How much does an explainer video cost is a fair enough question. And the honest answer is: it depends. 

It depends on what you want to achieve

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 your explainer video cost

Regardless of the type of video it is, we start with three important questions to help us decide what creative approach will work best, and then a cost:

  • What do you want your video to achieve? 
  • Where will it be published?
  • Who is your audience?

Followed by

What budget do you have in mind and how does that compare to how blown away you want your audience to be? If there’s a massive difference then a rethink might be in order.

Don’t stop us now

As the conversation gets going, we follow up with some more detailed questions to help us decide which style, strategy and approach is best. Things like:

Are we talking animated explainers, a video production, social ads, a mix or something else?

Are we talking actors and celebrities? If you want Sigourney to star in your explainer video or do your voice over then you’re going to need more than £10k that’s for sure. You know she doesn’t get out of bed for less than a million.

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

Are we talking multiple locations and translations? Are we talking stock photography, sound and music – or do you want everything tailored made so no one else can use it?

You don’t have to know the answers upfront. They become apparent as we go through the discovery process. Even if you come to us initially for an animated explainer video, the conversation, our questions and your answers might lead us to conclude that a brand film is a better way to get your message across. But let’s stick with explainer videos for now.

You get the idea. It’s what goes into it that influences the cost

That said, length is a factor. Because if we’re talking 30 seconds versus 3 hours, then that will certainly make a difference to your explainer video’s 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 care about what’s in it for them. Why should they watch it? What will they gain? Either in material, emotional, cognitive or social terms. Does your video relate to them and their wants, needs and desires? Does it entertain them? Intrigue them? Surprise them? Delight them? Make them think, feel or do something?

Hell! 

Does it scare them? Ideally not. 

Either way, we hope that answers the question of how much an explainer video costs, or at least gives you a better understanding of how we arrive at a cost. There can be a lot to think about, but fear not, we’re good at figuring things out.

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

The End

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