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Actual wedding production costs

EarlC's picture
Last seen: 8 months 2 days ago
Joined: 10/15/2008 - 1:15am
Plus Member Moderator

What wedding production costs...

There are certainly other, different and alternate incidentals but I break down the average cost to produce an average wedding to this = $1,709.

And that is not figuring on two operators at the event for 8 hours, only 1; also only 30 total hours editing, not a possible 40 to 50 or more in some cases.

Anybody else care to add, share or take away from these figures?

Person hours 8 x $50 per hour = $400
Road time hrs 2 x $25 per hour = $50
Gas/car exp = $16 avg
Food = $20 avg
tape stock = $18
Editing 20 to 40 hours @ $35 per hour = $1,050 for 30 hours
Insurances = $20 avg per event, based on a $1K annual premium?
Electricity = $5 (no logic applied, arbitrary number)
Equip depreciation/wear = $25 per gig avg
DVD, ink, paper, cases = $5 per unit
Postage = $10
Web costs = $20 per gig avg est cost
Advertising = $20 per gig avg est cost
Space, office, room use = $50 per event/gig est

At $1,709 I'd have to make $50 per hour based on an estimated 38 hours
per wedding/gig to break even. Based on $75 per hour for 38 hours, I'd
be bringing in $2,850 - a potentially feasible/reasonable price point.

I'm not averaging this on weddings, and not too many others are either.
Essentially, we're all losing money on weddings that call for an
investment of 40 plus hours and are bringing in less than $3K.

This makes wedding video production truly a labor of love, no pun intended.


jimcvideo's picture
Last seen: 5 years 8 months ago
Joined: 04/15/2009 - 1:39pm

Yep, I agree wholeheartedly. The client is getting a steal anytime they book a sub-$3k package. It's a pity that so many couples don't see it that way.

I love doing weddings, but I've thought of getting out of it specifically because of the low perceived value. Recently, theweddingreport.com stated that 81 percent of brides hire a photog, and only 37 percent hire vidoegraphers. And when you think about it, most of those folks probably "had to" hire a photog, and only hired a videographer because they were convinced that it's a good idea.

Sometimes I wonder why I do them, really. I mean, I have to convince the bride that Uncle Vinny can't do a better job than I can, only to have them try and haggle over a price that's already half of what I'm worth. Finally, the event comes, and instead of a weekend relaxing I find myself chasing bridesmaids and rescuing receptions from lousy DJ's (it's really happened!).

I love doing them though. I'm not sure why, but I do love them. :-)


birdcat's picture
Last seen: 2 years 3 months ago
Joined: 10/21/2005 - 10:09am

I was just at a pro video assn meeting last night (first time for me with this one) and one guy was saying his standard price for weddings starts at $1700 (he did one last month for $5300 however). The group's moderator pointed out that in this economy, you take what you can get to keep the camera rolling - even as little as $500. I guess that makes sense but boy that comes out to very little $$$ for such an investment in time....

The only wedding I ever did was for a friend and I filmed for over 12 hours (spent the whole day with them as they prepared plus the ceremony & reception) plus well over 120 hours of editing (it had to be perfect as it was my gift). They loved it but I don't know if I could do this for a living - I am way too much of a perfectionist and I don't know if I could get what I wanted in only 30 hours (although there are some who have a model/template/formula they use that allows for a one day edit).

Bruce Paul 7Squared Productions http://www.7squared.com


J.D.'s picture
Last seen: 5 years 6 months ago
Joined: 05/31/2009 - 2:06am

Hi Earl,

I'm just starting out and read your post with interest. I bought the equipment to start a part-time business basically to keep myself busy. It's part-time and I enjoy shooting and editing. I have a full-time job so there's no pressure to make the "big" money, but like anyone, I would like to pay off the equipment costs. What I found interesting was the tape stock at $18. I'm paying that per tape to feed my machines (Canon XH-G1S). Am I going overboard?

J.D.


jimcvideo's picture
Last seen: 5 years 8 months ago
Joined: 04/15/2009 - 1:39pm

Wow, the G1s? That's a beefy camera for a side hobby. I'll be happy when I buy a set of A1's.

I'll be honest and say that I buy tapes on the cheap. For SD recording, I've always been happy with the 8-pack of MiniDV tapes they sall at Sam's Club for $18. Works out to just over two bucks a tape, and I virtually never have issues (well, one of my cameras needs a head rebuilt, but that's not due to the tapes as much as it's Canon's crappy heads on the GL series).

When I go HD, I doubt I'll settle for those same tapes, but I don't think I could ever justify spending $18 on a single tape, at least unless I was recording on some larger type of tape.

And I really really don't want to derail the thread, but what exactly does the G1 have that the A1 doesn't? Honestly, looking between the two, the stuff I see that's different (genlocking, etc) is stuff that I really don't see myself needing. But you've got a G1. Convince me I'm wrong :-)



EarlC's picture
Last seen: 8 months 2 days ago
Joined: 10/15/2008 - 1:15am
Plus Member Moderator

J.D. I currently continue to shoot the vast majority of my work using standard definition on a pair of Canon XL1 and a Canon GL2. For all my productions, even when I am shooting direct to hard drive and using tape for backup, I have used Sony Premium MiniDV. When I have gone with another brand, back in the early days of my MiniDV acquisition, I ran into head clog problems and stuff. So, after getting the heads replaced in BOTH XL1 cameras twice and the complete drive path assemply replaced in one of them once, I NEVER allow myself to be tempted to change tape type or brand again. I will recycle a one-time or twice used Sony before taking the chance. Once bitten, and all that...

If I were to go with a unit that uses the HD rated tape I would simply factor in the tape stock costs. For nearly all my commercial jobs tape stock fees is a line item and payable over and above other charges. I treat it like sales tax, it is a cost carried the client over and above my service and production fees.

I have still not been sold off the HMC150 Panasonic SDHC cameras as a early/late fall 2009 acqusition (will need a pair) so tape soon, for me, will not be an issue.

Gads, I highjacked my own thread :-)

Back on topic: What I wanted to do with this thread essentially was bring to mind that many things in the line of our work, especially in wedding production, are treated as inconsequential and not factored into the equation when we want to actually get a 99-percent accurate picture of what it takes to produce an average wedding. I didn't go into detail with the many things that we purchase and use in conjunction with our wedding production, or lump it into a misc category, but I probably should have because I suspect actual production costs is closer to $2K than even I care to accept.

On another forum a guy pointed out that he (admittedly) underpays college students or other desperate individuals, carries NO insurance (seriously taking chances here, especially when hiring out or outsourcing work - not to mention the potential for Uncle Sam considering these people employees rather than contract labor - whole nother issue...) and that he believes a person doing all the work himself (acqusition AND editing) is out more than hiring people on the cheap to shoot and/or edit. I can't seriously wrap my head around that concept. But, regardless, it remains a COST and cannot be left out of the equation.

Another guy pointed out that regardless of the "costs" I didn't include "market" in my assessment, but I responded that "what the market will bear, spend or what it's perceived value is) isn't elemental to factoring THE COST of doing a wedding production. Basing pricing on "what the market will bear" is something a LOT of us do, myself included, but that doesn't mean we're doing it right where expenses, income and profit come together. Market attitude isn't a factor in calculating hard costs of production.

Consequently, many of us do simply set pricing that we feel is competitive, do MORE work than it pays for, and go on about our happy ways with no regard to the fact that if we were to depend on doing this day in and day out for a living we would soon run out of money, go out of business and start looking for the employment line again. Those of us, and I started there as well, who have regular employment can subsidize our wedding (or other) production side-line business to a degree, but sooner or later, if we're not making a concerted and focused effort to at least break even or make a profit, we're going to overwhelm our financial resources no matter the money we have coming in.

I'm going to get stupid here, but really think about this: If you ONLY pour water OUT of the jar and never replinish the levels it will eventually go empty; likewise, if you pour out more than you replace, ditto; AND, if you add water from other jars without renewing the sources for ANY of them, they will all eventually run dry. Same with expending MORE than you bring in to produce wedding, or any other, videos.


headtrip's picture
Last seen: 5 years 8 months ago
Joined: 04/18/2009 - 4:16pm

Editing 20 to 40 hours @ $35 per hour = $1,050 for 30 hours

at an estimated cost of $1,709, cutting expenses here is where you generate profit. could you break that down into what you think it costs you per step. importing from tape, actual editing, and then rendering/burning to disc/uploading, or however you think you need to break that down.


EarlC's picture
Last seen: 8 months 2 days ago
Joined: 10/15/2008 - 1:15am
Plus Member Moderator

I'm not positive I am understanding what you're trying to say headtrip. And I am NOT trying to ridicule you or poke fun.

Essentially, based on a certain cost per hour for provision of services, yes you can find ways to trim an hour here, shave a minute there and wind up with a reduction of the 30-hour average. Those who are taking 40 hours, or more, often are aware of this and making efforts to get their skills and formulas to the point where they can target 30 hours.

Those taking 30 are targeting 20, so on and so forth...

IF we accept that, generally speaking an average wedding production costs $1,709, and that based on the hours calculated to achieve a finished product we would need to make $50 per each of those hours in order to "break even" then doing the job in LESS than the total hours in my formula only results in doing better than breaking even if we sustain the income that $50 per hour generates. If our rates decline as we reduce the hours, this is self-defeating.

I can appreciate that further breaking down the 30 hours can enlighten us as to what is taking too much time, and where to focus an attempt on reduction of production time, but other than identifying those elements, just the general knowledge that if I am ONLY making $50 an hour, AND putting in 8 or more hours in shooting, and another 30 or so in production then I am just going to break even helps keep me focused on sustaining or increasing my pricing structure while at the same time finding ways to streamline my operation and reduce the time expended to do the job.

The whole matter can be headache inducing and cause anxiety attacks :-)


headtrip's picture
Last seen: 5 years 8 months ago
Joined: 04/18/2009 - 4:16pm

"I'm not positive I am understanding what you're trying to say headtrip. And I am NOT trying to ridicule you or poke fun."

understood, it's not always easy for me to get my point across correctly in a forum post.

my point is, if the customer wants a $1,500 wedding video (just guessing on pricepoint), you aren't going to be able to do $1,000 worth of editing. the expense of editing is the only thing you really have to play with since it's the biggest expense and least necessary of the above listed. a $500 wedding vid (again a guess) you're basically going to shoot to tape (that's the correct term isn't it?) rather than actually edit the video. breaking down the editing process will help you determine how much editing you can do in order to break even.

at some point quality will become an issue, that's where you draw the line and say this is my rock bottom price. pricing to the market doesn't necessarily mean doing the same work for a lower price. it usually means adjusting the product to fit what people are willing to pay vs what you need to make a profit.



NathanBlair's picture
Last seen: 5 years 6 months ago
Joined: 06/14/2009 - 7:13pm

I've been working with a really great Director Of Photography, who I've been learning a great deal from. He said that instead of simply turning down clients who demand lower prices, he tells them something like "okay, well if you can't make the price of HD, I can offer you less hours of shooting on my Mini DV camcorder in order to fit your price range". Essentially he seems prepared to fall back on services that aren't quite his most pristine quality, but which get the client their true money's worth instead of bending over backwards by not "breaking even", as you've put it EarlC.

I guess likewise, hypothetically, if you go to a storage unit and you can't quite afford a large room, you feel better about the company if they offer you a smaller alternative instead of leaving you without options. And say later in life, when you're making the big bucks, guess what storage unit keeps you as a customer...

--
Nathan D. Blair
Video/Film Production Services


Anonymous (not verified)

It is definitely sad that videographers are the last to be chosen and first to be booted out for budget cuts given the amount of work needed to produce a wedding film...


Jennifer O'Rourke's picture
Last seen: 8 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: 03/07/2008 - 10:44pm

In response to Aikidoken's comment... this proves the point, once again, that the average layperson doesn't get it at all, about what we do. My work is mediocre compared to "Real" wedding videographers, most weddings I've done were done as favors, and as the saying goes, you get what you pay for. I've seen some outstanding wedding videos and tip my virtual hat to the hard working wedding guys out there.

I have a question that I haven't been able to answer: when do you deliver the finished product? Do you promise to have it done by the time they return from the honeymoon? Or by a certain number or weeks...? or...? And what if they want it re-worked? What if you miss something, what do you promise? Being the wedding videographer is as much pressure as being the wedding planner!

Managing Editor jorourke@videomaker.com VM Customer Support: 1-800-284-3226



EarlC's picture
Last seen: 8 months 2 days ago
Joined: 10/15/2008 - 1:15am
Plus Member Moderator

I target 2 weeks, I often experience client delays (for whatever the reason) in delivering photos, preferred songs, whatever, taking my average to 4-6 weeks. I promise 90 days and have not taken THAT long in a long, long time.

While I am not a high dollar, ultra-artistic or visually expressive wedding video producer, and do not attempt to reach THAT client base or try to stay in business as an exclusive wedding video producer, I also do not feel intimidated by the talents of people like Elliot, Dave Robbins, Bret Culp, or even Randy Stubbs in San Diego, Calif. They have developed, earned and claim rightful ownership to an elite category of such productions while I only include wedding video production among my diversified operation that focuses on ALL celebrations of life, corporate, small business and SIV. I also enjoy the diversity, and am afraid I would burn out rather quickly if I did, say, 40 to 50 weddings a year.

So the bridal budget range I attract is suitable for me, my creative standards and make short turnaround a possiblity that the ultra elite cannot hope to achieve. They, however, do establish a reputation and a branding that holds up to long and extensive, not to mention expensive, creative wedding productions.

An interesting thing I have noticed, and noted in various posts and on my blog site, is that the earlier I turn a wedding production around, the greater the increase in referrals - either from the clients themselves, or people with whom they have shared their production "while emotion, curiosity and interest" remains high, or people who saw my company in action at the event and heard one way or another that I turned around a quality product with good visuals and understandable audio in four weeks or less.

I think long delivery times put too much water under the bridge and people get busy with their lives. Disappointment sets in, and with the advent of virtually instant photo delivery videographers no longer have the argument that even if they take six months, or longer, to deliver they got the video delivered long before the photographer. That went out with Kodachrome.

In today's society people are into instant gratification. Waiting, even for the wine and cheeses, is something they're not often willing to do. The sooner you deliver a quality product, the longer they will remember you in a positive light. The longer and later, they will continue to remember you, but to others and not in a way that brings about more business.


jimcvideo's picture
Last seen: 5 years 8 months ago
Joined: 04/15/2009 - 1:39pm

Video Chick,

For 2009, I bought a live switch, and for most of my weddings so far this year, I've mixed the ceremony live. I used to be a director for a live TV program, so I was very comfortable mixing this. Let me tell you, it's been a huge timesave. Typically I have the wedding video in the mailbox on the Wednesday or Thursday after the wedding.

Let me tell you, NOTHING helps the image of a wedding video producer like a fast delivery. Business has picked up more than enough to make the extra expense worth it.


Cville's picture
Last seen: 3 months 1 day ago
Joined: 03/28/2009 - 7:58pm

As you all are speaking of quick delivery I thought I would mention a wedding I attended early this spring. There was a 3 person video crew. They must have done some quick editing between the wedding and the reception and showed about a 3-5 minute highligt video at the reception.

 

 

We don’t make movies to make money, we make money to make more movies.- Walt Disney 

www.ynotvideo.us


jimcvideo's picture
Last seen: 5 years 8 months ago
Joined: 04/15/2009 - 1:39pm

We offer that as well. You have to pay BIG money for it, because it's a lot of work, but it's a neat feature.


digitalhq's picture
Last seen: 5 years 8 months ago
Joined: 04/23/2009 - 1:31am

Wedding video is definitely a tough sell. It's usually last on the bride's priority list, but I have to think, in this multimedia 21st Century, isn't it the perfect medium to share your day with others? Much more exciting to sit down and watch a cinematic wedding film than look at a photo album, isn't it?

On another point altogether, my main struggle is relaying to the clients how time consuming and tedious video editing is. Many people have in their mind that a wedding video will only cost a few hundred dollars, but they're often not satisfied with a basic cut and paste production.


Anonymous (not verified)

Hi Cville,

We are one of the two companies(out of20+)in our city (Winnipeg, Canada)that does what we describe as a Same Day MTV Edit. Here is a sample

http://www.vimeo.com/5432198

Its definitely not for the faint of heart butits fun and exciting to do..imagine getting paid good money for 250-500 people to watch your wedding film..now that is priceless !! Our business have picked up considerably because of this ..

@Digitalhq

A WeddingFilmis still not accepted by a lot of couples as a must have for their wedding...I think its mainly because ofwhatclient's haveseen previously or the type of experience someone close to them had..kindaruins it for everyone when someone offers to charge $350 to film the wholeweddingday, just your basic cut and paste editingand worse; deliver the final product a year or so later...the most common comment we've received from clients is " i usually fast forward and will only watch once so why pay money when my uncle/cousin/friend can do that with their own camera?"

We deliver the final package 8-12 weeks. The film is usually about 45 mins - 1 hr long ..


imagep's picture
Last seen: 5 years 5 months ago
Joined: 07/07/2009 - 3:30am

Don't take me wrong here, I am just trying to learn a little more about this industry, but...

I see that yall are talking anywhere between 4 weeks and a year to have a finished wedding video, that apparently actually only takes 50 hours or so of time. I dont understand. So yall get a job, film it, and then wait weeks or even months before you bother to edit it? Dont customers get mad?

I am in a similar industry, we have a customer place an order, we create the artwork usually within a few days, sometimes within hours of the order beingplaced, we send our customer a proof, they approve it usually within a day, and weproduce the product the next day.Our typical turn around time may be anywhere from 2 days to a week - and they STILL get mad because we are so "slow".

It seems that a one person business would turn around a wedding video, based on the info that yall have presented here,in a week or a week and a day (48 hr total man hrs). It's not like you are having to send film off to a processing lab or anything is it?

Also, for a one or two person business, I don't understand why you cost your labor at $25-$50/hr. Our labor costs run half of that. For accounting purposes shouldn't you use actual labor cost (like if you pay yourself $50k/yr that would work out to $25/hr) and anything above thatreal life salaryis the profit and not "cost"? So the first example on this thread, about $1,500 of the "cost" is actually labor at $50/hr - but surelyyoucan hire people for less than $50/hr - so maybe the real labor "cost" is only $750?

I once had a friend who worked for a office supply store, he was trying to get me to purchase paper from the office supply company, but quoted me a price that was twice the price that I could purchase it as Sams for. I told him that, he pulled out this spreadsheet that had a collumn that read "cost" and told me that he was offering it at only $1 per case over "cost". I noticedthe figure in the first collumn that had a much lower price and then several other collumns that had other amounts. I asked him what all that ment. He explained that the first figure was what they actually paid for the paper, the other collumns were what they added to that figure (overhead, commission, warehousing costs,company profit, bla bla bla)to comeup with the actual cost. I had to explain to the guy that what he was actually asking me to pay was a dollar over "suggested"retail price not over cost. Cost israw cost actually paid for raw materialswithout overhead or profit - if you add in overhead and profit then that is retail price.That company went out of business about 4 years ago.


EarlC's picture
Last seen: 8 months 2 days ago
Joined: 10/15/2008 - 1:15am
Plus Member Moderator

imagep, you have a few misconceptions about the realities of video production costs and business, as well as what actual costs of goods are. But there's no need to get into a discussion here regarding your approach VS another's approach, VS the right or wrong approach. Beyond my observations below, I cannot see the positive side of getting into a debate over the subject.

REAL costs of goods, services, labor or whatever are the sum of all things affecting that cost, not JUST what you went down to the dime store, or warehouse and spent to acquire a bundle of something wrapped in paper. If such things as time, gas, insurance, stamps, pencils, ink, paper, etc. are not taken into account, then the bottom line is not an accurate representation of what is going out VS what come in.

Some might be satisfied with a $25 per hour rate for provision of professional video production services. I and many others in the industry are not, nor should we be.


birdcat's picture
Last seen: 2 years 3 months ago
Joined: 10/21/2005 - 10:09am

Imagep -

Earl is spot on - I could not keep my family afloat for $25/hour. If I were to be in business full time as a wedding videographer, I would need to clear at least $100k/year gross per person to cover salary, benefits, insurance, cost of equipment (purchase and upkeep), consumables (blank DVD's, tapes and/or cards, cases, etc...), cost of doing business (rent, phone, business cards, advertising, postage, office supplies, etc...).

And that would require a minimum of taping three weddings per month @ $3000 each with turnaround in the 7-10 day timeframe.

Personally, I don't see how most wedding/event videographers can stay in business if this is their only source of income.

Also, videographers/producers are artists - You could buy canvas, paint and brushes for under $100 but what would you have at the end of the day? I look at the likes of Glen Elliot (http://www.glenelliott.com) and could easily equate his work to that of any outstanding (and profitable) contemporary artist.

But about the delays - you are correct - I have heard horror stories of couples waiting months for their products - There are many in the wedding/event video business who give a black eye to all those who turn around a final in less than a week - It all depends on skill, ethics and priorities.

Bruce Paul 7Squared Productions http://www.7squared.com


Anonymous (not verified)

imageP,

What Birdcat and EarlC are indicating in terms of compensation is the norm in the wedding video business..seriously,$25/houris a joke. An average Photographer charges between $75-$200 an hour so maybe take up your cause with them :)

If you are unhappy about how we get compensated ,that's toobad foryou..In the end, the majority of couples understand the work that needs tobe put in to delivera high quality wedding video; so theyalways ask us to take the time required (certainly not 48 hours) to do our job without rushing the work. I sense your apprehension about how we make money..i tell you its not bad ..not bad at all.. just like what Borat said "Ish bery nice!" hahahaha!!


jimcvideo's picture
Last seen: 5 years 8 months ago
Joined: 04/15/2009 - 1:39pm

I'll echo what Earl and birdcat have said, in that there's a lot
more to the actual "cost" than just be physical deliverables and a
paltry hourly wage. Too much work goes into each product to sell them
for so little.

When I got into wedding videos, I thought the same
thing as you, that everyone in the field charged too much. I tried
selling $400 -$600 wedding video packages. That was possibly the
biggest mistake of my professional career. For starters, even though
you'd think it would be exactly opposite, the folks buying cheap
packages were the pickiest, rudest, most demanding clients. I don't
know exactly what causes this, but I think it's because cheapskates
looking for a deal are usually so caught up in their wants that they
don't always realize they're getting a deal. Then there was the time
issue. I was spending 40-50 hours a week on wedding video production,
and because I was charging so little, I was also working a full-time
job to make ends meet. It was burning me out.

The bottom line is that there's no way to live charging such low
rates. Even charging as much as $5000 per wedding, I still try to take
at least one corporate job per month to make sure bills are paid and
food is on the table.

As far as timeframes go, again, you have to remember the field
you're in. That 30 minute TV show you watched last night on TV? It took
a team of people a couple months to turn that around. (They also
charged a HECK of a lot more than $2000-$5000 for their work, but
that's another topic.) So I have no problem with telling clients the
may have to wait for up to 90 days for a 90 minute video I produce
solo. And almost all the time, my clients understand this. Now, I've
almost always delivered my products well within a month (and remember,
if it takes a week and a two days to edit a video, and you do one every
week, you're falling two days behind on every project, which can add up
by the end of wedding season), but recently, thanks to aquiring a live
swithch setup, I can now almost always have a wedding done in a few
days. And because I can deliver faster, I've actually started charging
more that I did before, because 1-They're getting a better service, and
2-I invested a great deal of money into the production costs.

And for those folks who insist on complaining about the price
wedding videographers chargs, I always enjoy pointiong out that many
corporate video production houses charge upwards of $2000 per finished
minute of video. If wedding videographers were charging this rate, a 60
minute video would cost $120,000. Wouldn't that be great! :-)


m_parkansky's picture
Last seen: 5 years 5 months ago
Joined: 07/08/2009 - 12:45am

I'm kind of bummed out and discouraged, frankly, after reading all of these posts about wedding videography. I am 23 and a college student in Green Bay, WI, and am doing some wedding video editing for a guy now, trying to get experience so that in a year or two I can start my own business in Wedding Videography. I just recently bought a new office set up (desk, chair, supplies, etc) and a new computer and new software to invest towards my future business. I'm saving money to get 2 Panasonic HMC150s, tripods, and other equipment. All of this for the purpose of getting into the wedding business soon, and I was under the impression that it would be a luicritive business. When looking at market prices, at approx. $2,000 a pop, I saw a great profit (after equipment expenses were out of the way), besides the smaller costs of tape/sd cards, marketing and advertisement, DVDs and cases, etc. I just can't see anything wrong with bringing home $2,000 a week, assuming 1 is shot a week...

I have a different point of view, I guess. Instead of seeing the editing as an hourly cost, I see every wedding as being paid a weekly pay. $2000/week sounds good. And I hope not to sound insulting, but there are people out there doing a lot of crappier work for a lot less money. I came from working $2.33 as a waitress 5 years ago to $8.00 as a gas station employee and $10 currently working 3rd shift at a printing company ($320/week). If we are going to look at this from an hourly perspective...even if I was paid $25/ hr, which is apparently an insulting amount, I would be overjoyed and grateful for life. Y'all filmmakers are spoiled! $35/hour for editing? Thats an amazing pay off. And not to mention the benefits of owning your own produciton biz. All of the work is done from home or your very own office, you are your own boss, and if you have a laptop can even take your work along with you wherever you want to go...out of town....on vacation, etc. Not many people have that luxury. And you make your own hours! I still want to maintain my optimistic point of view here, does anyone agree with me?? I know most of you have been in this business for years and years and are deffinately deserving of making good money and having your work treated with respect, but I guess I would like to see a little more appreciation from the people in this forum for their career than I've been hearing.???

???

Compared the the $10 I make working 3 shift at a printing company, come on... thats money to me. I assumed that after purchasing my equipment and hiring a web designer and website host that my big expenses would be out of the way, the big costs were over


Anonymous (not verified)

that's where the problem lies, you cannot look at wedding videography in terms of an hourly rate..it is moreproject based ..depending on the your currentproject (given that you have some ideas about how to shoot,edit and turn in the final copy ) In the beginning we were so happy just to receive $1000 per full wedding(12 hrs to shoot and 60-80 hours post productionworks out to $11/hour) until we realize that we will not be able to do this long term at this rate... or if there are no significant rewards coming our way..that is just good old fashion (common) business sense..

Let us know when you reach that point...

Cheers,


EarlC's picture
Last seen: 8 months 2 days ago
Joined: 10/15/2008 - 1:15am
Plus Member Moderator

Spoiled! SPOILED? The realities will eventually hit you. The problem with many people playing at conducting an exclusively weddings video production business do not, or cannot understand or comprehend the actual and true costs of doing business.

I go out of town, and NEVER on vacation, only to work a gig. I diversified because the realities of what can be made from, what is made from, the perceived value of wedding video production by consumers, the hours it takes to produce is way more severe than practically anything else you can pursue as an independent professional video services provider.

Spoiled are people who work for companies that offer benefits, vacations, expenses, perhaps even some joke of an insurance and retirement plan. You want to discovered NOT being spoiled - go into business for yourself! Hope you're a fast learner - about the business realities, not the FUN of doing wedding video production exclusively. It CAN be lucrative, but it requires more than simply a way with cameras and a creative mind, you have to know how to run a business as well, and that requires knowing your TRUE costs, setting your rates to cover them, AND see if there's the possibility of making a PROFIT after all the other is factored in.

The business is a good one, but don't go into it wearing blinders and rose-colored glasses my friend, you are in for a rude awakening. There's often a huge difference between what a person would LIKE to believe and the reality of it all.


imagep's picture
Last seen: 5 years 5 months ago
Joined: 07/07/2009 - 3:30am

m_parkansky - there is nothing wrong with bringing home $2k/week based on one gig a week. Thats darn good money. If you make $10/hr as a printer (I own a printing company by the way), that represents a big step up and "profit".

Thats what I was trying to explain in a earlier post, I was not knocking these guys for charging thousands for a wedding video, I was simply trying to correct an accounting misassuption. When looking at hourly rates, anything that you charge over actual hourly cost is profit - not cost. So if you currently make $10/hr and you start charging $50/hr plus expenses, then you are now making a profit of $40/hr. Darn good in most of the world.

Cost is cost, not cost plus profit. If you pay $50 for something and you sell it for $100, $100 is not your cost, it is your PRICE until it is actually sold at which time it becomes your revenue. $50 is your cost (plus possibly any other expenses relating the the aquisition or upgrade of the item/service).

No reason to get discouraged what so ever. A $40 per hour profit is awsome and as a self employed person, a $100k/yr would put you in the top 5% or so of inoome earners in the US.

Your next step would be to take your self-employment situation up to the next level - which is actually owning a business. A business is something that can make you money even if you are not involved in it. Most "business owners" are not really businesss owners, they are self employed. If they got sick or died, all income from their activity would stop. To have a business, in most cases you have to have employees and managers.


imagep's picture
Last seen: 5 years 5 months ago
Joined: 07/07/2009 - 3:30am

Hey guys, I never suggested that $50/hr is to high. I just suggested that if you are charging $50/hr, you shouldn't pretend like that is your cost. That is your PRICE or rate, not your cost.

My cost of labor for my employees is in the $15-$20 per hour range.Our prices are based onrates in the $30-$100/hr range depending on skill level and cost of equipment and percieved value by the customer. But the rate of $30-100/hr is ouor price, not our cost. I don't pretend that a job that I sell for $1,000 cost me $1,000. If I did that i would have no profit.


m_parkansky's picture
Last seen: 5 years 5 months ago
Joined: 07/08/2009 - 12:45am

?i apologize for the poor word choice, "spoiled" was not the one I was looking for. and I'm not saying a person can go ahead and vacation anytime they want just because they have a laptop and a business, I was just trying to make the point that there is a lot less restraint, unlike working a 40 hr week stuck in a cubicle or on a conveyor line. I'm sure business owning is hard, and competitive, I've never heard a business owner say it was easy, and the man I edit for never has a day off, and everytime i talk to him he is working no matter what time of day...I know a restaurant owner who has worked her butt off for 6 years and still has yet to bring home her own paycheck, but besides my poor word coice of "spoiled" and mentioning vacation, The facts that I mentioned are still there. You CAN make your own hours, you CAN travel and edit, and with $2,000 coming in each week, can probably choose and pay for your own insurance plan, Earl, the ones they usually offer with companies are crappy anyway. But I've went ahead and made a social issue out of this...Imagep made the point that needed to be made. You cant say that editing time is a production cost. Editing is not COSTING you anything except for the electricity in using your computer.


EarlC's picture
Last seen: 8 months 2 days ago
Joined: 10/15/2008 - 1:15am
Plus Member Moderator

Imagep - you are not, if I am to understand your postings since joining this form a few days ago, an experienced or professional video services provider. Your take on video production and its requirements and cost of doing business was evident in you initial post seeking information that would help you generate the bucks for your band booster group, and take it away from a professional video services provider.

I cannot believe that you see a way to compare the printing business, of which I am a 30-year veteran (newspaper and magazine) and its associated costs and wages with that of video production at any level. You are being unfair in your presumtions regarding the business and IMHO a bit over the top in taking it upon yourself to tutor someone interested in pursuing video production business on the ins and outs of a area outside your experience, knowledge and expertise.

It is fine to debate issues, and you are most welcome (as far as I am concerned) to comment on these forums, but I do retain the right to rebut some of our philosophy and comments, especially your uninformed misstatements.


EarlC's picture
Last seen: 8 months 2 days ago
Joined: 10/15/2008 - 1:15am
Plus Member Moderator

But, Parkansky, there are probably MANY more restraints to being in business for yourself as opposed to working for the other person. Essentially, when you are off the clock, your time is YOUR time, not the company's. More than likely you will find your "company" involvement as an independent business person to be something close to 24/7 in a whole slew of ways.

Probably, the most difficult thing a self-employed, or independent businessperson has to contend with is his/her work ethic. If we do not put in the same rigid (more or less) routines with our own businesses as we did with our previous employers, if we start "sleeping in" or working later into the night, or taking unscheduled days off because we're simply not in the mood to work, if we actually back off a gig because we're ill, tired or missed because we overslept, we in deep poop my friend. The luxury of having specified time for work on a timeclock, where the rest of the week is ours is simply NOT present in independent business operations.

I'm here to tell you that you are flat WRONG about insurance costs as well, not to mention hospitalization and health, life, accident, but fire, theft, liability, etc. as well. You will discover that out-of-pocket premiums for all the insurances you SHOULD have as a business far exceed your imagination - something that can be to the tune of a couple thousand a month and STILL not the best of policies. You really need to reasearch the realities of the costs of doing business and insurance is only ONE tiny facet of it.

If you, and Imagep cannot grasp that time is money, that the time you spend actually working, is eqivalent and the same as if you had to pay someone else to do the work, you are NOT understanding the realities of the costs involved in doing business, or how profit is conceived, or counted on the bottom line.

Again, there's a huge gap between what some people apparently WANT to believe about the true costs and realities of running a business, and what it is. Mistakes will possibly point out some of the differences, but at what costs of the ignorance going in?


Anonymous (not verified)

I agree with Earl..if you cannot fathom the simplestof business concepts like"time is money"how in the world are you gonna survivebeing self employed? ...Being your own boss is not aticket to be a slacker.. if that is yourperceived notion of starting a business.. best of luck!!


m_parkansky's picture
Last seen: 5 years 5 months ago
Joined: 07/08/2009 - 12:45am

Mmk well I'm almost positive that we have some different point of views going on here. bottom line is that if you dont spend money, its not a cost. Time = time and cost=cost. Using the worn phrase time=money to prove your point is a great way to sound like you're right. But I'm actually in the process of making a budget to present with my business plan to a get a business loan, and in this budget I need to add up all the costs and figure out an amount to ask for. Now if you're right and my work time is a production cost, wouldnt I have to add that amount into my figures? how much should i ask for...$50/hour? I may not have any business experience but even I know that that just doesnt make sense.


jimcvideo's picture
Last seen: 5 years 8 months ago
Joined: 04/15/2009 - 1:39pm

When I go to my doctor, I pay him $what works out to about $125 an hour to listen to me whine and write me a script on a notepad.

When I go to the quickie oil change place, I spend $35 on an oil change that takes 10 minutes. Subtract the $15 for the cost of materials, and the oil change place is charging about $60 an hour for labor, and in turn giving me service from some inexperienced high school kid who probably can't do more to an engine that change the oil. If I go to my real mechanic, I get to pay $80 an hour for him to fix whatever ails my van. $50 an hour for an experienced video producer with 12 years of experience is a pretty dang good price, if you ask me. It's probably also not what we actually get.

Subtracting all other contracts, let's assume I get three wedding contracts a month, and it averages to about $1800 a week in wedding income. After materials, insurance, the cost of ads, TAXES, etc, I'm actually getting to keep about half of that, maybe less, so let's say I keep $900 a week, free and clear.

$900 a week sounds like a lot at first, but let's look at the work that goes into it. Every week, I'm working on at least one wedding, possibly two or more. I spend maybe 50-60 hours a week in my editing bay, and probably another 15-20 hours or so doing business stuff such as meeting with new clients, scheduling and attending trade shows, meeting people and networking, etc, etc... So let's round that out to 70 hours of business-related work every week. Divide that by the $900 I'm still holding onto, and I'm making just under $13 an hour. My wife makes more than that!

Of course, this is only for example, and of course I do more than just weddings. On top of that, I sometimes hire an assistant, which makes like even more complicated. If I want to keep putting food on the table, I find myself doing more than just weddings. It sounds like a lot of money, but really, it's not that much.

Interestingly, what I see here are two inexperienced people, saying that videographers make cash hand-over fist, and several pros with years of experience saying no, not really. Who would you trust to know their stuff in this discussion if you had to pick a side?

Don't get me wrong, video is awesome fun. I love the work, and I'm happy to spend most of my waking hours on my business, but it's not making me rich, not by any means. And the big thing to remember is that in any business, the government wants their due, especially if you actually put yourself or someone else on your payroll. A $2500 wedding video might leave you with around $1500-1700 after the feds get their cut, and that's before you even start subtracting costs for material expenses. And don't think you can fudge numbers. You have to pay the piper.

Again, when I got into the business on my own, I thought the same thing you fresh faces are thinking, and I thought I'd get rich by doing economy wedding videos for a few hundred. It took me a while, but I realized how utterly, blatheringly stupid I actually was. It's a costly business. For people who love doing it it's worth it, but it's costly none the less.


m_parkansky's picture
Last seen: 5 years 5 months ago
Joined: 07/08/2009 - 12:45am

Those are all really good points, thanks for the post jim you have a really sound opinion.


EarlC's picture
Last seen: 8 months 2 days ago
Joined: 10/15/2008 - 1:15am
Plus Member Moderator

And he STILL doesn't GET IT, Jim! No problem here, Parkansky, like Burger King - have it your way. I've nothing more to debate here.


yourvideographer's picture
Last seen: 5 years 8 months ago
Joined: 04/13/2009 - 11:59pm

I apologize for not reading all of the posts, but this is a response to some of the posts. I believewhateverbusiness you are running orown you need to have a passion for it. People like to buy from people who have a passion for what theysell. You also need to have a smart planfor your business, so you can make income for you and your business so you will survive.

We also need to remember that people in here and the rest of the world havemany different levels of standards.Wejust need to agree to disagreeand respect each other's opinions and standards in here.Believe me, Iamhuman and I am not perfect, so don't think I amsticking my nose up in the air at this, but this is my 2 cents onthis forum and I believe it is important torespect each other in here. I have gone through situations where I lost respect for people and realized that I should have keptthe respect for those people. It is justexperiencing life tough situations that taught me to always keep the respect for people, no matter how madyou get at them.

Also if you tell meto read the rest of the post and say you are barking up the wrong tree, I will read the rest of the posts and probably agree with you.But for now this is my 2 cents on this. Have a Good Day!


EarlC's picture
Last seen: 8 months 2 days ago
Joined: 10/15/2008 - 1:15am
Plus Member Moderator

It is really important that individuals wanting to comment regarding a thread as active as this one has become read the entire content so as to have a better handle on what they should say, or want to say, regarding the thread in total.

Posting a "can't we all just get along" response is all fine and good, but it would perhaps come off even better if the person posting either didn't admit to having not read all in their entirety, or had a better understanding of the ongoing interactions by having read them all so as to better respond without posting a kneejerk sermon.

Respect works on many levels and is evident, or not, in many ways - subtle and not so subtle nuances that are contained in the separate thread responses give a deeper understanding to the arguments, comments, debates and facts, and should be taken into consideration, yourvideographer, if one's post isn't going to be topic specific.


imagep's picture
Last seen: 5 years 5 months ago
Joined: 07/07/2009 - 3:30am

Hey guys, I perfectly understand that your labor is worth $50/hr. I never said otherwise. I just said that if you charge $50/hr hopefully your actual labor cost is less than that - or else you aint making no profit.

I think that you are misconstruing an accounting point that I was trying to make. Rant all you want, my accounting point is still valid. Let me refraise it so that maybe it makes more sense to you:

If you are charging $1,800 to produce a video, if most of the cost is labor, if your cost of labor is $50, and you only charge $50/hr, then you are not making a true profit, only a salary.

Or, conversely...

If you consider a$1,700 fee for a video with X hours of labor involved, roughly billed at $50/hr, is profitable,then obviously your true labor cost is less than $50.

Does that make any more sense?

And by the way, working at a newspaper or magazine is nothing like being in the "print for pay" business. I would imagine that operating a newspaper is much more complicated as you have multible clients for each product produced (the reader and the advertiser)and multible revenue streams (such as the price of each newspaper/magazine, and the advertising revenues recieved from them).

Print for pay is much more like videography. We meet with a client, find out what they want and expect, estimate what the artwork cost will be (based on our art labor rate), estimate what the production cost will be (based on labor and the particular equipment), estimate what consumables and COGS will be involved, give a quote, listen to the customer complain how high we are, and tell us that the place down the street only charges $XXX (less than us),listen to the customer demand that the job be finished by a particular date(which is almost impossible to achieve and stillcreate aquality product), tactfully explain to the customer that he/she is being unrealistic, then waitand see if the customer comes back to us or goes to the lowballer (who will most likely be out of business in a few months)down the street.

When I expanded my business from primarally offset printing to include screen printing, I had lots of people tell me "screenprinting is a whole different ballgame". Then when I got into the sign business people told me the same thing. - Bulldookie - . Its exactly the same. We deal with the same customers, we produce similar products, have the same customer issues, and the same artwork issues, and the same production issues. Even the artwork creation and manufacturing techniques are virtually identical - or at least have very strong paralells.

Printing is an art, just like videography. It befuddles me how you see no similarity.

Of course, then again, I am a moron, I have only been in business for myself for 20+ years and only happen to have a BS Degree in Business Administration with duel concentrations in economics and finance. You guys all obviously have much more experiance in business than I do. I appolgize if I have offended anyone here, I did not mean to.

By the way, I went "window shopping" for equipment today. It was very enlightening.


imagep's picture
Last seen: 5 years 5 months ago
Joined: 07/07/2009 - 3:30am

m_parkansky, I actually never intented to indicate that editing time is not a cost. It is a cost, but probably justnot a $50/hr cost.

One of the experianced videographers here gave an example of how he only ends up making $13/hr. The truth is, if he is willing to work for $13/hr, that is what he should base is labor cost on. Im not suggesting that he price his work for that, but if he is willing to work for $13/hr, thats his cost. Now, all he has to do is to raise the cost of his $900 video to $1,000 and he can start actually making a true profit of $100 per video. If he raised it to $1,700 or more like has been suggested here, he can start making a profit of $800 or more. Do one of those a week and thats a true profit of $40,000+ per year, PLUS the $13/hr wage that he is willing to work for.

What these guys don't seem to understand is the difference between their actual cost and what they charge. I don't know how I can explain it any better than I already have. As I mentioned before, in my business, an hour of labor may cost me something like $15, I bill that at anywhere from $30-$100 per hour, but it still only cost me $15.

In your case, unless you hire employees, considering that you only make $10/hr now, you should most likely, at least in the beginning, consider your labor cost to be $10/hr, and anything you charge above that to go towards overhead and hopefully some profit.

I think that these guys have a lot of frustration as small business people. The same type of frustration that I have in my related business. They are expressing their frustration in a weird way by trying to ridicule statements that you and I have both made.

Truthfully, I tend to do the same when "outsiders" come to the three industry forums that I actively participate in (and actually have businesses in). I think that we both offended and stepped on toes here - we will all get over it.


jimcvideo's picture
Last seen: 5 years 8 months ago
Joined: 04/15/2009 - 1:39pm

imagep,

I don't think anyone thinks you're a moron! :-)

Additionally, I can actually relate quite well to your background in printing. My dad ran a small print shop from the day I was born up until The late 90's, when desktop publishing was becoming a houshold thing. He considered trying to stick it out, but wound up selling off both his Heidelbergs and trading them in for paint rollers as a commercial painter. Having worked for him for some time in various positions, I agree, for a small business owner, you do pour the same creative energies into it that I pour into video. All the same, I will agree with Earl on the point that there are a lot of aspects of the business that just aren't the same.

Turnaround time is a prime example of the difference. I've seen every step of the printing process, from the layout table to the plate machine to cuting and folding. The bottom line is that often for a print job, the end product was a relatively simple deliverable. Sure, there were complex jobs, books and bound items, but there are a lot of projects where the client needs a one-sheet product that you had a premade template for already. In the video world, there is no eqivalent. With every single project, no matter how large or small, you essentially have to start from scratch every single time. And that means that even a simple project is going to take time. If someone walks into your shop and asks for business cards, you can probably have them done by the end of the day. If somebody walks into my shop and wants to shoot a 30 second TV commercial, it's going to take a week or more, and because of the work that's required to produce it, that's just the way it is.

I think the point Earl was trying to make in the creation of this thread is that many wedding videographers are selling their services below cost. This is something I agree with entirely. Somewhere along the lines of trying to please people, wedding videographers broke away from the mainstream world of video production, and charge for an entire video what many commercial video producers charge by the minute of finished footage. A well produced 60 minute wedding video is easily worth $3000. A Television show of that length costs over $50,000. And yet customers have the audacity to complain about prices, and video producers, not having the solidarity to stand their ground, try to appease them by lowering their prices. I mean, for as much as people comment about the expense of wedding video, I'd hate to see what happens if these folks ever had to cover the bill for the editing work of an episode of "Law & Order"

What it comes down to is that Wedding Videographers don't charge what they're worth (well, the good ones, I've seen some $2000 wedding videos that I thought were overpriced by $2100). For whatever reason, they continue to do the work. I'd say it's akin to doctors who take rediculous pay cuts to go work in third world nations. Their knowledge hasn't changed and isn't worth less, they're just doing it for less because they enjoy the work. At least that's my theory.


jimcvideo's picture
Last seen: 5 years 8 months ago
Joined: 04/15/2009 - 1:39pm

And just for the record, I don't think any (or much, at any rate) of the contention above came from new people trying to get into the world of video. I mean, that's half of what this site is all about. People who want to become video producers come in here, and like the free consultants that we are, we tell them how to do so. No big deal. People are going to pick up their camcorders anyway, may as well tell them how to do it the right way.

The thing that can get the hair on the back of our necks to stand up is when people come in and have the audacity to claim that the work we're doing is worth less than it actually is, or that we could/should do it for less, or that they in any way, shape, or form minimize what goes into video production. People who start with phrases like"I don't see why it costs so much. I mean, you're only..." make video producers angrier than a mean drunken Irishman. Sometimes in that blinding rage we forget that some people are simply unaware of how much work goes into this business. It would be the same as if I walked into a printshop, pointed at the press operator, and asked why he's getting paid more than minimum wage? I mean, he's just standing there with a dumb look on his face. Well, from the other end of the story, you know that the pressman is actually setting and aligning plates, inking rollers, checking for bleed, mixing inks, etc, etc. You know it's a technical job, and so when I tell you your labor costs are way too high for the laughable work load, you would want to throttle me. That's just how it goes. After your first real wedding video done properly, it will all make sense.


EarlC's picture
Last seen: 8 months 2 days ago
Joined: 10/15/2008 - 1:15am
Plus Member Moderator

I know that salary or payroll is an expense no matter what formula used to boost it up, or keep it down as pertains to the bottom line. What can profit be, on paper or in reality, or to Uncle Sam, if it is declared against a low wage base? I'm pretty much talked out now for real on this subject.


makerofvideos's picture
Last seen: 1 year 1 week ago
Joined: 07/29/2009 - 1:10am

How you folks handle music usage issues in your videos? Do you use any song you want? Do you get clearance? How do you get clearance?



composite1's picture
Last seen: 8 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: 12/11/2008 - 7:54pm
Plus Member Moderator

I read through the thread fully and noticed that imagep and m_paransky echo the thoughts of many potential video production clients. I rarely shoot weddings because of those very ideas 'that videographers charge too much.' Yeah, if a videographer hands a client a poorly produced, poorly shot video with terrible audio and missed shots (like the vows or ring exchanges per se), then I would absolutely agree.

But reputable videographers would not want their reputation ruined by turning out such product. And that's the point. Video production is the means to creating a 'product'. Image, the amounts and fees you mentioned are useable in a classroom setting and paransky, your rank and file logic is great for those who honorably work on the 'assembly line'. However, neither of you take into account the 'process' of making the 'final product' which is the completed film.

If it's a case of 'Uncle Bob' running out with his little handheld 1CCD rig to get some shots of the wedding, then yeah the costs are minimal. No matter what you think, wedding videos are productions that require pre-production phase planning, production phase acquisition and post-production phase creation of the final product. Everything involved with creating the wedding video/DVD costs money. All of those costs have to be weighed in to determine proper pricing.

The $20 DVD at wal-mart didn't cost $20 to make. In the case of 'Waterworld' or 'Titanic' that $20 DVD actually cost over $200m to make. The end product only costs $20 dollars only because there will be enough units sold which can recoup the costs of creation and promotion if not turn a profit.

Wedding videographers don't have the luxury of selling mass units of their final product. More often than not, it's a one-shot deal. All the costs and potential profits are usually recouped by the client paying for the planning, production and editing of their wedding video. In essence, the client has become an Executive Producer. The client has hopefully, hired a professional contractor to do the work and should not only expect professional level work, but expect to pay for it as well.

Unlike unskilled labor, contractors no matter what profession are highly trained and skilled professionals. What the client is paying for is the use of the contractor's knowledge, expertise and equipment for the completion of their project (in this case, a wedding video.) No one questions a doctor, lawyer or architect concerning their skillsets and their fees for their expertise. So why do you believe that anyone inclined to pick up a camera and turn it on is equal to someone who is a trained and experienced video professional? Do you really think Uncle Bob and a wedding video pro should be paid equally or not at all?

Lastly, earlier I made reference to 'rank and file' thinking. $12-13 an hour is a respectable wage for unskilled labor particularly if you receive proper compensation for overtime work. What you do not take into account is as an employee you are actually paid $24-26 an hour because your employer has to match unemployment benefits and payroll taxes. If they are also matching your insurance benefits, then the price is higher.

I can tell you from long experience that it is difficult to attract skilled video professionals for wages less than $20 an hour. If they are required to bring their own equipment, travel or take up temporary lodging as well forget it.

You two are only looking at the base amount of the hourly wage. Personnel costs money, equipment usage costs money, the operation, care and maintenance of working facilities cost money, operational supplies cost money and the list goes on. Just like the end price of the big-budget movie DVD, the wedding video/DVD's cost must cover the expenses to create it, the personnel involved in the creation and a reasonable amount of profit to justify its creation. You cannot run an independent business with a rank and file attitude towards production costs. When calculating pricing, you want to be fair to your clients, your business and to yourself. Neglecting any of those points will put you out of business.

H.Wolfgang Porter, Composite Media Producer Dreaded Enterprises Unlimited, Inc. www.dreadedenterprises.com


grinner's picture
Last seen: 6 years 11 months ago
Joined: 12/29/2007 - 2:56am

Per Earl's price beak down, the easy answer is to just not shoot wedding videos for less than 3k. Done.
These same people happily pay 90 bucks an hour for car repairs. They want to pay you less?
shooooot. They can have uncle Bob shoot it if not wanting a great keepsake.


composite1's picture
Last seen: 8 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: 12/11/2008 - 7:54pm
Plus Member Moderator

Grinner,

There's nothing wrong with a flat-rate package long as the producer can live with it. I just found the pricing logic behind the two objectors criminally naieve. You try going to a bank or investors for production financing with that kind of financial logic and you won't get through the door.

This very topic is discussed by a panel of high-end wedding filmmakers in the 'Next Level of Wedding Video' thread. Two of the panelist still shoot their productions on film while others shoot in proHD formats. For 3k from those guys you'd barely get a 'cuts' only production.

The problem I've found with video production in general, is that clients view it as a 'luxury item' still. Film and Television are still in their minds something 'over there' that's out of their reach that only 'Hollywood' makes. Forget the fact that particularly for small business video has become a necessary expense to get the word out and with the internet, it's soooo much cheaper to get going and maintain a presence.

Wedding videos are still seen as a 'status item'. I mean really, to get married all you need is a couple of witnesses, $50+(depending on your state), be male and female (depending on your state) and be able to sign the paperwork. Everything else is just showing off. But, since getting married is a big deal and most of us would like to show off, you would think that to record the event in the best possible manner would require equal importance. A woman will spend her life savings on a dress she'll wear once, but will skimp on the photographer and videographer to record the day she wore it?

That and we videographers are also to blame. So many of us are willing to debase ourselves just to get the business that we compromise to the point of our professional work becoming just 'a labor of love.' I guarantee you that auto mechanic, plumber or doctor loves their work too but you're going to pay for their services! It's the importance of as you say, 'the keepsake's' quality that has to be the selling point. If a client wants 'journeyman' work then that's fine. If they want a work of art, that's fine too. The client shouldn't be handed journeyman product at premium pricing and they should not expect fine art at a journeyman price.

Why is our industry the only one that has so much trouble getting that across?

H.Wolfgang Porter, Composite Media Producer Dreaded Enterprises Unlimited, Inc. www.dreadedenterprises.com


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