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Old December 23rd, 2008, 01:51 PM   #16
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Just my 2 cents...

I shoot and edit in HDV (XLH1) and most of it ends up on the web. Most of my clients want a delivered price, not an hourly rate. When I quote it, I'll break it down at 50.00 per hour. I usually work solo, If I have an assistant, I'll charge them out at $40.00 and pay them $20.00 per. I can't work for any less and I really can't charge any more in my market. I'd rather my gear and I were busy at $50 per, than collecting dust at 150.00 per. But hey if your market supports those kind of rates, by all means. And if you've got alot of overhead, you've got to charge accordingly.

In the end, you want a satisfied customer that you can do repeat business with, or provide an excellent referral.

You won't get rich at my rates but I love what I do. And I've got other get rich ideas...

Check out Buy wine online at Wine Library Click on the wine library TV tab. This guy has somewhere around 600 wine tasting videos on his site. Gets like 80,000 viewers a day and sold 45 million worth of product through his site, and has been featured in the Wall Street Journal. The videos are not well produced, yet people are compelled to watch.

If it's getting rich that you want, we won't get there even at 150.00 per hour. We just buy more gear anyway...
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Old December 23rd, 2008, 05:04 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Lippman View Post
If you know that the video will only be viewed at a low quality compression, or only in a small size window, then that can change your workflow, reflecting savings back to the customer. If you can afford to use a cheaper or lower quality camera...
This is something I've heard lots of people talk about, and I think its a slippery slope. Its important to not charge your clients solely on the equipment you use. People are, or at least should be, coming to you for YOUR expertise, skills, and quality- not because you have a cheap camera and can therefore figuratively "give away" production.

Quote:
If you are able to edit at a lower quality, meaning you can use a laptop instead of a desktop, or render times are reduced, that faster or more portable editing means you can get more done on their edit. If you're traveling somewhere else, and you're able to knock out their editing on a laptop in transit, when normally you wouldn't be able to work, that's could be reflected back to the customer.
All I can say is that if I have to drag around my laptop and edit on the fly right there- on top of the rest of my camera gear, lights, and audio stuff, the client will pay a premium for that. 9 times out of 10, I can't think of anything outside of breaking news that would be so important and time-sensitive to warrant such speedy editing and delivery. The vast majority of time, I have to rush to get something done because the client doesn't plan accordingly, and so they come to me at the last possible second. Sure, I'll bend over backwards to make you happy, but poor planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part. I can work fast, but video production is not fast food. You can't just walk in, demand a commercial for $100, and then walk out an hour later with a shiny tape or disc. This isn't to say that editing and delivering a disc/tape right there on location is bad, I just consider it to be a premium service. Compare it to FedEx Ground Service vs. FedEx Priority Overnight. Sure, your box will get there just the same, but one is going to cost everyone a whole lot more.

My two cents again, for a total of 8 cents, plus tax!
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Old December 23rd, 2008, 05:22 PM   #18
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right. how does laptop = low quailty for editing ? if its DV, its DV. if its HDV, its still HDV, or what ever other format you shoot on. still the same. if anything, bringing a laptop out on a shoot in addition to all the other gear certainly qualifies as a premium service.

the other bad assumption is you have work falling out of the sky like that to be double booked. then work you schedule better and spread the days out. yes it can happen. I used to get double booked all the time, but that was the good ol days.

just because a camera is cheap, doesn't mean your rates should be.

thats the hugest falicy out there. I've gone from various BetaSP rigs that cost 5X to 10X what my HD100 does, and I'm still charging the same rates. why ? well the camera actually makes better pix then the big old cameras, and I'm still lighting the same ( better :) ), as well as I've invested quite a bit into top end audio gear. so if I can make better pix with a cheaper camera, why should I charge _less_ ?

actually, having not raised my rates, I've actually taken a rate reduction compared to lots of other people who have jobs where they get cost of living increases every year.

how about making a little more profit for the day instead ? why be paying off a camera for 3-4 years when you can pay it off in a few months, and put the money into your own pocket for a change ? especially with less work out there. if I have to work a bit cheaper then I'd like, I'm still making money because I'm not taking $400-500 out of every shoot day to pay for the camera.

I don't know why folks think that charging lowball rates is good, because everyone gets hurt by that in the end, most of all, yourself.
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Old December 23rd, 2008, 11:23 PM   #19
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I think that maybe there was a misunderstanding. I didn't mean that you could edit on the spot, on a laptop. I meant that, if you were able to use a laptop instead of a desktop, because you knew you'd be able to edit a proxy which would work fine for the final delivery requirements, then that could mean you were able to work at a time when their project wasn't causing you to not be working on other projects, i.e. while on the plane, etc. Not as soon as you've shot the footage.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shawn McCalip
Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Lippman
If you know that the video will only be viewed at a low quality compression, or only in a small size window, then that can change your workflow, reflecting savings back to the customer. If you can afford to use a cheaper or lower quality camera...
This is something I've heard lots of people talk about, and I think its a slippery slope. Its important to not charge your clients solely on the equipment you use. People are, or at least should be, coming to you for YOUR expertise, skills, and quality- not because you have a cheap camera and can therefore figuratively "give away" production.
By "using a cheaper or lower quality camera", I meant; it's not like you could be using that camera for another venue which, while it might pay more, would require a higher final delivery quality. Therefore, while the client should still be paying you for your talent, your price should reflect that, if you were double-booked, and the only camera you had left to provide was, say, a HV-20, then it's not like you could be at another location with another, better-paying client, because of physical limitations on the amount and quality of cameras you had.

Admittedly, a bit of a stretch, but I'm just trying to play devil's advocate here, and point out that there are, certainly uncommon but possible, situations where a web video could cause you to have a lower price.
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Old December 24th, 2008, 08:50 AM   #20
 
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Originally Posted by Daniel Lippman View Post
... there are, certainly uncommon but possible, situations where a web video could cause you to have a lower price.
I honestly can't think of any.

Content and/or production value is what drives the cost of production, not the how it's delivered to the audience by the client.
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Old December 24th, 2008, 11:37 AM   #21
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I see what you mean Daniel, and there are one or two scenarios where web production could be less expensive. One instance that comes to mind is when a client needs a single camera set up to record say, a podcast. A few lights, white balance, focus, a simple wide shot, hit the record button, and walk away for 45 minutes. Hand off the tape to the client, or encode directly to MP4 or your flavor of choice, and you're done. for something like that, I can see providing a discount or a price break, but it's still a slippery slope.

As for the laptop thing, thanks for explaining. Although for myself, I'd still charge the client more even if I was editing a low-res proxy in transit. I've tried to work on airplanes before, it's not much fun!
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Old December 24th, 2008, 12:21 PM   #22
 
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Shawn, those same requirements could be for a documentary, a commercial, DVD, even a broadcast. Again, you're talking about the production requirements, not the delivery.

And by the way, any cameraman who would walk away from a running camera should be taken out, and... it's too gruesome to talk about.
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Old December 24th, 2008, 12:50 PM   #23
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Hahaha!

I mean that in the most figurative and NON-literal way, Jay. I NEVER leave a camera just sitting there on sticks, whether it's rolling or not. I know its a heinous crime, but I can still joke about it.

But I guess I kinda veered off topic there. You're right about production requirements vs. delivery requirements. They're two separate things, but the production shouldn't dictate delivery requirements. I think that's the biggest mistake being made right now, and it's one reason the web is having a hard time justifying itself as a good end-product/format. There are so many people that think just because it's going to be displayed at 320X240 and play back at 500kbps, we don't need to worry about lights, audio, and all those "little" things and basically give away production. Then, when people see a horrible looking video with bad sound to boot, they don't think it's worth it to invest any advertising or marketing dollars in the web.

I'd suggest finding and listening to a podcast called "This week in Media". The panel typically consists of Alex Lindsay, Daisy Whitney, and John Flowers. Alex and John are heavily involved in production, editing, and VFX, while Daisy is a writer for a publication I can't remember at the moment. They frequently talk about video on the web and their own struggles with trying to get people to equate production for the web with production for television. It's really interesting and I highly recommend it. You can find it on iTunes.
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Old December 25th, 2008, 07:46 AM   #24
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shawn McCalip View Post
There are so many people that think just because it's going to be displayed at 320X240 and play back at 500kbps, we don't need to worry about lights, audio, and all those "little" things and basically give away production. Then, when people see a horrible looking video with bad sound to boot, they don't think it's worth it to invest any advertising or marketing dollars in the web.
You're absolutely right. And we have the YouTube mentality to thank for that!
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Old December 25th, 2008, 11:54 AM   #25
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I'll add a +1 to those above that have stated the cost of production isn't tied to the output and distribution format.

Charge what YOU as a professional are worth and if you want to make a differentiation in output cost then list the output choices as an adders to the job cost.

You as the professional create the value of the job in shooting, editing, and processing the footage into something worth watching and not based on the output format of the work.
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Old December 25th, 2008, 01:38 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Jay Gladwell View Post
Again, you're talking about the production requirements, not the delivery.
I understand where you're coming from on this. My point is that the production requirements are affected by the delivery.

If you plan on releasing nationwide to theaters, you don't want to shoot on a HV20.
Likewise, if you're releasing for a small screen, small file web video, you don't need to shoot on the RED. Of course, there are situations where it will be large screen and a large file on the web. But if you're shooting for youtube, a RED camera would certainly be overkill.

This only affects the choice of camera, however. You do still need high quality audio, you still need to use quality lighting setups, but if you know you're going to be downrezzing the footage, you can use a lower quality camera, and still have the same or similar output for a lower price, something which can be directed back at the client.

Last edited by Daniel Lippman; December 25th, 2008 at 02:17 PM.
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Old December 26th, 2008, 07:56 AM   #27
 
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Daniel, I've neither met nor known anyone in over 30 years in this business that thinks that way. If that were true, no TV commercial would have been ever shot in 35mm. It's "overkill."

Using your approach, heaven forbid a client come back at some later date and ask for the video to be delivered or DVD or broadcast.
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Old January 16th, 2009, 07:20 AM   #28
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I guess I have a completely different marketing approach when it comes to a client requesting a video strictly for the web. I always try to sell them on the "shoot once for multiple outlets" approach. I've been approached many times by clients who "just want something to put on their website". Right there they are trying to devalue the end product in hopes of a better price. I inform them that no matter where the video goes, the price is the same so why not think a little bigger. What else could the video be used for? Direct marketing? TV spot? Presentations? Trade shows? At the end of the day, I've expanded their thinking and added value to my product and I usually walk away with a much better deal. Not only that, it shows I'm looking out for the client which breeds loyalty.

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Old January 16th, 2009, 08:44 AM   #29
 
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Well, said, Mick. Great approach to the problem, too!
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Old January 17th, 2009, 12:34 AM   #30
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Hi Mick,

Thanks for your post. I quite agree with your statement.

As I've been in and out of town for the holidays, I haven't been keeping up on this thread. But since I started it, I'll at least let you kind folks know how it ended.

From my previous posts, I mentioned that I charged the client what I normally would charge for a full day's worth of video production. For post-prod, I gave the client a discount (since I initially didn't know what to charge for web outputs; it wasn't a considerable discount, but a discount nonetheless). As for the reaction when I sent out the invoice; well, it was much like a polite---"Yikes! It cost that much!?!" reply.

Anyway, much thanks for everyone's input/comments/advice/opinions. Hope the New Year brings everyone much, much financial success. (And no discounts :)

Best,
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