The 3 big reasons why content creation prices differ

If there was ever a question we heard the most, it’s almost always to do with the pricing of content production. Especially in a COVID-19 world, every dollar adds up, which is why it’s so important to make sure what you spend (especially on content) goes the distance in achieving real world results.

So how much does content cost, what makes up that cost and why does that cost differ so much between creators and agencies? Naturally there’s dozens of factors that influence the cost you’ll end up paying but it ultimately comes down to three things: skill, time & gear.

1) Skill is the #1 thing you pay for with content production.

Picasso’s first work of art wasn’t as magnificent as his later works (and to be fair, neither were mine) and just like any art form, film & photo is no different. We’ve all heard about the classic addage that “it takes 10,000 hours to master anything in life” and it definitely applies to content creation. Simply put, it takes a sh*t load of trial and error and many thousands of hours of hard work before you can truly master film or photo that’s worth representing a brand. As such, how much you pay for someone’s skills is a sliding scale that reflects where they’re that on that journey of mastering content perfection.

2) Good, Cheap & Fast – Pick Two.

Whether it’s marketing, graphic design, websites, photography or video production, there’s having it good, cheap and fast, but at the end of the day you can only pick two.

The best example of this is in my own career. When I started film-making, I knew what looked beautiful and cinematic, but more often than not, there was plenty of trial and error to honing in a look for my clients, which was ultimately more time-consuming and costly for my clients, especially when there’s the hourly costs of talent, HMU, the business itself etc. etc. to consider. As a result of that risk, I was cheap, and those particular clients valued cost over all else.

Fast-forward to today, and with many more thousands of hours of experience to boot, I now work with clients who want (and appreciate) the knowledge that myself and the team bring to the table. That means that while we may charge more than someone fresh out of film school, it also means we have proven experience to quickly and accurately determine realistic costs and time-frames and faithfully produce results time and time again.

What this ultimately means is that as a client, you’ll know what you’re paying for, you’ll only pay once and it will be delivered on-time with minimal fuss, and to us, that’s worth more then what we charge, and that’s why our clients keep coming back.

Anyone can make high-quality imagery using readily available equipment, but the fundamentals of good lighting and good movement still applies.

3) Gear is ubiquitous, and that’s great for everyone.

One of my favourite jokes about film gear is the following:

A group of artists are invited for dinner by a famous chef. In greeting the photographer, the chef comments:
“I love your photos, they’re wonderful, you must have a very expensive camera!” The photographer doesn’t reply and walks into the dining room. After dinner, the photographer approaches the chef and says “dinner was sensational! Very exquisite flavours, a true work of art, you must have a very expensive oven.”

The work of great cinematographers and photographers (and indeed, any good artist) isn’t defined by their tools, rather, better tools help to faithfully realise a creative vision more efficiently. Drones are a great example of this – a decade ago, a sweeping shot of a building would cost between $3,500-$5,000 just for the helicopter’s fuel. Never-mind the gear, the specialist skills or any extra coin you’d need to spend on reshooting something if it didn’t all line up perfectly. Today that same shot can be captured by a drone that typically costs less outright than the price of the helicopter’s fuel.

This kind of innovation is happening in every area in production, right down to the lights, cameras and even the action (of moving the camera, that is). With ubiquitous tools now in the mainstream, there’s no more large agencies or production companies acting as gate-keepers and charging an arm and leg because they were the only ones with the tools and the knowledge to use them. More often then not, many modern agencies rely on production houses like ours to deliver their clients the results they need, because it’s almost always cheaper to use teams like ours on an ad-hoc than it is to keep entire production teams on standby.

As i’ve mentioned in another article, at the end of the day, gear isn’t about what brand of technology you rep, it’s about being able to shape light and create interesting motion that connects with your audience, and the equipment that achieves that often costs more then just whatever cool thing Sony or Canon is whipping up. That also means that with specialised lighting and equipment, you need specialised skills to get finessed results, and, yep, you guessed it, that means the cost for skills goes up.

So how much does Kampai charge?

At the end of the day, every video we make will cost slightly different because we tailor it to you and your needs. Don’t need an audio specialist on site? We won’t bring one! Is your whole video one-shot? Then your edit might be wildly easier to cut than a TVC, and the price will reflect that. Good thing we don’t charge for estimates – if you’d like to know how much your next project might cost to produce, feel free to say g’day – we have a no bullsh*t approach to billing and we’ll let you know how much in minutes.

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