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Old February 19th, 2008, 02:29 PM   #1
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Hourly/Per Project Recommended rates.

I'm looking for some advice on what a normal hourly and per project rate would be for different work.

Here is a little background. I haven't quit my day job yet but I'm starting my own buisness doing sound engineering/videography/anything that will pay me type work. I have a degree in Sound Engineering and own most of my own equipment. (Canon Xh-A1, M2, Nikon lenses, monitor, Mac, FCP, Premeire Pro, ect.) What would be good starting points as far as hourly and per project rates be for these jobs:

DVD authoring

Editing

Color Correction

Shooting (with my own gear, and without)

Format or Tape Transfers

Weddings

Music Video

I know a lot plays into what you charge but pretend someone just says, "here, author x for me" and hands you the tape, or points and says, "shoot that" and I grab my gear and start shooting. I have done a search for these things but its scattered all over the place and not very cut and dry. Thanks in advance!!!!
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Old February 19th, 2008, 04:52 PM   #2
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I guess it all depends on your market. $65 per hour has worked well for me.
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Old February 19th, 2008, 08:27 PM   #3
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I also think it greatly depends on what skills you bring to the table, experience, track record at production, professionalism and meeting deadlines. Anyone can buy neat toys, some people can use some of them, but to charge industry rates you must be very proficient, artistic when needed, business-like etc.

Video is a communications tool - nothing more, nothing less. Can you help your client effectively communicate a message to his or her intended audience?

Given 15 minutes with a user manual, almost anyone can do an acceptable job at "shoot that" with today's cameras. Can you effectively plan, artistically light, run audio, develop a shot list, shoot it, handle problems that come up, deal with talent, the client and environmental conditions at the same time, edit and produce? If so, charge appropriately.

In some areas, $65/hour is reasonable. In others, dirt cheap!
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Old February 23rd, 2008, 11:45 PM   #4
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It does depend on the area, but evertime someone asks me how much x costs I have to do three hours of research to find out what other poeple are charging and just shoot for the middle and hope it works.
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Old February 24th, 2008, 07:02 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Jimmy Moss View Post
It does depend on the area, but evertime someone asks me how much x costs I have to do three hours of research to find out what other poeple are charging and just shoot for the middle and hope it works.
What does it matter what others are charging - what are YOU worth? There'll always be someone out there that will be willing to do the job cheaper than you and there'll always be someone who's charging a lot more and working steadily. As long as you have a feel for the general market situation so you're not totally out of line with reality, quote the job based on what it costs you to stay in business plus what you feel your time and talent is worth and what you deduce having the work done at your level of expertise is going to be worth to the client. That might be at the top, middle, or bottom of the market but who cares? Sometimes you'll quote and your client will say "But I can get it for half that from so-and-so!" to which your reply should be "Yes, you can, and their results might even be adequate for your needs - thanks for your time!"
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Old March 2nd, 2008, 01:28 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Mike Cavanaugh View Post
I also think it greatly depends on what skills you bring to the table, experience, track record at production, professionalism and meeting deadlines. Anyone can buy neat toys, some people can use some of them, but to charge industry rates you must be very proficient, artistic when needed, business-like etc.

Video is a communications tool - nothing more, nothing less. Can you help your client effectively communicate a message to his or her intended audience?

Given 15 minutes with a user manual, almost anyone can do an acceptable job at "shoot that" with today's cameras. Can you effectively plan, artistically light, run audio, develop a shot list, shoot it, handle problems that come up, deal with talent, the client and environmental conditions at the same time, edit and produce? If so, charge appropriately.

In some areas, $65/hour is reasonable. In others, dirt cheap!
I totaly agree with Mike. There are so many cowboys out there who have computer and camera/tech knowledge but who have no experience or talent in the areas of
"plan, artistically light, run audio, develop a shot list, shoot it, handle problems that come up, deal with talent, the client and environmental conditions at the same time, edit and produce? "

I have spent 40 years producing/directing/writing with other camera and edit operators. What I bring to the self-shoot is the ability to STRUCTURE a program in all ways, except run the gear.

I am now getting into the run the gear aspect as well, and I think I bring more to a show than someone with purely technical knowledge.

The key to any program is STRUCTURE, in pre-production, shooting and editing/scripting.
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Old March 2nd, 2008, 08:40 PM   #7
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I agree; there's no formula that works everywhere.

From the experience levels described, I'm simply not in the same league as others who've responded, so you might add the proverbial "grain of salt" to my 2 cents.

As a kid I played with Dad's 8mm camera, and drooled over even the first VHS offerings, but never had the $$, guts, or confidence to think I'd ever be able to do a job well enough that others would pay me for it. (My degree is in public speaking, nothing technical - and more useful in this business - like yours).

Now, after a downsizing that eclipsed a long corporate career, getting the kids through college, the wonderful support of a great wife (who's been paying the lion's share of the bills for the last 5 years), and the other challenges that make up "life", I've chosen video as my "2nd career." What I've found is that "beauty [seems to be] in the eye of the beholder", meaning that if someone likes your work, they'll be willing to pay for it. (Just be patient in finding those who like your work).

I started getting serious in video approx 3 yrs ago, simply lugging around someone else's tripod and equipment and being their general "go'fer". Watched, asked questions, and paid attention. After buying some equipment, going into debt, and pursuing mostly legal work, I finally got my first solo gig. I charged $ 100/hr. After that shoot, the producer (who had MUCH more experience than I) told me I was good enough that I should be charging more. (In fact, he even paid me more than I asked, proving there ARE folks in this business with a conscience).

After 2+ yrs of pursuing legal work, I still haven't shot a deposition or even a will, and all my video work has come from event jobs. (Only recently have I become involved in my first taste of working on an indie film).

This is meant to encourage you, not to brag, (because I'm still uncertain how much to charge), but for my most recent job I charged $ 150/hr. No editing; no authoring; nothing besides shooting, audio, and what I consider only minor directing. (I shipped the tapes directly from the job, so I don't even have them for demo footage). After speaking with a client rep, they were happy with what I shot. (After learning what they were willing to pay, I suspect I may still have undercharged/underbid the job).

Bottom line seems to echo what others here have said: charge what YOU think you're worth. (If you learn that you're offering a bargain, you can always raise your rates for the next job or client).

Best of luck.
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Old March 16th, 2008, 01:08 AM   #8
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There is some excellent advice in this thread. I could not agree more with what Mike and Tony say. Just as owning a nice Rockwell table saw doesn't make one a carpenter, having the latest and greatest video gear does not make one a videographer.

The really great points here are that #1, video is a communications tool, and #2, program structure is a vital element of that tool.

As for what to charge, well, I'm afraid there will always be threads in forums asking this question. At the end of the day you have to make a decision and jump in. When I got back into video a couple of years ago I wasn't sure what rates to charge. I did some research about rates of others in my area, and then very importantly, weighed what I bring to the table against what they do, and adjusted accordingly.

The nice thing is that unless you publish a price structure (something I would not recommend doing) you can always change your rates based upon your specific experiences. In my case I found I was able to up my rates almost immediately. Not by a whole lot, but my market is willing to pay the higher fees.
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