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Old March 28th, 2010, 02:49 PM   #1
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What's it Worth?

I've been a photographer for the last 15 years and finally have a fee structure in place for my still photographs that seems to work. I've been shooting 5D MK2 HD video for a year and a few months and in that time i've shot over a hundred video pieces usually in one song segments at a live performance. I've charged for one gig in which I agreed to $200 for the evening and produced 4-5 songs complete with post to Mp4s on a DVD. This was for a friend and they were pleased but tried to get me to shoot another and tried to nickel and dime me down and I just said thanks busy that evening cause it just isn't worth my time but here comes the big question:
What is kickass awsome video worth? How are you that are successfully charging for this service arriving at the charge amount/rate?

So much upfront plus..?
So much per hour?
Fee for the evening?
Separate processing fee?

Just wondering what those that are successfully marketing this relatively new product are doing.

If this is something you aren't comfortable discussing in a forum send email for discussion.

I've recently been working with a record label who has a "budget" and would pay about $2500 for a three to four hour shoot - They are out of NYC....this is their low end budget - the high end budget would be 15 to 20k....

But for around the city how much is a simple live shoot worth?

Thanks
Harry
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Old March 30th, 2010, 12:23 PM   #2
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absolutely nothing! :-) it appears......ah well I really didn't expect a response.
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Old March 30th, 2010, 12:28 PM   #3
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You may have more luck in the 'taking care of business' section.
From memory there may even be some posts that go some way to addressing your question.
It's quite a complicated question. I didn't really understand it. I probably didn't look at it for long enough.
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Old March 30th, 2010, 12:34 PM   #4
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Hey Harry:

Don't you think this depends on the reputation and accomplishments of the shooter, more than the camera used. The DSLRs only add control to your creative process.
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Old March 30th, 2010, 12:48 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Chris Barcellos View Post
Hey Harry:

Don't you think this depends on the reputation and accomplishments of the shooter, more than the camera used. The DSLRs only add control to your creative process.
As well as what your time is worth.
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Old March 30th, 2010, 01:26 PM   #6
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Been at it around 3 years part time. My time is worth...

For live event and smaller stuff:
$75/hour shooting w/ 1 camera
$50/hour editing/rendering/finishing

For promotional and advertisements:
$300-500 per finished minute, depending on complexity

Ballpark figures, but I hope it helps. I don't charge depending on equipment used. I just figure that cooler equipment adds to my product's value, which in turn, gets me future jobs.
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Old March 30th, 2010, 01:57 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Chris Barcellos View Post
Hey Harry:

Don't you think this depends on the reputation and accomplishments of the shooter, more than the camera used. The DSLRs only add control to your creative process.
Of course it does. But the fact that if you are even moderately competent the video can be soooo much nicer than other video and that needs to be accounted for.

Got a request today to shoot a two hour set with stills and I just need to settle on what I'll do it for. I've turned down plenty of $100/set offers cause it's not worth the time for me to go out for that.
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Old March 30th, 2010, 02:01 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Nate Haustein View Post
Been at it around 3 years part time. My time is worth...

For live event and smaller stuff:
$75/hour shooting w/ 1 camera
$50/hour editing/rendering/finishing

For promotional and advertisements:
$300-500 per finished minute, depending on complexity

Ballpark figures, but I hope it helps. I don't charge depending on equipment used. I just figure that cooler equipment adds to my product's value, which in turn, gets me future jobs.
Thanks Nate

I don't like to give any non-rendered, processed product so I might have to roll that into the price. I've seen wonderful product for not enough and lousy product for way too much...sometimes it's just what the market will pay but I really want to set the "worth" and let it de done but yes it's complicated.
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Old March 30th, 2010, 04:45 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Harry Simpson View Post
I've turned down plenty of $100/set offers cause it's not worth the time for me to go out for that.
To me a hundred bucks is like saying "we want to do the right thing by paying you but we really can't afford to, so please accept this token amount".

I don't pretend to be a pro who has done heaps of paid gigs but I think you really have to value your services. For me $250 would be a minimum just to get me to show up. If the shoot goes for more than an hour I'd definitely want more than that.

Having said that I'm often happy to trade in favours with my mates.
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Old March 30th, 2010, 08:15 PM   #10
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I hear you Ben. Yes you have to value your work for sure. I've shot so much free video this year for certain up and coming artists with the idea that when they are huge it'll pay off. So far so good but then there are the gigs that are truly "hey how much to shoot...." for artists I don't know and foer these artist i've gotta get a set fee structure down.

I get 600/half day shoot in my studio and as you said $250 is a good minimum to get out.
I'm thinking 150/hr min250 or min two hours. Processing takes a lot of time and this would be included.

Then again, thinking out loud, per song may be the way to go since that's how i process anyway....

appreciate tjhe candid comments.
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Old March 31st, 2010, 09:57 PM   #11
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You're asking the wrong question.

Video, like most everything else in the world is intrinsically WORTHLESS at least until there's a buyer and a seller agreement.
You're not describing a problem of generating transactions, just annoyed because your transactions are at the bitter low end of the scale.

So the real question you're asking is "How can I get people to pay me MORE money for the video I make."

To understand that, you've got to understand that there is only ONE reason for a person to give another person money.

The person GIVING the money has to be convinced that they have a PROBLEM that giving money to the OTHER PERSON can solve.

The AMOUNT of money is directly related to the size, complexity and cost of the original PROBLEM.

In your case, guys "want" a nice video of their performance. They've pegged the VALUE of solving this "want" at a couple of hundred bucks. So you're stuck.

If you want more, you've got to either convince them that the solution you're providing is really worth more than you've already conditioned them to expect - OR you need to learn how to use your camera to SOLVE BIGGER PROBLEMS. There are guys right now using the same camera to shoot war footage in Afganistan. They're getting a LOT more than you, because someone is willing to pay to solve the problem of getting imagery from a War Zone. As a corporate video guy, I regularly get budgets in the mid five figures zone - why? Because the problem - providing training content for a company that may have 25,000 employees - is WELL WORTH a couple of bucks a head.

Bottom line. If you want more money, you need to figure out how to use your camera to solve problems for people that they are CONVINCED are worth more than $200.

Heck, you're in Nashville. Music City. Those bands travel in zillion dollar buses. Who makes those busses? Can you learn to be the best damn custom touring bus instruction video maker on the planet? Would that video be worth to the custom touring bus maker to include with each purchase? Bet it would be more than $250. See the point? Don't think of making videos. Think about what problems you can solve. This isn't photography anymore where we're just solving the need for images for brochures or to remember weddings. This is VIDEO. The most powerful communications and training technology solution that's ever been created. So new thinking is needed.

How you go about that is your business. But untll you do, you'll be stuck right where you are.

Good luck.
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Old April 1st, 2010, 11:44 AM   #12
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Thanks for the reply Bill. You are talking about corp and music biz folks with budgets. That's a whole different deal.

I know most folks will try to solve their problem with the least amount they must use. These folks need to get an idea of just how much it will cost to solve their problem. Part of that is me giving a responsible quote that is fair to all.

That's all I was trying to do is set a rate/price for a certain live event shoot such that when asked i say this.

Thanks for the feedback.
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Old April 1st, 2010, 01:11 PM   #13
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Bill, great post!

Harry, I come from a professional music background and it is tough but I do not market a lot to that industry. I love the work but the budgets as you stated are non-existent along with people who know good quality as well. So it needs to be cheap and good.

Maybe consider this almost pro-bono work if you enjoy it and branch out for more lucrative work?

I find myself open to discounts to this industry because I know where everybody in this space is coming from. But I do not think you can get the pricing up very easily.
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Old April 1st, 2010, 01:38 PM   #14
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Just wanted to add $0.02 to Bill's post... that was all stuff that was very important, and took me a long time to learn.

Another is this: It's easier to sell people on video that will make them money (TV commercials, sales videos, product demos, point of sale video, digitial signage) than it is to sell people on video that will cost them money (i.e. video newsletters, training videos, webcasts, etc.).
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Old April 1st, 2010, 02:54 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Harry Simpson View Post
Thanks for the reply Bill. You are talking about corp and music biz folks with budgets. That's a whole different deal.

I know most folks will try to solve their problem with the least amount they must use. These folks need to get an idea of just how much it will cost to solve their problem. Part of that is me giving a responsible quote that is fair to all.

That's all I was trying to do is set a rate/price for a certain live event shoot such that when asked i say this.

Thanks for the feedback.

Okay, let's say you're serious about this.

Then here's what you do. Follow the same practices that people who deal with money have followed since the dawn of business.

Take the cost of ALL of your equipment. Every scrap of tape and stand, and your vehicle to transport it and literally the washing or dry cleaning of the clothes you get sweaty when you go shoot in the nightclub. Include the part of your rent or mortgage you allocate for storing your gear since that too, is a necessary business cost. Think broadly, insurance? batteries? repairs over time? What will you REALLY need to spend to support this business effort.

Tally ALL your costs.

Make sure to consider the DEPRECIATION costs of that gear you use. What will it be worth when you go sell it verses what it cost you new.

That's the process of determining your REAL overhead costs of generating your product or service.

Then put that aside and do a projection of what you wish to earn. This is accomplished by taking your TIME INVENTORY - how many days or weeks per year you are going to devote to making the money you need to live on. This is up to you, but you can decide you want to make $5000 as a part timer - or $100,000 as a full timer - again it's up to you. Also consider the cost of paying stuff like your income taxes and any business licesnses and permit fees you might need.

When considering the TIME you'll spend, make sure you consider load-in to load-out hours - PLUS the NON WORKING time it will take you to prep and maintain your gear. Again, these are YOUR estimates.

Take the money you want to earn, ADD the costs you determined in the first part of this, and divide the total by the HOURS you've projected to work.

This will get you a REAL "my time costs this much an hour if I'm on my plan" number.

The hard part to then realize is that any hour you DON'T sell at that rate, puts you in the hole. So a cancelled shoot or a client band that stiffs you STEALS time from your plan.

Then business is simple. Any hour you sell at that rate is a success. Any hour you sell at anything LESS than that rate is a business failure.

This is how every successful business has operated since the dawn of time.

You MUST determine the ACTUAL cost of your inventory - and in your situation, your inventory is your time. Which for all of us is sadly slipping away.

Good luck.

BTW, this isn't really a "with or without budgets" thing at all. It's an "actually making money" verses "thinking I'm making money" thing. Which is critical if you want to keep doing what you do and not eventually realize that you're actually slowly going broke doing it.

Last edited by Bill Davis; April 2nd, 2010 at 12:32 AM.
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