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Wedding / Event Videography Techniques
Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...

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Old January 11th, 2010, 07:33 PM   #1
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Location: Staten Island, New York
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Compensation for Assistant?

Hi Everyone,
I have a quick question. This is more geared towards the ones that have their own companies. Im thinking about starting up my own company. The thing is I have to have a second shooter. Doing weddings on your own is insane at least for the style I am incorporating. How much do you pay your second shooters for a wedding? Example 1: Bridal prep, ceremony, photo-shoot, reception. how much?
Example 2: Ceremony and reception.... how much?

I just need a ball park figure. If and when I do hire someone I dont want to short change them. I want to be fair. This work is difficult.


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Old January 11th, 2010, 09:17 PM   #2
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Hi Tom

I work on my own..much safer !! but my buddy Chip in Green Bay is busy organising a second shooter and was talking about the $20 a hour figure which seems low??? If I had to shoot freelance at a wedding I would expect at least $500 for the day but maybe I'm greedy??

I think it also depends on who you get...someone who wants to learn the ropes would probably work for free or $10 an hour but if you are getting an experience cameraman I would say that $50 is a closer figure to expect to pay. For a semi-experienced shooter using your gear, I guess $20 an hour is a fair price come to think of it??

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Old January 11th, 2010, 10:27 PM   #3
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I hired a second cameraman to try it out last year and paid him $100.00 to help cover the ceremony - less than 2 hours on scene. He used my camera that normally would have sat on a tripod (wide shot). It worked out real well - though next time I'd go over some hand signals as there were a couple of angles that developed that I wanted him to cover and he mis-interpreted my hand signals.

All in all though, it's worth it just for the extra coverage of the ceremony. It's hard to babysit three cams and it doesn't take much movement from the couple to mess up your composition with an unattended camera.
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Old January 11th, 2010, 10:50 PM   #4
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Your choice is either to gather a core of experienced but perhaps part-retired pros or keen and able students. Either way there's very few outfits that can afford what should be paid - it simply isn't in the business model.

In fact one of the best known UK outfits uses students or freelancing corporate people as cameramen most of the time and has a core of two or three editors who give the programmes their shape and feel.

Unless you've a long time in the business and hence know a lot of old pros, I'd network with your local media college in the first instance.
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Old January 12th, 2010, 01:08 AM   #5
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When I hire a second camera op who brings gear, I try to pay as close to my rate as possible. Just doesn't feel right charging a certain price for one camera but a significantly discounted rate for a second. Working this way, I've developed a good crew of freelancers who hire me on occasion. Good for everyone.
I prefer to have ops who bring their own gear as they don't have to waste time learning a new piece. Easier than renting all the bits and pieces and generally cheaper too! I'd rather pay someone a fair price and get reliable quality than go for a student or novice for peanuts and take my chances...especially at a live event!
Just my opinion.
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Old January 12th, 2010, 04:26 AM   #6
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I always use a 2nd camera - all my gear & I pay $150 - $250 depending on the day
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Old January 12th, 2010, 06:40 AM   #7
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In Toronto it seems like $500ish is the norm, using your own equipment. Though I am sure that there are people who will take a lot more, and people who will take a lot less.
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Old January 13th, 2010, 07:24 PM   #8
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Remember other videographers are not only your competition they can also be your friends. It is a great idea to meet other companies or shooters in your area. Over the years I have established a good working relationship with a few in the area here. We are all professionals and do a decent amount of shooting for each other throughout the year.*I pay a broll shooter $50 per hour with their own gear and I in turn get paid the same rate when I work for them. I do have a $100 minimum also, meaning if they work only a short ceremony I still pay them for 2 hours regardless. So, it goes both ways, none of us are getting rich off each other, but none of us are going poor either. We are all happy to make a little extra cash on days we have nothing booked. It is a good relationship to have. Keep in mind this rate is for an experienced shooter with all of their own gear that you know you can just let go not have to worry about anything. I do agree with the other posters that if you are training someone compensation would be much less.
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Old January 18th, 2010, 02:19 AM   #9
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I don't know if this has any relevance to the Op because it seems to me from their responses that most people here are basically decent people.

However, in the real world of media in the UK, the most usual entry route into the business is by on-the-job training or work experience. In London and possibly elsewhere, it is not uncommon for ambitious youngsters to be offered six or 12 months as a "runner" during which time they'll earn nothing, not even their National Insurance stamp. Even then they're not guaranteed a job at the end of it.

The system seems to me fundamentally unfair though I am assured by people inside the professional that it's primarily the result of the number of colleges (now called Universities) which thrust 30 or so "media graduates" into the marketplace each year, with qualifications that are of little or no use in the real business.
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Old January 18th, 2010, 06:09 AM   #10
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It all depends on the experience level.

It's usually between $50-$100/hr for shooters, and about $10/hr for admin help (like taking orders at our booth at marching band comps, dance recitals etc)
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