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Old April 8th, 2014, 11:23 AM   #1
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Dance Recital Video Pricing

Dance recital season is upon us. Thanks to a wealth of information and support from this forum, I am an amateur videographer who is about to shoot his 4th season of dance recitals.

I am quickly learning that some recitals can be more profitable than others and I am starting to question my pricing on these events. The first two years I did recital videos, it was from the same dance studio and each of those years I sold 60-70 two-disc DVD sets at $30 each. Last year, the same recital only sold 32 DVDs and I also did another recital last year where I only sold 18 DVDs. As you can see, doing two recitals last year was less profitable than doing one in prior years. Doing two recitals also doubles the amount of work (shooting, editing, duplicating, packaging, etc). I am thinking I want to change something about how I deal with these dance studios this year, but I am not sure how.

For each recital that I do, I work approximately 5-7 hours on the day of the event. After that, I spend approximately 40-60 hours each editing, authoring, duplicating, packaging, etc. I have approximately 5-6 hours worth of video that I edit, create titles, design menus, and so on.

For those of you who do this kind of work, how do you set up pricing? Do you have a fee for the time spent shooting on the day of the event or do you strictly rely on sales? How much would you charge for a 2-disc DVD that I have described above (4-5 hours of edited video with titles, menu screens, disc labels, DVD case insert)? Do you set up a minimum order quantity with the studios ahead of time?

Do any of the studios that you work with actually make any profit from the DVD sales? I was just contacted by a new studio yesterday asking me to do the video for their recital this year. She explained that her studio has always made a profit from a percentage of the sales. I don't know how that works yet but I will soon since I have a meeting with her this afternoon.

Any advice you fellow recital videographers may have here will be greatly appreciated!

Thanks,
Brad
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Old April 8th, 2014, 12:25 PM   #2
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Re: Dance Recital Video Pricing

I've been doing recitals for about 10 years.

My sales have always been steady. One thing that the studios I work for do is, not allow parents to videotape the performances. Studio A actually hired security staff and would have them pacing the aisles and shining lasers into video cameras if they saw it. They all make routine announcements not to record etc.


Method for Studio A (~350 students)
3 performances
- 1 Main Show (4 hours+) Sat night
- 1 Pre school show (1 hour) Sun
- 1 Main Show (4 hours+) Sun night
[total on-site time for Sat and Sun easily 12-13 hours]

1) Rely 100% on sales revenue only
2) Studio gets a $3/cut from each DVD sale
3) Prices
Main Show One 2 Disc Set $40
Main Show Two 2 Disc Set $40
Pre School Show 1 Disc Set $25

Method for Studio B (~200 students)
3 performances
- 1 Main Show (3 hours) Sat early afternoon
- 1 Special Show (1 hour) Sat mid afternoon
- 1 Main Show (3 hours) Sat night

[total on-site time for Sat 10 hours]

1) Rely 100% on sales revenue only
2) Studio - all teachers and staff get a free copy
3) Prices
Main Show One 2 Disc Set $30
Main Show Two 2 Disc Set $30
Special Show - I don't film it, let the parents record with their phones etc.



I don't do the first studio any more, simply because on the Sat night it was nearly midnight by the time the show was over and I was able to pack up and get out.

While I was making $4000-$5000 on it, I'd rather do the smaller one and make ~$3000 with less time on site and less hassle. Plus keeping 100% of the money.

I do single camera shoots, and since I'm all digital, I start and stop between each dance.

When it comes to editing, they go together super quick because of "Automate to Timeline" and then I mostly just check the beginning and end points for cross dissolve smoothness. The shots are all wide so there's nothing really to do.

I have the studio send me all the graphics for the program and then I put it in a Photoshop DVD case insert cover template and bam it's done. I have the covers bulk printed and trimmed at Staples for pretty cheap in full color and they come out looking great.

I've got a 1:5 16x DVD duplicator that spits out full DVDs in 6 minutes. The bottle neck is in the on disc printing. I can only do 1 at a time. I do simple black text on the DVDs. Name of the studio and year and show time. I can print 5 DVDs and put them in the cases in the time it takes to burn 5 basically.

The most difficult part of the whole process is putting the case wrappers into the cases. lol
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Old April 16th, 2014, 10:09 AM   #3
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Re: Dance Recital Video Pricing

I have a new dance studio requesting my services this year. They want to make a profit from the DVD sales. This is the first time I have encountered this. I personally cannot understand why they should make any profit from it, but I guess they always have, so I have to consider it.

I have always sold my DVD sets for $30 each as stated in my original post. This particular studio owner wants me to sell them for $40 and give her $10 from each sale. I was hesitant to take this gig because I don't agree with her getting 25%, but I still agreed to do it because it could still be profitable for me. From what she told me, their studio has always sold the DVDs for $50 each and average over 50 sales.

Any thoughts on this? Is she taking advantage of me?

Keep in mind I am not a professional and have no contracts or anything to go with my services. My experience this far has been doing 4 recitals over the past 3 years with pretty good results.
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Old April 16th, 2014, 11:46 AM   #4
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Re: Dance Recital Video Pricing

To me, $10 seems high.

As noted above, the most I've ever given was $3/copy for a recital.

For marching band competitions, we'd do $5 to the band boosters organization.

Some studios have never heard of any such thing, giving them a cut of sales, and it is a great way to get your foot in the door if you want to pick up more of that kind of work. Back in the day we were actually doing 6 or 7 big studios between here and Nashville, that we got with that method and it was great income - for everyone involved.
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Old April 16th, 2014, 03:43 PM   #5
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Re: Dance Recital Video Pricing

Is there a way to do digital distribution? Say, people pay $10 and get a download code that only works once? Or would you simply assume that few enough people would cheat and pass the link around that it still is profitable.
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Old April 16th, 2014, 04:24 PM   #6
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Re: Dance Recital Video Pricing

I do the video for three studios and have made pricing simple, I charge 35$ per DVD which includes tax and shipping. I send the studios order forms and require them to presell 15 DVD's per performance before I will show up. Also the studio does not get any kickback,
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Old April 16th, 2014, 10:05 PM   #7
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Re: Dance Recital Video Pricing

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Benda View Post
Is there a way to do digital distribution? Say, people pay $10 and get a download code that only works once? Or would you simply assume that few enough people would cheat and pass the link around that it still is profitable.
The parents all have each other's email address, it would be too easy for parents to share your download.
I distribute only on Double-Layer DVD's. Today most any parent can buy a 10-pak of DVD+R's and duplicate a DVD. Not too many of them know what a DVD+DL is. Call it the poor-man's encryption.
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Old April 17th, 2014, 09:37 AM   #8
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Re: Dance Recital Video Pricing

I have yet to find a good digital distribution model for things like dance recitals.

Too easy to copy.

Plus I don't think too many folks would be ok for paying to watch it 1 time.
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Old April 17th, 2014, 03:37 PM   #9
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Re: Dance Recital Video Pricing

I used to love shooting dance recitals, but when we switched from VHS to DVD our sales plummeted. Yup ... too easy to duplicate. I enjoyed it, but no longer do them. The only way I would change my mind is if the school was required to pre-sell a minimum as suggested above.
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Old April 22nd, 2014, 09:52 PM   #10
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Re: Dance Recital Video Pricing

$650 for 3 hour dance recital. I pay my assistant $150. That leaves me with a profit of $500. I'm not looking for any get-rich schemes selling DVD copies. 99% of the population doesn't even buy Hollywood-made DVDs, so common sense that a stranger isn't going to buy another stranger's 3 hour dance recital. 3 hours is a LONG video.
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Old May 1st, 2014, 01:02 PM   #11
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Re: Dance Recital Video Pricing

I'm not too concerned about people copying the DVDs - most buy them as a keepsake and like the nice packaging that I provide. However, direct sales determines how much profit I make. My typical DVDs contain approximately 4.5 - 5 hours worth of edited video. The entire recital (including awards and special recognitions) is included on 2 DVDs. If I only sell 30, I make $900. If I sell 60, I make $1800. That's a pretty big difference! I've been doing the recital for one studio for three years now and this will be my fourth. Year one I sold 62 sets; year two I sold 72; and year three only 32. Same studio - similar number of performers and performances. I have no idea why the sales went down so much in year three. What can I do to try to increase sales of these DVDs?

For those of you who do this type of work, how much would you need to come away with to consider this job profitable for you? I work approximately 7 hours on the day of the event. After that, I spend approximately 40-60 hours editing, authoring, duplicating, packaging, etc. Since I am an amateur and have no video experience other than these recitals, I have no idea what a good profit would be.
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Old May 1st, 2014, 01:25 PM   #12
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Re: Dance Recital Video Pricing

The one I'm doing in a few weeks, I'm trying something new

Last year I did not film their solo showcase which is basically the seniors each doing a 2 minute routine.

This year several parents requested it, and so I'm going to offer the 31 dances on a separate DVD for $20 for the whole thing and also offer 1080 HD downloads of individual performances for $10 each.

I figure there likely won't be much copying or stealing since it would likely only be the one parents being interested in a routine.

As for your sales decline, I think a lot of it has to do with maybe the local economy? Maybe more folks were in tighter financial situations?

I find these pretty easy to put together. The hardest part is actually doing the manual labor in case inserts and prep for shipping etc.

I can usually get the entire video (matinee and evening shows) done in I'd say 4 hours or less. I start and stop the camera between each dance so it's a simple copy all to timeline, add cross dissolves, add chapters at each cut, and dynamic link to encore for DVD design.
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Old May 1st, 2014, 01:27 PM   #13
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Re: Dance Recital Video Pricing

Oh, this is a 10-12 hour day and I'd say a total of 20-25 hours for editing, case and menu design, printing, copying, and assembly.

I made about $2,500 last year, with a lot of folks buying both performances for $60. $30/each.

How many students are there?

I mean, it's all subjective in terms of what it takes to make it worth it to you.
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Old May 1st, 2014, 02:29 PM   #14
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Re: Dance Recital Video Pricing

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad Ridgeway View Post
I have no idea why the sales went down so much in year three.
Where I live selling at max 20 dollar per dvd is considered normal, asking 25 dollar is pushing it and asking 30 dollar + is asking for a lot of loss in sales.
I have known videographers doing communions asking 30 to 40 dollar per dvd because there where only 15 kids involved and ending up selling 5 dvd's. At least here if you keep your prizes at a reasonable level you sell dvd's to about everyone, if sales go down it's usually a sign that the dvd's are too expensive so people buy one copy and start to copy themselves for others.
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