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Charging a premium for 5D projects

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John BehrensCharging a premium for 5D projects
by on May 10, 2010 at 3:55:20 pm

I'm wondering if anyone has been a) using the 5D on client projects regularly, b) charging a premium for their 5D projects. I recently completed a shoot for a client that was entirely shot with the 5D. Not only that, but it was some higher risk shooting involving relatively fast moving vehicles.
Here's a link to a 'debranded' version of that video.



I'd love to know also what you think you might have charged for such a production as a whole. Shooting happened in several locations in four different cities within about a 50 mile radius.

Thanks for your input!


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walter biscardiRe: Charging a premium for 5D projects
by on May 10, 2010 at 4:02:58 pm

Why would you charge a premium for shooting with a DSLR camera? That's your decision to use the camera.


[John Behrens] "Not only that, but it was some higher risk shooting involving relatively fast moving vehicles."

Higher risk for whom? You and the camera? That's your decision to put the camera at risk.

DSLR videography is here and charging a premium to go with a DSLR over a standard HD camera is not something I can see here. Especially since the cost of a 5D is much MUCH lower than say a Panasonic Varicam where you certainly charge extra for the use of that type of camera.

A week from today, the Season Finale of Fox's "House" will air which was entirely shot with a Canon 5D. I think it's the first broadcast program shot entirely with a DSLR.



Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author, Chef.
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Biscardi Creative Media

"Foul Water, Fiery Serpent" featuring Sigourney Weaver coming soon.

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Shane RossRe: Charging a premium for 5D projects
by on May 10, 2010 at 4:53:21 pm

YOu don't charge differently based on the camera used. That's silly. You charge for your time and expertise. If one camera's footage takes longer to load, then that is built into the time. But I fail to see how if someone used the 5D, you'd have any reason to think of charging more. That makes zero sense.

If you are put into risky situations, then charging more, no matter WHAT camera you have, is something to consider.



Shane



GETTING ORGANIZED WITH FINAL CUT PRO DVD...don't miss it.
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John BehrensRe: Charging a premium for 5D projects
by on May 10, 2010 at 5:19:37 pm

Walter,
Thanks for the quick response! I've learned a lot from reading your posts/blog in the past and I hold you in very high regard.
Why would you charge a premium for shooting with a DSLR camera? That's your decision to use the camera.

I guess that's exactly my question... Normally the camera we use is a Sony PMW-EX1, which delivers great looking images, but not the DOF that many associate with the 'film look,' so for us this is a step up in visual quality. So, compared to our current offering, is there enough of a difference in the 'perceived quality' of the visuals to warrant a different price point, regardless of the actual equipment cost? On the other hand, if our rates are something that the clients are comfortable with and we're comfortable with, why not just give the client the benefit of advancing technology and build value that way? The area in which we do business is not saturated with high end, film-looking production, so this is something new for us and for our clients and my boss would like to know if it could be a way to boost margins.

As far as the 'higher risk' shooting, I mainly mean for the camera operator. I think we're fine with letting the higher risk camera placements fall under the 'that's why we have insurance' category. We're just trying to find out what other people do for such situations. By way of comparison, many production companies charge extra for special equipment, such as jibs, cranes, dollies or aerial shooting. Is it acceptable to charge more for the use of equipment because it is a physical thing that clients can see? Why not charge a different price for having your camera guy hang out the side of a helicopter than for having him shoot b-roll of a copy machine? Or is charging extra for specialized equipment just nickel and diming and something you'd rather just do under your normal production costs should the particular project call for it (I tend to lean more towards the latter).

Sorry for getting wordy. Again, any input is a huge help.


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Jamie ThorneRe: Charging a premium for 5D projects
by on May 10, 2010 at 6:07:04 pm

I think there is a possibility in charging more for using the 5d but you have to provide something more to the client. An obvious extra service would be to use that big sexy sensor and take stills at the same time. Many clients would see stills as an extra that they would be willing to pay for.

As the division between still and motion shoots get more blurry it will be interesting to see how businesses adapt moving forward. Certainly the 5d will not be the last camera to offer quality video and stills in the same package.






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Bill DavisRe: Charging a premium for 5D projects
by on May 10, 2010 at 7:11:45 pm


Want to know what the 5Dmk2 (plus FCP, largely) has done to the industry? It's made equipment INCIDENTAL to the process of making videos.

Nobody will be paying a dime EXTRA for a specific camera soon. So if you are not charging for expertise over equipment now - you will be soon.

Right now, I understand that there are a MILLION FCP paid seats out there. Soon, the majority of them will be paired with cheap INCREDIBLE image producing cameras. So what sets you apart from the 25 other folks IN YOUR MARKET who have EXACTLY the same gear you have?

A - you have clients - or you don't.
B - you have superior aesthetic/business/creative skills - or you don't.
C - you have a REPUTATION for dependability, customer service, ethics, and overall ease of operation - or you don't.

That's about IT.

When EVERYBODY has the gear - the only difference is who you are and how you play.

Your mileage WILL NOT vary from this in the future.

Sorry.



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Mike CohenRe: Charging a premium for 5D projects
by on May 10, 2010 at 7:35:51 pm

If you need to have a septic tank replaced in your yard, you hire a contractor with good references and a quality work reputation. If he has a new Komatsu excavator vs an older Samsung model, you should not care, as long as he can do the work to your satisfaction and not tear up your patio too much in the process.

Likewise, if you need your prostate removed, you may go to the hospital with the robot, but the surgeon's skill is the key factor, not his equipment.

Bill summed it up to some degree - your clients are paying for your expertise.

Thus far, in 25 years, our clients have not asked what kind of camera we use - they ask when they will get their video and if it will be any good.

Mike Cohen


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John BehrensRe: Charging a premium for 5D projects
by on May 10, 2010 at 8:33:58 pm

I guess I should clarify.
Let's forget I ever mentioned the 5D.
Let's say our tiny little non-metro-area Wisconsin company has been doing quality work with a nice HD video camera, but it still looks like video. We start offering video that looks more like film. All things being equal, good writing, talented producers, nice looking composition, good storytelling, but now there's also this visual aspect to the production that just makes it look more polished and bigger budget... is that worth more than the former?
To take the septic tank analogy, if every company out there can put in your septic tank and leave, but one company puts in your septic tank, trims the grass, plants flowers, adds dimensional stone and plants a shrub shaped like your beloved pet Sparky, rest his soul, would you pay more money for the one that makes your septic tank cover not look like a septic tank cover?
I guess my real question is not the 5D vs. whatever other camera, but the look the 5D can achieve vs. the video DOF look we currently offer.


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Todd TerryRe: Charging a premium for 5D projects
by on May 10, 2010 at 9:01:52 pm

We shoot DVcam... HD... HD with DoF conversion and cine primes... 16mm... and 35mm film.

We charge a per-hour base rate that is exactly the same, regardless of format. 35mm is shot at the same hourly rate as HD. DoF-converted HD is shot at the same rate as DVcam, even though a single one of the HD primes cost us a heckuva lot more than the whole DVcam camera. It doesn't make any difference.

Of course the end results can cost more... if a client wants 35mm film they are also paying a couple of bucks a second for the stock/lab. Plus, it simply takes a lot longer to shoot, so the hours add up. And a higher-end HD project typically costs more in the end than a DVcam project... generally because those are higher-end projects with much more other costs associated with them than the format. If it's a DVcam shoot, it's likely down-n-dirty and done on the cheap.

But here the basic hourly rate is the same, no matter which camera comes out of the case.

If anything, I'd charge less for shooting with a 5D... rather than any of our other cameras that might have cost us ten times or more what the 5D is actually worth. But we wont.



T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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Tom SeftonRe: Charging a premium for 5D projects
by on May 10, 2010 at 9:23:23 pm

I personally wouldn't charge a client more for any job, unless........

I need, or my staff need additional training.
I have to spend more on hiring equipment to complete the job - either in post, or during the shoot.
I need to take more staff on location for the shoot - for grips, focus pullers etc...


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Tim WilsonRe: Charging a premium for 5D projects
by on May 10, 2010 at 9:23:27 pm

[Bill Davis] "
Right now, I understand that there are a MILLION FCP paid seats out there. Soon, the majority of them will be paired with cheap INCREDIBLE image producing cameras"


Agreed, and turning up the temperature:

Apple said 1.5 FCP seats last August. Steve has already said that there will be an "awesome" FCS release late in the year - very VERY rare of him to do anything of the sort. So I suspect that the growth rate will slow way down this year...but in any case, 2 million is breathing down our necks.

And remember when they said that HD would let us raise our rates? Wrong. At least pretty quickly. Prices started dropping faster than ever right about then.

So, underscoring all of the above, hide costs wherever you can. If you can get away with a rate even a nickel higher for ANYTHING, raise your rates for EVERYTHING. In this context, I love the idea of doing a little more, but charging more than a little more.

But seriously, always be looking for excuses to raise EVERY rate, not just for one camera. Because for that, no can do I think....



Tim Wilson
Associate Publisher, Editor-in-Chief
Creative COW Magazine

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Mike CohenRe: Charging a premium for 5D projects
by on May 12, 2010 at 4:38:43 pm

If charging more for a DSLR shoot, you had better show up with this:
http://www.shotonhd.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/zacuto-Robert-Rodriguez....

not this:
http://cache-03.gawkerassets.com/assets/images/4/2009/09/IMG_5974_01.jpg

Your goal should be to turn out a good finished product, not spend a lot of time figuring out how to charge more. Either charge more or don't - focus on your craft and meeting customer expectations.

Mike Cohen


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