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wedding video rate

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David Taylorwedding video rate
by on Sep 19, 2008 at 4:56:00 pm

Hey I was hoping some one could give me a spectrum of reasonable rates editors make editing wedding videos. I am just starting out as an editor and have been given an opportunity to edit a wedding for another editor.

I get the feeling that he may be trying to take advantage of me and I just wanted to know from low to high what an editor might expect to earn cutting a wedding.

Other info on the job is it is his brother's wedding he has been putting off. The editor used to work for a wedding video company doing weddings when real jobs were slow and said if I do a good job he'll talk to the company and try to get me in there.


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David TaylorRe: wedding video rate
by on Sep 20, 2008 at 3:40:52 pm


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Rick WiseRe: wedding video rate
by on Sep 20, 2008 at 4:54:41 pm

You are starting out, it seems. Take what they give you this time. See how fast you are, and how good. If you are both fast and good, probably next time you can ask for a little more. And now you will have a demo to show to prospective cleints. Work your way up. Don't kill the golden egg -- though there's mostly alloy in that egg, not much gold.

Rick Wise
director of photography
Oakland, CA

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Mark SuszkoRe: wedding video rate
by on Sep 20, 2008 at 6:41:19 pm

One thing to know: any time somebody says "cut me a beak on your rate for this one, and you'll get all my subsequent business", they are lying. I have NEVER seen this come true in over 20 years.

Setting a rate for editing is tough because it depends on a lot of factors, like your experience level, how creative the work is supposed to be, what the overall budget is, if any, and how much time you can spend. Lets just pick a number out of the air: $50 an hour. What do you get for that? Do you get a simple cuts-only tape-to-tape transfer that just cuts out the worst of the dead parts? Or a real nonlinear edit with titles, effects, wipes and dissolves for transitions, color and filter effects and rendering, music? Is it just the ceremony, or ceremony and reception highlights? Or is is wall to wall coverage of the entire day plus a music montage piece? Is it single cam or multicam footage? Do you have a high reputation already or are you an untested unknown who may screw up the whole deal?

You can quickly see that the fifty bucks an hour is somewhat overpaid on the low end and ridiculously underbid on the other, particularly if you are working to a deadline. And it is for this reason, the variability of each job, that you should stay away from charging a lump sum flat fee. You will be either way over or under.

To save a lot of constant figuring it may be easiest to pick one hourly rate and then bill for however many hours it takes. From that you have to deduce what your rate really needs to be. So how do you do that?

This has been covered a lot of times so an archive check is in order, but a reader's digest version:
Decide how many days a year you want to work, if this is your main job.
Total your costs of living and the costs of all your tools and software
That includes utilities, rent or mortgage, insurance, taxes, loans, travel, expendables like tapes and discs, the cost of maintaining and upgrading your gear, everything.
Divide the money into the days and that's just your break-even point for how much per day you need to make, it doesn't include any profit or any amount put away towards savings or investments. Recalculate with a profit margin (you decide how much)

Now you know the number, the number below which you are LOSING money, the least amount you can afford to charge, working that x number of days a year. Convert the day rate into an hourly rate. Now ask around in your area to see what others are charging. It is good to be somewhere in the middle to upper third of what the competitors are charging, but never drop your rates below your minimum just to chase another guy's lowball figure. You never win that way.

That's for full time self-employed. If this is a second job or hobby that's trying to pay for itself, you CAN afford to charge something less than the minimum you calculated. But I would approach the decision process the same way. In this case, decide what your ultimate goal is: owning a good system with all the bells and whistles you want? Total all that up, maybe use the B&H catalog as a source for the numbers. Add in some for upgrades and maintenance. What about some training DVD's or books? Figure how many hours a week you want to be working and run the numbers as before, with the idea of paying off the system inside of a year. From there, kind of swish it around and see how it tastes.

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John BaumchenRe: wedding video rate
by on Sep 26, 2008 at 8:40:57 pm

When I had my own business in Canada, I charged $95.00/hour. It didn't matter if it was camera work, going to city hall for film permits, editing, was $95.00/hr. Want me to edit your wedding footage? No problem, here is my rate. For the first 8 anyway. This was in '05. I wasn't the highest or lowest amoungst my competitors but I was busy.

No real answer to your question, you need to figure out how much money it takes to live on, home many billable hours you have in a month and that sort of thing, then fix your rate so you can earn a decent living. A business plan will do wonders.

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