What It Takes to Film a 30-Second Video: Average Cost of Commercial Video Production

How much does a 30-second commercial cost? – It’s a good question. Lots of customers ask it directly when they come to make a deal. People interested in the video production process are also curious about that. Even amateurs often want to know it, just because it’s the most interesting. And most of them get surprised when they don’t get a definite answer at once.

What It Takes to Film a 30-Second Video: Average Cost of Commercial Video Production 20
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How video commercial cost is made up?

There is a widespread misconception that the price of a video depends primarily on its duration. In reality, the quality of the product and the costs of its creation depend on the script complexity and staff involved in each video scene. Or even more.

Thus, a 30-second video under certain conditions may cost much more than the whole presentation film of several tens of minutes long! Why so? Let’s dive a bit deeper into the video production process to find that out.

Video Production Stages

Obviously, the cost of a video is influenced by many factors, which may be discussed upon a client agreement. There are several standard stages of video production:

  • pre-production (preparation for filming),
  • production (directing and filming)
  • and post-production (processing video after filming – editing, processing, graphics, sound effects, etc).

What is the average cost of commercial video production

Read more about what may make up the cost of a video commercial production at each stage.

Another video sample


1.      Writing a script

Script creation is a complex and multi-stage process. It all starts with the formation of the concept of the video when the group of authors brainstorms and delivers a number of video ideas that implement this concept. Developing a good idea may take from a few days to several months. The work of the author group is paid up depending either on the time spent on the project, or based on the number of ideas they manage to offer for implementation. Averagely, this work may be estimated at $50 per minute of the film for a project idea of a 30-second video or $2,500 – $3,000 for writing a full-length feature screenplay.

2.      Storyboarding

After the idea is approved by the customer, the scenes for the future video are to be written. The artist draws a storyboard – a series of drawings that visually tell the story described in the script.

Based on the storyboard, the editor may create an animatic (a video comic from the storyboard pictures, with music and voice). The timing of the entire video, its episodes, and scenes are to be determined here.  Special effects for each frame may be proposed. At this stage, for the first time, we get a clear vision of the future video, collected in editing and serving as a guide for all further production process.

For example:

Find more in Our Works

3.      Choice of location

It happens that you need to film a video, and you need a particular location for it. This can be an apartment, office, studio, cottage, and other premises for rent or a natural place. The cost varies greatly depending on the area and the exclusivity of the premises. So, renting an apartment may cost 500$ per day, while about $20,000-$25,000 averagely for a yacht, for example. The cost of renting large enclosed spaces (nightclubs, concert venues, warehouses, etc.) may cost even more. Anyway, much depends on the overall project budget wanted and the shot types to be made.

4.      Hiring professional actors

To hire professional actors for acting or voiceovers, you also need to pay up. If a special guest star is required, it may add to the budget. Actors of crowd scenes, however, are cheaper rather than actors taken for the leading roles. The cost of an actor’s work depends on their professionalism and the complexity of the role. 

If necessary, actors from federal channels or celebrities may appear in the video – then the amount is discussed individually upon the agreement.

5.      Props rental

You may also need specific props with the location choice, actors, or voices for the commercial. They may become essential details that create an atmosphere in a particular scene. Sometimes this requires only a few items, while another filming requires dozens of various props to be involved. The cost of the objects themselves also varies. For one shoot, you only need a kitchen set. For another, unique antiques, etc. Usually, the cost of props and the work of a decorator for one scene may vary in price dramatically.

For example, an average Interior decorator usually charges an hourly rate of $50 to $150 per hour.

6.      Costume design & makeup

Finally, you may also need costumes and make-up. Even if, according to the script, the actors are supposed to look like in real life, the clothes are still carefully selected. This part of the project costs depends on the number of actors, different images, the ability to return clothes after the filming, designer-made, and the necessary accessories (watches, cufflinks, etc.). 

Besides, it’s nice to keep in mind that the cost of producing commercials also includes crew wages, production design, live set and studio costs, costumes, catering (food and drinks, etc.) and so much more.

However, it all starts with the idea that forms the basis of the script. The upcoming commercial video production cost depends on how difficult it is to implement the idea visually, what scenes will be written in the script, and so on. The price difference between the two short video explainers can be quite significant.

There are animated explainer video production cost.


1.      Film crew

It may include from 5 to 30 or more people, again depending on the project. This is how many specialists of different niches may be brought together be on the set during the shooting day. Among them is the director, director of photography, motion designers, makeup artists, technicians, caterers, lighting specialists, project and crew management, assistants, and others.

2.      Equipment

If a client needs high-quality video or motion graphics, the commercial may be shot on high-resolution cameras and top-notch animation technologies are used. The use of each may be paid extra.

Due to the high resolution (up to 4k) and the absence of compression of the original video, material from film cameras is very flexible in editing. It allows for high-level cropping and color correction.

It is also possible to use a speed camera to create time dilation effects and so much more. If you rent equipment, you need to pay up, as well. That’s why it’s better to apply for a professional and fully equipped production studio. Read more about Our Approaches to Animated Video Production

Sometimes even more artists, decorators, food stylists (if food photography is required), pyrotechnics and stuntmen are involved in filming. It is important to understand that their work is paid extra.

There is always management on the project, which organizes the search for locations, actors, props and resolves issues with the customer. The size of the project and the employment of managers on it also affect the final estimate.


How much does it cost to make a commercial video in postproduction? Let’s check it out.

1.      Editing

For the video to be of the highest quality and correspond to the original idea, it is crucial to combine the frames in a certain way. The work of an editor can take from one day to several weeks, or even years, depending on the length and complexity of the video. The cost of editing depends upon the region you are located in and the level of experience of the video editor. Professional video editing services may rate between $75 to $150/hr. 

2.      Sound

The sound designs of the video make the picture alive, and the music gives the video tempo, rhythm, and emotion. Unlike editing frames, creating sound for a video takes less time but probably more talent. If you hire a professional or even famous composer, scoring an average video costs, and you’ll get an exclusively written and extremely expensive soundtrack.

3.      Graphics

Finally, there’s no way without any computer graphics when we speak about modern video production. It includes drawing 2D and 3D graphics, animation, making pack shots (the last frame representing the product). Here’s what Wikipedia says on that:

 A packshot (also pack shot) is a still or moving image of a product, usually including its packaging and labeling, used to portray its reputation in advertising or other media. It is an essential stimulus to sales, intending to trigger in-store, on-shelf product recognition.

Even there, you can’t survive without graphics.

One specialist or a whole team may work on the design of the video, depending on the tasks. The cost of working typically charged by motion graphic designers on Upwork, for example, is as follows: Beginner: $28 per hour. Intermediate: $58 per hour. Advanced: $325 per hour on average. Figures speak for themselves.

To wrap it up

How much for a 30-second commercial is always the most curious thing about the video production process. Average rates are something you may at least rely upon when searching for a reliable video production vendor. Commercial video production costs are the most interesting about shooting videos. And now you may feel a bit tuned in the process and the figures. 

For deeper insights and fruitful cooperation, welcome to contact us any time.

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