Getting Started

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    • #43183

      I’ve been making documentary videos for a public access TV series for the past year, and I alsodid a promotional video for the Southern Oregon Humane Society.

      A few months ago, I was hired to produce an educational video for the Bear Creek Greenway Foundation. I bought a Canon HV40 for that project, along with a Libec tripod, Audio Technica lavalier microphone, and other necessary equipment. Having invested in the equipment, I’d like to try to earn some money doing video productions.

      Because I’m in a very small market, in an economically depressed region, and do not have high-end professional equipment, my niche would be customers who can’t affordfirst tierprofessional video production, but would like to get the best quality for the lowest price. I’m looking for suggestions as to reasonable price ranges for these types of video, and what considerations to take into account when bidding on a project.

      • Event videos
        • Weddings
        • Graduation videos
        • Other milestone celebrations
        • Sporting events, equestrian events, 4H events, etc.
      • Corporate/industrial videos
        • training
        • promotional
        • educational
      • Legal depositions
      • Political campaign videos
      • Life histories (there are a lot of seniors in our community), mini-documentaries, special projects

      I would also appreciate any suggestions on ways to find potential customers and get the word out to promote my services.

      Thanks in advance for any advice!

    • #180940

      howzit go peggig i would like to interest u in expounding on ur investment in videoproduction…

      here iz my contact

    • #180941

      This is a topic I would be interested in some insight also. As I branch out and try and do more video for money this is something I am very uncomfortable with. How much is my time worth – shooting and editing? I have a documentary nearly done for PBS and will post details when it airs but that’s going to make me nothing really.

      Having a background in engineering we struggle with how much to bid in the engineering world too, always worrying we are bidding to high but not wanting to leave money on the table.

      Any small shops out there ready to share some financials? A lot of us are in totally different markets so I don’t see us “stepping on each others toes” if you will. Do you charge by the hour for wedding shooting? How about corporate videos? How do you break into the local tv commercial market? I know I can do better than many local commercials I see on around here, but how much would you bid if you could even break in?

    • #180942

      Hi peggig… if that is your real name =P

      First of all, I think you underestimate your situation. From the information you’ve provided, and the sample you have, I would say you’re in a position to make some good money with your equipment.

      There are a lot of things you can do to start bringing in some extra cash, including setting up a website, branding yourself, and offering promotions to local businesses and groups…

      …but honestly, I think your best first step would be to check out craigslist… you might be surprised how much money there is on craigslist, and, given your situation, I think you could easily start booking some jobs. And once you get a couple jobs, the referrals and repeat work can sometimes be enough to keep you busy (assuming your work is good for the price… and I’m sure that it is)

      I have a video on my blog that explains it more thoroughly, if you feel like checking it out. Congrats on taking the first step, and good luck on making some extra cash. Keep me posted =)

    • #180943

      Thanks TJ. I checked out your blog and it was interesting. You recommend charging???a minimum of???$25 an hour to start. I tend to spend way more time editing than most people probably feel is necessary, but I’m kind of OCD about getting the best result that I can with the footage I shoot. I typically shoot about 7 to one ratio of video footage to final product, and spend well over a hundred hours editing a typical half hour project.

      That’s partially because I shoot in HDV and I use Adobe Premiere Elements to edit with. I tend to have short scenes with lots of transitions, montages, etc, and often have to adjust audio levels and color balance. Premiere Elements is kind of overwhelmed by this, and I find I need to make?a number of short projects, save them out as MPEGs, and then import them into a master project, Even so, Premiere Elements freqently crashes or hangs, and that adds a lot of time to the editing process.

      At this point, I can’t estimate how many total hours I’ll spend on a project, so I’m not comfortablebilling by the hour and having the customer shocked at tht final price. I’d prefer to bill by the job, and then I won’t feel like I have to rush or compromise on quality. As I get more experience with this kind of videography, I’ll be better able to estimate jobs and may feel more comfortable billing by the hour. For now, I’d like to get an idea of what typical prices are for fairly common projects, like weddings, events, corporate/industrial videos, etc.

      Does that make sense?


    • #180944

      Lotta marketing info at E.C. Come, E.C Go – check it out! Earl Chessher

    • #180945

      Great blog, Earl! I got some good ides from it that I will certainly try. Thank you!

    • #180946

      Hi Peggig,

      First of all, don’t undervalue your work. You’re helping people a lot, and most of them are more than happy to pay well for it (and the ones that aren’t, aren’t your customers)

      Secondly, it’s okay that you spend more time than a pro, as long as you’re not being a perfectionist. Don’t spend 3 times as long on a project, only to make it 10% better. (unless your clients are also perfectionists, and willing to pay 3 times as much).

      And lastly, if you feel like you’re overcharging because you take so long to complete the videos, just estimate how long it would take a professional to edit the same video, and charge for that many hours. Just make sure you keep your rates high. This will make you look like a pro, and help you get more work.

      If you start out with low rates (under $25 an hour), most people won’t value your work because they’ll just think of you as the “cheap videographer”

      I hope that helps… keep it up =)

    • #180947

      BTW, I have a temporary Web site at I don’t have any samples up yet, but I’d appreciate any comments or advice on the site content or layout.

    • #180948

      Thanks, TJ. Do you have any suggestions on how to estimate how long a pro might take to edit the same video? That’s kind of what I’m trying to figure out so I have a rough idea of how to price my work.

    • #180949

      Visited your site. Nice and clean, basic information, easy navigation. What comes to mind is the need for some kind of graphics on each page, nothing overwhelming, but some kind of visual presentation to catch those who might be put off by copy-only presentations, even if the copy is clear, clean, crisp, readable and concise.

      Of course, when you DO set up some clips for viewing/samples the resulting thumbnails or representative images for the clips may suffice for a graphics treatment.

      An easy way to establish a video clips samples landing site is to open an account at NING where your source files will be converted to clean flash files and a copy-and-past embed or link is provided that you can add to your website/Wordpress blog. There are, of course, other sites where you can create a video landing site, but I found Ning to be simple, effective and fairly clean for a free option – plus Ning and others also offer “for fee” options as well, useful depending on your particular budget, needs and desires.

      GENERALLY industrial/professional rates are often loosely based on one-hour-per-finished-minute for estimating charges. That, of course, would also depend on the amount of complexity involved, and as was pointed out you can certain be as flexible as you want while establishing your services, products and creds.

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