It seems like a fair enough question: how much does an explainer video cost? And the answer is: it depends. 

It depends on what you want to achieve with your budget.

Take Avatar for instance. It was officially budgeted at 237 million dollars. Yes it may have gone over that, especially when you factor in the cost of promoting it, but let’s just stick with the official production budget to keep things simple.

It was 2 hours 42 minutes, or 9720 seconds if you want to get down and dirty. It took more than 1000 people ten years to make.

To quote Vanity Fair:

“Cameron and his team had to essentially invent new movie-making technology on the spot, which they used to make one of the most visually mind-blowing fantasy films ever made.”

It also had some A-list celebrities in it. Sigourney Weaver – the Alien Queen herself – commands a fair whack for a movie. That’s why it cost 237 million dollars, and took a thousand people ten years to make. If we divide 237 million dollars by 9720 seconds, that’s 24,383 dollars per second.

But hold your horses

The people who made Avatar didn’t start by saying, “Hey! We’ve got 237 million dollars, how many seconds of animation will that buy us?”

They started with a goal. And their goal informed the creative approach, the resources required, the length, content and cost. Let’s take a stab in the dark and say Avatar’s goal was to entertain people. The more entertaining it was, the better it would do at the box office. Avatar raked in 2.8 billion.

But that’s not to say they didn’t have a budget in mind when they started. They almost certainly did. They just didn’t get sucked into asking how many seconds of animation that could buy them. 

The same applies to you and your video

Whether it’s an animated explainer, an animated GIF or any other kind of video production, we start with three important questions:

What do you want to achieve with your video? 

Where will it be published?

Who is your audience?

Followed by

What sort of budget do you have in mind and how does that compare to the kind of budget needed to achieve your goal? Because those things – combined – help us explore which creative ideas are applicable and to figure out what the most effective strategy will be for your budget.

Don’t stop us now

As the conversation gets going, we might follow up with some more detailed questions that will help us refine the approach. Things like:

Are we talking animated explainers, a corporate video production, an animated GIF, a mix or something else?

Are we talking actors and celebrities? Are we talking multiple locations and translations? Are we talking stock photography, sound and music – or do you want everything tailored made?

Are we talking advanced 3D computer animation, film, Stop Motion or another technique? When it comes to production quality: are we talking Fabergé or The Blair Witch Project?

You get the idea. It’s what goes into your explainer video that influences the cost.

That said

Length does come into it. Because if we’re talking 30 seconds versus 3 hours, then that will make a difference to the cost. But! Don’t be fooled into thinking longer – or shorter – is automatically better, or costs more or less. 

Because no one cares how long your video is. They’re not climbing a mountain. There is no flag to plant at the top of a 3-hour explainer. No glory. No gold.

They care about what’s in it for them. Does your explainer relate to them? Does it entertain them? Intrigue them? Surprise them? Delight them? Make them think, feel or do something?


Does it scare them? 

The End

If you’d like to chat about your project, or get a quote, drop us a line
Or use our Briefing Form, which lots of our clients say helped them to think about their explainer video in a better way.

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