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Old November 21st, 2008, 11:22 AM   #1
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Rates For Event Videography

Hi, everyone. I'm new to this site as a forum member, but I really need to figure this out. I've done a lot of crew work (gripping, etc.) and shot a lot in the past. I feel like I've been selling myself short though with a lot of my gigs.

So, I have two questions.

a. A promoter in the city has approached me about shooting their new years event at a downtown hotel. I will be bringing a canon XH-A1 and my canon video light with shotgun microphone to the event.

I will then be taking the footage and editing it into a 1:30 to 2:00 piece that I will then have to convert twice and throw up on the internet with their approval.

What is a reasonable rate to ask for this service?

I expect they'll want me there early (8 or 9) and i'll pretty much be stuck downtown until 2 or 3 am.

b. What is a fair rate to charge a struggling indie band for a music video? Let's assume the video is shot at a venue with lights (so, not renting or bringing extra lights outside of maybe some soft boxes for closeups). These bands are generally on local labels and so they are on their own to finance the video. This would be shot on the Canon as well
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Old November 21st, 2008, 12:08 PM   #2
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William

From Day Rate Survey

Camera Operator $200 - $350 per 10 hour day
DOP $350 - 750 per 10 hour day
Editor $150 - $750 per day

Equipment rental 3% of retail value per day, 3 day week.

Assuming you are just starting out, low end of scale, that would be $250 per day plus equipment rental.

Jim
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Old November 21st, 2008, 01:31 PM   #3
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camera op versus dop

thanks jim!

I'm guessing camera op means I would only be supplying a camera and no lighting or sound? Also, i've noticed that a lot of companies want a camera operator to come with sound and lights and then they try to lo-ball you because they don't know the industry. Then, they counter with...well, that's what joe did when he shot for us. How do you normally work around that? or is it best just to find other clients?

Last edited by William Holland; November 21st, 2008 at 03:50 PM.
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Old November 21st, 2008, 02:15 PM   #4
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Hi William,
I've done a lot of this type of work and when i talk to the client I ask them what i would be doing and suppling. In other words, am I just running a camera or do I need to supply the gear and if so what type of gear. For example, when I do seminars in many cases all I am is labor to run the camera or work in video world. However there are other seminars I do where I have to supply the camera, tapes, lighting, audio, etc. Prices are different depending on what I'm doing. The same holds true for run and gun events as you described the one you'll be doing. Since in about 99% of the cases I'm suppling gear, which generally is a camera, audio, on camera light and tapes, I quote my rate. Sometimes it's a half day rate and sometimes it's a full day rate. Tape stock, parking (downtown can be really expensive as you know) sometimes a per diem or mileage might apply.
A lot depends on exactly where and when the event is.
All rates are based on a 10 hour day for a full day, 5 hours for 1/2 day and overtime does apply. For example, I did an event not long ago where I was on the job for 13 hours. Dayrate plus 3 hours OT.
If the event runs more thana day, I will package it all up and do some sort of deal.
Editing is a different animal. I have an hourly rate with the 1st hour being the most. I will generally package the editing also. For example, I shoot 3 hours of tape.
I know I've got 3 hours to load tapes, and X number of hours to edit, render and author. PAckage it up and give the client a package price.
Anyway, I have have an hourly rate to labor, a rate to get me and my gear and a rate to edit.
BTW, don't be afraid of Joe he's probably an amateur that isn't that good and doesn't care about the money ;-) Charge the job for waht it's worth.

Don
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Old November 21st, 2008, 03:38 PM   #5
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thanks!

Don,

I appreciate that. I've done a lot of professional editing and shooting work at different production houses in town, but I've done very little on this side of the client. Usually, I've gotten booked by a company that owns the equipment, and I'm shooting or I'm a shader, or a grip. So, it's frustrating when your day rate doing stuff like that is somehow bigger than what a lot of independently contracting clients want to pay for a finished product.

It's amazing how many people (with money, mind you) want a video for 100 dollars. To make 100 dollars, I could have just kept my job at Starbucks in college and worked a 10 hour shift.

Also, is there ever a reason for me to cut a "starving" indie band a deal on a video, or should I be firm with them and tell them to come back when they have money (even if they are my friends)? Just curious, because I know a lot of bands "breaking through" into the mainstream usually have friends do the work. Of course, I know that doing everything on a friends basis leads to trouble, but I'm wondering if anyone else on here ever makes or has criteria for making exceptions.

Thank you for all of the advice. This is the part of the industry I am still trying to figure out!
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Old November 21st, 2008, 04:17 PM   #6
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Don,


Also, is there ever a reason for me to cut a "starving" indie band a deal on a video, or should I be firm with them and tell them to come back when they have money (even if they are my friends)? Just curious, because I know a lot of bands "breaking through" into the mainstream usually have friends do the work. Of course, I know that doing everything on a friends basis leads to trouble, but I'm wondering if anyone else on here ever makes or has criteria for making exceptions.
The main reason for cutting a deal would be if you could use the material to promote new (paid) work. I'ts hard to sell something if you don't have a good sample in your porfolio.

- Art
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Old November 21st, 2008, 04:39 PM   #7
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that makes sense. I did just shoot my first HD (really, HDV) music video on the Canon and it looks really good. I'm going to do one or two more for cheap just so I have some different styles to work with on my reel.

Event-wise, I'm pretty much covered, having done a range of events. It probably wouldn't hurt to shoot a few projects just to have something more "artistic" out there.
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Old November 22nd, 2008, 03:54 PM   #8
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...Also, is there ever a reason for me to cut a "starving" indie band a deal on a video, or should I be firm with them and tell them to come back when they have money (even if they are my friends)?...
Do as much free work as you like! My ratesheet paying clients feed a whole bunch of work that doesn't do much besides pay for lunch and gas. It doesn't make me any less "professional" to also have a hobby of helping out on some music projects.

OTOH, I feel very free to say "no" to reduced rates, even when otherwise justified. I can't let my hobby work get in the way of paying clients. Or get in the way with other things, like time with family, sleep, recreation, etc. But when I can and want to I'll work for free or reduced rates.
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Old November 23rd, 2008, 09:17 AM   #9
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Seth, you are a fool to work for free or reduced rates. you not only help kill
this industry, but no client of yours is going to respect you since you don't have
enough respect for your work to charge a decent wage for it. You invest money, time
away from your family, etc to have a business, don't leave the house for no money if someone calls YOU. Now, if you have an idea of your own to work on that's different.
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Old November 23rd, 2008, 09:36 AM   #10
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This is a tough space to operate in.

The poeple are artistic and the jobs have a potential to be creative and fun, but they do noy have much money.

You have to ask yourself how much you want to do in this space because cheap low paying gigs often spawn more cheap low paying gigs.

I would say stick to your convictions and charge a decent rate because doing work for exposure gets old, quickly!
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Old November 23rd, 2008, 10:32 AM   #11
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Seth, you are a fool to work for free or reduced rates. you not only help kill
this industry, but no client of yours is going to respect you since you don't have
enough respect for your work to charge a decent wage for it. You invest money, time
away from your family, etc to have a business, don't leave the house for no money if someone calls YOU. Now, if you have an idea of your own to work on that's different.
Lost respect from clients? Maybe, in the unusual circumstance that a client is aware of it and is too narrow-minded to appreciate that people sometimes do things for fun rather than money. How are Seth's examples any different from working on your own idea? I understand the concern about free or reduced rate work undermining the market for commercial work. That can be a tough issue, but I come down on the side of doing stuff that makes your life full and feeds your soul.
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Old November 23rd, 2008, 02:46 PM   #12
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i dont disagree on doing things for your soul that YOU want to do. i am only saying
don't do free or reduced work for clients. If someone calls you for a job, they pay or
go somewhere else.
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Old November 24th, 2008, 11:06 AM   #13
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right

...but, for example, I am friends with a lot of music acts in Chicago who are getting bigger, but they have yet to really break in and their label contracts really don't alot for money to pay for a full-scale music video. These people are generally getting by working as bartenders or in retail and don't have a lot of extra cash.

I think that a lot of music video directors had to start out like this. I think the biggest thing is that if you do it for free or cheap, that you believe in the project. A lot of people approach me about projects I refuse to work on, because they have no clue about how much their pet project idea is going to cost. Add to that a lack of belief in the project, and you're just spinning your wheels. Craigslist is chock full of these.

I think it depends on what you are doing, and who the client is. Plus, if the band wants it to look like an MTV video, they've got to at least pay for the rental of HMIs and whatever else we might need. I generally make them buy tapes and any other goods that may have to be purchased. It's always good to have a friend who works at a rental house as well. If someone I don't know approaches me, though, it's industry rates all the way. Although, even in the case of band videos, I just ask them what their budget is and that usually puts some cash in my pocket.
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Old November 24th, 2008, 12:37 PM   #14
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Seth, you are a fool to work for free or reduced rates. you not only help kill this industry, but no client of yours is going to respect you since you don't have enough respect for your work to charge a decent wage for it.
I don't know that I agree with you. Yes, it can start the consuming public believing that we'll shoot and produce stuff for free and/or that our prices are super elastic. On the other hand, as William said, there are reasons to go "off the card" if it's deemed appropriate.

I think it's up to all of us to be very careful on this particularly slippery slope. If I shoot for a reduced rate or for free on one project, I make very sure that the client knows that this is a one off. I explain the specific reasons I'm doing it and that it's a one-time deal.

In this situation, I'd want the client to have some skin in the game too, if possible. That could take any number of forms.

Ultimately, to keep this from spiraling out of control, we all have to be very good judges of character to separate the clients that are really trying to do something good, different or interesting from the pikies that want to get something for nothing. We also have to be ready to walk away from the next job if the dreaded client wants you to cut your rates again.

No simple answers here. We just need to be smart about our rates to protect our businesses and this business in general.
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Old November 24th, 2008, 05:15 PM   #15
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...but, for example, I am friends with a lot of music acts in Chicago who are getting bigger
For me, that sentence fragment makes a lot of difference. FRIENDS are excellent people to "bend the rules and rate card" for, if you are inclined to do so. Just beware of brand new friends when people find out what you do for a living or hobby...
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