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Old February 25th, 2013, 12:44 PM   #1
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How much to charge to film 40 interviews?

Hello,

I need to submit a quote to film 40 interviews during the period of 3 months.
Then I will edit a 10 minutes project, the clients will provide the b-roll and graphics.

The interviews will be shot at the same locations but I may have to setup 40 interview during the 3 months.

I ask the clients how many he is planing to shoot per day and he says that interviews will be shot during the period of 3 months.

It takes me around 45minutes to setup for and interview and about 30 minutes to pack gear and live.
The interview can take an hour and I may have to come back for 40 setups.

You can see the type of work I do on the link below.
Change it to 720P!


What would you charge per interview or projects?

I was thinking $500 per interview. Each will take half of day to shoot.

The editing could cost $5000.

2 cameras per interview, and hour each interview and about 60GB per interview.

Professionals only please!
If you are stating up in video production you could do this for 5K!
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Old February 25th, 2013, 01:01 PM   #2
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Re: How much to charge to film 40 interviews?

I shoot plenty of interviews for plenty of budgets, and $500 for an approximate half-day is certainly around the going rate. I don't think you're too far off.

Now, in terms of reducing your work or expenses for this volume of work, assuming they do all occur at the same place, one of the first things I might recommend is to effectively buy a light kit to leave on location... something fairly self-contained like a Lowel DV Creator 55 kit or similar. Yes, this might be as much as ~$1500, but is easily resold, paid for after ~3 interviews, and saves you almost 30 minutes PER SHOOT (or nearly 20 man-hours overall) lugging lights around - what I've always found to be the biggest PIA of shooting interviews on location. Maybe you already have a set of lights perfect for this purpose, in which case that's all savings... but if you're going to be there at least twice a week anyway, this is one way I can think of to save yourself some bother or make the budget more reasonable if they balk at $500 per.

Another thought would be to set a day or half day rate, but such that they get a discounted rate if they can schedule these 40 interviews in blocks of 2-3 per day. It would make sense they'd earn a lower rate if you could be at their site maybe once a week and crank out a few at a time, vs. going to that site every third day for three months straight for one interview at a time.
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Old February 25th, 2013, 03:50 PM   #3
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Re: How much to charge to film 40 interviews?

Looks like you are WAY under budget.

Can you rent two cameras, sound gear, lights, etc. for a half day and still pay for your time & expertise? That's the real world cost. Agree that doing more shoots on one day at day rate is more efficient. Also, every one of those half days keeps you from taking a better paying full day job. It's customary to charge a 2/3rd's rate for half days because of this.

Also you are going to have to wade through up to 80 hours (2 cams X 40 interviews) of raw footage plus an unknown amount of your clients footage. $5000 barely covers your logging costs. What about edit time (which includes the cost of your computer, software, overhead, insurance, maintenance), revisions, final delivery, etc?
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Old February 25th, 2013, 04:08 PM   #4
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Re: How much to charge to film 40 interviews?

Santos, Kevin makes some good points, and you don't list where you live (I can understand why). $500 is the bare miminum for a 1/2 day shoot, if you aren't in demand already, and it doesn't get you an audio person to take the worry of sound off your shoulders. I really like having an audio person along. But you likely know your client's budget better than us. I also assume that you already own the equipment and don't need to rent it. If you have to rent, then you are, as Rick states, grossly under budget.

I would also agree that you should give them a discount for setting up multiple shoots per day. A few years back, on one project, I scheduled three interviews on one afternoon at the same place. Then shot a fourth interview on the way out there in the AM.

A review of LED lighting is a good idea, as those setups can mean a lot of saved time. The cost of at least one or two Light Panels could mean 20 minutes of setup and takedown time saved.

Rick is right that your cost of logging that footage, especially if you are still using tape, is a killer. Hopefully you are very organized and have a lot of the hard drive gear already. I use a RAID array and always backup and take off site weekly, as a break in can cost you your project. It's happened to others.

Good luck.
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Old February 25th, 2013, 07:30 PM   #5
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Re: How much to charge to film 40 interviews?

Than you very much for the reply!

No I'm thinking that I went to low with the proposal.

I give the clint 3 options.

Option 1) 40 day shoot ( one interview per day ) 20K
Option 2) 10 day shoot ( 4 interviews per day ) 10K
Option 2) 5 day shoot ( 8 interviews per day ) 7K

$800 for converting videos
$4000 per editing
$1000 for final changes.

I own all the equipment and I have 3 light kits.

What do you guys think?

Did I really messed up?
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Old February 25th, 2013, 10:57 PM   #6
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Re: How much to charge to film 40 interviews?

I don't think you will be able to shoot 8 interviews in one day. Even if you call it a 10 hour day, unless the interviews are only a few questions, it will take longer than an hour per interview.

Also, a 10 minute final cut with 40 interviews means only 15 seconds per interview. Either they are expecting a much longer video or they are thinking of each person saying one or two sentences each. Something isn't computing there.

As for the options, your option 1 and option 2 are not unreasonable depending on the going rate in your area. typically rates out here are around $350 for half day camera op and about $300 half day rental of camera, lights and equipment at a discounted rate. Full day rates including camera and operator are around $850 to $1000. So you're in the ball park.

What is your $800 to convert videos for?
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Old February 25th, 2013, 11:41 PM   #7
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Re: How much to charge to film 40 interviews?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Santos Ramos View Post
the clients will provide the b-roll and graphics.
In the history of mankind, this phrase has never panned out how you envision it will. It is always sold as if they have an archive of culled b-roll on HDCam, and it always turns out they have a grainy high-8 videocam of the company Christmas party, transferred to SVHS.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Garrett Low View Post
What is your $800 to convert videos for?
I agree with the supposition here, which is that you ought not be charging for this - setting up a conversion and then letting it churn overnight is not something a client should have to pay for.
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Old February 26th, 2013, 06:58 AM   #8
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Re: How much to charge to film 40 interviews?

Thanks for the reply.

The $800 is for converting all the media to ProRess but I can add it to the editing cost.
How much would you guys charge to edit a 10minute video if the client gives you all the footage and graphics?

You are right, the video will be longer but I put a limit for negotiation.
If this was a 45mm edit my price will go over 10K just for the editing.

Thanks for the help.
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Old March 25th, 2013, 12:06 PM   #9
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Re: How much to charge to film 40 interviews?

I think you're really low too, partly because I don't think you're getting how much time it will take to go through 40(!) interviews.

If somebody approached me for this project and estimated 5-8 interviews, I would say $20k is the minimum. For 40 interviews, not just the shooting time but all the days it would take to get through all the footage and find the good stuff, I would double that. You're just taking on a huge amount of work.

The exception would be is if they can line up the interviews to come to me in a single location, one after another, (no new setups) and they are 10 minute or so interviews (just a few questions) then you could do it on the cheap.

I'm used to working with clients that don't know what they want and so you have to find it in the interview.
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Old March 25th, 2013, 12:49 PM   #10
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Re: How much to charge to film 40 interviews?

"The interview can take an hour and I may have to come back for 40 setups."

This is the sentence that would give me pause. If I was bidding on this I would start my bid at the worst case scenario, 40 half day setups on 40 days dotted randomly over a 90 day period.

So some quick, rough math (and i'm guessing mid-range with costs/rates):

.6 DP = $360
.6 2nd cam op=$300
cam package x2=$1000
light package=$250
audio package=$200

total for half day shoot=$2110
multiplied by 40=$84,400

...and that is just for the shoot. With no sound guy or Gaffer/grip/parking or lunch.

Now, I know there are ways of getting this done a LOT cheaper. Getting gear on a 3 day week, scheduling interviews for 10 hour days, etc, etc. And you sure could give them a bid for that too, but this:

"I may have to come back for 40 setups."

This is what will KILL you if it actually comes to pass. You need to make a bid for that. One, because it will inform the client of real costs if they try and do it this way and two, because if they say "that sounds great! You got the job." You know you can actually do the work and make some money.

Hope this helps and good luck.
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Old April 10th, 2013, 09:24 AM   #11
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Re: How much to charge to film 40 interviews?

Santos,

Please keep us updated to hear how this turns out. After reading all of the responses I would say this is a tough job to quote.

My personal feeling from the state of quoting these days, is the job will probably not happen or be scaled way back. I am seeing very low pricing power these days and telling somebody $20,000 for 40 interviews seemingly would make their eyeballs pop out of their head, $84,000 is way beyond that.

I get the impression that us video people have a production standard that we care to keep that is way beyond what people think they want, or want to pay for. This is tricky because everybody wants a great finished product and we can't have tiers of quality. Folks don't like it if you say I can give you a half baked version for this much...

Just seems like people who want services these days are starting from shooting with an i-phone as the yardstick for cost. Hang in there and good luck!
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Old April 10th, 2013, 11:58 AM   #12
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Re: How much to charge to film 40 interviews?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Polster View Post
...
I get the impression that us video people have a production standard that we care to keep that is way beyond what people think they want, or want to pay for. This is tricky because everybody wants a great finished product and we can't have tiers of quality. Folks don't like it if you say I can give you a half baked version for this much...

Just seems like people who want services these days are starting from shooting with an i-phone as the yardstick for cost. Hang in there and good luck!
Tim this is a key point and I've been saying it on other business related forums.
One has to know what the client expectations are and/or how to glean them.
One has to know in the "Faster, Better, Cheaper" pick two equation, how to do "Faster, Cheaper" if that's the client's choice. Some simply want volume. McDonalds is a very financially successful fast food chain of course. People may need to consider how to offer viable fast food service. Key is making it financially viable for your business.
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Old April 10th, 2013, 08:16 PM   #13
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Re: How much to charge to film 40 interviews?

True. As people who are in the business of producing things others watch, it is hard to let something go out the door that is below your standard just to meet a customer's wish for lower pricing. Like it or not we will always be judged on the product in hand. I have and will always struggle with this.

I have been trying to participate in the website called Thumbtack but it is not working out so far. Seems like a lot of non-descript job requests without the ability to meet and glean their budget needs. It is all competing on price alone, which does not work for our industry.

How would you offer a fast-food version of video production? Not use lights? Dial the bitrate down? Use fewer cameras...?
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Old April 10th, 2013, 08:58 PM   #14
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Re: How much to charge to film 40 interviews?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Polster View Post
....
How would you offer a fast-food version of video production? Not use lights? Dial the bitrate down? Use fewer cameras...?
That's the tricky part. It's about feeling out the client's expectations. dropping the lights is a big one. As an "urban" shooter when I use lights I have an assistant and a car. if I don't need to bring lights I can go it alone and travel on public transportation with camera, tripod, sound. Basically I can give a client cost with lights and assistant and without.

The important thing in understanding and building such a business model is that you don't provide the same service for less. You provide less for less. But you do it in a way that the client feels they have an option and their comfortable with saving the money rather than you feeling uncomfortable that you're giving stuff away for free. The client then feels happy that you're giving them a bargain option and you're genuinely saving costs on your end as well.

On the post side you have to think how are you doing to make yourself happy vs meeting the client's needs. You can look at the job and say, I should build something nice in After Effects or Motion in a couple of hours or I can use a nifty plugin and get something reasonable in ten minutes. Will the client really know the difference? The ones that do, you offer the custom work and you bill for the additional hours. Otherwise use the plugin even if it hurts your creative pride a bit. Your time billing will be happier for it.

This even should impact your equipment choices. Do you really need the Sony FS700 or even the Canon C100 or maybe the just announced Blackmagic Pocket S16 camera for $995 will look just spectacular to my clients. Or maybe the Canon T5i will keep your clients as happy as the Canon 5DmkIII or 6D.

Obviously if you have discerning clients go for the best gear you can get and they'll pay for every creative minute you spend in post. But remember if you can cut your costs in half and pass on the savings to your client you might be in a better business position.

If you feel the market is less discerning you need to consider having a business model to match. It's hard for many to let of the creative desire to make every job an aware winner. Sometimes it's better to make sure every job is a bill payer.
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Old April 11th, 2013, 07:23 AM   #15
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Re: How much to charge to film 40 interviews?

I give a discount on single camera shoots, there's way less footage to deal with than multicam, less gear to carry etc. But I also try hard to inform the client of the disadvantages. I tell them it's a lot like when the news is shot on location by a skilled camera operator. There may be some shake etc. at times.

Nevertheless, a lot of really good video is shot ENG style by skillful operators using a single camera. You do need to remember to have footage for cutaway or do J or L cuts as needed, since there isn't a second camera to cut to when you move or adjust the primary camera.
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Last edited by Roger Van Duyn; April 11th, 2013 at 07:25 AM. Reason: typos
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