Any given video production has hundreds of potential costs that affect the final budget; crew, scripting, talent, locations, etc. When considering your production’s budget, it’s a huge benefit to have a clear understanding of where your dollars are being put to use. Many production companies will present a flat budget number to you after your initial production meeting. But this approach doesn’t give you the vital information needed to understand how the production is utilizing your budget.
This is where an up front, line-item budget can come in handy. A line-item budget breaks down the exact costs involved in your production. At Sparkworks Media, we do this by separating the project budget into three major components; Pre-Production, Production and Post-Production. Pre-Production involves any process prior to the actual shoot, such as creative development, script writing, production coordination, etc. Production includes the actual shoot itself (crew, equipment, talent, etc.) or for a project not involving a live-action shoot – the animation, graphics or other assets needed to create your story. Post-Production includes editing, music, audio mixing, motion graphics, voiceover recording and all other elements needed to deliver the final video.
A line-item budget creates transparency, so you know exactly where your money is going and can insure that it shows up in the quality of the finished product. It also helps you compare production companies and their plans for you. If one company is shooting with a two person crew and the other has 5, this informs the discussion. It can also empower you to make creative choices based on budget concerns. You could choose to re-allocate resources to hiring top notch talent or spend a little more on motion graphic design or music to give your video some extra impact.
On some projects, a production budget may also assume the client is going to do a certain amount of the work in order to keep project costs lower. For example the client might be expected to provide people to appear in a scene, the location, props, or perhaps even the lunches on a long day of shooting. Talk with your production company, look over their assumptions and make sure you get a line-item budget for your next production.