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Taking Care of Business
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Old February 27th, 2008, 02:06 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by Dylan Couper View Post
Excellent question!

A wedding video is a much simpler beast to shoot than taking an idea or a script and turning it into a video.
I don't think so.

In truth the effort they take to do well is nearly identical.

The actual difference is that one is responsible for producing REVENUE for the comissioning party - and the other is not.

The value of a wedding video is largely in rememberence and nostalgia. And there's a limit on what people will pay for that.

The value of a business video is measured in it's FINANCIAL impact. If it doesn't impact sales or savings at a level significantly greater than it cost to make - making it was a mistake.

So the relative costs are a reflection of the perceived economic VALUE of the work - never on what it actually costs in time or effort to do one verses the other.
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Old February 27th, 2008, 02:18 PM   #32
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I definitely did not want to start a controversy when I asked for the differences in pricing for a wedding video versus an instructional video. My reason for asking is because currently the only money i am earning from video is selling instructional videos that I make, and I am considering going into video full time, and I am interested in whatever I can do to make a living. I do all my shoots by myself, I use two cameras, wish I could justify a third. I am hesitating at trying to break into the wedding video for one main reason. I have a technical way of thinking, it works well with instructional's and should work in a documentary style video. My fear with weddings is my possible inabilities to do a cinema style video, and the ability to make the entire wedding, and specifically the bride, look good no matter what really happens at the wedding. I would think a wedding video is much harder to shoot, yet they seem to bring less money, hence my question. This thread has been extremely enlightening for me, I hope I didn't hijack it too much. Thanks to everyone :)
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Old February 27th, 2008, 02:59 PM   #33
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Allen, i understand your worries when it comes to weddings. Regular people dont understand the work and equipment involved with any type of video production.

I'v shot one wedding video myself and what i took from the experience was.....if i never shoot a wedding again i'll die a happy man. Thats not because it went badly, it went without a hitch but the thought of dealing with anoying people for the rest of my life did not appeal to me.

Don't get me wrong there is a good living in weddings but it isn't for everyone. I chose to work on productions as a freelance camera/steadicam operator because you don't have to deal with customers, you just turn up and do your job .

And if your wondering whats the best way into freelance cam work i suggest spending a lot of time online in places like this. Iv met some great people online and worked with them including this site. The MTV2 job i have this weekend is from a Director i met on bebo of all places.

In my personal opinion weddings are under paid and a lot of stress

Andy.
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Old February 27th, 2008, 06:02 PM   #34
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I don't think so.

In truth the effort they take to do well is nearly identical.
Well, someone had to call me out. :)

I can only share my experience, having produced several wedding videos along the way of a career in corporate/commercial video. I'm sure there are many exceptions as well...

But the truth is...
Wedding videos are very simple, very straightforward. It is an event video that an experienced crew can bang off with only a couple hours of pre-production. Short of bringing in cranes, dollies, steadicams and having the option of retakes, weddings cannot (rare exceptions) require the effort that your typical corporate production does, simply because of the fact that all your shooting is done in a single hour, no matter what. By the nature of the event, you are limited to a maximum amount of effort.

I don't mean any disrespect to wedding videographers, they (in my opinion) certainly have the most STRESSFUL job in the video world and many are absolute artists in their own right!

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The value of a wedding video is largely in rememberence and nostalgia. And there's a limit on what people will pay for that.
I agree with you on that one. There is a certain perception of value for wedding videos, which sadly is lower than that for wedding photos, despite there being 10x the cost of gear and 10x the amount of man hours involved on the video side, brides (from what I've seen) will usually spend less than half what they do on photos on a video.
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Old February 27th, 2008, 09:20 PM   #35
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Thanks to everyone who offered up their pricing opinion as requested in the original post of this thread.

As for what I charged. I was rewarded handsomely but not all came in the form of cash so it would be misleading to give that price, not knowing the additional compensation I received.

I believe an accurate price for this video in my region is $2000 to $2500 as is. I believe if I had told the client that it would be $5000 or even $3500 to produce this straight-forward step-by-step instructional video, I would have simply priced myself right out of a job.

For you information. I did everything except appear on camera. I did the research. I wrote the script. I shot, directed, ediited, and narrated. I had approximately 20 hours into that production. I am a one man business (although I do utilize another shooter when needed) . I maintain a home based office. I have little overhead so I can still turn a profit at a lower price. My business expenses are primarily licensing (business), liability insurance (a business policy), supplies, and gear maintenance and procurement.


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Old February 27th, 2008, 10:08 PM   #36
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i think givng number is useless since it can even vary by the place you live.
some basic rules could you help to build a multiplication factor you can use.

- first you need to find the hourly/daily rate you want/need to make a decent life. If the budget is under this limit, then you are loosing your time or money. That is something usually overlooked, since most of people think that a bad pay is better than no pay at all. this is partially wrong. If you give a real value to your time, it is a lot easier to work.

-then you can find what the project is costing (renting equipment, travel, purchasing stuff etc...) , this will add to the first number.

- then you need to find the value regarding your customer.
In the case you mentioned that you give a master (dvd and vhs). That means you loose control of how it will be used (daily/once a year ?) and how many copies will be done. Any product sold on the market has its price heavily linked on the number of item produced (should it be a chinese toy or hollywood movie). So if you suspect the training clip will be seen by 1 or 1000 person, it must accordingly impact the price.
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Old February 27th, 2008, 11:00 PM   #37
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Actually,

I was going to mention in my previous post that the training video is for use at a single workcenter and for a very limited number of personnel who would be authorized to operate the equipment.

Had it been intended for use on several machines by several operators at several plants, the price I would charge would be significantly higher. Just like print advertising. Same ad, small town newspaper... lower price. Same ad, New York Times... higher price.

I did not mention that because someone would likely have responded that the effort to produce the video was the same so the cost to the client should be the same.

While I am extremely thankful to all who responded, I just asked what I thought was a very simple question regarding a very specific video in order to see what a specified product might yield in various locations. Somewhere it turned into a thread full of theory and conjecture. Even so, I do appreciate the varying viewpoints.

Jeff
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Old February 28th, 2008, 11:13 AM   #38
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My situation is pretty similar to yours - home office, just myself as employee and occasional help as needed. It looks like you're going for about $100-150/hour of your time if you put in 20 hours on that project, and that's pretty close to what I've done - covers my immediate expenses, equipment purchases, and still gives me $40-50/hour or so of personal income.

I like to base my quotes on the time I have to put into the project, and let the customer decide whether it's worth it to them or not - I don't like to play games and try to figure out how many copies they are going to sell or how often they'll use it. If they are going to use it a lot, hopefully they will also be interested in putting more effort into the production, which means more work for me, which is a good thing.

On the whole weddings vs. commercial, I do both right now because I need the business. I've done some commercial work recently that paid well, and that will probably force my wedding prices up, but I'm not going to stop doing them - I actually enjoy the work and find the people I work with to be friendly and willing to pay for my effort. Maybe because I work too cheap and they know it... (-;

I guess my policy is not to stress about it too much - just quote each job as it comes based on what makes sense to me, and if I get the job and realize I could have made more, it raises my prices the next time. I've been doing this ever since I got out of school and was trying to land jobs at $10/hour with just a GL2 and a Mac G4, nothing else. I got a few, cranked them out, turned the cash back into gear, and there you go, you're off and running...
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Old February 28th, 2008, 08:56 PM   #39
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Jeff,

I went to Windows update and my problem is solved.

I would have guessed $2,000 for the video.

How about the lighting. Do you and the client decide to let the machine lights be sort of dominant and the worker be under lit?

That was a large area to light, but overall, the video had a dark feel imho, especially with the subject not getting much fill.

This would drive the price down as little to no lighting was added for the shoot.

But you are correct that certain pricepoints will drive clients away because they have a ceiling, no matter what the quality.

When I think of some of the stuff I have done as a one man band, $1,000 per minute sounds pretty far off!

But, one man shows can price lower and get away with it due to lower overhead.

Thanks for sharing
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Old February 28th, 2008, 11:23 PM   #40
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>I believe an accurate price for this video in my region is $2000 to $2500 as >is. I believe if I had told the client that it would be $5000 or even $3500 to >produce this straight-forward step-by-step instructional video, I would have >simply priced myself right out of a job.


Nothing wrong with your analysis or charges.

You might be right. But consider that you also might be wrong. Not because the video is other than "straight forward" - but because how simple or complex it is might not matter at all in terms of the IMPACT your work might have had on your client's business.

What if currently during training/turnover of paper cutter operators, they expect to, for example, ruin 10 rolls of paper? And say each roll costs them $750

If your training film reduces that to ZERO - then they got $7,500 worth of positive benefit IN THE FIRST YEAR --- and paid you $2k to do it!

And they can expect to save that EVERY YEAR for the life of your video. Pretty good deal for them, huh?

Don't get me wrong, you feel great having made $2k and you should.

My point is that if you look only at what you are PAID, and not the potential IMPACT of your work on the client's bottom line, you MIGHT be leaving a lot of money on the table. Money that can help you secure better gear - hire extra help - and make your life easier.

What you CHARGE is one thing and it's always important to think about.

What your work can DO for the client is something that we DON'T often consider - and might be the key to actually building a more prosperous business.

FWIW.
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Old February 29th, 2008, 04:59 AM   #41
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Bill,
I really appreciate your input and I believe you too make a strong argument for a higher price.

I guess my reasoning is that offering the client a product/service which has a value much greater than the cost is a way to help ensure future business.

I don't want anyone to get the wrong idea though. I want as much $$ as I can get. But determining the real value is a crap shoot. You could vastly over value or under value the benefit to the client.

My price was based on what I believe the value was to the client and what amount I could be happy with.

Remember though, my original question was never "how much should I charge", but instead, "how much would you charge".

Thanks again your your input and insight.

Jeff
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Old February 29th, 2008, 07:43 AM   #42
 
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Bill, that is pure speculation on your part. That's no way to budget a video project.

Would you buy your next car from a dealer who based the price on how much money you might make as a result of using the car he sells you?
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Old February 29th, 2008, 08:47 AM   #43
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Jay,

I absolutely would choose the vehicle based on it's ability to make me money. I could get a mini-cooper - fun to drive, easy to park- Or I could get a Wagon/Van - which will hall my gear, and I could write off for my business.

I think that's a poor analogy to Bill's point - and I think he has one. It's not a 'crap shoot' entirely. Sure, subjectivity plays into it, but percieved value and 'value added' are important elements of a budget proposal. Understanding the value to the client, the clients ability to pay, the 'worth' of the product to the client, the 'worth' of DOING the project to you - these things influence the pricing. I might lower the price for a non-profit I feel passionate for. I might lower the price for a project that will give me contacts, skills or otherwise increase my marketability - I might raise the price for a client that will expect to pay higher, I might raise the price if my client is going to - as Bill points out - save much more than they spend.

In fact - that's the single biggest point I try to make to clients if it's at all possilbe. "I don't cost you money, I MAKE you money." If I can point out in an RFP how much of a return on their investment this production will provide - it goes a long way in justifying the charges that they may not see. "I'm not just selling you a video - I'm selling you an aspirin for your headache." This can take many forms. Headaches can com about from hiring 'uncle ted' or from "I can spend that much and BUY a camera and computer" sort of thinking. I've seen it happen. You can acquire the gear to make the video in less than a day. You can't acquire the skills. Thats why reels and awards and accolades are important.

All of these arguements are typically made by an AD Agency. Oftentimes- we must double as production companies as well as AD agencies is what I'm saying - Thinking beyond selling the production skills and thinking about selling the production vision.

Just my approach.
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Old February 29th, 2008, 10:14 AM   #44
 
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Jay,

I absolutely would choose the vehicle based on it's ability to make me money. I could get a mini-cooper - fun to drive, easy to park- Or I could get a Wagon/Van - which will hall my gear, and I could write off for my business.
No, you twisted what I said.

Bill's buying the car *he* selected. The dealer says, "What are you going to use the car for?"

Bill says, "Transportation in my video production business."

"Well, then," says the dealer, "I'm going to have to double the price."

It's a perfect analogy to Bill's point.

Also, I never said budgeting a project was a crap shoot, as your post implies.
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Old February 29th, 2008, 10:21 AM   #45
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Maybe I'm crazy, but I guess I'm having some trouble accepting that I should base my price on the reason behind the video (saving money, nostalgia, etc). I prefer to base my price on my company needs, and if the company or person feels like it's worth it to them, then I get the job.

I guess I see the saving or making money argument as a part of the sales pitch, but I don't see that bumping up my production price.

I guess these are the questions I ask myself -- what if you quote them low for a training video, and then they come along with a big sales video and you'd prefer to charge more because they are going to make more? Or the other way around.

Or, you work for your 'regular' rate for one customer, they like the work, refer you to someone who has a project that you'd increase your price for because they are making more money on the project?
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