The Creative Toolkit for Marketers

The Cost of Different Types of Live-Action Videos

Chelsea Sassara

Female chef in live action video cutting bell peppers


When people ask if you like coffee and you answer yes, the follow-up question is generally ‘how do you like your coffee? Black? With a little cream?’ Of course, there are different ways to enjoy your morning cup of joe.


Similarly, there are different forms of live-action videos, and one may fit your business needs better than the other. This article will take a look at the 5 main kinds of live-action videos, what they look like, and the different cost ranges for each.


1. Scripted Narrative Video

Scripted narrative is likely what you think of when you hear live-action. A scripted narrative comes in various forms and is defined as a story that has a plot and characters. Even within the category of a scripted narrative, there are sub-sections that include:

  • A voice-over (VO) narration that’s brought to life by re-enactments or designed b-roll (supporting footage).
  • Scripted, direct to camera or dialogue-based video. Some examples include a public service announcement or corporate video.
  • Scripted, story-based narrative. Examples includes movies, TV shows, and commercials. It can also include corporate or marketing videos.




    Cost of a Scripted Narrative Live-Action Video

    Scripted narratives are often the most expensive form of live-action video. For example, a 90 second to 2- minute long video can cost between $50,000 - $100,000+. This price point is due to a variety of factors which can include professional on-camera talent, number of shoot days, and post-production needs.


    2. Interview Case Study Video

    When it comes to an interview-based video, you might think about the news or talking head videos (more on that shortly), but there are many more examples that fall under this fold such as customer testimonial videos.


    Testimonial videos are used to showcase your product or service while also building credibility since the review of your product is coming from a client. These can be used in the sales funnel and be placed strategically on your website. In general, this kind of video is shot at a single location such as a studio or place of business and can be captured in as little as one shoot day.




    Another interview-based example are company culture pieces or “meet the team” videos. This can include individual pieces about each employee that sheds light on who they are and what they do for your company, or a video that walks the viewer through the office setting. These kinds of videos help show the human side of your company and connect on a personal and emotional level.


    Interview case studies aren’t scripted however the questions being asked are planned ahead of time to ensure the needed content and soundbites are captured.


    Cost of Interview Case Study Live-Action Video

    Interview-based videos are more simplistic than a scripted narrative. Because of this, they generally also cost less. You can expect this kind of video to range between $17,000 - $28,000. Some reasons why interview-based videos are cheaper to produce can include fewer shoot days or crew members, fewer shoot locations, and the need to not hire professional talent.


    With most things in life, there are exceptions to this rule. You can get interview-based videos for less than $17,000 through bundling. For example, if you bundle 15 employee “meet the team” videos, your cost per video decreases.


    3. Documentary-Style Case Study Video

    You might be asking yourself, “what’s the difference between an interview-based case study and documentary-style case study?” While documentary-style videos are interview-based, it’s more of a “day-in-the-life” based story meaning there are multiple shoot locations and longer shoot days to capture the on-screen subjects in real-life scenarios. In simple terms, there are more complex.


    One way to look at the difference between the two is an interview case study is a single layered cake with one filling while a documentary-style case study is a multi-tier cake with various layers and fillings.



    Cost of a Documentary-Style Case Study Live-Action Video

    Documentary-style videos generally require a lot of content to be captured. They can also take a lot of time to put together, especially if the video is following a specific current event or conducting a study of some kind. This kind of video falls into the moderate category when it comes to cost and can range between $25,000 - $65,000.


    4. Product Demos or Educational Videos

    This kind of live-action shows off a particular product or service and can be demonstrated in different ways such as:

        • Product demonstration that’s interview-based
        • Product demonstration that’s scripted
        • Actual walk-through with on-camera talent demonstrating and talking about the product at the same time
        • Live screen capture




    Product videos are especially important in this ever-evolving technological landscape. A survey found that 98% of users say they watched an explainer video to learn more about a product or service. Plus, when both video and text are available on the same page, 72% of people would rather watch a video to learn about a product or service.


    Cost of Product Demos or Explainer Videos

    These kinds of video can be filmed, directed, and edited in various ways, meaning there is a wide price range. If you bundle your deliverables, say 15 videos for example, your price per video could be as low as $1,500. Or, depending on how your video is produced (inclusion of professional talent, more shoot days, shot on-location), it can also be as high as $65,000.


    5. Talking Head Videos

    This is the basic, “head and shoulders” direct to camera shot. The talking head can be used in a variety of forms, both scripted and non-scripted. They can be personal (vlog), promotional (service presentation), or conversational (video email). These are generally simple to produce and can be captured with a single click of the record button.



    Cost of a Talking Head Live-Action Video

    This also has a wide price range because you can shoot and edit this kind of video on your personal cell phone at little to no extra cost. However, there’s a big learning curve in producing your own videos, plus, the video won’t look as professional as it would with high-level cameras, lighting, and directing.


    If you do decide to use a video production agency, the range for a talking head video can be anywhere between $15,000 - $25,000.


    Implementing Live-Action Marketing Videos

    Whether you’re making a personal video or a video for your business, there are plenty of live-action options to choose from to best fit your needs.

    1. Scripted narrative
    2. Interview case study
    3. Documentary-style case study
    4. Product demos or educational videos
    5. Talking head


    Finding the right fit comes from defining your content, budget, and target audience. There’s also plenty of crossover between the types of live-action videos and the ability to add in animation or motion graphics, meaning you can mix-and-match to find your perfect cup of joe.


    Want to have a handy resource on the cost of live-action videos? Click the link below for a free downloadable price guide. 

    Free Price Guide

Tags: Video production, Live Action Video, Marketing video, Live-action video cost, Video

Chelsea Sassara

Written by Chelsea Sassara

Chelsea Sassara is a Content Manager at VMG Studios. Chelsea is an Emmy award-winning journalist with a background in local TV news. She loves to write, her dog & cat, the Pacific Northwest, and the Oregon Ducks.

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