Maybe you are in the market for a professional video? Or maybe your company uses more and more video and your marketing team is thinking about building an internal video department. Either way, before diving in, it’s important for anyone to understand the man hours needed to pull it off. To clarify, I am NOT talking about a short video shot on an I-Phone to post to Facebook on a whim. The reference here is to professional video, with an experienced video team, hired to produce content which engages and “shows off” a company, product, or service.

The Dubek Media Group video team has been in business since 2007 and the man hours you are about to read are based on our experiences producing videos specializing in corporate, web, non-profit, marketing, and training video:

Planning/Location Scout: On average, we spend about three hours working with our client to come up with the right plan for their production. This time usually consists of in-person meetings, emails, phone calls, and if needed, a location scout to best determine B-Roll and interview location specifics.

The Shoot: The required time needed  to shoot any video project will vary based on length of video and scope of the project, number of scenes, interviews, etc. However, most of our projects falling into the one to three minute finished video fall into a one full day category. For us at DMG, that means up to ten hours on site. This includes time needed to set-up at a new location, lighting and specialty needs like a green screen, as well as time needed to shoot necessary interviews and B-Roll. Of course, there are always exceptions to this example. Very short and simple video projects can some times be accomplished in a half day shoot (four hours or less on-site), and we just wrapped up a longer project for one of our clients which took three days to shoot. But, on average, one full day of shooting typically gets the job done.

Transcribing/Scripting: This is the most overlooked step in the professional video production process. Not all video production companies are created equal. Many will skip this step and move straight from the shoot to the edit. The problem? The client ends up getting short-changed. We take the time to fully transcribe all of the footage we shot. In other words, we go through all the shots and interviews frame by frame, and make a log of everything we have. We share that “tape log” with our clients so they know exactly what we have. We then use that log as a guide to create a video script. All of our clients get a script BEFORE we begin the edit. That way, we are all on the same page and the client can get an idea as to the direction and creative vision we have developed for them. If needed, changes can be made in advance of the edit. So much easier. This process for the typical two minute video is approximately four hours. 

Editing: This step is often the most time consuming step in professional video production. Pro Editors are a special breed. They are dedicated and focused and creative and very very patient. That’s because this process can be very tedious and technical and frustrating. Editing without a doubt is the step that scares more people away from video production than anything else. In fact, I know many professional camera operators who refuse to edit. They will farm out the edit just to avoid it. Editing can be very challenging. A general rule of thumb is-assume about eight hours of editing for every minute of finished video. So, for the average two minute video, we would dedicate about sixteen hours to editing. Again, there is flex room here. Very simple video projects probably require less time, while complex graphic and animation videos would require more time. For any of our video projects, we offer our clients up to three revisions included within the editing quote.

What’s the final time tally?

For the typical one to two minute finished video, a professional video production company should be in the 25-30 hour range for total time invested to create a professional video. Again, this DOES NOT include time needed for special requests like voice-over, drone footage, animation, etc.