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Old February 26th, 2004, 10:24 PM   #1
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How much for a wedding video?

I was just wondering what the rough rate should be for a wedding video -- say 2-hours, with graphics, effects, music -- really professional. I shot one for free a little while back, and would like to charge for the next one, but I don't have a concept of what I should be asking for.

I guess, you get what you pay for, but I'm thinking I'd end up having to charge too much because of the amount of time I put in and the level of quality of the end result.

Thanks.
--Craig
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Old February 26th, 2004, 11:05 PM   #2
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Let's look at the other guy.

I don't do them but, my advice would be to do a local search of wedding videographers in your area and see what the market will bear.

I do have a few friends that had them done and the prices have ranged anywhere from $700 to $1500.

You also have to take things like, multiple cameras, audio, hiring a second cameraperson and materials into account, plus time spent, etc.

If you are not doing it for a living, then chances are your overhead is probably going to be a bit less than say, someone who has a studio. This is helpful as you can undercut the competition by a few $$$ while still making it worth your while.

Also, be aware when checking prices that the quoted price is not part of a package that includes stills. The video price will probably be a bit less if that is the case.

RB
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Old February 27th, 2004, 12:31 AM   #3
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I think the average price for a decent full production wedding video in my area is about $3500.

I spent about 10 hours shooting and 50 hours editing on the last one I did. Based on my hourly rate, I would charge more than that.
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Old February 27th, 2004, 12:40 AM   #4
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It depends on a lot of factors.

1. Can you demonstrate that you are top quality by showing previous work?

2. Cameras, sound, and number of operators.

Here in Phoenix, the going rate is $800 to $3000. At the low end, you get any random sub-contracted camra man with a basic MiniDV cam and little or no editing. At $2500, you get a video from an established professional, 2 cameras, probably 2 operators, high quality editing, and possibly an "extra" or two, like a "how we met" love story.

For a single camera / single operator, wireless mics, with quality editing of just the wedding day, produced on DVD, I'd say the rate is $1500 to $1800.
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Old February 27th, 2004, 12:53 AM   #5
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One way to look at it:

Figure out the yearly income you should make, and then divide by the number of jobs.

Suppose you want to make at least $25,000 a year (before tax). Your assistant costs $15k/year??? ($250/job)

Figure 60 jobs a year. (that's a lot???!)

Equipment costs over 4 years:
editing systems - 2 X $3000? (replace computer and software every 2 years)
2 3CCD cameras- DVX100/PD150 X 2 with accessories $10,000?
Home Office expenses- ?
gas + car insurance - ?
Disposables + Media (DVDs, VHSes, DV tape, etc.) - ?
Add that all up. I'm going to pull a random number out and suppose your equipment costs will be $20k over 4 years (that's probably too low?). That's $5k/year.

$25k for you + $15k for your assistant + $5k for equipment / 60jobs a year = $750 / job

I'm figuring at a bare minimum, you have to be charging *at least* $750/wedding. Salaries, equipment costs, and number of weddings a year I have lowballed. I think you want to be paid more, have higher expenses (more/better gear), and count on less than 60 jobs/year. I think 60 jobs/year is too much- you might need a vacation, and weddings won't come in and fit your schedule nicely (1.25 weddings a week not on the same day- unlikely?). 40 weddings / year might be more realistic.

Now you don't necessarily need an assistant, so that can change things up.

With this approach, you are penalized if you're really efficient.

The other way of looking at things is looking at the market rate as Rick pointed out. It might be a bit too low to make a comfortable living. There was an article somewhere which went through a calculation like the one above and figured you need to charge around $2000/wedding or something like that.

And practically, you can charge what seems like a lot because there are people that will pay that much. You should be able to do that by impressing your clients (quality video, fancy packaging, don't get in the way on their big day, be a pleasant person to work with, look like you're working hard) which leads to good word of mouth.
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Old February 27th, 2004, 01:15 AM   #6
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From what I understand, 60 weddings or even 40, is not possible due to competition and already full markets. I think 10-20 might be a realistic number if you sold yourself really well.

ANyway, that's not really the topic of this thread.
You shouldn't base your rates on how much you want to make, like Glenn calculated, but on what the market will bear (how much you can charge in your area of competition). You always want to charge as much as possible.
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Old February 27th, 2004, 06:46 AM   #7
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I've been doing weddings for about 20 years and last year was the most I have ever done and that was 61. I work by myself and physically it got me. This year I'm going back to no more than 40 no matter what. Remember I also do other work for corporate clients as well.
60 can be done but it will take a toll.

As for pricing, there are people in my area that charge $600 or $700 up to 3 or 4 thousand. I'm in the middle. I know what it takes to run my business and approximately how long it will take me to produce the finished product I also know that I'm in business to make a profit.

I feel even if you are new to the business if the quality of your work warrants it then charge CLOSE to the median or average price for your area and you can adjust your prices at a later date.

Don't short yourself but remember that unless your work is absolutley killer and the BEST in your area, unless it just blows away everything else in the area it's hard to justify a higher price YET.

A very large percentage of my work is from referrals and that makes things a lot easier but it's taken me 20 years to get there.
Hang in there, do the best work you can do, treat each job like it's your last and 20 years from now, you can send me a hologram mail at the old videographers home and tell me how things are going.
Good Luck,
Don
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Old February 27th, 2004, 07:53 AM   #8
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If you do good work business will come. I can only do about 20 weddings a year because I have a different full time job. I charge about $850 for one camera, no photo montage and 1050 for a 2 camera shoot. I am definately still undercharging but that was by design. Just getting up to full speed. Last year I did 10 or so and this year I am booked solid for 2004 capped out at 20 so it's time to get the price up to something more comesurate with the work produced now that I am generating a better client/referral base. You might find it starts slow but if you do great stuff everyone wants to refer you to their friends. One key is to have a great demo that represents your work which you can provide to folks.
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Old February 27th, 2004, 08:01 AM   #9
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I'm very curious how much you guys spend on advertising.
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Old February 27th, 2004, 08:25 AM   #10
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I didnt spend much. I did one bridal show for $350, spent $100 on a sign and then $50 for multimediabuilder to make my CD Demo and $ for CD's on which I have my demo with clips and contract and testimonials. Have a friend who is a full time DJ who I get referals from and now a photog who send referals. Again I will say the demo is the key to booking business, in my opinion. Mine serves me very well. When asked, most of my clients say that's how they made the choice. I have only met for pre booking interviews with maybe 25% of my clients.
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Old February 27th, 2004, 10:05 AM   #11
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weddings

In response to Rick, "undercutting the competition" is all well and good until someone starts undercutting you! I can charge $600 for a 2 camera wedding and still make a little money, but I'm only hurtung myself and the market in the long-run. In reality it's just my time, and why not make some money on a Saturday instead of doing chores around the house. Also, how many times have we heard a family say that "Uncle Henry" has a DV camcorder why not let him shoot the wedding?

I'm not saying don't be competetive with your pricing, but don't get to "wild and crazy" about undercutting.

For another example, I live in the 68th tv market in the country (medium market) years ago all the account execs. decided they didn't want to charge clients for commercial production as long as the client was buying air-time. Now none of the commercial stations charge for production and we have commercial videographers and editors with 4 year degrees making $21,000 a year.

Don't want to sound like a jerk, just my two cents...I used to give two quarters but I got undercut:)

Carl B.
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Old February 27th, 2004, 05:35 PM   #12
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Thanks guys

Thanks for all the good advice guys -- lots to think about.

My situation is basically this. I've just graduated with a Master's degree in Computer Science and Film. I'm now in the stage of trying to figure out what to do to EARN a living, while I also work on writing and getting some features made.

I live in a very small town, where most weddings here indeed do get "Uncle Henry" with his VHS camera to "record the wedding." I will scout out those doing wedding videos, but I didn't even see any in the yellow pages. Not to be conceited, but I believe that I could compete with whatever is being done in this town, if anything is being done at all. I have substantial body of good quality work.

There's no way in hell I could ever do 61 wedding videos a year. That number shocks me. I recently directed and cut a 2-hour travel video for around $15,000 that took about 4 months to complete with around 14 hours of raw footage. I was thinking that a wedding would take roughly that amount of time and effort, but I guess I'm wrong! Seems like they can be put together much quicker.

Anyway, I thought if I could put together maybe 4 or so, for around $2000-3000 a job, as something fun and possibly a 'custom' video with some creative aspects to it, that I could use the money to supplement myself until I get a steady job.

Thanks again.
--Craig
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Old February 27th, 2004, 08:59 PM   #13
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No brand name and you expect to charge $2000-$3000? That is a bit high.
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Old February 28th, 2004, 12:46 AM   #14
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(Sorry -- $2000-3000 Canadian, so roughly $1400-$2100 US)

I mean, I'll see what people are willing to pay, and obviously everyone won't pay this amount. I'll keep an eye out for rich people getting married!

Seriously though, I realize I won't get that amount for every one, but if I could do 4 a year at that price, put 75-100 hours of work into it, it would be a bit of supplementry income. See, I was thinking that I would go beyond just a "standard" video, and try to do something specialized, which would be good for my portfolio as well as my wallet.

What do the majority of people seem to want in a wedding video? A female friend of mine said that it might be more trouble then its worth because its such an important part of people's lives, a wedding, that people are likely to be extremely demanding and difficult to satisfy.

Thanks.
--Craig
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Old February 28th, 2004, 11:59 AM   #15
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Craig, where do you live?

I'd say the most important things to have in a wedding video are:
1) sound quality
2) smooth camera work (no jerky Uncle Henry Cam)
3) consistant quality
4) fluid editing
5) capture all the important moments.


Remember, no one notices what you do right, they only notice what you do wrong.
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