There are several primary differences between the way Griffin Communications produces video and the ways it is done by “high end” providers.
How Many People?
First start with the most obvious way that the price of video gets inflated: how many people are involved? If the writer, art director and creative supervisor all want to be on the set or location, you’re paying them for it. If the director requires a camera operator and he or she needs a separate sound recordist, a camera assistant as well as others to handle rigging and other tasks, you’re paying for that, too. Later in the process if the writer, art director, creative supervisor and the director want to participate in every phase of post-production editing, add the cost to that of the editor and possibly his or her assistant editor and/or graphics person. It’s simple math. The more people, the more money.
What’s Rented vs. Owned?
Does your video require the rental of a great deal of equipment? High intensity lighting and all of the scrims and rigs that go with it are typically rented by the day, as are the people needed to set them up and take them down. Lengthy dolly and boom arm moves can look fantastic but the price of the equipment usually is too, and the truck which brings them doesn’t do so cheaply, charging by not just the day, but also by the mile. In addition, some productions don’t even own the camera(s) they’re using. They are rentals that are part of the budget, too.
While we’re considering how many people are typically involved in a high end production, there’s the matter of providing all of these people with food and beverages. The term for it is Craft Services, and unsurprisingly it doesn’t come cheap. On the manual labor side, this is almost always dictated by union contracts. The creative people mentioned earlier usually eat and drink, too. “Would you like another can of macadamia nuts with your cappuccino? No problem, the client is paying for it.”
Editing and Comfortable Chairs
Earlier we began to discuss who is involved in the editing session. It’s not uncommon to be required to pay separately for both the editing suite (the equipment) and for the people involved in performing the editing. One good rule of thumb about editing suites is the more people overseeing a session and the more comfortable the chairs and couches, the more the session will cost.
The “Extras” Add Up
Does your production require external resources that aren’t handled as part of the editing process? Outside color correction and sound mixing are sometimes part of the high end budget. Duplication and distribution can be a minor cost or a series of nickel and dime add-ons that do just that: add up.