OPINION: How much to spend on film?


How much to spend on film? The BIG three production costs explained

Film is becoming the most effective way to engage with an audience. The big question all companies are asking is: how much should we spend on film? This is a difficult question to answer for companies who have never invested in this medium. Cost of film production varies dramatically. The below contains some insight into what drives production costs, as well as providing tips to achieve an effective and cost friendly film process.

Production costs – the BIG three

Many elements drive the cost of film production, below are the main three:

  • Time: A lot of time is taken up in preproduction, production and post production. Time is money in film production and the amount of time allowed for directly impacts the quality of the output.
  • Team: There are many options for the production team selected as well as the models/actors.  The level of professionalism is strongly linked the budget and the desired quality of output.
  • Location: The more remote the shoot location, the higher the cost.

Explaining the BIG three

  • Time

    Preproduction is all about taking the time to evaluate what you want to achieve and how best to achieve this. Taking time to evaluate the brand strategy and then develop a film concept that compliments this is invaluable. The creative strategy takes time but gives you the best chance to develop a concept that is unique and truly captivates your audience.
    Note: Different types of films require different levels of preproduction. Some need very little.
    There are many elements to evaluate and organise for a superyacht shoot, including location, helicopter, models, styling, dressing of the yacht etc. Again, the more time you allow the better the final output. For example, allowing a good amount of time for location scouting means you will have the best areas and best shots possible for the film.

    On Location Shooting:
    Allowing an appropriate amount of days to shoot is very important. If you reduce the amount of days, you limit the amount that can be shot - it’s as simple as that. You also risk limiting the quality as there will be less time available for setting up each shot.  Less shooting time often either requires reducing content expectations, increasing the size of the team or both.

    Post Production:
    It is important to allow enough time for post-production of the media. The biggest opportunities for saving time come in the form of the initial brief and feedback. If a solid brief is provided as well as quick/collative feedback, then the postproduction is smooth and timely.
  • Team 

    An experienced film crew and experienced models/actors will significantly benefit the final output. Saving money on both of these will be reflected in your final outputs.

    The more professional the film team the more certainty and peace of mind you have regarding quality of output as well as making entire process easier. Professional teams come with the best equipment for the job, market knowledge and production experience to ensure a high-quality film that communicates the right message.

    Despite what some think, modelling/acting is not an easy business. It is well worth spending money on professional models to ensure you get the level of professionalism that will deliver high quality results with as few re-takes as possible.
  • Location

    Generally speaking the further you travel, and more remote the location, the higher the cost. Beautiful, different and remote locations can increase the chance of a visually amazing film and will also help widen its audience, but that comes at cost.  If aerials are needed, then the cost of the helicopter with an experienced pilot can be significant the more remote the location. The wrong helicopter and inexperienced pilots can limit what can be achieved. So, while remote locations are great and produce impressive backgrounds, they need to be evaluated carefully.

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