Top Dollar: Setting Budgets for Video Work

Is that video you shot on your iPhone not quite getting the traffic you expected? It is confusing – after all, you gave yourself dog ears and added 12 filters – what isn’t there to love? If these struggles sound real to you, it’s time to think about hiring a pro video maker. But good quality work doesn’t come for free. So read on for some ideas about budgeting for video production.

Setting a realistic budget for video projects is really important if you want high-quality work. Making videos isn’t cheap for the creative. There’s a big initial investment into equipment and software for one, as well as other costs for things like travel if they have to film away from home. On top of that, video editing can be a long and very time-consuming process if you want everything to look polished. With all this in mind, we’re here to help you figure out what a video budget should look like for different types of work.


Edits will be on the cheaper end of the video production spectrum. That said, even for a really simple edit you’ll still be looking in the region of $100. For full edits on longer projects (colour grading, sound production etc), you’ll probably be paying around anywhere between $150 – $1000. A good benchmark is $250 for every 10 minutes of video you want editing (but again, this isn’t set in stone). Some projects – like weddings for example – will have a premium on them too. The programme they’re using will also influence the price. If you want something done in Final Cut Pro, it’s going to be a tad more expensive than an iMovie edit.

Image of a frame from a film reel showing the country side.


Pre-production is a thing that has to happen. If you’ve got a script, fair enough, but if you need storyboarding or concepts planned out, you’re going to pay between $60 and $150 an hour. For a complete project, that’s probably around $500. This is money worth spending – there’s no point having a visually stunning video if it has no meaning behind it.

 Camera work

Sure you could buy yourself an expensive video camera if you’re willing to shell out thousands of dollars. But what’s the use if you’ve got no idea how to use it? Hiring an expert cinematographer who already owns the equipment is likely to save you both time and money. On average, a day’s shoot is going to set you back at least $1000, but this price will go way up if you need to hire a crew or actors.

Professional video camera.


Animation is pricey. Really pricey. But there’s a reason – it’s really skilled work and takes a lot of practice to get it looking amazing. On top of that, it’s time-consuming. You’ve got to get frame-by-frame illustrations (for 24 FPS work, that’s 1440 drawings for every minute!) and any voice work/sound you need on top of that. Just a minute of animation can take 4 weeks to be completed from pre to post-production, and that will cost at least $1500 for a 2D animation. This will vary depending on the complexity of the artwork. Generally, if you want something more cartoony it will be cheaper, whilst really detailed art is going to drive the cost up. 3D animation is a whole other ball game – for that it’s going to be around $4000 per minute.

But all of this sounds like a bargain when you consider that Disney is budgeting a staggering $24,156 for every second of animation!

Animated frogs sitting on a bench.

Music Videos

You’re probably not going to get the production value of Single Ladies on a budget. Beyonce’s iconic video cost $200,000 to produce! But even a very low budget music video will still be around $2,000 – $5000. Check out this article which breaks down different music video budgets really well and tells you what you can expect to get for your money.

Music video set.

Remember – none of this is set in stone.

These prices are just ballpark figures. Although they give you an estimate, they can change massively depending on the creativity, the scope of the project or even where you live. Go in with a realistic budget in mind and discuss that with the person you’re hiring. But be prepared to be flexible!



Becca is the Marketing Executive at Twine. She loves literature, music, film and make-up. She spends a lot of time complaining about the mismatched angles of her winged eyeliner and stalking drag queens on Instagram. Otherwise, she’s helping Joe by writing blog posts and keeping Twine’s social media running.