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Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old May 6th, 2010, 11:51 AM   #1
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Transition to Corporate Videos?

I've been filming weddings for 6 years - up to this point I haven't done anything corporate. I've been contacted by a large local company about filming a 40 hour employee-training in July. About half of it would be conference style shooting, with 2 cameras and a wireless mic. The other half would be me shooting footage and training on the field. Any advice on how to price a quote? I guess my wedding packages have been unofficially based around an hourly rate, so maybe I should just add the 40 hours of filming, basic editing, and any materials needed? I'd love to get into that market more and this seems like a great opportunity, I'm just sort of unsure as to how to go about it.
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Old May 6th, 2010, 01:56 PM   #2
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I have a spreadsheet I fill out and it spits out a price. It's mostly based on an hourly rate.

Here's an example:

Pre-production:
Pre-productioin meetings - 3 hours
Script writing - 4 hours

Production:
On site shooting/interviewing - 2 days
Mileage - 50 miles

Post-production:
Editing/motion graphics - 18 hours
DVD authoring/web encoding - 2 hours
DVD copies - 24

My hourly rate is $75, my day rate is $750 and I charge $0.55 per mile (or whatever the IRS rate is now.) I also charge $2.25 per DVD copy. So for the above sample project, my estimate would be $3,606.50.
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Old May 6th, 2010, 11:08 PM   #3
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Do you need to buy Royalty Music too?
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Old May 7th, 2010, 08:06 AM   #4
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Chris, thanks for the layout. Seems like I could make a similar spreadsheet pretty easily that would help a lot. And thanks to both for helping me think of more expenses that I would incur. I would not need any music, as the finished product will be purely lecture. No real editing besides cuts between shots, with cross-fade transitions.

One major drawback is that I would be shooting with HV40s (mini-dv). So 2 cameras at 40 hours means I'd probably need to buy a 100 pack of tapes to be on the safe side. I saw some Sony premium tapes on ebay for $180. But that's still a lot of switching tapes live, which means a lot of syncing everything back up in post. Plus even if I just capture, edit, and finalize one 8 hour day at a time, that's still 80 hours of capture time.

The more I think it through, I'm not sure it sounds like the best commercial project to begin with. Video is not my full-time job, so a project of this size would require me to take off more than a week from my day job.
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Old May 7th, 2010, 08:39 AM   #5
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When bidding out a 'real' video project be sure to charge for everything you can possibly think of. Some of the easy ones to overlook include music fees, tape capture (I set this at half or third of my shooting rate), voice over talent, even for the time takes you to put together the bid (slip that into pre-production).

I'd feel really funny walking into a 'real' shoot with HV40's, maybe you can slip camera rental into the bid and bring the 40's as backup cams. When bidding a job, always shoot somewhat high with you initial offer and that gives you some wiggle room to bring the price down if needed. Of course you know your client, and know if they're considering other people too, so that last thing I said depends on how much pressure you feel to nail down the job and squeeze someone else out, but too much squeezing means that you could be left in a bad spot.

Good luck.
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Old May 7th, 2010, 09:50 AM   #6
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Wow, you really are shooting 40 hours? Who is ever going to watch this? :)

For a project like this, I'd rent a TriCaster and capture live to the TriCaster's hard drive. I've done that before for a full-day session (ended up being about six hours of video) but using that method meant very little post-production time, just rendering in small segments for the web.

So here is how I'd price your specific project:

Pre-production: 4 hours (which would mostly consist of meetings and facility evaluation and planning.)

Production: 40 hours

Post-production: 15 hours (encoding video for the web or DVD, authoring DVD, etc.)

Equipment rental: $600 for TriCaster, maybe spend $500 to rent a couple SD cameras, like DVX100 or Canon XL2 (I wouldn't want to go in with HV40s...)

Do you need camera operators? I'd want to hire at least one. Add another $800.

I would tell the client $6325. That's a fair amount less than if I were to record everything to DV tape and do 50 hours of work in post.
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Old May 7th, 2010, 10:03 AM   #7
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My literal mind didn't think of that idea, but the suggestion to record the output live isn't a bad one depending on exactly what it is you'll be doing with this 40 hours of video. If you're live switching and projecting anyway (not sure if you are) then that would be a no-brainer.
If that doesn't work for your purposes, renting Firestore type devices might not be a bad idea since it would save on the hassle of capturing 80 hours of tape and in the long run would probably save the client some cash.
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Old May 7th, 2010, 12:31 PM   #8
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For live capturing when I've done this in the past (for our local hospital), I've used Adobe On-Location with a laptop and an external firewire hard drive. (I've also done this with USB 2 drives.) Saves a ton of time in capturing from tape and also no rental costs. That is, it will save money, assuming you already have a laptop with a firewire port and an Adobe CS version. External hard drives are inexpensive now.
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Old May 7th, 2010, 12:51 PM   #9
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I film Web-based commercial/infomercials for law firms and professional sales corporations like health insurance brokers, retirement advisers, etc. A different type of filming, so take this with a grain of salt...

In dealing with corporations, I always look at what is the "value to the corporation" as the possible pricing and the "value of my time to me" as the minimum. The "value to the corporation" is almost always magnitudes more than the minimum hourly rate that you find acceptable. The trick is to get an accurate read on this.

For example, let's say their typical employee cost is $50/hr fully loaded with benefits and they have 50 employees attending the seminar. The bodies in chairs cost alone is 100k, plus the training, venue, preparation, etc. That would put the relative cost of your work that would be absorbed into the seminar budget to be quite low which would allow you to come in at a very high rate relative to the your minimum hourly rate.

This would put you in position to be possibly undercut, but make sure to firm up your relationship with the decision maker and it shouldn't be a problem.
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Old May 9th, 2010, 01:26 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Davis View Post
Wow, you really are shooting 40 hours? Who is ever going to watch this? :)

For a project like this, I'd rent a TriCaster and capture live to the TriCaster's hard drive. I've done that before for a full-day session (ended up being about six hours of video) but using that method meant very little post-production time, just rendering in small segments for the web.

So here is how I'd price your specific project:

Pre-production: 4 hours (which would mostly consist of meetings and facility evaluation and planning.)

Production: 40 hours

Post-production: 15 hours (encoding video for the web or DVD, authoring DVD, etc.)

Equipment rental: $600 for TriCaster, maybe spend $500 to rent a couple SD cameras, like DVX100 or Canon XL2 (I wouldn't want to go in with HV40s...)

Do you need camera operators? I'd want to hire at least one. Add another $800.

I would tell the client $6325. That's a fair amount less than if I were to record everything to DV tape and do 50 hours of work in post.
If you're going up against full time production companies this quote misses out insurance, depreciation, travel, food, administration and, most important of all, profit. Until I learned (by working for a production company owned by an advertising agency) I failed entirely to make money - made great programmes but no money. The company added 50% to the total costs as its profit. Once I learned this I also learned how to run a profitable company.

It's also why running a wedding video production company is so difficult - with so many amateurs willing to work for costs there's no profit.
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Old May 9th, 2010, 08:31 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Philip Howells View Post
The company added 50% to the total costs as its profit. Once I learned this I also learned how to run a profitable company.
Out of curiosity how did they do this? Did they charge 150% for each item, or add labor costs? I can't imagine they just put a line by the subtotal and titled it "Profits", correct?

Last edited by David Barnett; May 9th, 2010 at 03:21 PM.
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Old May 9th, 2010, 10:46 AM   #12
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David

No, when you're quoting for doing a corporate job you rarely if ever quote for anything detailed eg no of hours, no of tapes etc specifically, just a total for producing the job to the specification/storyboard. What I was describing was the construction of that figure. All elements, whether internal (we had our own cameramen and editing suite but unless I was doing it, scripts were bought in) were costed then sub-totaled and the 50% added to the sub-total. That way we made a profit out of our own staff's activity.

The merit of the system is that if you were forced to reduce your quote by competitor or client pressure, you'd know very easily when the job became unprofitable.

It is, of course, the way that most advertising agencies work most of the time.

Incidentally, sales tax (called VAT in Europe) was never added as an amount a) because commercial clients offset tax they pay against sales tax they charge, b) because it's a straight percentage of the bottom line (except in very specific cases) and c) because if the rate changed we weren't caught out.

Of course, it's impractical to charge for weddings that way because with weddings you're dealing in retail, and the clients rightly expect tax to be included. It's also why it seems very amateurish when our competitors to quote for a certain no of hours work. Naturally we should know how long it takes to do a job, but we actually quote for making a programme, adding our creative skills and experience to our technical skills, not hiring ourselves out as baby sitters or piano teachers.

Best regards

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Old May 9th, 2010, 11:53 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Philip Howells View Post
If you're going up against full time production companies this quote misses out insurance, depreciation, travel, food, administration and, most important of all, profit. Until I learned (by working for a production company owned by an advertising agency) I failed entirely to make money - made great programmes but no money. The company added 50% to the total costs as its profit. Once I learned this I also learned how to run a profitable company.

It's also why running a wedding video production company is so difficult - with so many amateurs willing to work for costs there's no profit.
I own a full time production company with four employees (I don't shoot weddings.) These rates do take into account the costs of insurance, food(?), administration, profit, etc. I don't know what rates are like in the UK, but here in the midwest of the USA, these rates are typical. Rates like these have allowed me to provide jobs and make a decent living for myself.
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Old May 9th, 2010, 08:15 PM   #14
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Chris, then accept my apologies for misunderstanding the way you described your quote construction. What you're saying is that you build into the hourly rate for pre-, post- and production all the elements I mentioned. I think that the OP might not have understood that.

May I add that on the basis of these figures you must also run a very efficient business. $6k for what was described isn't overcharging in any economy.

Regards

Philip
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Old May 16th, 2010, 02:10 AM   #15
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I agree that his numbers seem far too low. Here in Illinois, $6k is a minimum for a 30s commercial from any reputable production company. And $3k will get you a couple of Comcast guys for half a day (using Comcast's video gear). (these rates are for the simplest political commercials with a single person sitting in front of the camera)
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