How to get the most BANG for your Budget

Welcome back to another blog post here at Hamil Bros Studios! Today we’re going to talk about one of those dark secrets that no one wants to talk about and it gets awkward when we do: BUDGETS. 

We deal with budgets of all sizes all the time. They’re integral to producing basically everything in the world ever. In this blog, we’re going to talk about the variables of video production, misunderstandings related to budgets, what information we need, and how to get the most bang for your budget. 

Your video is a vehicle

We have a LOT, and I mean A LOT, of people come to us and say “I need a video for my business, brand, band, etc.” We typically go through a question process nailing down the needs for the video. If you just think you should have one, but it doesn’t solve a need or do a job for you, you don’t need video. The NUMBER ONE question we’re asked on a regular basis is “What does a video cost?” That’s basically impossible to know without knowing what the video is doing. So think about your video like a vehicle. When you go to buy a vehicle you already have SO MANY OPTIONS and your personal requirements for it dictate, to the letter, what car you wind up with. 

Do you need it for air travel, ground travel, or water travel? You need a car. Great! What does that car need to do? You want a daily driver just to get you to work, with low mileage, good safety rating, and you NEED IT TO STAY WITHIN YOUR BUDGET! Who knew?! So with this purchase, you’ve already done your finances or have an idea of them in your head, and you know what you can or are willing to spend on that vehicle. There’s a price difference between a 1984 honda civic with no air conditioning and a yacht. 

Lubbock Video Production - Germblast

SURPRISE! Video is the SAME EXACT WAY. You have to understand the needs of your video. Is it an advertisement trying to get people into your store? Is it an employee orientation video that’s only going to cost you $20,000 once instead of $200,000 worth of manpower every year? Is it a brand story video that humanizes your brand to your demographic so they feel like they trust you more? Know the needs, because they all cost differently. 

People typically understand that there is a vast difference between John Wick 3 ($75M Budget) and the Billy Bob’s Backyard Tool Shed ad that just aired on your local 10:00 news ($?). While people understand that difference, they don’t understand video production budgets on a more local level. We’ve done single ads for $4,000 and we’ve done them for $45,000. There’s a huge range within which we can work. 

Music Video - Albert Hall - Heal Our Land
Odessa Video Production - Dobbs Law Firm - We're Still here Ad


We’re going to walk you through big budget misunderstandings we’ve run into. After that, we’ll break down how we price our productions and you’ll have an idea on what kind of information we need. 

1. Misunderstanding: Video Length determines price.

Answer: KINDA TRUE, but not really. We’ve done a single take, 25 minute acting monologue with no editing in the sub $2500 range and the Jason Momoa Rocket Mortgage 30 Second Ad cost $5.25M. Price is determined by the requirements of the video. Is your video a soggy donut sitting on a paper plate shot on an iphone or is it an A List Actor shoot with HUGE AMOUNTS of visual effects that requires said actor and his wife, plus a gigantic crew and TONS of post production? 

2. The less information you give, the cheaper the bid will be or If I don’t tell them what I want to spend, I may save a bunch of money.

Answer: TOTALLY FALSE. The more information we can get for this production the more accurate the bid will be. If we get a small amount of information such as, “I just need a 30 second ad about a pony,” we have to try to guess all the variables that we’ll have to account for and bid based on all those things. That can drive up the price SIGNIFICANTLY. On the other end of the spectrum, you can say, “I’m looking for a 30 second ad that’s going to air on broadcast TV as well as social media. It’s an ad about our motorcycle shop and we’d like it to feel like this example. We would just love beauty shots of the bike with some driving footage. We don’t have a script yet, but we’re open to ideas. We’d like to keep it under $25,000.” That’s the kind of information we can work with.

Lubbock Video Production - Milestones Client Testimonial
Midland Video Production - Affinity Steel Superbowl Commercials

3. “It won’t take more than 30 minutes to shoot this.” 

Answer: Also totally false. Folks who have experience with us or with productions that aren’t the TV station understand that these things take time. When you involve dynamic lighting, actors, lines, stunts, effects, etc, the time compounds exponentially. It could take 3 hours to set up and block the shot and another 3 hours to nail the 15 second shot. We overestimate time because we’ve had crazy things happen that we couldn’t have planned for. 

4. We don’t know, we just want to keep it low budget. 

Answer: This is a totally acceptable answer, but indicates that you already have an expectation of what low budget is in your mind. You need to communicate that to us, because low budget could mean $35.57 or in some markets Low Budget is $46,000. We don’t know what low budget means to you, but you can tell us and we can work accordingly. 

How do we Bid?

Now that we’ve walked through the misunderstandings, let’s talk about how our productions are bid. Hamil Bros Studios operates in Day Rates. Meaning, we’ve taken our cost of doing business, gear investment, experience, and profit margin into consideration and calculated what our 8-hour day is worth. Due to the nature of our work and the time it takes, we don’t typically bill in half days, because if someone takes part of our day, the prep, setup, shoot time, and breakdown typically extends us where we can’t take work from any other clients on that same day. Most production teams and individuals also operate in day rates. It’s an industry standard. We have a production day rate and a post production day and those differ based upon the difference in requirement for production and post. If we have any subcontractors, aerial photography for instance, we also have to include their day rates into production. It all adds up! So it’s IMPORTANT TO TELL US YOUR BUDGET. 

Video Production - Disc Golf

How to get the most bang for your budget. 

The answer is relatively simple. Tell us your budget. We always do our best to make sure your money is maximized to give you the BEST PRODUCT possible for what you’re willing to invest in your project. 

To wrap up, more information is BETTER. If you don’t have the information, you most likely have a budget number in mind of what you think it will cost. Share that information with us and we can guide you to the best possible experience. If you’re looking to boost your brand visuals, please head over to our contact page and get a hold of us. We’d love to help you out! 



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