information linkemail linkphone linkinstagram linkbéhance link
Portrait of Oliver Watson


Anything worthwhile takes time. The Big Mac is the only exception. So unless you’re ordering a Big Mac, the work will be painstaking. But not for you. Like a one-man studio, I can manage it all.

For nearly a decade I’ve written and produced videos for organizations across multiple industries. I help clients define their communication objectives, develop compelling narratives to serve those objectives, develop and manage production plans and budgets, and transform their narratives into powerful videos with maximum impact. These are typically promotional videos for products and services, corporate I.D. videos, and educational videos. My core competencies include writing, graphic motion design, VFX, 3D animation, live action recording, and interviewing.

Freelancer vs. Studio

Studios are like magical idea factories, many of which produce truly remarkable work. They are optimal for big-budget projects (e.g. > $75,000), which tend to benefit from multiple artists working in parallel. But bigger is not always better. For many small to medium-sized projects it may be impractical to divide effort into multiple workstreams. In these cases, a talented freelance artist can deliver the same level of quality without compromising on speed. Freelancers are inherently more efficient, owing to substantially lower overhead and freedom from organizational complexity that can bog down communication and productivity. In other words, sometimes less is more.

What does a video cost?

How long is a piece of string? It depends on three things:

1. Scope

How much of the process do you want taken off your plate? Costs tend to divide somewhat evenly between development/pre-production and production/post-production activities. So a customer with a fully developed script and storyboard, for example, might pay roughly half that of a similar customer starting from scratch.

2. Ambition

Sophistication and originality can be expensive. Do you need original shots or would stock footage suffice? 6K or 1080p? Custom built 3D spaceship or stock model? Not sure? Worry not. By default, I identify cost-saving opportunities to optimize efficiency without compromising quality or your objectives.

3. Duration

There's a big difference between one minute and two minutes of video. About a hundred percent difference. Does that mean that, all else being equal, a two minute video costs twice that of a one minute video? Probably not quite. The longer the duration, the greater the economies of scale. It's probably safe to assume it will be less than double, but in that ballpark.

Okay, you're still reading. That probably means you want a number. Well, it turns out there is a number: $100. That's my hourly rate. Depending on scope, ambition, and duration, one minute of video might require between 20 and 200 hours of effort. But again, it depends.

How long does it take to make a video?

The factors that drive cost also drive turnaround time. Add to this the time the customer requires to sign off on various stages of work. A general rule of thumb is that the turnaround will be at least three times the required duration of effort: for a video that requires 40 hours, that's a minimum turnaround of three weeks. As with any project, the more decision-makers involved in a process, the less efficient the process. More than two co-decision-makers (people with sign-off authority) is not recommended for projects for which timeliness is a priority.