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How Much Does TV Commercial Production Cost?

Kelly Sternaimolo | Aug 08, 2016

Tips, Marketing

TV commercials have been around for as long as any of us can remember – and they remain extremely effective when done right. And, with the rise of internet marketing a commercial you produce for TV can also be shared online, doing double-duty.

Of course, the success of your commercial is going to depend heavily on several factors: the actual content of your commercial, the production quality, and when and where it gets distributed.

As you can imagine, a TV commercial production cost can range depending on these factors, which is why it’s so important to budget for your TV commercial production cost properly. To understand how to budget for your TV commercial production cost, first you have to understand everything that goes into producing a TV commercial.

Budgeting For TV Commercial Production Cost

It’s important to understand that TV commercial production costs vary wildly. You can produce a TV commercial for little to no money, but this lack of budget will reflect in the final quality of your commercial.

Consider those car ads you generally see on national networks during sports games – they often depict beautifully shot footage of brand new model cars racing through exotic locations. It’s not difficult to understand why commercials such as these may be more expensive to produce.

Compare this to a used car dealership commercials you might see on local TV channels, featuring the dealership owner standing in front of the camera in the middle of his car lot, reading lines in a monotone way, filmed at poor quality. Commercials like these are much cheaper to make, and it shows.

The following is a breakdown of where your money goes in a professional TV commercial video production.

Production Time

There are many factors that determine how long it’s going to take to shoot and edit a commercial. The longer the production time takes, the more it’s going to cost. Some of the major factors that affect the production time include:

The length of the commercial

The longer the commercial is, the more footage has to be filmed.

The locations

If there’s more than one location, it’s going to take longer to shoot since the crew and equipment will need time to move from location to location. Not only does it take time to get from one place to another, it takes a lot of time to set up and break down all the equipment as well.

The weather

If any of your locations take place outside, then you’ll be at the mercy of the weather. A sudden unexpected rainstorm can stall production.

Locations

The more locations you have, the bigger a budget you’ll need. Traveling expenses are required to get the film crew from one location to the next, and you may have to pay rental costs or other fees (i.e. insurance) in order to film in certain locations.

Crew size

The more people that are required on the production crew, the more expensive it will be. At the very least, your crew will need a director, a producer, a director of photography and/or camera operator, and production assistants to handle equipment and other details.

For larger shoots, you may need additional camera operators (1st Assistant Camera operator, 2nd Assistant Camera Operator, Steadicam operator, etc.), assistant directors or producers, and additional grips or production assistants.

Equipment

If all you need is a camera and a tripod, then the equipment won’t cost as much to use. However, professional commercials can use a variety of equipment, including dolly tracks, sliders, drones, steadicams, jib arms and more.

Larger productions might even use helicopters, pyrotechnics or cranes. Keep in mind the costs will change depending on the size of the crew as well. A single-day shoot using a three-person crew will cost less than a crew of 10 with a complete camera and equipment package.

Other items, like professional actors, makeup or wardrobe stylists, visual effects, animation, or in-dept color correcting can also add to your TV commercial production cost, and they’re all valuable and worth considering in your budget. In fact, many of the largest companies out there have been known to spend a large portion of their budget to better improve the quality of their video with these details.

Airing the TV Commercial

Producing the actual commercial is one thing, but airing it is another. Your TV commercial budget doesn’t just end once the commercial’s production has finished.

Airtime is also factored into the cost. The cost of running your commercial on TV depends on a large number of factors that include:

  • How long your commercial is
  • Whether you run it on a national network or a local TV channel
  • What time of the day and day of the week you air it at
  • How many times you run the commercial and for how long

Depending on these factors, the price of airing your commercial can range drastically.

If you’re serious about increasing the exposure of your brand and creating a TV commercial that has a lasting impact on viewers, then you need to invest in a high quality, professional TV commercial. Working with a professional TV commercial production company can better improve the quality of your video. They will guide you throughout the process and make recommendations based on their experience.

Although TV commercial production costs can range depending on different factors, many commercial production companies are willing to work with you to stay within budget. Not only can they work with varying budgets, they can also create payment plans so that you don’t have to worry about having a smaller budget affect the quality of your commercials.

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