5 Tips to Start a Commercial Video Production Budget (Free Template)

By | Published April 21st, 2015 | in UPM

5 Tips to Start a Commercial Video Production Budget (Free Template)

Planning a production budget is a challenge. There are so many things to account for and so many moving parts. 

And starting from scratch can waste time and ruin efficiency. 

That’s why we created a free production budget template to help you execute your goals. 

Let’s get started

How to make a Production Budget 

In order to stay on budget and make money with any commercial production, it is necessary to set up a video production budget template, akin to line production spreadsheets and organizational schematics.

There are a few key steps when it comes to creating a budget that works for you.

Production Budget Tip #1: Think Like a Line Producer

Begin by going over the script with a line producer’s eye. 

Set up a spreadsheet or scene list and begin to itemize the gear and other associated tools for the production. 

Include lines for all relevant and incurred expenses that will take place during every stage of production (Pre/Post) for the commercial.

Production Budget Tip #2: Main Template Headings

Open a spread-sheet app and use four categories to make the template after breaking down your script. 

You will want to include a “Total Job Estimate” in the spreadsheet template as well as “Day Rates, Equipment and Creative Fees”, a section for “Post-Production Fees” and a section for “Expenses”. 

These are the foundation for the commercial video production template.


Production Budget Tip #3: Subheadings

Begin to make sub-headings with the Creative Fees heading. This is where all fees related to writers, talent, editing, scoring, etc. are recorded on the template. 

These fees are for the talent and services only, the travel expenses or associated tangential fees are not part of this section of the template. 

You will want to add totals for each of the sub-headings at the end of the column. 

Set these up with the proper formulas within the spreadsheet application so they self-calculate after being filled out.


Production Budget Tip #4: Post-Production

Do the same thing here as you did with the Creative Fees heading. 

Make subheadings for all associated fees and costs in the post-production process. 

All columns and rows should reflect the aspects of post-production such as video editing, audio editing, transcribing, rendering, storage, etc. 

Again, be sure to have self calculating formulas programmed into the template so all post-production fees are totaled for the template to be effective.


Production Budget Tip #5: Expenses

Set up several rows and columns for the Expenses heading. Break these columns and rows into subheadings as this is where our associated costs for things such as lodging, craft services, per diems, travel costs and all other associated expenses the production incurs. 

This is a very important part of the template as these costs often fly under the radar as they are not typically maintained or notated during the process of production. 

Have a total section so it displays the sum total of all associated production costs.

Be sure to save the blank template in the needed files on the computer or tablet devices so they can be used on set or during one production in the office. 

Professional productions should be handled in the same manner as a Hollywood blockbuster or a weekly TV show. 

They say the devil is in the details, and the template is the place to get these details notated to ensure your commercial production is on budget and making money.

Here are some great additional resources on this topic:

25 factors that affect corporate video production costs

3 recommended camera packages for corporate video

2014 Online Video Production Survey Trends Report

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Ambient Skies is a full service entertainment production company focused on creative storytelling for commercials, documentaries, and narratives.

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About The Author:

John Schaus