Why Does Video Production Cost So Much?: An Interview With Lynn Chiew

One of the biggest pain points that clients have when engaging a video production company is the costs involved.

Let’s face it - videos are expensive to make. Producing a video involves many moving parts; everything from hiring film crew members, to sourcing for art/wardrobe items and also renting video equipment required for the shoot.

As a video production company, it’s our job to set our clients’ minds at ease and educate them on how their money is being spent. For this week’s article, we sat down with Lynn Chiew (Head of Sales @ Big 3 Media) to tell us a little more about the various costs.

Ming: Thanks for taking the time to chat! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself, and how you end up working at Big 3 Media?

Lynn: Prior to joining Big 3 Media, I was working as a Sales Lead for an eCommerce company in Bangkok offering printing services/solutions for corporate clients. I started my career in a printing firm and hence I am very familiar with physical media. In the past few years, I explored other digital space and was exposed to Design Thinking, User Experience (UX) and Data Analytics.

After coming back to Singapore, the pandemic happened and everyone was driving toward  digitalization, so I looked for career opportunities with Digital Media Companies. I joined Big 3 Media with my sales knowledge, and since then I have greatly expanded my knowledge on Media and Video Production.

Ming: In your opinion, what are some common misconceptions that clients have about the costs of video production?

Lynn: Generally speaking, most of our clients from Government Agencies and Multinational Corporations (MNCs) are familiar with video production, and the related effort and cost for producing a video. Local Small and Medium Enterprise (SMEs) clients are relatively new to video production, and thus we spend more time in sharing with them on the video production process.

Our SME clients generally approach us with good ideas, but are often limited by their budget. For example, a client may have a high-concept video idea to execute but constrained with limited budget. When SME clients approach us, it is often their first time engaging a video production company - so it is essential for us to walk them through the entire video production process and break down the costs involved.

Ming: Could you take us through some of the costs involved during each stage of the video production process? (pre-production, production, post-production)

Lynn: During pre-production, the main people involved are the creative director, scriptwriter, director and producer. The scriptwriter and director join forces to create the overall video concept, then the scriptwriter drafts the script (a.k.a. screenplay) which contain all the action and dialogue lines. The creative director sets the overall art direction for the video if required, and both the director and producer prepares for the next stage of the video production. If the client requires talents to be in the video, then the producer conducts talent castings with the director during this stage. Both producer and director will also conduct location recess to identify ideal angle and spot for filming.

photo of a phototaking shoot

The production stage is where the actual video gets filmed. Depending on the scale of the shoot, we may have to hire freelance technical crew members - which include camera assistants (CA), production assistants (PA), gaffers, grips, and soundman, etc. There is also the cost of renting filming and sound equipment and logistical cost such as location rental, wardrobe, and makeup, etc.

After the shoot has wrapped, the post-production team will commence work on the raw footage taken during the shoot. This process will involve a video editor, film colourist, audio engineer, and 2D/3D animator - who each require different types of computer hardware & software to do their respective jobs. For videos that require additional lines of dialogue (dubbing), we’ll also need to factor in the costs of renting a recording studio and hiring voiceover (VO) talents - which in some cases can cost up to a few thousand dollars.

For Big 3 Media, our productions are largely run in-house (except for larger shoots, where will engage extra help from freelance technical crew members.

Ming: How many revisions can a client expect to get?

Lynn: For pre-production, the main deliverables are the concept and script - usually, we give the client around 2-3 rounds of revisions before script lock.

On the actual video shoot, there is little margin for error so we try to get all the shots we need while on set. Our producer, who is the main point of contact with the client will get their feedback on the spot, so we can make the changes immediately and avoid a situation where we have to arrange for a reshoot (which wastes time and resources).

photo of camera crew

For post-production, the video editor will come up with the first cut which is sent to the client. Next, we will picture lock, colour grade the footage and include audio in the next draft. In general, we facilitate around 2 to 3 rounds of revisions for our customers.

Ming: In your opinion, what are some reasons for choosing video marketing over other forms of content marketing (articles, infographics, social media, etc)?

Video is definitely more appealing to audiences than other advertising mediums. Younger audiences prefer video over static media and they reshare videos more frequently over articles. And if you look at TikTok, the platform rivals other well-established social media sites because it only lets you post videos and has a video feed that’s well-designed for optimal user experience.

Whether you are a government organisation or a corporate entity, a video lets you quickly communicate content, which makes it easier for people to hear what you have to say and digest what you are saying.

Ming: Lastly, what advice would you give to prospective clients looking for a video production company?

Lynn: Make sure you are clear on your marketing objectives. Whenever we start on a new project with a client, we ask them a qualifying list of questions to find out more about the video format, key message, target audience, budget, and timeline to name a few. These questions help our clients have a better understanding of what they want to achieve with the video, and also helps us to best cater to our client’s needs. Depending on the needs, we can provide both a lean team setup for cost-conscious customers as well as a full team of professional crews for high-quality narratives or commercial videos.

Having said that, even if you are unclear on how to proceed, I encourage you to drop us an inquiry and let us find out how we can help!

Here at Big 3 Media, we're a Singapore video production company that offers a suite of services to market your business during these challenging times:

  • Live Streaming services
  • Video production
  • Website design and development
  • Media Buy
  • Graphic Design & Mascot design
  • Content Marketing Strategy

If you are looking for content marketing options for your business, drop us an email or message and find out how Big 3 Media can help you!

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