Video production and filmmaking aren’t usually used interchangeably, but there are still some people confused between the two. Some people will approach any average Los Angeles video production studio thinking they can produce a film for them, and vice versa. There are such things called Film Production companies, and they are vastly different from video production companies. If you’re looking to hire a third-party company for production, knowing the difference can help you save time and effort by narrowing your search.
Generally speaking, the budget for film is a lot steeper than budget for video. Now, this isn’t always the case—there are exceptions, of course—but by and large, a theatrical film, regardless of length, will cost more to produce compared to your average Los Angeles video production.
According to One Market Media, an average two- to three-minute web-based corporate video would cost a company around $2,500 to $10,000. Hinge Marketing stretches the limit a little, stating that a premium one- to two-minute video can reach anywhere between $25,000 and $50,000.
Meanwhile, No Film School sources a Sundance infographic to reveal that the average budget for an independent film is around $750,000 per movie. Stephen Follows, on the other hand, gives a marginally lower price-point—he cites that 542 film professionals consider $396,000 as the maximum budget for a micro-budget film.
We took to Quora to get some personal opinions regarding the length of time for Los Angeles video production. Answers averaged four to six weeks for a standard two- to three-minute video. Meanwhile, independent films—according to other Quora users—can take anywhere between six to 18 months to shoot. There will always be outliers for each group (some said two to three months was enough to produce an independent film) and exceptions to the rule, but by and large these averages work in the general sense.
Full-length films (or even micro-budget ones) take longer to produce than web or corporate videos. Some videos can be accomplished within a week or a day even, depending on the outcome. There are a lot more logistics where film is involved, which is why production can take more than a year.
To put it simply, films are often released with the intent to entertain and captivate, whereas videos are more geared towards marketing, education, or promotion. Some say the difference lies in the length, but there are five-minute films out there and thirty-minute videos.
For example, Disney’s Oscar Award-winning Paperman is around five minutes. It’s described as a “black-and-white 3D romantic comedy short film.” Meanwhile, Sephora released a Five Minute Every Day Makeup Routine in 2016, which is also around five minutes. It’s considered a makeup tutorial video—not a film.
Just watching these two can give you an idea of the difference between film and video. Paperman is a full motion picture with characters, setting, plot, and progression. It’s basically a story or creative concept brought to life, and the goal is to make the audience feel. Now, this isn’t to say that web videos or corporate videos are one-dimensional. In fact, we always emphasize how a good story is more often than not the success behind a good video. However, the emotional progression is not a requirement when it comes to video. Like with the Sephora tutorial, the desired outcome was twofold: teach people how to apply makeup in five minutes or less and market the makeup Sephora is currently selling.
The goal of Los Angeles video production is ultimately marketing. Web videos, corporate videos, explainer videos—these can all entertain, engage, and inform as well as any film can, but there will always be the marketing element. Videos are there to boost a brand, product, or corporation. Films, on the other hand, belong almost exclusively to art. They’re meant to do little else than invoke emotion and captivate the audience.