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Taking Care of Business
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Old January 15th, 2011, 09:46 PM   #1
Major Player
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Bangkok
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How much would you charge for this job?

Yesterday I finally upgraded my equipment by getting the Panasonic AG-HMC 152 and a GoPro, and already I have work coming in, which rarely happened when I was restricting myself to a high end consumer cam.

I have already quoted this guy, (who is on a shoestring budget of course) but he's the executive manager of an events organizer and he writes...

Please can you provide us with a quotation for the following:

Service: Video & Edit of Golf Tournament
Event: World Corporate Golf Challenge: Thailand Finals
Date: Thursday 17 March 2010 (only one day 7am to 7pm filming)
Venue: ___________ Golf Course (we will transfer you from city centre to course and back.
Video: Capture golfers arriving, greeting, registration, briefing, tee off, playing golf, any celebrities present, business networking at the course, pro-am golf tournament not casual golf so some pomp and ceremony. The post game dinner and Award where winner wins trip to South Africa to the global finals in May.
Need raw video footage to be delivered.
2 minute promotional video of the event for future promotion.
5 minute video capturing essence of the event with highlights and players successful moments.
3 cuts of video edit until we get to final.
No voice over – actual sound and music. Live feed from microphone during speeches and winner of award.

Simon Pettigrew our Director of Golf and give you links to videos of previous events elsewhere.

At this stage we need a ballpark cost for the video for the one day event and post production to get us two final cuts 2mins and 5 mins with 2 sets of master DVDs.

As we are preparing a budget, would you be able to send us a quote by Monday morning latest? As this is the first time we are launching this annual golf tournament we are on a shoestring budget, so if you quote us add-ons to a bsic quote that would be good, I.e. Cost of duplicating 200 copies of the final DVD.

Hope the above outline brief is clear.

I am fairly confident that I will have mastered my new tool by March, though I have not used a live feed before. I have already given the guy a quote but as usual I fear either over charging or underselling myself. What would the job be worth to you? (Not including the duplication cost of 200 dvd's)

Any comments/advice appreciated. CP
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Old January 15th, 2011, 10:56 PM   #2
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Western Australia
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$10,000 if I did it. They want a lot!
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Old January 15th, 2011, 11:30 PM   #3
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This question has been asked and answered so many times before and the answer is always the same: we can't tell you how much to charge because we have no idea what your hourly rate should be to cover your expenses, overhead and desired profit, and how much time it will take you to do this. Only you know these things.

And if you've already quoted for this, why does he need another quote? If you change it you will bring on the interrogation about why your first bid isn't the same as your second.

But sure, I'll bite: between $7,000 and $12,000. That is, until I saw these two huge red flags, either one of which would be an instant deal-breaker for me:

"Need raw video footage to be delivered"
"3 cuts of video edit until we get to final."
No one gets my raw footage. Ever. If they want to license your stock footage, tell them you charge $10 per second, the way stock libraries do. An hour of video would cost them $36,000.

And three edits? Or does that mean four? What are you going to do if your editing time explodes from 100 hours to 300? Or more? They get to look at one rough cut, give you notes, and then you incorporate those notes and deliver the final. You must cap your hours. Or add another $15,000 to your bid to cover three rounds of 100 hours at $50 per. They will abuse this, as sure as the sun rises in the morning. Of course they get another cut if the changes are necessary due to your error. But not if they change their minds or someone gave a thumbs-up who had no authority to do so.

But perhaps these issues do not disturb you. But they sure would bother me.

If you want to break it out by task, I'd estimate shooting at 8 hours @ $200/hour plus 4 hours @ $300 = $2800
Equipment rental/depreciation/value: $500/day = $500.
Editing time: 100 hours @ $50 an hour = $5,000. Each re-edit = same.
DVD duplication: 200 DVDs @ $10 each = $2,000.

But these are just ballpark guesses because we have no idea what the going costs and rates are in your area.

[Another, possibly unrelated and irrelevant, side note: Have you actually met with these people and are they known to you? Or is this in the form of an unsolicited email? If the numerous spelling and grammatical errors are verbatim and occur in the request for bid (rather than as a result of simple cutting and pasting glitches in posting to this forum) then I'd suspect this is a scam written by a Nigerian Prince.]
"It can only be attributable to human error... This sort of thing has cropped up before, and it has always been due to human error."
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Old January 16th, 2011, 12:42 AM   #4
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Location: Bangkok
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Really appreciate the prompt replies, I had already replied to the clients email which I will post below. Though I'm experienced and my work has received a lot of praise, both the praise and experience apply to i-movie HD and a Panasonic camcorder and I should have been doing professional solo gigs ages ago, this is probably where my lack of confidence comes in when charging a fee, and the fact I am not one of lifes natural businessmen.

I quoted him a ball park figure of 85,000 Thai baht which is 2,788 USD. Bear in mind that over here general expenses are a lot cheaper, for example a small apartment is between 200/300 USD a month - but this will most likely be edited in i-movie HD as I doubt i'll be fluid in FCP for a long time.

Hi David,

Thanks for the detailed brief. I can give you a ballpark figure of approximately 85,000 thai baht for the whole package which would also include DVD menu/sleeve/disc design. Add ons would include the cost of outsourcing to a company to duplicate the 200 dvd's (which I would estimate at 50 baht per dvd set being it's a bulk amount). Should you require a second cameraman that would also be extra, however I usually use a second static camera when needing alternative angles for things like speeches.

The only question I have is regarding the music. Will there be live or recorded music at the event that requires uninterrupted recording, or did you mean music incorporated into the editing instead of a voice over?

Kind regards,

Cameron Poole
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Old January 16th, 2011, 05:39 AM   #5
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Western Australia
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$2800? Not worth getting out of bed for mate.
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Old January 16th, 2011, 06:35 AM   #6
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Little Rock
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IMHO, there is no way a single camera can cover a golf tournament.
The client will not be happy, and you will be working your ass off for only $2788.

Good luck!
David W. Jones
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Old January 16th, 2011, 06:58 AM   #7
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Filming golf tournaments - tom here sucks air in through clenched teeth. I've done such a filming day but was at pains to point out to the client that as a one-man-band I was never going to get footage that he (and the golfers) would be used to seeing on TV any day of the week. The client need to listen to you as you tell him this, and then inwardly digest it.

Your brief certainly sounds like a two man shoot and certainly you'll need (as I had) two cameras for the award ceremony, meal and speeches.

Let's take one line of your brief: 2 minute promotional video of the event for future promotion.

Say you shoot 4 or 5 hours, come home, feed the computer. With nothing more than those few words to go on are you going to write the script, do the v/o, get the storyboard passed? Are you prepared for the changes they'll want made to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd edits? This will all be time out of your life, and is why the posters here are putting in quotes for thousands and thousands of $$.

But don't let that put you off Cameron. Tell the client your hourly rate - for shooting and post-production (meetings, editing, many proof DVDs, delivery and so on). That way you'll have backup when they want 'just a couple more changes for Jack Nicklaus's version of the film'.

And good luck.

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Old January 16th, 2011, 07:00 AM   #8
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Location: Regina, Saskatchewan Canada
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I'm in a rather similar situation as you work as a still photographer is well known in my former city, however having recently relocated to another place, nearly a thousand km away, I'm unknown. I also am farily new to shooting HD video with proper equipment.

I was asked to do a project for a Health Foundation; produce two tribute videos for an awards presentation, about 4 min. each.

The location is a two hour drive from where I live, and I have spent a great deal of time travelling to shoot interviews, research, etc.

Also, being new to Sony Vegas, my editing time was initially very slow and painful. Since I was very upfront about being an unknown quantity in this market, I wanted to be very fair in pricing without de-valuing my work for the future. I applied the same rate for travel/research days as I would for a still photography shoot ($1200/day, all inclusive up to 250km of travel), and figured on $50/hr. for editing, with a 30% discount due to the learning curve slowing that process down. All raw footage is retained by me, selective copyright assignment made on the the final cut of the videos to the Foundation for three years, 6 copies of the product burnt to DVD.

End result was that it worked out to roughly $1250/minute of produced video, and the client was thrilled; they had gotten a quote from a large production house of almost three times that.
I feel like I've gotten good return, the client got good value for the money, I've seen a significant ramp-up in potential customers as a result, and I think I've protected my material adequately for the future.
I'm in an interesting market in that there are hordes of people with consumer grade handycams shooting weddings and graduations, and virtually no one in the entire province shooting mixed media presentations with semi-professional gear ( my video equipment is prosumer; my still gear is pro quality), editing, audio etc.

The two big players in the region are full on production houses more interested in shooting T.V. series and commercials, not these small jobs, so there is a hole in the market that I dovetail into quite nicely. I Have lots more work already lined up for the spring and summer, I can actually make a decent buck on it, and give a high-end final product to a group of clients who previously were effectively ignored through pricing norms.

For me, the key was fully understanding the regional market dynamics, finding the niche that wasn't being serviced, and capitalizing on that. One thing I learned very early on with stills work; NEVER devalue your skills; prices are much easier to adjust downward for specific "one-off" reasons than they are to adjust upwards if you find you're not making any money; in this case, the editing skills with a new program. That happened with this project but won't happen again...the client fully understands that and appreciates the discount, knowing it won't be the case in future, since I now understand the program.

I'd expect the valuation in Thailand to be somewhat lower than in North America, but take care not to undercut yourself too much. You may be the busiest videographer in the area, but if you're working for's hard to pay bills that way.
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Old January 16th, 2011, 07:56 AM   #9
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Cameron, as David pointed out in his post my fear would be that a single shooter would not be able to get all of the footage they want. There are so many people involved in a golf tournament there are going to be a lot of things (arrivals, etc) happening simultaneously.

If they accept your proposal, which I am guessing they will based on how low you quoted, I would write up a contract that specifically states it is for a single vidographer and that footage will be limited to what is possible based on that.
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Old January 16th, 2011, 10:01 AM   #10
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My sentiments generally mirror Adam's.
Cameron, brings up the cost of living which is why it's hard to quote exact numbers. My NYC prices for two weeks of work might well be enough for your annual income.

How to figure the baseline is EASY though.

Figure out the TOTAL cost for you to live each month. That's housing, food, all utilities, life expenses, whatever.

Figure out the TOTAL cost of what it takes for you to run your business each month. That includes the annual cost of buying new gear and software (everything MUST be replaced every few years to remain competitive). The cost of maintenance, insurance, consumables.

You now know the total cost of BUSINESS SURVIVAL (none of this is profit). This is what you MUST make every month if you are to stay in business.

Target making that money in 20-25 HOURS PAID WORK A WEEK. You will easily have many unpaid hours of work in marketing, sales, bookkeeping, maintenance, learning new software or techniques with your hardware, discussing things with (potential) clients.

Again the above amount is your BREAK EVEN SURVIVAL BASE AMOUNT. Charge less and you'll be homeless, looking for a job in another line of work, selling your gear on e-bay in a matter of months.

Heck you might even struggle getting that 20-25 hours of work a week but you'll have a realistic baseline target to survive and if you can't meet that then you have to seriously examine your business model as well as your local market.

PROFIT. That can increase over time but that's where you make enough money to take more vacation time, buy nice personal items, etc. That goes up as you gain experience, as your client base expands to the point you can charge more to limit your work to 20-25 hours a week, hire other people to work additional hours, etc.

Doing any work that is not time limited is a definite no. You have no idea, and can't assume, that $2788 will take you a week, a month, a year. You must define the time limit. At the end of that time, whether hourly or daily, they pay more. You must specify that in your contract and it must be done in a way that doesn't allow them to say you missed deadlines. An "edit" is an undefined amount of time which allows for unlimited amount of demands. I include time for one revision based on their changes in my contracts and the total time for the project includes that.
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Old January 18th, 2011, 09:37 PM   #11
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Cameron, I agree with the others that one camera will not be able to shoot all of the list.

The red flag I see is that this client with a "shoestring budget" certainly has quite a list of specific things for you to do. In my little world, if I can't afford something I do not ask for it anyway. This leads me to believe they are bottom fishing and might expect perfection for next to nothing. Tread lightly.

This is at the quote stage and you can still try to alter the quote or back out all together. Just way too much to ask for from one camera and that dollar amount.
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