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What to charge for promotional video...

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Colton Lee
What to charge for promotional video...
on Dec 6, 2011 at 2:12:09 am

Hello everyone,

I have seen many posts such as this but I would like your opinion on what to charge hourly for the filming and editing of 2 videos such as these that will require after effects work. It is for a student business competition to be posted on their website.












I am a college student in the film program but I have been offering videography for 8 years.
According to my business plan I usually charge $150 an hour for camera equipment/filming and 50 an hour for editing...
I imagine it will require 3-4 hours of filming for each video.
I will have to use after effects to do some presentation like effects.
Does this seem reasonable? Overpriced? Under cut?
All posts are appreciated! Thanks!

-Colton Lee


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Jonathan Ziegler
Re: What to charge for promotional video...
on Dec 6, 2011 at 2:15:09 pm

Really, that depends on you. You are talking something like $800-900 for the whole job, about 8 hours of work + setup, equipment, deliverables, editing, post, etc. In both examples, the video work is okay (lighting is yellow/amber and backlit in the first and blown out in the second and has poor balance), but the post work is decent - see if you can wow them by doing better (underpromise/overdeliver). I think your price is good as long as you are getting some promotion time, full access to the businesses (and future clients) and they pay on time, but you will need to drive what you feel is a fair price - if you are happy and the client is happy, all is well.

Jonathan Ziegler
http://www.electrictiger.com/
520-360-8293


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Mark Suszko
Re: What to charge for promotional video...
on Dec 6, 2011 at 2:57:50 pm

The beauty of calculating your day rate and thus hourly rate is that it is independent of the actual project content. As long as your estimate of the time to be spent is accurate, the rate will stay fair to you, and to customers. if you have faith in your rate, then what you quote can be a rock-solid evaluation of the time and money needed to get the job done your way. Where you get into trouble is in lying to yourself about how long something may take to get done, or not anticipating all aspects, or if you get intimidated and start trying to cut corners you know you shouldn't.

You didn't ask for a review of the samples, but you get one anyway:-)


That first clip would benefit from changing the order of the pieces to put one or two of the speaking clips at the front, and intersperse the non-spoken graphic parts between sound bite clips. The audio swooshes are perhaps too prominent and repetitive. The backlighting and color balance as said are quite poor and the audio is a bit off-mic. The second piece needs some tightening for content, a grading pass, and more variety of shots. It is too long and the attitude in many of the responses is a snoozer. This is the fault of the interviewer's technique more than the edit, but drawing out the long takes can't help. The effects work and graphics looks pretty good, which is why the camerawork suffers by comparison.


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Todd Terry
Re: What to charge for promotional video...
on Dec 6, 2011 at 3:23:29 pm

Well, as the others said, the content doesn't matter, your rate does... times how long you think it will take.

Your shoot rate is not too bad for that level (although probably a little low), but I think your edit rate is quite low for professional level work.

You don't want your rates too low, because those videos were relatively simple and don't look like they would take that long to do... ergo, you won't make much (or any) money if the rate's too low.

Also, I'm not sure where those videos are from, but I definitely wouldn't use them as my "quality benchmark." Especially the shooting in the first one is nothing short of terrible... waggy handheld, bad lighting (or lack thereof) and extremely poor sound. It especially sticks out when poor YouTubeish video is nested inside relatively clean graphics plates. The shooting in the second video is quite a bit better, but still has some lighting issues.

As for money, just don't undersell yourself too much.

T2

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



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Nick Griffin
Re: What to charge for promotional video...
on Dec 6, 2011 at 6:24:04 pm

Colton-
I agree with the others, especially T2's comment that your rate for post production is low given the quality of your AE work on the first video. You really get 3D space and your look on that one is very contemporary.

As to the rate for shooting I think you should concentrate on learning how to better use your tools, ie.- camera, filters, light both additive and subtractive (yes, taking away light with scrims, flags, and so on is a skill too). You also really need to flag the lens when shooting to prevent the kind of stuff happening on the top left corner of most shots on the first video. When you're better as a cameraman, or hire someone who is better, the quality of your end product will be raised substantially and the rate becomes easier to justify.

Have you spent much time around really skilled camera people / directors of photography? Here's where hiring an outsider can serve the dual function of improving the quality of your product while showing you ways that you can get better. It may seem like a financial burden but the education value can be immense.


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Walter Soyka
Re: What to charge for promotional video...
on Dec 6, 2011 at 6:10:38 pm

[Colton Lee] "According to my business plan I usually charge $150 an hour for camera equipment/filming and 50 an hour for editing..."

I'd think that setting your pricing like that would lead to a lot of pressure to "fix it in post." Personally, I'd try to flatten that pricing out a bit.

Check out the Freelance Switch Hourly Rate Calculator [link] to get a real-world idea of what you should be charging for your labor. If you're going to split out the costs of your time and your gear, you might do similar calculations for your gear's time, as well.

Let's assume that your time is worth $50/hr (which may be a bit low). You are charging for the use and upkeep of your production gear, which is appropriate, but you're suggesting that your gear is worth more than you are. You are not charging for the use and upkeep of your post-production gear at all.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Jonathan Ziegler
Re: What to charge for promotional video...
on Dec 6, 2011 at 6:49:34 pm

Thanks for the Freelance Switch Hourly Rate Calculator! That's a great place for newbies to start!

Jonathan Ziegler
http://www.electrictiger.com/
520-360-8293


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walter biscardi
Re: What to charge for promotional video...
on Dec 6, 2011 at 6:37:46 pm

[Colton Lee] "According to my business plan I usually charge $150 an hour for camera equipment/filming and 50 an hour for editing... "

I honestly don't know anyone who charges by the hour for videography. Day and on occassion half day rates.

Editing rate is extremely low if that includes an editing system. Once you set your rate, it's very hard to go up from there.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author, Chef.
HD Post and Production
Biscardi Creative Media

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