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By George Georgeadis, Filmmaker

“How much does a video cost?” is the most common question we get. So, rx 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?

Country music star (and fellow Calgarian) Paul Brandt recently released this video for his single “Nothing.” Since a music video hasn’t been covered in this series for quite a while, I thought it would be cool to dig into that.

In doing some research, I came across Garrett Gibbons’ What Should a Music Video Budget Be? (Great resource, by the way.) Eyeballing the video, I figured it fell in the “healthy independent budget ($20,000–$50,000)” range. So let’s see how I did …

The first thing that struck me about “Nothing” is the plethora of people, places, and shots. Excluding the studio shots of Paul himself, there are 70 shots, 17 individual shoots, and a cast of around 60. It looks like the majority of the filming happened in New York City (or bedrooms therein), with some shoots happening in the desert or country … and from a plane. Hmmm, maybe the budget is going to be a little more than “healthy.” Let’s see …

Creative

  • Script: $500
  • Storyboard: $500

Talent

(Assuming they used a mix of top and up-and-coming talent to save on costs. For the sake of this exercise, I’ll split the 30 actors total between the two.)

  • Lead (ACTRA leads) x 15 @ $450: $6,750
  • Supporting x 15 @ $250: $3,750
  • Extras (wedding scene) x 30 @ $150: $4,500

Equipment (rental) x days of shooting

  • Cameras $250 x 20: $5,000
  • Lights $50 x 20: $1,000

Location/Permits

  • Permits: $2,000
  • Aerial shot (assuming this is stock footage): $300

Production Design

  • Wardrobe $500 x 15 shoots: $7,500
  • Props: $1,000 (assuming the car and motorbike were borrowed/free)

Crew

  • Location scout: $3,000
  • Director: $5,000
  • DP: $4,000
  • AD: $2,000
  • Set designer: $500
  • Gaffer: $1,200
  • Key grip: $1,000
  • Dolly grip: $400
  • 1st AC: $900
  • 2nd AC: $700
  • Grip/electric: $500
  • Makeup/hair: $3,000

Post-production

  • Editor: $2,500
  • Colorist: $1,000
  • Graphics: $1,000

TOTAL: $59,500

So, a little more than “healthy.” The talent and crew made up a big part of the cost, coming in at $29,000 total.

But here’s the kicker: “Nothing” was made with stock footage.

The other reason I thought it would be interesting to look at this music video is because I work at stock footage company Dissolve, and we created it with our stock footage. We know that stock footage can sometimes be a more affordable – and easier – option for a filmmaker. We wanted to compare.

Here are the actual costs:

Footage

  • 70 clips (69 royalty-free, 1 rights-managed): $22,000

Rentals

  • Studio and lights x 1 day of shooting: $735

Crew

  • Director/camera (our in-house filmmaker): $160
  • DP (our in-house creative director): $160
  • Makeup (freelancer): $236

Post-production (in-house)

  • Editing: $5,300

TOTAL: $28,591

(Note: All prices in Canadian dollars.)

When CMT, Canada’s country music network, saw “Nothing” for the first time, they asked Paul if he’d traveled around the world to shoot it. Not too bad for stock footage. It was exactly as we’d hoped: stock footage was a cost-effective way to beautifully convey the universality of the song’s message without breaking the bank.

To see the clips used, visit http://dissolve.com/nothing.

Dissolve provides high-quality video clips for use in television or web-based advertising, brand and corporate videos, news and documentary programming, web sites, and mobile applications. Using our clips, we’ve created “This Is a Generic Brand Video,” “Emoji Among Us,” and “Scenes You’ve Seen,” all Vimeo Staff Picks. To find out more, visit dissolve.com.

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