November 18, 2014 at 9:14AM

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Freelance Rates?

I am trying to get into video production as more of a full-time gig. I met a photographer who likes my work and he asked me what my rates are. So I just wanted to get an idea of what you guys charge, from the low end to the high. I know there are many factors, but I just want an idea. I'm in North Texas btw.

19 Comments

Depends on the type of work and who your client is. ( large multinational companies are happy to pay more if your work is good and you always deliver on time )

I've shot 5 minute interviews for $300 that I've shot entirely by myself, that took less than one hour to complete.

I've also shot corporate work where I charge $1,500 per day plus my crew and expenses. There are people in town that I'm sure are changing 2 or 3 times what I charge, but they are more experienced shooters and bring a much bigger crew than I do.

There are wedding shooters in town that will charge less than $1,000 for a finished wedding video, and there are other wedding shooters that charge $5,000+ for the same thing.

If you are starting out, then go with a price that you are happy with and one that will still keep you in the game against your competitors. You can always raise your prices as your work gets better, but first you have to find clients and get work.

November 18, 2014 at 7:12PM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
31730

Good thoughts Guy. I know it's kindve a vague question because there are so many different types of work. But I guess I'm mainly referring to like wedding videos, or shooting for a band, or things like that. One of my buddies got back to me and said a typical rate would be like $60-80/hr for work like this.

November 19, 2014 at 9:55AM

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Kyle Sanders
Editor
245

I would never go with an hourly rate for shooting, as some clients under-estimate the number of hours it takes to film anything, and will squawk when their "2 hour shoot" ends up actually being a 9 hour shoot.

I quote either by the project or by half-day/full-day so there are no misunderstandings about the actual cost at the end of the day.

So for the 5 minute interview shoot I mentioned earlier, that's quoted as a project, where for $300 I deliver a finished ready-to-use video. ( I could see myself getting into a price-fight if I quoted by the hour, where the client says it only took you 30 minutes to shoot... etc. )

November 19, 2014 at 11:51AM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
31730

I totally get you. Great points. Yeah my buddy said it's an hour minimum, which takes care of that problem. Not sure what he does with half hours after that. But yeah I see your approach. Thanks for the input Guy.

November 19, 2014 at 2:49PM

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Kyle Sanders
Editor
245

Hi I need to quote an one hour show. Please let me know how to contact you. Thx in Los Angeles

September 9, 2015 at 9:12PM

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a similar discussion was had here: http://nofilmschool.com/boards/questions/cost-video-cinematography-costs

and there have been several NFS articles about the topic as well, just search rates or Ryan E. Walters (he's guest-posted a couple)

November 20, 2014 at 1:31AM

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John Morse
Producer + Director
2339

Oh thanks John! I'm on here a lot, but I must have missed those.

November 20, 2014 at 8:07AM

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Kyle Sanders
Editor
245

I also live in North Texas. Although I currently work 8-5 on marketing team as a videographer/photographer, I used to work freelance in the area.

Like said above, it depends on what your role on a production is and their budget and just how professional the shoot is.

A full budget commercial is ideal of coarse and these are rough rates at what you could be getting (all in day-rates).

$100-200 Production Assistant
$300-400 ENG Camera OP
$200-400 Grip
$400+ Specialty Camera Op (Steadicam, Jib)
$400-500 Audio Recordist
$500+ Director
$500+ DP

These are all rough estimates and there are people that charge WAY higher and some productions that can pay less.

If you are pulling in clients on your own or working for someone who basically does all their own work, most likely their budget is way less. Sometimes I'll charge a client $1k to do a video and that includes everything, so my second camera isn't going to get $300 (1/3 of the budget).

Do you currently work outside of production? What are you making now? I took a look at your website and the work is pretty good. Is that all you, from start to finish? On smaller more personal productions, I'd charge $25-30/hr or $200 secure day rate.

Day Rate is a set amount a client pays you for an entire 8 or 10 hr day. You work 6 hrs, you make the same as working 8, you go over, you get more. You can also do 1/2 day rates and thats usually a little over half of a Day Rate's pay (ex: $125).

November 20, 2014 at 9:47AM

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Thanks Anthony, great breakdown! Yes, the stuff on my website was done by me from start to finish. I didn't even have a second shooter. Or a second camera on the narrative stuff. But everything you said was very encouraging. I think I am going to begin building my rates based on the day rate structure, and probably factoring in rental fees from the start. Are you in Dallas, Anthony?

November 20, 2014 at 11:13AM

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Kyle Sanders
Editor
245

Yes, I live in Denton.

Depending on the client, sometimes they think gear and camera kits are included in renting you. Sometimes it should be sometimes it shouldn't. Local business wants you to document an event or shoot a small segment. Yeah they might expect it to be all inclusive. A local ad agency or hired by another filmmaker, damn sure to include rental fees and such as a line item.

Be wary, sometimes day rates scare people away. People outside the industry often get confused and don't like the huge number attached. Again, depending on the client, I do hourly (with stipulations). Ex: $35/hr with 2 hr minimum and only in hr segments. You'll get the feel for it.

November 20, 2014 at 12:46PM

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Thanks Anthony, that's really helpful. Keep me in mind if you ever need a second shooter, I'm really looking for more experience.

November 20, 2014 at 1:21PM

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Kyle Sanders
Editor
245

Add me on FB then. If I'm ever in need of help I usually go to my friends on there.

November 20, 2014 at 4:23PM

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I'm going to echo these guys. The business mentors at Score have told us all (regardless of business), NEVER use hourly rates. Clients lose their mind. One of the sages at our Las Vegas Score chapter said you tell the client "You can't afford me. What I do, you can't afford me. Let's talk about a flat rate." Always, always charge flat rates. And never be the most expensive guy in town. Find out what he's charging, and be just under that. Don't be the cheapest guy (cheap implies cheap), don't be the most expensive. Do some hw and figure out what the other production services are charging in town. E-mail/call. Ask them point blank - I want to do this kind of shoot, what do you guys charge?

November 20, 2014 at 10:34AM

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Good thoughts J. I'm gonna build my rates around day-rates.

November 20, 2014 at 11:14AM

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Kyle Sanders
Editor
245

Don't forget OT and separating you rate from equipment rental. I charge my day rate with overtime specified in terms of how much and when it starts. I also ALWAYS put the equipment as a separate item on the invoice. My rate does not fluctuate all that much within the types of jobs (from doc to doc, from corporate corporate). However needed equipment can change drastically from shoot to shoot.

Take this as an example; there could be an interview and there is only one subject and the producer is asking the questions off camera and the camera is one 5D, simple. However, the interview could also be 5 subject round table disussion with the interviewer on camera and there are 7 cameras needing timecode and audio feeds. Same Day rate for me Sometimes this goes up do to added stress :) ), Huge difference between the amount and quality of the equipment needed. Also if the production is using a payroll service you do not want them pulling income tax from your equipment rental.

November 20, 2014 at 8:03PM

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Will Youngman
Sound Mixer
215

Good stuff Will. I definitely will be factoring in rental prices depending on project.

November 21, 2014 at 8:58AM

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Kyle Sanders
Editor
245

I'm in Fort Worth as well. I guess I'm breaking the rules, but I charge hourly between $100-$150 an hour for full production stuff (Weddings/Music Videos). But I have edit time, gear, etc.. rolled into that. Occasionally I charge lower for event work or concert stuff. As it is generally more minimal. I rarely work with a crew though.
Generally though I will use my hourly rate to build a pre agreed upon project cost and only charge overages if they client goes way over.

I charge how I do for 2 reasons. 1, I've was screwed over numerous times from clients and colleagues (working as a grip etc..) for day rates, where they refused to pay overages.
2, Most of the people I work with (brides and musicians/managers) are high stress, I find they way I charge to be very transparent for them and more scaleable.

November 21, 2014 at 10:37AM

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Josh Wilkinson
Music Video Director/DP
246

I also want to note that I hardly ever rent anything, unless it a big production (which is rare). I also own a lot of gear, I usually end up being cheaper than most guys because of that.

November 21, 2014 at 10:39AM

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Josh Wilkinson
Music Video Director/DP
246

I get what you're saying Josh. Yeah, I would be doing stuff that you're doing, weddings, concerts, music videos, events, etc. for now. I guess if your doing day rates, you have to be clear about the time-frame. Do you ever rent gear, or just use your own? If so, so you add that into the price? Renting is going to have to be a part of my rates because I need to upgrade my camera.

November 21, 2014 at 2:21PM

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Kyle Sanders
Editor
245

I thought I answered you, but I guess it didn't save..anyways, yeah I'll be doing work like you do (weddings/music videos/live events). Good thoughts.

November 24, 2014 at 8:10AM, Edited November 24, 8:10AM

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Kyle Sanders
Editor
245

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