Technology Business Videos Q&A
How they’re produced and what they cost
How long does the video production process take?
Typically 4–8 weeks. Projects with complex animation (e.g., 3D models), can take longer.
In our agile and collaborative video process, the total time required for production is largely dependent on how fast we get feedback at each stage of scriptwriting and production. We make revisions in response to feedback from marketers and subject matter experts at every stage of the process. This makes for a better video, but the availability of key reviewers can prolong the process.
How much does a video cost?It depends on length, complexity, and time frame. We’ll quote a not-to exceed price at the outset. And we’ll deliver on time. Here are some budget guidelines:
- 2-minute video (120 seconds): $7,500 – $12,000
- 1-minute Plus (60–90 seconds) $5,000 – $8,500
- Package of 3–4 short videos about the same solution) $10,000 – $12,000
Why does a video cost what it costs?
It’s the creative effort that goes into a making a clearly explained technology solution video that accounts for most of the cost:
- script writing
- storyboard production
- music/sound design
The most variable of these creative labor costs is animation. There are lots of ways to deploy visual elements (animated characters, motion graphics, illustrations, photos, video inserts, icons, titles, transitions, etc.) to tell a story. Here are some some samples indicative of a wide range of styles and techniques, arranged roughly in order of creative cost. The most expensive style costs about four times as much as the least expensive one.
What is the scriptwriting process?
With backgrounds in marketing, product management, broadcast journalism, and application development, our team is uniquely qualified to write short scripts about complex solutions.
Visuals + 250 words = two minutes of video.
We start by studying the relevant published information — white papers, slideware, product sheets, and messaging briefs. A video script is a screenplay. The words and pictures need to work together.
Setting the hook
Then we chat with marketers and subject matter experts to find the right “hook” — the interesting use case, surprising fact, or urgent problem that will grab the viewer’s attention in the first fifteen seconds of the video. Because we think visuals make the best proof points for technology videos, we’ll be looking for diagrams, process descriptions, charts and other visuals that we can bring to life with animation. We almost always attend a live or recorded online software demo to help us understand software solutions.
What is the storyboard process?We usually create storyboards in PowerPoint or Google Slides. This makes it easy to collect comments and share revisions without versioning issues. We revise storyboards until everyone is satisfied that the words and animations will work together to put across the message. Not all storyboards are in color, but we always provide color treatments to be sure the look-and-feel aligns with our client’s corporate graphic standards.
What types of videos do you produce?
We’re best known for 2-Minute Explainer videos (we registered our trademark “2-Minute Explainer®” in 2004), but many of the videos are shorter; some are longer. We write and produce other types of video such as
- text-to-video (blog entries, white papers, etc.)
- positioning statement videos
- subject matter expert interviews
- trade show videos (no narration)
- simple animations
We think video is an underutilized communication tool that should be incorporated into other types of content, such as white papers, more often then it is.
Do you have the capacity to produce my video in less than a month if we start today?Most likely. We put a lot of work into scripting, but animation is still the most time-consuming part of the process, and we can draw on animation talent all over the world. On the other hand, total production time is highly dependent of how fast the client can provide feedback and approvals.
Whom will I be working with?The company’s principals, Bruce McKenzie and Lorna Pautzke.
Can you incorporate live action video, like a product presentation?Yes. Stock footage, or footage you supply. We don’t shoot video.
Who chooses and directs the voice talent?
We send out the first few lines of the script to a number of voice actors. The client selects the most appropriate-sounding voice from these auditions. We supervise the audio recording to be sure that the style is conversational, not sales-y, that words are pronounced correctly, and that the key points are made clearly and emphatically. Clients are welcome to sit in on these sessions.
How do you create the video?
We use a variety of software tools to combine original illustrations and new animations with screen captures, new or stock video footage, photos, diagrams, and recorded audio.
We usually create the video with a temporary narration which can be easily changed. This enables the client’s team to continue to shape the video as they experience how visuals and narration work together.
Who owns the source files when we're done?You do. Source files can be used to update the presentation. You can extract animations or stills in other presentations. They can be turned over to developers for localization.
How much work is it for me?We take lot of initiative and try to take up as little of your time as we can. Ideally, we get everything right at that outset, so all you need to do is provide feedback at each phase. Here’s a checklist we’ve put together that will give you an idea of what we need from you.
What if I want to make changes after the video is finished?Easy. We’re always available to update videos with new graphics or messaging. We figure the cost based on how many hours it will take to make the changes — usually not very many, because we’re familiar with the subject matter. And since we’ve provided all the software resource files used to produce the original, clients are free to make changes on their own.
What about localization ?We can re-create the video in other languages. This tends to be expensive, as it takes a number of professionals to re-do the audio and graphics. Adding subtitles, on the other hand, is not expensive. Many clients choose to do the localization locally. We use standard software and best practices, so local developers can easily change what needs to be changed.