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Paying For A Documentary

trobi19's picture
Last seen: 9 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: 01/05/2010 - 11:18pm

I'm doing a little investigating for a friend who wants to make a 30 minute documentary. It will consist of some interviews as well as some still shots, and video with voice over. She does not need it at the most professional quality either. What can she expect to pay to have this done? Also, any suggestions as to who to contact? Thanks


Rob Grauert's picture
Last seen: 10 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: 02/16/2008 - 10:47pm

That's such a vague question to answer. It depends what she wants. Will she be willing to rent lights for the interviews? Does she have her own camera or will she rent one of those too? If she rents a camera, does she want a cheap HDV camera or a high end HDCam SR camera? What about audio recording, is she going to rent that or does she have her own? Does she wanna do all the work herself or is she going to pay people to help out? Is she going to edit or will she find an editor? How is she going to distribute the find product?


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

Trobi,

Seriously, if you want info you have to give some other than the vague glossing over you posted. Where do you live? Is there travel involved? What's the ratio of research you've done vs what the producers need to do? Who's responsible for the narration script? What are your intentions for the final product? Is this just for a school project or do you intend it for public release? If so, what distribution method are you going to use?

You say it doesn't have to be at 'the most professional quality' that's code for 'you don't have any money' and aren't capable of compensating in other ways. If you can't answer any of those questions yet, you need to put your project together as much as you can on your own. The more a professional has to do for you, the more it's going to cost. Documentaries can be made on the cheap, but with out a real plan and some real cash to back it up no one seriously working will waste time with you. If they do, the potential for your project to turn into a 'money pit' is very high.

Now if you actually have a budget in place, you can contact some of your local production companies to get an idea what you'd be in for. Just from your description, I would suggest contacting your local university and see if they have a film or communications dept. and work out a deal with the professors and student's to shoot your flick.

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


trobi19's picture
Last seen: 9 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: 01/05/2010 - 11:18pm

She lives in Mississipi. It's for a grad-school project. This will not be for public release. She, and her group will be filming everything on their own. They just want someone who can put it all together for them. As far as filming, they will do that themselves using their own camera and equipment. So, that was not the best question for me to ask. It's just for a price estimate on editing their footage and putting it together for them. There is no budget limit. She just wants an idea of what it would cost so incase she hires someone, they won't over charge her.


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

Trobi,

That's better. Mississippi huh? North or South? If she's near my op area I might be able to give her a hand. Drop me a message with the details. If I can't help directly, maybe I can point you in the right direction.

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


trobi19's picture
Last seen: 9 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: 01/05/2010 - 11:18pm

Okay. Thanks, sorry again for the vagueness. She lives in South MS. I'll get more details and get back to you.


jakeman3's picture
Last seen: 8 months 3 days ago
Joined: 11/10/2009 - 12:46am

I've edited a bunch of this type of projects for rookie producer/ directors. My single largest complaint about theseneebees is their lack of understandingof the psychological effectsof poor quality audio. The listener WILL turn it off if it sounds bad. You're shooting yourself in the foot if you neglect your sound. If I get to talk to them before they shoot I advice them on the subject. It AMAZINGhowa couple cheap lav mics will improve the sound of an interview. Even the$20 lav mics from Radio Shack are SO much better then the hollow sound of the camera mic. So, please advise your friend to find out what it takes to plug an external mic into their camcorders & use decent quality headphones to monitor EVERYTHING. To kinda quote George Lucus,.... good audio will save bad video. And Iwhole heartedly agree.I have spent hours trying to make crappy dialog sound fairy intelligable. Clock's tickin' dude. That kind of post can get expensive AND destroy the creative juices. I assume you want to shoot the interviews only once. Take a few extra minutes & do it right enough that the editor has something to work with. The old saying that "lighting is everything" is short sighted. Even if you shoot in the dark the listener will pay attention if the sound is good. Kind of like listening to a rwell tuned adio at night.

The extra effortwill surely get you compliments because it "sounds so professional". Have fun.