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Old January 12th, 2004, 06:41 AM   #1
Regular Crew
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: kent,UK
Posts: 30
Cost of a cameraman?

Dear all, I am new to this business but have been making a living as a wildlife stills photographer for a while now. 2 years ago I bought an old XL1 and have been using it to great effect and have managed to film numerous species never previously filmed in the wild before.
I have just been asked if i want a few weeks work filming birds in HongKong/China, however, my only previous paying project was a small job making a 12min video for an NGO here in Cambodia and I have absolutley no idea what I should ask for. They want me to give a price but I am afraid of either over or under pricing myself.
They just want me to get footage, nothing more, no editing etc.
can anyone give me some suggestions, ballpark figures? anything?
many thanks
Allan Michaud
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Old January 12th, 2004, 07:03 AM   #2
Capt. Quirk
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Middle of the woods in Georgia
Posts: 3,596
Because of the travel, and the risk of SARS, I would definately ask on the high side. They already know what they will pay, and probably make a counter offer.

Of course, if you should decide to pass on this, please recommend me. I could use a quiet vacation away from the kids ;)
Good luck
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Old January 12th, 2004, 10:21 AM   #3
Hawaiian Shirt Mogul
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: northern cailfornia
Posts: 1,261
before you give them your price decide how much is your time worth. seems you have experience with the birds. you have photo'd birds not film in wild so that has to be added Value for your services.

i would give them a per day rate/week rate for your services. then a price for your equipment. any added equipment that you would rent would be extra . you also need to state a per diem per day/week. i assume they are paying for transportation/hotels.

i see you're in the UK ..ask around to see what the rate is for a persons with your background. if you consider yourself a PRO then find out PRO rates ..if simi pro then those rates. also you have a rate as a still-photo , maybe the base rate is in there ?? if your still rate is higher then the going video rate then you must decide which to charge.
i have 3 day rates just for me - no equipment doesn't matter what type project - .
$2500 day if i like the project . $10,000 day if i don't like the project. and FREE for friends, non profits. been doin alot of the free lately.
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Old January 13th, 2004, 10:54 AM   #4
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: New York, NY
Posts: 2

The equipment is merely the tool and when you consider the low cost of purchasing the equipment, the value of the equipment isn't all that much.

Charge them a fee based on the value of your experience as a photographer (regardless of the tool) of wildlife footage. If you've shown them a sample of your work and they say "We want that." then you are the best guy for the job. Even better that there are fewer people with your skills and experience.

What is the value to the client if they have this footage? What would it cost them to hire someone else or purchase stock footage? What is the value of your time and talent?

Give them a value based project fee that considers all the additional factors (Days or hours of work, difficulty of work, danger involved, travel, special equipment, etc.). Put it in writing the scope of the project and include any limitations or special circumstances so your butt is covered if they change the scope of the project.

With an hourly rate you usually end up charging the client more than what they expected (unhappy client) or finding you didn't make enough on the job. (unhappy Allan.)

Good luck.
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