HalfDay Rates around the US
Doing some research for a client who's thinking of offering video web hosting services for a particular industry and is wondering about production rates. I voiced that a half day shoot for $300 would be about right, but would love to hear others chime in just to make sure I'm roughtly on the mark for most areas in th US. So if anyone wants to chime in...
The $300 assumes a single camera person with a basic interview package; a pro, 3 chip camera, tripod, lighting kit, monitor, lav and shotgun mic. DV format. The end product would be a 90 second, head shot, no b-roll required.
Any areas in the US where $300 wouldn't give the client a decent selection of shooters?
[Eric Lagerlof] "The $300 assumes a single camera person with a basic interview package; a pro, 3 chip camera, tripod, lighting kit, monitor, lav and shotgun mic. DV format. The end product would be a 90 second, head shot, no b-roll required.
Any areas in the US where $300 wouldn't give the client a decent selection of shooters?"
Nobody I know of does 1/2 day rates any longer. When you factor in the travel time, move the gear in, set up, tear down, you're beyond a half day. Also, it's near impossible to schedule two half day shoots on the same day.
All the shooters I know of go only with full day rates now.
Walter Biscardi, Jr.
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Umm, are we talking about the same thing? DV or not, $300 for a half is not approachable in major metro areas (that I'M familiar with). Try $700 to $900, because most pros hate half days as it's nearly impossible to work two half days. If booking through a service like Crews Control a half day will likely cost $1,050.
Can it be gotten for less? Probably. But as with all things, you get what you pay for. My idea of a full light kit is at least a softbox, a bounce, a hairlight, a side light and maybe a background light. The $300 guy's idea maybe one or two lights aimed at the subject.
Sorry if this puts a crimp in your business plan, Just telling it as I see it.
Yikes, I hope not... that'd drive us out of biz.
We don't do half days, or full days for that matter. We work hourly, only. Half day?...if you consider that to be 4 hours, well that's 4x our hourly rate. Full day is 8x or 10x, however long you need.
We usually charge the same base rate (which, by the way, is the cheapest in town) no matter what the format, be it DV, Betacam, HD, 16mm, or 35mm. That "base" is $300/hour, and includes camera, crew, support, lighting and sound packages, Losmandy jib, skateboard dolly, track...etc. Tack on the usual extras like film or tape stock, mileage, etc.
We generally don't cut that rate if all the toys aren't needed. If a shoot only requires one camera and one guy and literally nothing else, it's still the same rate. That has kept clients from nickle and diming shoots to death, and keeping their bean counters from making my creative decisions for me (i.e., "Yeah, a crane shot would be cool... is that gonna cost a lot more?").
We usually charge a little bit more per hour if the client needs a teleprompter (because we need an operator for it), or Steadicam (because I'm getting older and my back is tired).
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
Speaking only from my own experience, I don't think you could find that rate in CA if you need someone who actually knows how to use their lights, mics etc. effectively. You will always be able to find people for any rate you can imagine, but the level of quality is directly tied to the rate you offer, so bear that in mind. $300/half day in CA will probably get you someone who isn't as experienced (recent grads etc.), has inferior gear and may not deliver very pleasing results.
Videographers usually charge more than half of their day rate for half day shoots, because it makes it nearly impossible for them to book the other half of the day. It is, as far as their wallet is concerned, a full day shoot. In CA (and in my own personal experience, NOT an absolute), videographers who charge $1k/day usually charge about $650 for half-day shoots. Based on this you are looking for someone who charges around $450-$500/full day, which is pretty low for someone and all of their gear. I would be concerned about the quality I might get for this rate.
As you look for people, remember that wedding videographers are typically much cheaper than professionals because they don't do much but hold a camera, and rarely have experience setting up clean lighting and audio (no offense to any wedding guys out there!). As such, don't use their rates as a benchmark for how much you should pay, and I would be cautious about hiring a wedding videographer to shoot a professional video. They are two very different formats with very different requirements.
You also mentioned that the end product will be 90 seconds of video, but that could require 3 full days of shooting depending on what/who is being shot, how prepared the client is and the editing process. I have edited 15 hours of footage down to a :30 spot before, so final run time means little to a videographer. You might want to include this info when searching for your guy, but just know it won't mean much to them.
Hey I tell you what...I'll book a half day for you if I can charge portal to portal and then walk off your shoot to run and do the second gig that I book the same day.
Not likely to happen...did not think so...that is why I have never booked half days. It does not make good business since because anyway you look at it...your going to kill my day...so you should pay for it.
It kills me the number of ProductionHub and other emails I get all the time wanting these kinds of rates...uh oh...I've fallen into the way to present rant trap on the Cow.
Chameleon Mobile Video Productions
"It is not the light at the end of the tunnel that we should seek...it is the courage to take the next step in the dark that we must find."
Thanks guys. The 90 seconds is literally someone doing a spiel, no cutaways, for app.90 sec.s. So it's one setup, and at most, a change of focal length between various takes. The output is to a small web window...
But I do see your points. Booking a half day basically eats the whole day. And while I go out with an FX-1 and an old light kit for cheap, primarily because I do post, for guys that actually have to make a living doing this, your rates make sense. Thanks for the reality check/jolt.
What you're looking for is a freelance spot news stringer guy; in Chicago, they can sometimes be found for the price you listed, sometimes even less, and they generally can light and mic adequately enough for the webcast thing you envision. They tend to have multiple gigs in a day and depending on the news-busy-ness of the day and the distance to drive, might cut you a deal, especially for repeat business. You could try some of the locator services like Crews Control or similar to see what's available. While a booking service adds come cost, they also pre-screen the quality of the operators so you avoid expensive surprises.