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  • Eric Temple

How much does a documentary cost?

Updated: Feb 3, 2023

The cost of making a documentary can vary greatly depending on factors such as the length of the film, the location of filming, the crew size, equipment rental, and post-production costs. A low-budget documentary can cost a few thousand dollars, while a feature-length, high-quality documentary can cost hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars. I made my first independent documentary for $30,000, as an example. A 5-6 minute mini-doc for a museum kiosk generally runs around $5,500.


Here are a few more examples of documentary budgets:

  • Low-budget documentaries can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $50,000

  • Mid-range documentaries can cost from $50,000 to $500,000

  • High-end documentaries can cost over $500,000 and go up to several million dollars.

A typical NOVA documentary on PBS can cost anywhere from $500,000 to $1,500,000 or more to produce. NOVA is known for producing high-quality, educational documentaries and their budgets reflect the level of resources and expertise needed to create these productions.


Keep in mind that these are rough estimates and the actual cost can vary greatly based on various factors. Please contact Highway 89 Media for more details.


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