View Full Version : I'm not sure if this question is Kosher or not but I'm going to ask anyway.

01-21-2004, 03:42 PM
I've finally entered the live event world thanks to the VT3 and many of you on the board. In my early days of editing for clients I charged far less than I should have. I want to avoid that with my live event projects. I've sunk a lot of money and time into my Toaster and I want to get paid a decent rate for it. I'm hoping that some of you may have some pricing points for what you charge for your live event projects.

Any help would be much appreciated.


01-21-2004, 04:29 PM
But if you're new in the arena, you can charge 25% more. Your customers will think you're worth it, because you have the rockin gear. And your competitors will thank you because they can raise their prices to match yours.

: )

P.S. Don't listen to a word I say! I'm a friggin engineer!

and drunk too.:D

Jim Capillo
01-21-2004, 04:29 PM
You're going to have to set a rate that is reflective of your area. If you live in rural Kansas, then rates from the Boston area aren't going to do you much good (and vice-versa). You will also have to go by the potential client's budget - you charge too much and he's gone..... not enough and you'll risk getting a brand as a "semi-pro".

I would call around in your area to comparable houses and see what they're getting. You still have to take into consideration your expenses (hiring people, shipping, food, etc.) when you set a price. Don't be afraid to walk away from a potential client who is trying to shortchange you, either. That is an age old ploy. Set a price and stick with it.

With new clients, I charge 50% up front (when they book the date) and the rest on approval of the finished product. With repeat customers, I collect on approval. How you handle that aspect is up to you.

A quick ending to this long story is to charge a comparable, professional rate for your area and stick with it. You may lose a few jobs, but you will have a good rep in the long run.

01-21-2004, 07:42 PM
I agree with Jim. Don't be afraid to charge for your services. Many of the best clients you will have will not bat an eye. The less you charge the less respect you will get. Be fair to yourself and don't be afraid to walk away from clients that want it for nothing, let someone else deal with that headache. That said, if you do offer a discount because you are just starting, let them know what the going rate would be and let them know that as time goes on you will be charging the going rate.


01-22-2004, 10:40 AM
When I was newer at this, I was dying for someone to give me some real numbers, not just "what the market will bear". I'm not sure if there's some 'code of the videographer' that I'm breaking, but why not try $100 an hour and see what happens. Adjust acordingly.

01-22-2004, 10:54 AM
in our market we have differnet rates.

for personal stuff $65 an hour

small business $95 an hour with a minimum of a two hours
or $750 a finished minute

corporate stuff $135 an hour with two hour minimum or $1150 a finished minute.

we do 4 camera weddings for $1495, 3 camera for $1395 2 camera for $1350 and single camera for $995.

we a ton of live event shoots depending on the size of the event we may nto charge anything except for tape sales which we keep all of the proceeds from in some cases that may be $2400 bucks for a 3 hour shoot. and editing. in other case where tapes sales arent really an issue such as a local bowling tournament we are doing a 3 camera shoot for $895 on other events we may charge $495 for 3 cameras for a live event tapes sales. or more if we dont sell more then 20 tapes. of course we always do live edits so our post production usually only involves adding CG fixing any camera mistakes tweaking audio and authoring a dvd and duplication

01-22-2004, 11:45 AM
Our shoot rate is $225.00 per hour and our Edit rate is $225.00 per hour. But this is for High End Commercial Production.

Shoot rate includes Camera operator, Lighting Director and Grip as well as all tools. If they want our crane, no problem because it takes longer to setup and tear down. At our rate, it's better then penalizing them.
Time starts when we arrive till we drive off. Travel is usually only added if it's more then an hour away. That's at .36 per mile and $50 per hour. That basically covers gas and my guy’s pay and a couple bucks for me.

Post rate includes 1 editor in Edit Bay 1, and 1 GFX operator in Edit Bay 2.

I never do jobs at a flat rate. This almost always results in you becoming an adversary with your client. He's never as prepared and you're trying to recoup your losses.

If you charge by the hour, they are always more prepared, and if not, chi-ching!
This also means, as they make those numerous changes because their wife or mother said this or that, no biggie, chi-ching!

I did weddings on the side for 15 years. I was actually the first in my market and $200 was hard to get.
I got the market up to $1,500 for a 2-camera wedding. As I went up in price, I got busier and had fewer problems with whiners. Although the complaints were always there about "someone walked by the bride", "the flowers got in the way for a few seconds", "It was kinda dark", etc.

Man I hated doing weddings! People always wanted a "Soap Opera Wedding with countless angles, perfect lighting etc., without letting you control ANYTHING!
I would show them a demo and tell them to expect a great home movie. Most of the time they realized that unless they let you control everything, don't expect a Hollywood wedding.

I'll second, Don't go cheap. You'll never pay for your gear and make a profit by filling your calendar with cheap jobs. If you do a good job, be proud of it and charge for it.

01-23-2004, 01:12 PM
I'll add that when starting out it's extremely scary to add up a big quote and tell your potential client (what you perceive as) the bad news. But so far I have always been surprised that nobody's stormed out or even batted an eye. It is really true that as you raise your prices (or more likely, start charging for the work you're really doing ;) ), you won't be losing clients, and you'll often get better ones.

Another thing is to be honest about your capabilities. One client was concerned that with my single editing system, and with his couldn't-be-broken broadcast deadline (in two days!), what I would do if I had a major equipment failure. I told him that although that hadn't happened to me before, if it did happen I couldn't fix it before his deadline, and if he was really concerned about that, he should go with a larger firm. He did go with a larger firm, but came back to me for a revision after the initial broadcast, and the full job the next year.

So go for it. (And weddings are the hardest of all; I only do them for wedding presents now and that's only if I really like the couple ;) ).


01-23-2004, 02:54 PM
true every one has their niche but I just cant turn down easy money like weddings go out setup shoot for an hour or two come back put a maximum of 5 hours in editing it and deliever and collect 1500 bucks with no headaches of larger projects. We also offer DJ services for weddings and such so we can offer package deals and i tell you what there is no eaiser legal way to make 600 bucks then djing a wedding

01-23-2004, 11:40 PM
The thing I always found tough about weddings, especially if you're the lone videographer, is that since the wedding process is moving in realtime, you need to move faster than realtime to stay ahead of everything. Shoot exteriors and guests arriving. Race ahead of them. Shoot wedding party getting ready. Race ahead of them. Repeat for the next four to six hours. If you've figured out an easy way to do it , I salute you Videoguy! (PS I like the way you've set up your rate structure too).

Then again, I haven't done a wedding since I started using the VT (in the olden days the shoot was only the first half of the trial; then you had to edit all that footage deck-to-deck). Since the VT makes editing such a joy, maybe I should give it another shot. :D


Jim Capillo
01-24-2004, 03:26 AM
You can have ALL of my share of weddings. :eek: I still get a couple dozen calls a year to do them even though there is no mention of them on the website.

Simple equation = too much work for not enough money.

They're all yours......... :D ;) :p

01-27-2004, 10:59 AM
Hey Toasters:

Thanks for chiming in on this thread. I don't do weddings but I have a few friends in town who do. They do very well. Charging as much as $5,000 for a wedding and they also have DJ services. I do mostly corporate work with the Casinos: training videos, employee relations videos, and marketing. I've just recently gotten into the live events with the Toaster. I did a Connie Francis concert. Easy, just switching between the DDR and a Live camera. I must say that it is a scary thing with the toaster. I'm always worried about a crash. I've also found the RS-8 tp be extremely sensitve to static electricity. For the concert I had myself at the switcher, a second person rolling tape from a backup 3/4 monster deck (Connie is a little behind the times) just in case the DDR crashed, and one camera person. So that was my crew. I got the tapes a few hours before the show and captured them onto my raid. Then I packed up my stuff and setup at the location. Then I sat down with the director and edited the videos and labeled them 1 through 12 an hour before the show. They didn't need much editing just a bit of clean up. Luckily we used the toaster. Connie is getting up in age and she ended up making a lot of changes during the show. There was no way my tape guy could have kept up with the changes. Luckily with the toaster it was a breeze. Made two mistakes though. First, my keyboard was out and my tape guy accidently hit the space bar. ooops:) and I cut out early from a video and it didn't auto cue to the next video so when I rolled tape at the next cue it played the wrong video. Again quickly fixed with the speed of the toaster. I need to double check which video is on cue.

Thanks again for all the info.