Last year No Film School conducted a survey of cinematographers around the world. Over two thousand of you responded—thank you!—and as a result it took us quite some time to compile and analyze the data. The results are finally in!
We surveyed DPs, videographers, and editors in every region of the world to give you valuable insight into what others are being paid.
The results can help you know what to charge — and can help you negotiate with clients.
Table 1: Global Day Rates (By Job Title)
First we'll take a look at global rates by job title, separated into average and median quotes. Whether you're a solo creative doing everything under the sun or focus on an individual discipline, this table will give you a clear understanding of what creatives are charging around the world. Here are the global day rates by job title:
There's a lot to take in here, so let's zoom in on left side and take a look at the day rates of One Person Bands, Directors of Photography, Videographers, Editors, and ACs:
Directors of Photography lead the pack at $1K/day, with other job titles bringing in around half of that on average. This makes sense, given DPs normally are in charge of larger crews on higher budget productions, compared to a job title like "videographer" which, as you can see, is in the neighborhood of the Preditor, a.k.a. "one person band"—right around $500.
Zooming in on the right side, to Operators, VFX artists, Gaffers, and Still Shooters:
Day rates for these other roles come in $300-500 a day, globally.
While this graph alone won't be the answer to the all-important question of what you should charge, it's a great baseline to compare day rates among different roles within the industry. If you're just starting your career and don't know what to focus on, seeing how the different day rates compare may give you some direction...
But, of course, rates vary greatly by region of the world. Which is where our next table comes in...
Table 2: Global Day Rates (By Region)
This graph helps further clarify things. In this table, we've broken down our survey results by region instead of by job title. There are robust video and film industries all around the world, but rates (in US dollars) vary greatly. We tallied our survey responses by every region in the world, splitting the United States into two regions, East and West. Here are the results:
With all job titles averaged together, the United States led the way in average day rate, with a median of around $600/day, and a slightly higher average. The reason we include both median and average numbers is as follows: sometimes a small number of respondents making very high rates can bring the average up in a way that isn't particularly instructive for your "average" worker... which is where the median numbers come in. The median numbers reflect a more "common" rate, throwing out the outliers.
Day rates don't tell the full story, of course — cost of living varies greatly by region, as well. But these regional numbers can help you know how rates stack up around the world, and what the average video worker is charging in your own region.
In these graphs, what results surprised you? Does anything look "off?" Let us know. These are by no means perfect numbers, and in some regions we received fewer results than others, making small sample sizes less instructive. But we hope these numbers are useful.
Where To Go From Here?
We've put together an even more valuable analysis of these results so that you can know exactly what how much others are making at your specific job AND in your specific region. Think of it as a supercharged version of the results above, packaged together with insights that will help you know what to charge — and how to negotiate with clients.
Announcing our first in-depth online course, How to Make Money as a Cinematographer!
Our goal with these survey results was to give you valuable insights into how your own day rate stacks up against other video workers. No Film School has always strived to empower creatives in film, video, and beyond. Join us now to take your career — and your day rate — to the next level.