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  • Writer's pictureJonathan Devi

Filming quality and storage costs: are you charging your clients correctly?



With the growing demand for high-quality audiovisual content, it's crucial for professionals in the industry to keep in mind the costs associated with storing video files. Choosing the camera and recording format goes beyond pleasing a client; it can have a significant impact on the company's overall costs, especially those related to storage. It's important to be aware of these differences when planning your projects.


One of the main factors to consider is the video recording resolution. The file size increases significantly as the resolution increases. For example, a 10-minute video recorded in Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) can take up about 15 GB of storage space, while a video of the same duration in 4K (3840 x 2160 pixels) can take up over 100 GB of space.


In addition to resolution, the recording format can also affect storage costs. High-quality formats like RAW and ProRes produce larger files, while compressed formats like H.264 produce smaller files. However, image quality may be compromised when using compressed formats.


To calculate the weight of a video file per minute, several factors such as resolution, format, and bit rate need to be considered.


Considering the bit rate of a camera like the Sony Alpha a7sii in 4K (100 Mb/s) using the H.264 video format, which is a common format, we can estimate the size of a 1-minute file as follows:

  1. First, we convert the bitrate from megabits per second (Mb/s) to megabytes per second (MB/s) by dividing by 8 (1 byte = 8 bits): 100 Mb/s / 8 = 12.5 MB/s.

  2. And then, we multiply the byte rate per second by the number of seconds in 1 minute: 12.5 MB/s x 60 s = 750 MB.

Therefore, a video camera that records at 100 Mb/s can generate a file of approximately 750 MB per minute in the H.264 format. Remember that other factors, such as video resolution and compression, can affect the final file size.


To illustrate these differences, see the table below, where I compare the required storage size for a BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K shooting a 4K 24 frames per second project. Assuming my project has an average of 1 hour of raw footage to result in a 10-minute video:

Encoder

Bit rate

Per minute

Project

h264

150 Mbps

1.13 GB/min

67.8 GB

Mov ProRes 422

444 Mbps

33 GB/min

1.980 GB

RAW

2.4 Gbps

180 GB/min

10.7 TB

As you can see, choosing a high-quality format, such as RAW, can result in significantly larger files than a compressed format, such as H.264. However, the image quality will be superior, but only you can evaluate whether the investment in additional storage makes sense. Consider:


If the ideal number is 3 backups to ensure the security of a project, multiply the numbers in the last column by three. Then, check the costs of external hard drives for backup and even cloud backup services like Google Drive, Dropbox, etc. Does your budget cover this?


Another factor to consider is the required storage time for each project. It is important to be clear with clients about the duration of storage required for their video files, as this can affect the additional costs associated with maintaining the files in the long term.


Finally, it is important to consider whether or not to make the raw footage available to clients. Raw footage can be a source of income in future projects, and it is important to include the costs associated with maintaining and storing these files in your pricing strategy.


In summary, the choice of camera and recording format can have a significant impact on the storage costs of video files. It is important to be aware of these differences when planning your projects and to be clear with clients about the required storage time and availability of raw material.


By considering these factors, you can ensure that you are managing your storage costs efficiently and maximizing your profit.

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