How much does a training video cost?
19/07/2012 - Companies often want to know how they need to budget for a training video — it all depends on what you're trying to achieve and what options you need to consider. Find out how to work out your training video budget. Marie-Claire Ross
One of the questions companies often want to know is, how much does it cost to produce customised training videos?
Although this is a difficult question to answer, as there are so many variables, we will try our best to answer.
The purchase of a training video is a little bit like purchasing major capital equipment for your business. And just like say, buying a vehicle, the options available can be endless and price ranges can vary dramatically.
Just like a new van, a training video is often in operation with your company for a minimum of five years (depending upon how often your procedures or equipment change, but over the last 20 years most of our clients have been using our training videos for around 7-10 years).
Why are there so many different variables?
The answer is because most people understand the importance of getting what they want the first time, so as to not have any regrets down the road.
After all, your company is going to use the training video at least every week for many years with hundreds of people watching (and judging you on it). If it is poorly made it won't do a very good job of training, which is kind of like purchasing a ute when you really needed a van.
When it comes to purchasing customised training videos, some businesses only focus on the initial price of a training video with the only goal of finding the "cheapest" supplier, therefore sacrificing quality and instructional training design expertise.
This inevitably leads to the training video not being used or being re-made fairly quickly. Often, cheap video production companies are one-man-bands that don't stay in business very long.
This is an issue when you want to make changes down the track because you can't get in contact with the person who made it, as they've gone out of business.
Training-video cost options
Now that you hopefully understand the vehicle analogy, and some of the pitfalls with training videos, here are a list of the most common "options" found in producing a customised training video:
- Animations (3D or 2D)
- Studio (starting from around $450 per half day)
- Amount of filming (minimum half day, depends on number of crew and camera used)
- Type of camera used (consumer, pro or broadcast series. Consumer is at phone quality or small home video camera, while pro is generally used for weddings, while broadcast is used for television production. Interestingly, camera hire rates aren't that much different between pro and broadcast (around $200+ extra per day, so can be worth the extra money for more professional looking pictures and longevity)
- Type of camera operator (experienced camera operators are truly amazing and can really tell capture the essence of what you're filming. Avoid amateurs or students, as they tend to focus on the wrong thing or wobble too much, which is really distracting)
- Length of production (eg 5 minutes)
- Amount of graphics required
- Safety advisors/physiotherapists/sales experts
- Instructional design experts
- Online training delivery
- Stock library footage/photos
- DVDs (number needed to be duplicated/printed)
- Trainer's manuals
- Employee handbooks
- Travel costs
- Jib, cherry picker, crane (for interesting shots)
As you can see, there are many options available, but the most important step in working out your training video costs is to work out what you need first. Then, you can easily work out whether all of the added costs are worthwhile. But as a general rule of thumb, training videos cost around $1,000 to $3,500 per finished minute (+GST).
Types of training videos
So let's have a look at some of the different styles of training videos.
1. Seminar-style training video
This is where you have a speaker going through their training presentation. It's not a particularly engaging method of training, but it is a good starting point. This is usually ideal for information that has a short life or that is rarely presented. To improve its effectiveness, slides can be incorporated and titles, but this can add increased cost, particularly if the production is really long. Depends on the length of the talk, but expect the price to be upwards of $2,000.
2. Standard procedural training video or induction training video
What makes training videos so effective as a training tool, is that information is presented with both audio and visuals which reinforces information in multiple brain areas, this dual-encoding process increases the chance that material will be stored in long-term memory. Our brain loves visuals and learns much faster from pictures than words.
We're really good at remembering pictures and they draw our attention. Called the Picture Superiority Effect, we remember 65 per cent of what we have learnt three days after, provided it is both a picture and a word shown together compared to 10 per cent for just a word alone (you can read more other benefits at Seven Reasons why Training Videos are so Effective).
To make this work in a training video, you need to complement the audio information with relevant visuals. If you don't do this, people will give up listening because it's too hard to work out what's going on or even if they do stick with it, they will remember very little. (You can read more about this at 5 Mistakes Companies make with Videos).
This means you need to use lots of the right visuals and have a script that goes through the information clearly. To do this properly, you need to film a lot more than you will have in the finished product. It's called a shooting ratio. We aim for 4:1, which is four times the amount of vision for a finished minute.
So for a 15 minute training video, we often have two hours of vision to go through. This might seem excessive, but it can be tight for some shots (the movie industry starts at 6:1). After all, for each process, you need to film three different types of shots: close up, mid shot and wide shot to really make it easy to understand and interesting to watch.
A while ago, a prospective customer rang us up and tried to tell us that he gets one hour training videos made with one day of filming. Typically, we require 4-6 days of filming to make a one hour training video interesting and effective. That one hour training video must have been as interesting as watching paint dry.
This type of training video (that matches visuals to the audio content) is highly effective and the minimum length would be around 2 minutes and upwards. Costs will depend on the length, amount of filming, voiceover and script writing. Expect prices to start from $1,500+ per finished minute.
3. Advanced training video
This really uses Standard Training Videos as a base and then adds extras. Here are some of the most commonly used additions:
Actors – generally, we don't recommend using actors — mainly because they are expensive and also because if it is to train your own staff, it is more effective to use your own people. They know what to do and staff like looking at their peers.
However, actors can be worth their weight in gold if you need them to act out a complicated scenario or you have no available staff. Take a look at this complicated, mocked-up scenario of an elite athlete receiving counselling from a psychologist . Expect to pay around $1,000+ per actor per day, plus annual licensing fees.
Animations are an incredibly powerful learning tool. However, they can be expensive. We only recommend animations for important processes that you just can't see, such as how the body works or internal mechanisms in equipment. You can see a 3D animation on how stress effects the brain that we produced. Expect to pay around $1,500 per minute for basic animation and up to $3,500 per minute for 3D animations.
Trainer's manuals/employee handbooks – these are important add-ons when the training DVD is going to be used by a variety of facilitators.
To ensure consistent training, it's important to produce a trainer's manual that goes through all of the training points, schedules and test questions. While an employee handbook is a great classroom resource. By designing employee handbooks with photos from the video and reinforcing important points, it is often used by staff to refer to on the job. Expect prices to start from $5,000 plus.
As you can now understand, training video costs can vary in price depending on all of the extras you want to include.
But the most important considerations are: a script that is easy to understand and written for your audience, camera vision that focuses on the right visual information to aid learning and editing techniques that seamlessly melds visuals and audio for instant understanding.
You can also download our best practice guide to making training videos.
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