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What’s the Difference Between a $4,000 and $40,000 Video?

Everyone wants to save money when it comes to making a video for their brand. But it isn't the best idea to spend $4,000 on a video that should have a budget of $40,000.

And by now in 2021, you shouldn't need convincing on the importance of video in your overall brand strategy. In fact, 86% of businesses use video as a marketing tool and 93% of marketers say it's an important part of their marketing strategy.

If your concept is complex, you’ll need to spend the right amount of money to make sure your ideas are being told the right way (i.e. the way that makes you proud). Let’s start with the basics.

What goes into a $4,000 Video?

Don’t get us wrong: For smaller videos, like quick recaps and shorter ads, this price is pretty standard. Watch this Enterprise Fish Co. commercial for an example of a $4,000 video that really works:

For more intricate videos, a low-budget video can be pulled off, but sacrifices will be made in the production process. If you want to create a more complex concept, you should consider these drawbacks to optioning a smaller budget:

Pre Production: In a $4,000 video, the pre production stage, where your vision really comes together, will be practically nonexistent. Most of the time, small budgets are achieved by “showing up and shooting” to save on concept development and script writing fees.

This means the creative team won’t have time to fully craft your message before showing up on set.

The result? Less time to shoot because you conceptualize and figure it out as you go.

Production: For $4,000 you’ll get the minimum on set to make a shoot work. That likely includes:​

  • One or two talent (most likely not actors) to appear on camera;

  • One or two camera operators;

  • Minimal lighting;

  • And an afternoon’s worth of filming​

The result? A cast and crew just big enough to get it done.

Post Production: In this stage, a number of tricky situations may occur: The concept developed on set may not work as predicted; you may not have captured enough footage because of time constraints, or the footage just doesn’t look as good as your competitors.

Often, low-budget videos are accompanied by just one round of editing revisions. As a client, you may not be satisfied with the video until additional revisions are made, but they’re simply not in the budget.

The result? A less polished final cut that may not be exactly what you want.


What goes into a $40,000 Video?

Now you can afford to work through your concepts in pre production to ensure success on the shoot date. You can also hire real actors, a director, a director of photography who is responsible for the look and feel of the video, and a gaffer (aka a lighting genius).

You will have the option to shoot at multiple locations. There will be an increase in the quality of the equipment. And you will find yourself in the right professional space to bring your concept to life.

The result? A polished and professional video that makes your brand stand out.

Check out this spot for LivePerson for an example of a $40,000 higher concept commercial:

Why did this cost $40,000?

  • Big concept with meticulous pre production

  • Professional studio location

  • Production design that made the location look and feel like an airport

  • Expert crew: Director, Producer, Director of Photography, Gaffer, Wardrobe Stylist, Hair and Makeup, etc.

  • Professional actors and background talent

  • Multiple days of shooting

  • Visual effects and screen replacements


We’re not saying you need to spend $40,000 on a single video if that video doesn’t warrant that large of a budget. But we are saying that you should pick a budget that matches the complexity of the content you want to create.

The takeaway? Spend $4,000 on content that should cost $4,000 and know when your dream video should cost more.

If you need more guidance from video production experts on how much you should budget for your video project and what you will need to prepare for the video you want, contact us. We’re here to help you with a free consultation to figure out the best social media approach in this current climate. Give us a call at 323.596.0606 or email us at

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