What is the Cost of Documentary Film Production_

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What is the Cost of Documentary Film Production?

Producing a documentary film that highlights a particular time in history or a story can be both rewarding and valuable for your brand, but if you’re not prepared there could be expenses associated with documentary film production that you are unprepared for or that you are unaware of. In fact, if you’re considering a documentary film but you’re wondering, “What is the cost of documentary film production?” Then you’ve landed in the right place.

Documentary film production costs can vary widely just like expenses associated with various other forms of film production or other types of creative work. While it’s nearly impossible to pinpoint an exact budget, it’s equally hard to say whether one rate is too high, or too low. Documentary film production expenses range from $1,000 to $10,000 for the final video in most cases. However, it’s important to keep in mind that some cases require this type of investment per finished video.

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Film Production Costs

Producing a documentary film will come with a range of potential costs. With the average documentary ranging from about $1,000 to $10,000 per finished minute, you can expect to spend the following:

  • Film Director – >$250 per hour
  • Script Writer – >$150 per hour
  • Cameraman – >$400 per hour
  • Editor – >$175 per hour
  • Actors – >$500 per hour
  • Equipment – up to 100s per hour
  • Studio Shooting – up to $400 per hour
  • Narrator – >$400 per hour
  • Audio Files – up to $1000
  • Video Rendering – up to $75 per hour
  • B-Roll – expect to pay a percentage between 10 and 50% of your total cost
  • Miscellaneous Fees – can cost very little up to 1000s extra

This is how the total cost of documentary film production can add up to the potential finished per minute rate of between $1,000 and up to $10,000. Keep in mind that although you may be able to produce a documentary for $3,000 per minute, a television-quality documentary film will cost significantly more to produce. Television documentaries can cost several hundred thousand dollars to produce in total.

Post-Production Documentary Costs

While shooting the documentary will accrue many of the costs involved in the production the next biggest expense, and actually, a larger expense in most cases than the shoot is the post-production editing costs. Expect to spend up to $175 per hour for a film editor to perform their magic on your footage and cut, splice, transition, and design the video of your dreams.

A professional editor typically charges a day rate of between $1,000 and $2,500. This includes a full 8 to 12 hours of editing. The level of experience that the editor has will directly influence the total cost of your post-production editing that is required to bring your documentary to its finished state. Additional editing considerations include:

  • Text designs.
  • Special effects.

If you’re looking to keep costs associated with documentary film production low, consider reducing your editing, eliminating special effects or graphics, and otherwise limiting the amount of time that is required for the editing of your finished film.

Producing a documentary film takes time, effort, and a lot of planning. To learn more about what you should expect to spend on your documentary, give Beverly Boy Productions a call!

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