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HD and SD Rates

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Charlie Neal
HD and SD Rates
on Feb 12, 2013 at 2:15:52 am

I've been in the business a while but live in my own shell and am looking for some help.

I'm curious how people are handling HD/SD rates. For editing do most people just charge a single rate. If so, in a production company environment, what rates are you guys using per hour? I'm talking about a nicely put together Final Cut suite or a Avid Media Composer Suite (room and editor). We're charging $200 per hour.

As for field production...we used to charge a separate SD and HD rate when we were shooting on HD and SD cameras. Now we shoot everything HD but if the client just wants SD charge a lower rate (I know this makes no sense as I write it). For a P2 Varicam/XDCam HD type set up what type of rate do you guys charge for a full day shoot (10 hours port to port). When you get into F3, Red, Alexa how do you charge? Day rate or a DP rate and camera rate?

Any feedback you guy can offer is greatly appreciated.

Thank you,

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Mads Nybo Jørgensen
Re: HD and SD Rates
on Feb 12, 2013 at 9:18:50 am

Hey Charlie,

Welcome to the Cow.

I hope you don't mind me saying this, but it is not very cool to run the same discussion across three COW forums simultaneously.

Prices are falling across the board and the clients are getting ever more demanding due to an abundance of "suppliers" wanting to work in media.
The rates that you should be charging should equal the service that you give to your clients, rather than the kit that you're using.

If you are a "by the hour" operation, rather than project based, you might be better of getting a researcher to call your 20 nearest competitors and ask them what they charge?
Not forgetting that many companies have moved video functions in-house to be managed by the "nephew" with a small camera and FCP.

All the Best

@madsvid, London, UK
Check out my other hangouts:
Twitter: @madsvid

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Shane Ross
Re: HD and SD Rates
on Feb 13, 2013 at 12:21:19 am

SD...HD...doesn't matter. Same rate. And rates differ depending on length of project...and where in the US you are located. Online rates in LA will be more expensive than Minnesota. Equipment used also comes into play. Higher end equipment means more cost.

As a note, broadcast TV budgets for cable docs went DOWN as we transitioned to HD. Really friggin' odd. We used to get say $350,000 for an hour in they want HD, more effects and cool stuff, and will pay $250,000. Too much competition in the cable many hours of programming to fill. We used to get a lot more when it was a few networks. Now, with MORE networks, needing lots of content, and ad dollars stretched thing across all of them, budgets plummeted.

Little Frog Post
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def

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Todd Terry
Re: HD and SD Rates
on Feb 13, 2013 at 3:56:21 am

SD or HD, here it makes absolutely no difference. In fact, if you want us to shoot SD consumer handycam video or 35mm film (or anything in between), the hourly rate is the same. There is also no rate difference between shooting on location, or on stage at our place.

We used to have slightly different post rates because back in the stone age (just a few years ago), not all of our edit suites were full HD (remember those days?) and the SD suite had a slightly lower rate... but now they are all HD suites so the rate is the same no matter what the format.

If someone specifically wanted an SD project now, it would still take exactly the same equipment, time, personnel, and talent as HD... so there's no cost difference.

These days its a bit like a client we had from just a few years ago who wanted to know if their project would be more expensive... in color. Ummm... no.


Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.

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Charlie Neal
Re: HD and SD Rates
on Feb 13, 2013 at 5:09:41 am

Thanks for the feedback. I didn't know cross posting was a bad thing. Now I do. Thank you.

I'm certainly aware of the trends you point out. The issue is trying to benchmark what is standard across the U.S. That's the guidance I am looking for.


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Tom Sefton
Re: HD and SD Rates
on Feb 13, 2013 at 1:13:01 pm

P'raps the only saving that can be passed on with SD is the reduced amount of storage required throughout the project...

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Stephen Smith
Re: HD and SD Rates
on Feb 13, 2013 at 5:12:47 pm

Sounds like I'm in the same boat as everyone else here. We charge the same amount per hour, it doesn't matter if it is SD or HD.

Stephen Smith
Utah Video Productions

Check out my Motion Training DVD

Check out my Vimeo page

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Mark Suszko
Re: HD and SD Rates
on Feb 13, 2013 at 5:55:36 pm


You charge one rate.

You tell your SD customers:

"Great news! We're upgrading you to finishing on our HD systems, at the price you used to pay for SD, no increase!"

You tell your HD customers:

Great news! We're running you in HD but charging you only at the SD rates, what a savings!"

And that, my son, is called "marketing". :-)

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