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Taking Care of Business
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Old October 24th, 2006, 11:26 PM   #1
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Corporate DVD Pricing

Hi everyone,

I've read a lot of different conclusions on how much to charge a client for a corporate DVD. The range seems to be from $750-1000 per finished minute, not including editing, shooting, or any of the other bells and whistles. A certain well known hospital has contacted me wanting a 5 minute DVD produced that will include interviews as well as footage from a 2 day shoot (8am-5pm) of a planning retreat. The client is wanting a presentation that will encapsulate the past, present, and future of the hospital as well as what was covered during the retreat. I've called around to get a feel from the local houses in town to do a cost comparison- what they charge seems to be from 2 to 3 times more than what I am charging.

SO here's the deal- I am asking $5,000 for everything. I will be shooting with the HD100, a lighting kit, audio kit with shotgun mic's, wireless lavs, and possibly two more DVX100B's for B-Roll and other footage. Is this a fair price? Im under the impression that I can ask for what I believe Im worth in talent and production quality. I will have more questions as this is the FIRST time I've EVER produced work for a paying client- but this seems like a good place to start. I am truly excited and looking forward to the advice. Thanks for taking the time to help me out!
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Old October 25th, 2006, 08:09 AM   #2
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Well, you've got 2 full days shooting at the event. Probably another day of shooting interviews and maybe location/beauty shots. So that's 3 days shooting.

Up to a day to review, capture and catalog useful footage. Maybe you can do this quicker, but I'll round up for safety. So about 4 days now.

Don't know how fast you edit, but I'd say give it a day to trim everything into a really nice 5 minutes, plus add some nice titles and credits. Start a high-quality DVD render at the end of the day. About 5 days so far.

Burn the DVDs, print labels, deliver product. Lets lump in other administrative tasks and earlier meetings and phone calls and stuff (the piddly things you don't put on invoices, but still takes your time). Call it a day, for 6.

Add a day for the "Oh Crap!" factor, make it a week even.

I don't know what your overhead is (B-camera people, tape stock, gas, etc...), but we'll say its 500 bucks. Could be way lower.

So by my unscientific estimate you've got a week of work for about $4500. I don't know, that's not good enough for some of the pros, but overall it doesn't sound like a bad haul to me. Of course my time estimates could need correction (and if they're way off I'm sure they will be corrected).

More importantly, once you're done with this - it being your first paying gig - you'll get a good feel for what you need to charge to make this worth your while on future projects. Plus you've got some quality work to demo to potential clients, you might get repeat business from this customer and referals to new clients. I think for a first gig you're probably doing a lot better than many others :)

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Old October 25th, 2006, 08:33 AM   #3
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The amount you are asking for your services is reasonable, I would go with that offer.
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Old October 25th, 2006, 03:22 PM   #4
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i agree

Philip:

Yeah, more to the point is that they are getting two of us for the price of one. As it stands, the PR department is trying to bargin with us at 5-10 percent of what Im asking for in exchange for a full release in January when the sensitive material is no longer an issue. The excuse being that after paying for 30,000 people to show up to the retreat that they are already over budget. Im absolutely new to the game, but if you want quality you probably should be paying for it- right?
-And here is what is even more annoying: they sat us down at the interview and showed us what they are looking for in a five minute piece. It was a DVD done for the federal government recapping a similar type of planning retreat. It was one of the worst DVD's I've seen yet: terrible, nasty titles, ugly dissolves, and shaky camera movement. Some people really dont know the difference between the water and sand. The people we interviewed with were very impressed with our demo reel- so Im still waiting for a call back? Obviously my partner and I want this job- I take most jobs for free because I know that a stellar portfolio is critical in the buisness, let alone the experience. They are definately going to try and talk us down. In response I actually made them a spreadsheet showing exactly what they were paying for...or rather- what they were getting FREE of charge. I hope they bite.

Mark: I agree, I think its a fair price for the work.

Two questions- 1./ How do I go about creating a contract (is there some sort of standard for this)?

2./ I've heard that you can match the DVX with the HD100- but Im worried about jarring the viewer with the difference in resolution, despite it going out to SD DVD. Is this possible or should we consider renting another HD100 (and digging into already empty pockets)?

Thanks again for the advice. The wisdom here is awesome.
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Old October 25th, 2006, 03:33 PM   #5
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1st of all, the price is what it is, you're not a car dealership. No reason to bargain. Remember you are in this to make a profit, it's a business. So stick to your price.

2nd: there are some basic contracts the you can find on the web, I STRONGLY RECOMMEND, you have a lawyer read it over and help you with it before you send it to the client. There are threads on this site that can help you with contracts as well.

3rd. you can do a lot of matching in post, so no need to really rent the other camera, good luck.
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Old October 26th, 2006, 09:29 AM   #6
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One other thing not mentioned, is re-edits and the client approval process.

For example, an organization like this is going to want their logo in the video, do they have it in a format you can use? will you need to spend time tweaking that, creating a show open? The past present and future and the 2 day retreat in 5 minutes? really? they have sacred cows that are going to need to be mentioned, and seen, and the length of the interviews are an unknown and may take some heavy editing, so I wouldn't doubt that will bloat the final product.

Your price is your price, what you feel comfortable with and feels represents your worth and the worth of the product. To come up with that price you need to consider and account for all variables, and either build them into the price or put them as add ons in the contract or letter of agreement. (i.e. yoru price includes X hours of editing/post production, additional editing is available at $X per hour and must be requested using a change order.)

Hal Landen has some nice letters of agreement on his videouniversity site that I have used in the past. the word CONTRACT scares some people.

Hope this helps.
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Old October 26th, 2006, 09:43 PM   #7
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Thanks everyone,

I've been on the boards long enough, quietly reading the "Taking Care of Business" threads, to know that this is going to be a learning lesson. I think this particular client wasnt anticipating that my associate and I would ask for much in exchange for the opportunity- seeing as how we are college students. College students or not, our time is even MORE valuable (that lack of it at least-18 hours sucks and sleep is for the weak) seeing as to how we pay just under 9,000 a semester here for tutition alone. They haven't called back yet; but I'm guessing they either are pricing other talents around town or are still talking it over with the boss. How long do you usually wait before calling back to politely inquire on the status of the hire? Or is that a big buisness taboo? I feel like they should let us know soon so we can start the pre-production phase.

Bill- thanks for pointing me in the right direction; im headed over to Hal's site right now. I'll let everyone know how this goes as it progresses.
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Old October 26th, 2006, 10:59 PM   #8
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Wow, I think everyone is really nailing the advice here. To throw in my 2 cents worth, I really believe that video production is not about how much it costs, but how much you (the client) are willing to pay. I try to get the clients budget right up front. I also like to get a clear picture of what they are expecting for their money. I've had interviews with potential clients where when I ask "what's your budget?" they look at me coyly and say "ah, ah, YOU have to tell me what you are going to charge". I explain that this is pointless, as I have no idea what they are expecting for their money. If someone wants aerial shots and their budget is $100, we're just wasting each other's time. I've never lost a client by getting them to state their budget up front.
However, I do give examples of types of projects and how much they cost to put together, and having a rate card is always a good idea. It seems like you have a good handle on things, and I wouldn't feel bad if the project doesn't go through.
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Old October 30th, 2006, 11:39 AM   #9
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and the call back...

Half. They want to half it.

What's weird is that they are already asking us to do a second project that needs to be completed by Nov 8. It is another DVD project that takes the schematics of the hospital and does a short bit on the engineering of the building with voice overs and such- something akin to what you'd see on the History Channel's "Modern Marvel's" series, only MUCH shorter (like 2-3 min). They are going to provide a script, 3D footage in AVI format, and images for the completion of the project. They want 100 copies by Nov 8 for the opening ceremony. The architect firm that did the schematics and construction of the building, HSK inc, can do something similar, and so they want us to put in a BID for the project. How much would a professional architectual company charge for something like this? How much should we charge? We can certainly do the work- even by Nov 8.

I don't think Im going to go lower than $3,500 for the original project. The PR guy is already calling back talking about where we can maybe cut corners. How do you cut corners on quality and talent??? Funny.
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Old October 30th, 2006, 02:28 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cal Johnson
Wow, I think everyone is really nailing the advice here. To throw in my 2 cents worth, I really believe that video production is not about how much it costs, but how much you (the client) are willing to pay. I try to get the clients budget right up front. I also like to get a clear picture of what they are expecting for their money. I've had interviews with potential clients where when I ask "what's your budget?" they look at me coyly and say "ah, ah, YOU have to tell me what you are going to charge". I explain that this is pointless, as I have no idea what they are expecting for their money. If someone wants aerial shots and their budget is $100, we're just wasting each other's time. I've never lost a client by getting them to state their budget up front.
However, I do give examples of types of projects and how much they cost to put together, and having a rate card is always a good idea. It seems like you have a good handle on things, and I wouldn't feel bad if the project doesn't go through.
Excellent advice....this is how I negotiate myself. I try to find out from the client what they want, and how much their wiling to spend. That sure beats describing my services for 1 hr, then the client walking cuz my price it too high.....
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Old October 31st, 2006, 09:22 AM   #11
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Can you live with $3500? that's only a question you can answer. My feeling is you gave them a price and if the price goes down, so does what you deliver. Can you bargain with them next time you need surgery. or a hospital stay? gee that room rate is pretty high, where can we trim that price?

There are variables that you cannot reliably control. such as (and this is the 2nd project described) the script they saw they will provide, the AVI file from the architectural firm (if they don't get the job how fast will that be available?... yeah I'm cynical).

A good friend of mine has a sign in his recording studio...

Good... Cheap....Fast,

pick any two.
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Old November 15th, 2006, 11:27 AM   #12
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clients that "know" more than you

So it turns out that this giant conference actually consisted of all 64 board members. I have to say, I learned alot- from the a business perspective and from the clients point of view. They liked the first half of the project so much that they are hiring us on for a much bigger project thats coming up, which is exciting. I think Im going to have to stick to our rates and fees this time, now that they realize we can produce quality work.

One thing I have learned is that the particular client that we were dealing with liked to believe he knew more than us, as if he could outsmart us into providing extra services. So far we have been doing alright; demanding a new agreement with each new service. One thing is for sure- I loved it. The whole thing. Especially the business end of it. I know that its small fries but either way its a wonderful rush. And its particularly gratifying to have our work acknowledged by so many people.

Thanks for all the advice and support. I think the next step for us is going to be a small business license or tax ID number, because more work is on the way! You guys are great!
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Old November 15th, 2006, 12:01 PM   #13
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Congratulations Alan! Glad it worked out and good to hear you've got a line on more work.
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Old November 15th, 2006, 02:09 PM   #14
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congrats, happy to help.
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