small dollys and jib shots) I would imagine they didn’t have to build a set, and chose a modern house, that’s optimal for shooting.

So here are some of the numbers we came up with (keep in mind some of the crew’s prices take in set-up and tear-down days):


  • Script – $800
  • Storyboard – $600
  • Animatic (possible) – $1000


  • Lead (ACTRA Principal) – $1000 (Note: the price varies significantly, depending on the length of run and the reach of the commercial)


  • Camera – $1500
  • Lights – $2000
  • Dolly and Tracks: $500
  • Additional Power: $500


  • Location: $500

Production Design

  • Wardrobe (multiple suits) – $500
  • Props – $300
  • Total = $800


  • Location Scout – $500
  • Director – $2500 (local)
  • DP – $1500
  • AD – $500
  • Location Sound – $500
  • Set Designer – $500
  • Gaffer – $1200
  • Key Grip – $860
  • Dolly Grip – $360
  • 1st AC – $800
  • 2nd AC – $600
  • Grip/Electric – $250 x 2
  • Make-up/Hair – $300

Post Production

  • Editor – $1500
  • Colorist – $1000
  • Graphics and 3D – $1500
  • Stock Music – $300
  • Voice Over and Recording – $600
  • Foley/Sound Design: $400
  • Total = $5200
  • Craft Services – $600
  • Account Management – $1000

TOTAL: $26,620

 Find out more about Doug Darling & Tripwire Media Group on their website

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