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How Much did that Video Cost? By Tiffany Diamond & Armani Smith

“How much does a video cost?” is the most common question we get. So, order 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, mind how much did that video cost? 

We choose a Garnier Video by the Director Camille Marotte, about it We find ourselves constantly being inspired by his work and his use of natural light and simplistic tones. He creates beautiful images reminiscent of editorial photography. What’s fascinating is, he tackles most of these projects by himself or with small crews. This is inspiring for up-and-coming Videographers and Directors by showing them they don’t need huge crews to make high quality projects.

Many indie fashion and beauty clients will approach Videographers and Directors for projects that look similar to Garnier’s for micro budgets, assuming because of it’s simplistic look it’s attainable with just a camera and a model. However, we’re breaking down this video to show the amount of work that goes into a beauty commercial, even if it has a basic concept. Keep in mind, since this project was done for a well-known brand, the budget was likely significantly higher than an indie beauty company.


This video was done for the national brand, Garnier. There was probably 2-3 months of pre-production done prior to implementation.

Casting Process: This includes sending out breakdowns of the part to top Modeling Agencies. Often the casting will be delegated to a Casting Director. The Casting Director will hold the auditions and callbacks with Producers. The average Casting Director makes $250-$750 for Prep Day(s) and $500-$800 for Casting Days. We believe the breakdown for casting something like this was:

  • 2 Prep Days + 2 Casting Days: $3,100

Location and Permits: We see two major set-ups: the airport and a house. In addition, there are a few filler shots with walking and a taxi. Since it was shot in France, we don’t know how much the permit process would be. Judging by the style of shooting he may have been “stealing shoots” at the airport. However, the house shots seem to be location scouted. We’re going to speculate based on how much a house like this would cost to rent in Los Angeles for a small shoot:

  • Location Scout: $1,000 Total
  • House Rental: $3,000 for 8hrs (with Liability Insurance)

Crew: Camille Marotte is known for using small crews for his productions. This makes it a more intimate setting and brings less visibility when “stealing shots.” Camille does most camerawork himself, but due to the size of the camera he probably had more assistance with this project.

  • Additional Crew Cost: $2,500 for 2 Days

The Shoot (2 Days)

Camera and Equipment: The camera used for this project looks like an ARRI Alexa camera with Prime lenses. To create the sense of bright natural light we believe he used a 12K Lighting kit through the windows.Possible Rental Breakdown could look like :

  • ARRI Alexa Day Rate: $1,500 a day
  • Camera Accessories: $1,000 a day 
  • Prime Lenses: $2,000 a day
  • Camera Rig: $800 a day
  • 12K Lighting Kit: $900 a day
  • Grip Equipment: $300 a day

Talent: The talent were agency repped models and well known faces in the industry. This means they were paid high buyout rates for Garnier. It’s difficult to obtain models for projects regarding beauty when there isn’t a high buyout. In some cases, the buyouts are for a few years; in others they’re a lifetime   

  •  Female Model Buyout: $8,000 (on the low side)
  • Male Model Buyout: $3,000

This is not including negotiations or SAG/AFTRA royalties.


Editing: The interesting thing about Camille is that he handles all of his own Post-Production – meaning his Director fee would include the price of editing and color grading. This is how it could breakdown if he didn’t do his own editing:

  • Editor: $3,000 Total
  • Color Grader: $2,000 Total

Music Fees: This was probably original music created for this commercial.

  • Composer: $1,000 Buyout

Director’s Fee for project: $10,000 (indie rate)


*This total doesn’t include everything it takes to create a project like this (insurance, wardrobe, craft services, travel etc) but it does give some insight on the budget that brands usually work with. It also shows how a budget can increase based on the amount of shoot dates, equipment, talent etc. This was all done for ONE Video.

This is the average budget that a well-known indie Director works with when dealing with well-known brands. However, there are ways to get a similar look and style on smaller budgets and limited resources.

Tiffany Smith and Armani Smith are the Founders of Live.Art.Love, a Creative Company located in Los Angeles, CA. They specialize in Advertising, Fashion, Interviews and Brand Strategies. They find ways to bring cinematic storytelling to each of their projects. Some of their Clients include: Blake Griffin (NBA), Purina, The Ellen Show, Footlocker, eHarmony and Post-it. 

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