2017 Update: for more recent cost data check out our Crowdfunding video benchmark. We asked 100 campaigns about their videos to learn what works, what doesn't and how much to spend on your Kickstarter/Indiegogo video?
2016 Update: we just released a list of the best Kickstarter video production companies. We analyzed hundreds of past video projects. These 20 companies helped raise $50M+ and consistently ranked highest in terms of quality, value and results.
Your crowdfunding campaign needs a great video - one that is both genuine and energizing. This is easier said than done as many first time Kickstarters find out. Luckily, there are experienced video professionals ready to help, and Videopixie makes it easy to find and hire them. But how much does it cost? $500? $2k? $10k? The answer varies based on your objectives, but let's breakdown the costs of video production, and give you a few reference points.
Shoestring video options
Of course you always have DIY video production options, where your team takes on large portions of the project. For example, your team can be responsible for: directing, script writing, and managing the production. This lets you apply available budget to the most technical tasks: a junior videographer with entry-level equipment may charge as low as ~$500 for a half-day, and you can get simple editing done for ~$200 (assuming you are precise in your directions to limit iterations). All in all, for less than $1k you will get a video that should clear the "watchability" threshold. It will probably have some technical limitations (sound, image, pace,..) that can be offset by a particularly creative script and authentic personalities.
A quality video starts at ~$2k
If you are looking for a more polished, more predictable result - such as this video - you'll need $1-2k to hire a small crew with quality equipment to generate clean professional imagery, and ~$500 to hire a talented editor to bring your story to life. Expect a simple but effective video - probably mostly an interview of the founder and some b-roll. There won't be enough budget for much pre-production work, so you'll still be in charge of the story, and the success of your video will still rely in great part on your passion and presentation skills. But by hiring professionals you do get the look and feel of a project that’s going places!
Example of a $2k video: simple, professional, interview of the founder and some b-roll by Taylor Hellhake
A "wow" video will cost anywhere from $3k to $10k
Many serious Kickstarter videos spend more to reach higher levels of creativity and catchiness.
Example of an $8k video: tighter script, several actors, professional voiceover, rented locations, motion graphics, custom score
With a bigger budget you'll be able to:
- add a director on your team: the director plays a critical role in guaranteeing an interesting script customized to your message
- involve more specialists: gaffers, sound specialist, motion graphics, ... who will create a more polished result
- access to better equipment: cinema-grade equipment like this RED Epic camera rents for $2k a week (mind you that's just the camera! the lights, sound and steadycam are extras)
- hire actors: fees for actors vary a lot based on role and talent, but an experienced director will know exactly how much to budget to find the right casting for your video
- rent inspiring locations: one of the key differentiators of higher-end videos, is the care and preparation that went into picking a place and interesting backdrops for filming
- custom score: A musician will compose a soundtrack that maps and enhances the pace of your video. It adds a lot of engagement value to your video, and it's not as expensive as you'd think (starting ~$500)
All of this may be necessary to reach your objectives, in particular if you want a video that stars your product, rather than just rely on your presentation skills.
Diminishing returns? Depends on your objectives
At what point are you spending too much on your video? It really depends on your objectives. To give you an idea, higher-end studios won't consider projects under $30k. But, for that price, the quality of the videos jumps to a different level, where not only the script is insanely original, but the filming and animations are state of the art, and the casting is spot on.
Example of an $30k+ video: insanely original concept, execution that pulls out all the stops, by the creative geniuses at Hayden 5
It's a different kind of video, that may be perfectly suited for a later-stage Kickstarter, eg. a team with an existing product and good traction, looking to rack in tons of pre-orders for their next launch. But for most early-stage projects, it's obviously too premature to be spending that kind of money on what is in effect advertising, albeit a new form of it.
Getting your video budget right
It's really important to set a budget that is commensurate with the scope of work involved. Otherwise you are in for surprises. Now if all you need is a video of you giving your usual pitch in front of the camera, then no need to spend the big bucks, and actually you may enjoy doing it yourself (here are some good DIY resources). But if you need help with the concept/script, or if you need high quality images and sound, or if you have a cool but complex idea in mind, then you'll want to define the scope realistically and budget appropriately.
Most of the Kickstarter videos we see at Videopixie set a budget in the $2k-$5k range. And we are here to discuss your specific project and help you compare options - just email us firstname.lastname@example.org or call: 1 800 510 6570. Also know that when you post your project, the community will chime in and they will let you know if your budget is realistic. You’ll progressively get a sense for what trade offs to make and what is worth spending on.