← Go Back

How Much did that Video Cost? By Pasha Patriki, Director of Photography

“How much does a video cost?” is the most common question we get. So, site 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, viagra 60mg how much did that video cost?

The John Lewis commercial that artfully showcases 150 years of British culture and tradition is indeed a masterfully executed piece of art.

24 scenes in 90 seconds – covering all seasons, patient indoor and outdoor settings throughout the late 1800’s, the 20th century and up to present time – with a match-frame style cutting between the scenes.

This is a no corners cut production…. how much would it cost to film?

Let’s see…

Firstly, note that I’ll provide the breakdown of every scene at the end of this post if you want to reference. It’s interesting to see full-on how much went into each scene (and how many scenes there were!)

Some scenes in this commercial definitely require a full day of setup and shoot – the winter tobogganing scene, for example, which is probably the earliest period covered in this spot.

As the entire spot was most likely shot in the summer time, this particular scene had to have snow, cameras moving along the actor on a grade, and most likely had post VFX background replacement of green trees and a park background with a winter setting.

Other scenes could likely be grouped in 2 or 3 per day – utilizing camera cars, techno crane, wire camera rigs, underwater camera and crane rigs, etc.


So, we are probably looking at an 8 – 10 day shoot, with a rough cost of about $50,000 per day for talent, locations and equipment – some days more, some days less.

There are definitely some motion control rigs involved, and a VFX/Post supervision team on set that took care of playback and match-frame matching.

I would also factor in a general budget of $5,000 for picture vehicles, $50,000 for various location-related expenses like street closures, city permits, paid duty police and pay-offs to local businesses.

Also remarkable is the prop collection – very detailed and carefully planned. $50,000 goes to props and wardrobe.

A general post budget is sitting probably around $20K – including color grading, VFX, and deliverables.

There you have it – budget could be somewhere around $600,000!

Of course, since it was shot in Britain the budget would be calculated in Pounds.

Of course, there is also a way to shoot it cheaper – the “beg, borrow and steal” way – where practical locations are free (owned by someone from the key creative team), props are pulled from friends’ attics, and a VFX company gets pulled onboard pro bono to make their portfolio piece. Hell, I would totally get involved with something like this for free! (Ahem, if you have a project that is even remotely as cool as the John Lewis spot and would like to discuss shooting or post production – give us a call – Artists@RedSquareMotion.com)

And now… for the detailed breakdown of what each scene consisted of and thus needed money behind: 

Scene 1: Early 20th century Elementary School setting

  • All practical set dressing and wardrobe
  • Steadicam
  • 7-8 performers

Scene 2: 60’s London exterior dog walking

  • Practical picture cars, props
  • Temporary Street closure (Paid Duty Police)
  • Period Props on the street – signs, baby carriage
  • Dog and  dog wrangler
  • 7-8 performers 

Scene 3: 80’s home workout

  • Period props
  • Practical location (I hope!)
  • 1 performer
  • Steadicam + trolley

Scene 4: Backyard family water slide party

  • Practical location
  • 5 performers
  • Contemporary props
  • Steadicam + trolley

Scene 5: Baby crawling

  • Practical location
  • Contemporary set dressing
  • Baby talent
  • 1 adult performer 

Scene 6: High School running

  • Practical exterior location
  • 8 performers
  • Camera on a techno crane
  • Rain towers for rain effect
  • Post VFX: Sky replacement

Scene 7: Man running after a bus

  • Practical exterior location with a lot of period set dressing and props
  • Street closure + paid duty police
  • Business closures and payouts to businesses that could not be open due to the shoot
  • Rain towers
  • Lightning strikes!
  • 8-10 performers
  • Period vehicles
  • Camera on Techno crane or similar camera movement device, attached to a fast-moving base

Scene 8: WW2 family running to bomb shelter

  • Studio set
  • 5 performers
  • Green screen background behind practical foreground props
  • CG background sky, distant houses, etc.
  • Lightning flashes to simulate explosions
  • Camera on Techno crane or similar camera movement device

Scene 9: Halloween kids running up the stairs

  • Studio set or a practical location
  • 4 child performers
  • Halloween constumes
  • Camera on a techno crane

Scene 10: Female assistant running through office lobby with papers

  • 4-5 performers
  • Practical setting
  • Camera on a techno crane

Scene 11: Father and son hiking

  • 2 performers
  • Practical exterior location
  • Camera on techno crane

Scene 12: Girl sliding down slide

  • 10-15 performers
  • Practical location and period props
  • Camera on Techno crane

Scene 13: Winter tobogganing

  • Exterior location
  • Snow special effects
  • 10-15 performers including a stunt performer who falls off the toboggan
  • Period wardrobe and props
  • Post VFX background replacement – winter trees, distant view of a bridge with a moving train, etc
  • Camera on techno crane attached to moving base.

Scene 14: Contemporary picnic in a park

  • 6 performers
  • Camera on techno crane
  • Post VFX: sky replacement

Scene 15: 70’s house party

  • 10-15 performers
  • Practical location OR studio set
  • Period wardrobe
  • Camera on steadicam or techno crane

Scene 16: Car driving lesson

  • Camera Car rig with remotely controlled camera head
  • 2 performers
  • Street Closure + paid duty police
  • Additional vehicles in the background

Scene 17: 70’s girl riding a bike

  • 4-5 performers
  • Period wardrobe
  • Street Closure + paid duty police
  • Camera car with remotely controlled camera head – possibly techno crane on a vehicle?

Scene 18: Contemporary girl on a playground

  • 4-5 performers
  • Practical location
  • Camera on a techno crane
  • Birds with a bird wrangler – or may be Post VFX of pigeons?

Scene 19: Man jumping into a backyard pool

  • 12 performers
  • Practical location
  • Camera on a techno crane

Scene 20: Kids in back yard playing with paratrooper toy

  • Camera is on a cable rig
  • Soldier toy attached to the camera rig
  • 2 performers
  • This is best shot on a studio set, but it could have been a practical location

Scene 21: Rope jumping into water

  • Practical location
  • Crane to rig the rope for jumping
  • Ambulance and water safety personnel
  • Camera on a techno crane
  • Stunt performer for the jump, plus 4-5 additional performers

Scene 22: Underwater in a pool

  • Underwater camera on a crane
  • 7-8 performers

Scene 23: Tree House climbing

  • A set in a studio with green screen
  • Camera on a motion control crane
  • Post VFX: background park setting
  • This is best shot on a studio set, but it could have been a practical location

Scene 24: Contemporary school yard

  • Practical location
  • 25-30 performers including children in matching uniforms and adults
  • Low mode Steadicam

You can learn more about Pasha & Red Square Motion here

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply