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Old May 8th, 2011, 08:25 AM   #1
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Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Norwood, MA
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Charge more for HD?

Just wanted to run this one by the pro's, I am currently shooting wedding's in SD in Boston area in the $1000 range. I am eager and ready to jump in and go HD. I am curious if your opinions are to:

A) Shoot all events in HD and raises all rates accordingly
B) Offer an HD option with its own premium

C) It looks to me from some searching/surfing that a premium fee of $400 for an HD upgrade is in the ballpark?

I figure my upgrade (with some other equipment as well) will be about $7500, which I can deal with as my peanut-brain tells me that about 20 weddings with an increase of $400 will pay for my upgrade. I am certain I have lost gigs due to SD only and in fact recently met with a potential client who explained she wanted to hire an HD outfit.

Thanks all.
Darryn Carroll is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 8th, 2011, 01:15 PM   #2
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Re: Charge more for HD?

Your last sentence answers your question - HD is "standard" now, and and your clients have come to the expecation that you should be shooting in HD. SO, what is your business plan? Do you continue to shoot in SD until 2K/4K production becomes the expectation (not anytime soon, I should hope...), OR do you respond to the market?

You've got TWO major investments ahead of you, ONE, for upgrading cameras and computers to handle HD workflow, and TWO, the amount of time you will need to invest learning to properly shoot HD (it's a tad less forgiving than SD), and process the data into a proper final format...

My suggestion would be to get SOMETHING that shoots HD ASAP and get on the track. As far as bumping your rates, inflation alone suggests you should be charging more than a few years ago... You can ALWAYS raise your rates if your quality and reputation warrant it, and adjust down if needed should the market not support the higher rates.

IF you can offer a higher quality product by using more current equipment, then you certianly should consider doing so, again ASAP. What your market EXPECTS (by your own description) and will support financially is something only you can judge... but again, I think you've already answered your own question. Prepare yourself for the two challenges immediately in your path, and move forward!

BTW, DVi has a very active "wedding and event" forum, join the party!
Dave Blackhurst is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 8th, 2011, 02:27 PM   #3
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Location: Little Rock
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Re: Charge more for HD?

Dave's advice is sound. I'll just add when going HD, it's best to get your workflow down before announcing HD as a service.
Nothing worse than seeing a post on this board from someone that just shot an HD project for a client, and... "Help BluRay burning problems and client needs disc tomorrow".
As far as charging more for HD over SD? What's the norm in your area? I don't charge more to shoot on HD, and I certainly wouldn't charge any less to shoot SD. I do think a rate adjustment in your favor as Dave had mentioned would certainly be in order if your client base would support it though.

Good Luck!

David W. Jones
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Old May 8th, 2011, 03:53 PM   #4
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Re: Charge more for HD?

This actually speaks to the sound business model issue.

Your costs should always include savings for the expense of equipment upgrades to stay competitive. In other words, your SD prices should have been high enough to begin with to anticipate upgrading your gear. These days computers may need to be upgraded every 3 years or so and cameras may well be in the same ballpark.

Equipment expenses, not just current purchase but maintenance and upgrades should be built in to your price or eventually your competitors will pass you by. HD gear today doesn't cost more (and may actually cost less) than the SD gear of yesterday. Thing of the cost drop in 1/2" and 2/3" chip cameras now as well as Large Sensor Shallow Depth of Field cameras.

That said, you should increase your prices to cover the cost of new gear purchased now. It shouldn't be an HD extra option charge though. You'll find it more costly having to use the SD gear over time so I'd recommend just moving on and up. One example might be the real time it takes to input miniDV tape vs the faster than real time to input file based HD.
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Old May 9th, 2011, 01:16 PM   #5
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Re: Charge more for HD?

This discussion happened in the Wedding forum several months or a year ago. It darn near came to blows ;)

My (admittedly unpopular) opinion at the time was that when you charge based on the final resolution, you are not getting at "upcharge" for HD, but rather you're giving a discount for SD. I don't give discounts. If the client wants SD for whatever reason, they're still paying the full "HD rate".

Think about it this way: if 1920x1080 costs $1400, and 720x480 costs $1000, does that mean if I have you produce a 320x240 YouTube video, I can expect to pay $500?

I've been a service business owner for more than 25 years. Pricing based on your costs alone is a losing game. You should price based on what the market will bear.
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Old May 9th, 2011, 05:30 PM   #6
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Re: Charge more for HD?

Since HD is pretty much becoming the expectation, and Darryn is already losing clients apparently by NOT offering it... it's not a matter of whether, it's a matter of WHEN.

Go buy an "SD" anything... TV, DVD without upscaling, P&S camera, and so on... If equipment has been amortized, and upgrades are on the horizon, there is a HIGH probability that those upgrades will be HD... and prices will be roughly equivalent to comparable SD gear from a few years ago.

As far as charging, well, you charge what the market will bear, if they want HD and are paying a premium for it, well, they're about 3-4 years "behind", IMO!

Do higher quality work, charge higher prices, offer an SD copy (or a few) on DVD for family, and everyone is happy.
Dave Blackhurst is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 9th, 2011, 09:32 PM   #7
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Re: Charge more for HD?

Why not shoot in HD and tell people your charges reflect your professionalism and quality, and is not based on anything so technical?
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Old May 10th, 2011, 09:43 AM   #8
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Re: Charge more for HD?

Your clients most likely don't understand HD but believe that it is better. The last thing they should worry about is having to make a choice between SD and HD.
My advice - upgrade your equipment always produce in HD and deliver what the client wants. if they want bluray give them that, if they want a normal DVD (SD), give them that, if they want both - then charge extra.
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