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


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Old November 28th, 2006, 02:54 PM   #1
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Last Minute Business Event - Live Auction

Several months ago I pitched my video production service to an auction company (Company B). Intending to produce a 5 minute DVD that the auction company can show to potential customers to introduce them to how the auction process works.

So today I get a call out of the blue that Company B is having a massive real estate auction Thursday (as in two days away) and they want a several hours of shooting with voice overs, music, and titles for a complete "this is our company and how we do business" sort of 5 minute DVD. That way the receptionist can introduce clients to their business with out requiring one of the owners to take time out of their schedule to talk with the "walk in" clients. Considering that I'll be missing my day job (not too big of a problem) for a few hours, I think I can still do this.

The odd thing is that I actually have TWO auction companies in the same town that are having me work on exactly the same type of project. Company A wants me to use video I filmed with my Canon Powershot S1-IS (yes you read that right) because that is all I had on hand when I attended the auction (as a customer and not intending to film it). Apparently I hit the needs of the auction businesses (admittedly a small market) with my productions. The editing was so good (ego boost) that the finished product was STILL better than what Company A had seen in the home video market (DV or otherwise). I was happy to explain what he could get if I filmed with the Sony HDR-FX1.

I showed Company A's rough cut to Company B (shot in 800x600x30fps on the S1-IS) and they apparently liked it enough to give me the call back today.

I am going to type out my plan below. This is NOT an "OMG what do I do" thread. This is a "Does my plan make sense & feed back" thread. I would GREATLY appreciate feedback on my plan as this will be my first scheduled non-wedding live event shoot (have other non-wedding productions but not live events). Especially given the short notice, I'll have to pack a lot of contract negotiating, prep into very few hours.

The Shooting:
The shots needed are going to be pretty simple filming from 3 perspectives; auctioneer (probably over the shoulder if at all possible), audience (looking over the sea of heads to the auctioneer), and 3rd person looking at audience close up for reactions and bids. Cuts combine the shots to make it look like a 3 cam shoot where audio from one take is used constantly while video is cut in to make it look like 3 cameras shot at once. This setup seems to work well.

The usual Equipment, Pricing, Waivers sections below.

Equipment:
I have a Sony HDR-FX1 available (Japanese edition so it is always fun to try and remember what button does what), a tall stable tripod, and the on board mic (may take opportunity to rent other audio). From past experience on board mic should be adequate (though not stellar) for what the customer wants regarding the audio. Talking head segments will be filmed in controlled environment (office) to avoid noise pollution (as tends to happen at an auction). Video should be fine, probably going to shoot in SD 16:9. I have a Sony Mini disc recorder, but no decent mic (hence the possible need a sound guy depending on the event setup). Auctioneers usually have rudimentary PA systems some times even with a mixing board so my mini disc can plug in to that.

Pricing - First My costs
Video:
I rent from my camera man (since I don't actually own the HDR-FX1). $50 / day.

Music:
Since the customer wants about a 5 minute production, I expect to need about 2 legally licensed songs. I am planning on using shockwave-sound.com and am budgeting about $200 for my licensing costs, charged back fully to the customer (despite me retaining full use after this job due to the very nice license available from shockwave-sound.com). This is optional for the customer, but suggested strongly as opposed to a stale no-soundtrack video.

Audio:
I have the possibility of having an audio mixer available for the live event to record audio to raw wav using his equipment. He is a friend and struggling musician and I want him to make money as well so I intend to pay him a good rate. He has top of the line equipment (part of the reason he is lacking money). What is a good rate if he spends 3 hrs of his time for setup, record, tear down? Hourly vs flat? I prefer hourly with bill back to the customer, but would the audio guy? If flat I expect to offer ~$200. I'll provide this as an add on option for the client to boost production quality.

Cost to the Customer
I expect to charge $100 / day of filming (minimum) with about $75 / hr for each additional hour (to cover my audio guys cost and my costs). Interviews with talking heads / owners may take an additional day of filming / voice overs, again at min $100 + $75/hr. I want to make about $100 / minute of video production since it can take 2-4 hrs to edit each minute. I expect to spend more time than with a wedding in order to edit down to 5 minutes so I can get the most "bang" for each minute of video.

I want to make about $700 NET given how much work I estimate is needed. My costs will absorb about $400-500 so I think about ~$1100 is a good price for the client. I'll deliver some master DVDs (2-3) and then recommend some duplication services for their production run. No way do I want to be involved in the time consuming DVD-burning process, though I do have a partner (yay for spouses) willing to help out on the project by babysitting my burning machine for several hours a week. I would probably burn up to ~20 discs before recommending a duplication service. Probably charge $15 each (hence my recommendation that the customer go with duplication service).

Delivery time line is about 2 months, given that I have 2 existing weddings I'm working on due in December.

Lastly: The Legal Aspect
I have not had the chance to work with a commercial contract attorney to draw up a contract. The best I have done is lots of research to add clauses to the invoice that detail exactly what is to be done and when. I expect to request 1/2 payment up front (day of filming) and 1/2 upon receipt of finished product. I expect to retain artistic control but to allow a review / preview by customer for feedback / changes before delivering final product. Possibly as much as two reviews for customer requested changes. Any more than that and I expect to charge $150-200 per revision for my additional editing & face-to-face meeting time.

The event is open to the public but on private property so I am not sure if I will need waivers from all the people appearing in close ups of the footage. If this is the case, I may just eliminate closeups and stick to wider angle shots so that individual faces are not the focus of attention. I have found some waivers online and expect to have many of them available at the event for the talking heads & anyone I interview. Is it a good idea to place a large sign at the entrance to the event announcing the video filming and attendance as implicit acceptance of my use of their likeness? This seems shaky, but will this be sufficient? I would video the sign to prove it was placed and when.

As far as the whole "work for hire" I expect to explicitly state that I retain the ability to reproduce the project as a demonstration to future clients, but that I will not re-sell the project to any other client and that the client (commissioner of the work for hire) retains the copyright to the finished product and can duplicate as they see fit (up to the # of copies listed in my terms for the music license). The music license may require that I be in control of duplication so I'll have to research that some more.


If you are still reading this then I am amazed you haven't fallen asleep, THANKS! Comments? Concerns? Thanks for your time.

Jason
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Old November 28th, 2006, 03:06 PM   #2
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Yes, I made it to the end of the post!

I saw some pretty smart ideas, such as recommending a duplication service, I'll keep that in my brain for future use.

The other idea about a sign is a great idea. Make sure you have your logo on the sign, phone number etc on the sign.

About the contract, I would follow alot of the same stuff you have on your wedding contract, auction would be similar to the weddings, in that it's a one shot deal, has actors which need to be listed on the contract, heck you could even get the talking head releases at the contract signing.

It sounds like a great idea. I applaud you for doing it. Give yourself a raise!
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Old November 28th, 2006, 06:31 PM   #3
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About the music, I would check out stock20.com. You can get great music with an unlimited license for $7 a piece. I do most of my commercial work with their music and my clients have really liked the sound.
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Old November 28th, 2006, 08:38 PM   #4
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Your road map is quite good.

When you are dealing with corporations or limited companies or sole proprietors you are now graduating into the realm of B2B. Asking for "half upfront" is not how this is done. You are right in drafting the contract to indicate the intent of the delivery and a timeline and they in turn will issue a purchase order. Once the product is delivered your invoice follows for payment and is processed under their terms of payment as outlined in the contract.

As for the 100 bucks per day ... yikes ... if you are as good as you say you are and can stack your product up against the pros, at least price it close to the market. Competition is one thing but predatory pricing from a part-timer is another...
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Old November 29th, 2006, 12:07 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimmy McKenzie
As for the 100 bucks per day ... yikes ... if you are as good as you say you are and can stack your product up against the pros, at least price it close to the market. Competition is one thing but predatory pricing from a part-timer is another...
Where would you consider the market to be on something like this. I was possibly looking to shoot a promo video for a large manufacturing company to show to international clients, and at trade shows like NAB. The video was going to cover the vision and goals of the company, products (giant antennas), manufacturing processes, etc. They wanted something in the range of 15-20 minutes.

The video was to include interview (talking heads) of company execs, shots of their facilities, voiceover, music, and a DVD-ROM section with PDFs, Powerpoints, Spreadsheets, etc.

I typically do weddings, and wasn't sure where to price this. I came back at $4500. 2-3 days of shooting, and a lot of editing & DVD authoring. What would you guys say a ball park would be for something like this. I felt $4500 was still low.

I was going to be shooting with FX1's, editing in FCP, authoring with DVDSP, and delivering a couple masters. They were going to duplicate on their own.

***EDIT***
I was also going to light the interviews.. some adaptation of 3-point lighting

Record audio direct to camera, DAT, or both... with a Sennheiser Wireless Lav and Overhead Shotgun AT897

Work in stills that they had

Graphics work, animated logos...
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Old November 29th, 2006, 01:53 AM   #6
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see....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Trubac
**EDIT***
I was also going to light the interviews.. some adaptation of 3-point lighting

Record audio direct to camera, DAT, or both... with a Sennheiser Wireless Lav and Overhead Shotgun AT897

Work in stills that they had

Graphics work, animated logos...
Se I have very little audio and NO lighting so I can't charge that much for my quality of production. I was able to make sloppy footage look decent for a novice. That isn't too impressive of course as almost anythign on a FX1 will be better looking.

As far as your pricing, look at the standard of living. in my state a software developer earns about 50K / yr. adjust accordingly for your cost of living, competition, etc.

If I was going to film anything with lighting and sound my expenses woudl be much higher. if I had both my charge would be around $200 to show up + about $150 / hr for filming/lighting/sound. but if I had all that equipment i would be in a different class of producer.... non-entry. as it is, i am still an entry level production.

jason
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Old November 29th, 2006, 05:31 AM   #7
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No problem being a novice ... we all had to start at the bottom ... well most of us.

As long as your client is aware of the deliverable and is looking for a budget job, then this is a good place to start.
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Old November 29th, 2006, 08:23 AM   #8
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Hi Jason,

I've never shot an auction, but I have attended more than a few.

IMO a video of an auction w/o closeups of people bidding, especially the really animated ones, wouldn't capture the atmosphere of an auction. But -- based only on instinct, not legal expertise -- I think signed releases are needed in this case.

There's going to be a stand or table set up on site for the auction winners to pay for their items. That's the place to grab the winning bidders you taped & get a signed release. Good if you have a partner/friend who can hang around there to handle that, or, maybe the money collector person might agree to do that. But, that can be risky because they might forget, or, get so busy they just ignore it -- not their problem.

Also, footage of a winner at the pay table might be useful for the presentation -- voiceover explaining types of payment accepted.

Your idea of a sign would depend a lot on the location. Auctions I've been to people park where ever they can, and enter the property from all directions.
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Old November 30th, 2006, 04:53 PM   #9
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Corporate gigs

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Trubac
Where would you consider the market to be on something like this. I was possibly looking to shoot a promo video for a large manufacturing company to show to international clients, and at trade shows like NAB. The video was going to cover the vision and goals of the company, products (giant antennas), manufacturing processes, etc. They wanted something in the range of 15-20 minutes.

The video was to include interview (talking heads) of company execs, shots of their facilities, voiceover, music, and a DVD-ROM section with PDFs, Powerpoints, Spreadsheets, etc.

I typically do weddings, and wasn't sure where to price this. I came back at $4500. 2-3 days of shooting, and a lot of editing & DVD authoring. What would you guys say a ball park would be for something like this. I felt $4500 was still low.
I agree that your price is a bit low, especially if you have all that lighting gear, sound gear, etc. As I am finding out from the company, they want to be very involved in the editing. There is very little "creative freedom" when dealing with a commercial customer. For one, they have a "look & feel" for their business and they usually know what will sell their business best. As such, I expect that corporate jobs are going to require multiple screenings, revisions, etc etc until the finished product is "just right" for their marketing dept & management to sign off on it.

This is why I expect to bill for shooting, and then charge per revision, or per hour of sit in editing. Since I have a mobile edit bay (mobile desktop) I can bring my big beast out to the client's site and provide a great convenience for them. But that will cost them $100 / hr for sit in editing.

For as long of a project as they want, 15-20 minutes, take your editing time per finished minute of video and then figure out what you want to make per hour for that project to be worth your while. For me, that long of a project would include lots of voice overs (requiring multiple days shooting schedule). That long of a project would take me 3-4 hrs per finished minute to edit (mainly because of the multiple media inputs of voice overs, interviews, b roll, graphics). My main problem would be the graphics because I have no experience with animation of any effects package I wouldn't even be able to do that job. The best I can do is lower 1/3s that fade in / out.

But assuming I could do that project, I would probably ask a minimum of $5000 + travel expenses (if required to shoot at remote locations).

But that is an inexperienced opinion.

jason
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