Co-founder of Somewhat Awesome Films
Freelance DOP UK
Crowd funding for a short time supported talent. Unfortunately now the only projects that get a look on these sites are ones that have already had significant money pumped into them to sell themselves to you. Once again its just supported the 'anyone can buy their way into this industry' mentality. What do I respect? Someone who has pulled off an incredible film pitch/pilot using cheap gear and showcased their talent without having to use several RED cameras, specialised gimbals and a friggen a panavision supertechno 100 crane just to ask for your money in kickstarter. I'd support projects that showcased talent and where you could imagine the person doing great things with the right gear etc. But these projects are hidden amongst the weeds now and obscured by the already rich.
Pay is difficult. For those saying 'just charge this' is a bit black/white from my experiences...granted though I am going to give my thoughts based on working in Australia and UK as a freelancer whilst also working full time elsewhere for the majority of this time, but in principle should be the same. For your information if you double the £ figures that would give a good comparison for $US.
Firstly before looking at pay, lay out some ground rules to yourself and to the client. When speaking to the client ask what they want, get an idea in your head how long that will take and then say to them for example 'If I am going to film and edit this piece, I expect it will take me approx 2 days to edit plus the day to film, however if you have any additional requests along the way this might extend this time so we will need to discuss when we come to it.' You need to tell them up front that your not going to spend your life tweaking their video and making 20 different spin offs for free, but in a nice way. At the same time you need to be competitive and if it turns out that you estimated the time to edit it wrong and it instead took you 1 whole week then tough...eventually you'll get quicker at editing or better at estimating :)
I charge £250/day (based on 10hr day) for myself and me using my own equipment in UK which is cheap, sometimes £350 if its more difficult. This doesn't include transport/fuel costs. Most people would charge more but this gets me the work. I offer discounts if its a bigger job obviously, for example if its two weeks straight I'm happy to charge only £180/day for it cos that's still good and I'd much rather myself get the £2500 for the job than be rejected for charging too much only to have some other film undergrad get the job because they were cheaper or 'do it for experience'.
But to protect yourself you need to specify how many changes they get from a video, I usually say one set of changes. So if they come back once and ask for one change that's fine, but afterwards it will cost them day rates to make the changes. That way at worst you will have to spend an extra half day or so fixing their video, but if they come back and say 'actually can we now have the sky purple instead of blue' then you can reply, 'sure, however as agreed this will incur an extra day rate fee of £250, are you ok with this?' Obviously its up to you if you actually wanted to charge for a little change, if they asked just for one extra minor change to a title (for example) you may wish to offer this for free, or even a small charge like £50 in the hope that it gives you a good rep and they will use you again in the future. You are the business man here, and you decide whats good for your business!
Remember that this industry has become very competitive and expect to regularly loose out to someone cheaper, even if you are worlds better than them. These days the difference from Director/DOP Vs Camera Operator or VFX Artist Vs Editor seems to have all been forgotten thanks to the internet self proclaimed titles...so base your fee on how much your happy to receive for the job. Simple. The better you get at filming/editing then the more you will eventually be able to charge because your name is out there you'll be getting a tonne of offers in :) But for now you need to weigh up the options. Don't stick to a firm day rate like others might suggest, this may just mean you will not be competitive. Give discounts where possible, but by god let them know they are getting a discount.
So if we look back at our original comment I would say something like this: 'If I am going to film and edit this piece, I expect it will take me approx 2 days to edit plus the day to film. Usually this would be 3 days at £250/day but I'm happy to do this whole job for £650. As part of this I will give you a first draft of the video and happy for you to make some changes to the draft but any additional changes after this might incur some extra charges. Also if you have any additional requests along the way this might extend this time so we will need to discuss when we come to it.'
Hope you get a good deal with this job though, I know most of us on here have had plenty of bad experiences dealing with film clients, but that's where you learn.
Don't forget the old school classic way of going out to get funding from local businesses. Some local business's are secretly loaded and you may find someone who is willing to dish out a few grand for an 'Executive Producer' credit which they might think is the coolest thing ever. But means making phone calls and visits which can be nerve-wracking but sometimes worth the effort. Good luck though
Australia has little studio's, and Australian films suck balls. Yet they all seem to have the attitude that they can make films just as good as a big Hollywood studio. No, no you can't crappy little independent style studio.
Depends what kind of stuff you're shooting I guess?? If you plan to do a lot at night then you can't go past the a7s. GH4 is the other contender in my opinion, with the speedbooster it still gets you your Super 35mm crop size but also a bunch of other useful features. Internal 4k has been magical to me for interviews, being able to punch in and out with a single shot. You will need that expensive external recorder to do that with the a7s.
For slow mo I think the a7s only shoots 120fps in 720p. But having said that the 96fps on the GH4 isn't as good quality as the 1080p 200Mbs but i would imagine its still better than the a7s's 720p.