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Old May 30th, 2006, 05:40 PM   #1
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Cost of a professional videoclip?

How much does a usual professional video clip cost to make?
If you're an artist and you have record company backing you up, how much do they pay or willing to pay for a professional video clip?
The complete production: preproduction, production, postproduction,...

Thanks,
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Old May 31st, 2006, 11:50 AM   #2
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Define "clip" - what you describe could be anything from a 30 second spot on the web to a theatrical feature film.
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Old May 31st, 2006, 12:07 PM   #3
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Sorry I was unclear about that.
I mean a music video clip for an artist, about 3 minutes...

Thanks,
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Old May 31st, 2006, 01:05 PM   #4
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Most of my work is for a very large corporation. They typically pay about $10,000 a minute for video. - This is not for a commercial (which costs much more) but for top quality professional video of an event, demonstration, etc.

This includes professional lighting, sound person, crew, etc.

Also, a shoot for a 3 to 5 minute video usually lasts around 4 hours, with set up and tear down, not including editing time and pre-production time (story layout, scripting, etc).

However, there are a lot of music videos produced locally (professionally, but by an aspiring video producer rather than an established production facility) for as little as $5,000 or slightly less for a 3 to 4 minute video. Anything less would be by someone who does not make their living doing this and would probably (with some exceptions) reslut in less than a "professional" look.

Hope this helps.
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Old June 1st, 2006, 04:47 AM   #5
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Thank you Jesse, that indeed helps!
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Old June 1st, 2006, 05:37 AM   #6
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Cheers Mathieu!

Ou bien sur, je peux et je veux dire . . . salut!

It depends of a lot of factors [gear, name of the performer(s), director, DP . . .] but lower than €10,000 NEVER! Don't be cheap!

We also need a REAL guild or a union to support the european directing career.

They must pay for quality if they want an artist. If they will pay for the gear . . . why not for the talent? The talent and the work make the result not the gear, it just add to the product itself . . . What do you want? And mostly, what the customer is waiting for? Art work? Or merely (one more) product?
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Old June 1st, 2006, 06:22 AM   #7
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Hey Mathieu,

My french isn't that good, my english is better, although I comprehend the most of what you said in the french sentence :-)

Yeah, I'm young and going for a career in directing, and now I'm working together with a guy who also directs (he's very good) and he maybe will have a deal with a big record company, but a deal as a singer who makes his own video clips. But we would make them together, so we were asking out of curiousity what are current prices.
He has experience in making music clips and has his own (small but effective) team.

ps: It's true that there is lots of crap about making films in Europe, especially in Belgium, I don't really know how it's in France but I suppose a bit better. So we are making movies without the Audiovisual Funds from Flanders, but with the money we earn by other projects. In Belgium they seem to talk more about making movies then really making movies, and quality is really bad most of the time. They never try to put their money in a better and maybe more daring movie.
But now I'm going too much off-topic :-)

Salut ;-)!
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Old June 2nd, 2006, 04:06 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mathieu Ghekiere
In Belgium they seem to talk more about making movies then really making movies, and quality is really bad most of the time. They never try to put their money in a better and maybe more daring movie.
But now I'm going too much off-topic :-)

Salut ;-)!
Jaco Van Dormael is a good filmmaker, a funny former clown and a nice guy! Toto le héros? A chef d'oeuvre!

;-)
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Old June 2nd, 2006, 06:21 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mathieu Kassovitz
Jaco Van Dormael is a good filmmaker, a funny former clown and a nice guy! Toto le héros? A chef d'oeuvre!

;-)
Yeah but that's Wallonië, the french-talking part of Belgium, where they seem to put more effort in movies (see also the brothers D'Ardenne) but in Flanders, the Dutch speaking part, they have some good movies, but most of them are really weak and very... 'safe'. They always play it too safe, it seems.
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Old August 20th, 2006, 12:44 PM   #10
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(late reply)

but interesting discussion, because there are probably differences between videoclips in Europe and US budgetwise. And (wanting to) get into stuff like videoclips myself I'm wondering this myself.

Why don't you try to break a videoclip idea you want to do down. The hours you have to work on it, the cost of equipment and extra crew, editing and so on. Add stuff like overhead en fee and you will find out how much you should get for a clip.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mathieu Ghekiere
Hey Mathieu,

ps: It's true that there is lots of crap about making films in Europe, especially in Belgium, I don't really know how it's in France but I suppose a bit better. So we are making movies without the Audiovisual Funds from Flanders, but with the money we earn by other projects. In Belgium they seem to talk more about making movies then really making movies, and quality is really bad most of the time. They never try to put their money in a better and maybe more daring movie.
But now I'm going too much off-topic :-)

Salut ;-)!
Same problem here in Holland.

by the way, are you the Mathieu Kassovitz from La Haine? If so, I love that film man, my compliments
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Old August 20th, 2006, 01:17 PM   #11
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music video's in LA area can range from 5k to 250k+
a small indie label might spend 15k ... a large label with known artist will go the higher $$$$$$$$ or they might spend 30k on unknown artist ...

the prices record company's pay doesn't mean you can ask for 50k or 250k from a BIG company ... the price you charge is relative to your experience and what you have to SHOW (reel) ... if all your video's were done for $500 but they look like 10k - they might consider you for a 5-10k video ...
usually NOBODY is going to take a chance on unknowns with med to high budgets unless they are with a BIG production company .. there are many music video production company's that have staffs of directors - they usually can get a new/unknown director a decent size budget BUT they are trusting the production campany that the new director will deliver ...
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Old August 20th, 2006, 01:24 PM   #12
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Mathieu,

I can only shed some light on the U.S. side of things, but I'm sure it will help. I've been making my living in Los Angeles since 2000 in L.A. solely working in music videos directing and working as a director of photography. I have not advanced beyond what I would call small to medium budget levels, but I am very familiar with the people, companies, and methods used here in L.A. There is very much a music video community of sorts in L.A., where everybody keeps tabs on who's shooting who. "Damn, I didn't get that job? Who got it?"

Suffice to say real, honest to god music videos for even major label acts happen at all budget levels. Budget for a video comes from the marketing dept at the label, and is related to how many records the artist sells. An exception however is if they have a new artist that they are confident can have a strong debut (say, an American Idol winner), they will spend more.

Ok, so you're wondering about numbers. A small budget maybe $2000 to $20,000. Medium budget $40,000 to $80,000. Big budget $100,000 to $500,000. Smaller independent record labels often stay in the "smaller" category....plenty of videos are made that never break the $10,000 level.
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Old August 20th, 2006, 01:42 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Donatello
music video's in LA area can range from 5k to 250k+
a small indie label might spend 15k ... a large label with known artist will go the higher $$$$$$$$ or they might spend 30k on unknown artist ...

the prices record company's pay doesn't mean you can ask for 50k or 250k from a BIG company ... the price you charge is relative to your experience and what you have to SHOW (reel) ... if all your video's were done for $500 but they look like 10k - they might consider you for a 5-10k video ...
usually NOBODY is going to take a chance on unknowns with med to high budgets unless they are with a BIG production company .. there are many music video production company's that have staffs of directors - they usually can get a new/unknown director a decent size budget BUT they are trusting the production campany that the new director will deliver ...
Don, as usual you're pretty much on the money (no pun intended), but since you've brought it up, I'll shed some more light on what directors get paid. I'll start at the beginning of the process and try to be brief. [EDIT: Rereading your post Don, and for the people reading this, Don is EXACTLY on the money as far as your chances for work at a particular budget level. Beginning directors will only get $15k to play with if it's absolutely clear that they won't f*ck it up. If you're a guy who's only made videos for friends bands and never worked with a label before, expect to be considered only for the $2000 or lower jobs first time out]

Directors in the L.A. video business are generally "represented" by music video production companies that specialize in the work. I wouldn't call them "staff", because they generally don't get a salary. The prod co send out the directors reel on their behalf to the record labels, who in turn contact the prod cos when they have a job coming up.

The video comissioner at the label is the person who doles out these "music video jobs". They solicit "treatments" from directors that THEY pick. Since directors are represented by a given prod co, the video commish deals directly with a producer at the prod co.

So they say "We're doing another vid for Paris Hilton, I think your director Spike would be great for this. Budget is $200K, it needs to shoot 3 weeks from tomorrow" They do this with maybe 5 directors from 5 different companies. Each director writes a treatment, turns it in, and then the artist, management, and marketing dept choose the director and treatement they feel fits.

Of course this happens at every budget/star power level. Sometimes the artist is a brand new band nobody knows, and the budget is $10k. Even at that level there are a ton of moderately experienced directors (such as myself) that have been working very long and hard for the chance to rise through the ranks and get better budgets.

So on a $200k video, star music video director probably gets to take home $20k or so, but on a $10,000 budget, since it's such a low budget already and money is already stretched too thin, the director will often put his pay into the mix to make some other aspect of the video happen...say to shoot on 16mm instead of DVX-100 for example (well, $1000 isn't going to be enough for that example, but you know what I mean).

Now that I've drawn out a very rigid structure for the business, keep in mind that there's all sorts of deviations from this process. Sometimes the smaller the budget, the more likely they are just to pick a director and be done with it. The farther you get from the core music video business in L.A., the more likely that "they just do things differently here".

p.s. Here's a little truism that gets repeated in the music video business: The only difference between a $1500 dollar video and a $15,000 dollar video is that on the $15,000 dollar video, the crew gets paid.
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Last edited by Nate Weaver; August 20th, 2006 at 04:52 PM.
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Old August 20th, 2006, 01:50 PM   #14
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Thanks for all these answers.
They are helpful. I don't really need them in practice right now, but it's interesting to know, not only for me, but to people I know and, no doubt, also for many other people in this business.

Thanks!
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Old November 25th, 2010, 01:32 PM   #15
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I found this thread of 2006 with a google search

I was searching for answers on the video business and google found this thread of 2006.
it would be interresting to know the numbers in 2010. Has it change with the arrival of
youtube, dslr, etc.
thank you
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