What to charge

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    • #178395
      AvatarAnonymous
      Inactive

      Hello. New member here. Glad I found this forum. I just started doing video again after a 15 year hiatus. I’ve been doing e-commerce for the past 6 and have just started to combine the 2 professions and it’s been fun so far.

      I have a couple of questions regarding different projects I recently did and am wondering what to charge in the future. One project I recently worked on was a gift for my friends graduation but it got me thinking I could charge for this service in the future. It was a 6 song video montage for a graduation party. I scanned over 400 pictures (14 hours scanning time, + orginazation) Then about another 70 hours to edit. I know I can speed this up but this was my first video slideshow. All in all about 22 minutes worth of edits, zooms, transitions, etc. I put 2 songs online if anyone wants to see my first attempt… http://www.4edesigns.com/Video/Web.wmv Its about 28 megs so a high speed connection is needed to view.

      I guess I need help trying to determine how to break down the packages for this service. I’m thinking of charging a per photo or per 100 photo charge if I have to scan the images. Charge less if they give me the images on disk. I’m not sure how I should break the packages down. Should I have a Basic , and Premium package or should I break it down into 3 packages (Price points)? I would also have them buy the music for their DVD.

      Another service actually came to me as I am doing it for the same friend. I am converting and copying all his old VHS, 8mm and still images to a hard drive to put in his safe deposit box in case something happens to their home. Not sure what to charge for this service either.

      I also recently did a 30 second spot for a client whos website I also redesigned. I created the music with acid, used the clients wife as talent, used Ultra2 for the chromakey work and one of Ultras virtual sets then did the final edit with Vegas 5. As this was my first project in over a decade I did it for a bit less than I probably should have. The commercial can be seen here… http://www.4edesigns.com/commercials.htm Note: its a quicktime video and I accidently bumped up the bkgrd music volume to high for the web. Oh the website is http:www.towerhousecomputers.com if you want to see it.

      How much to charge for a 30 second spot?

      I used my portable green screen
      Rented an XL-1
      Lit the set
      Wrote the script
      Edited on my computer (25 or so hours)
      I created the music using loops (I know it probably sucks)
      Shot it in the clients basement
      Got it ready for cable.

      Any advice and suggestions would be helpful.

      Thanks in advance.

    • #42479
      AvatarAnonymous
      Inactive

      I don’t want to start a debate…rather just add my 2 cents….

      I am trying to make the transition from "broadcast videographer" to "consumer video production" in order to broaden my client base. I’m using HDV gear instead of "SP" (which I still have for my broadcast clients) but my problem is trying to "adjust" my rates. In either case, when I shoot, I charge a day rate (standard in broadcast). When I edit, I charge an hourly rate (standard in either), but I still find that I’m easily underbid by less experienced people willing to do a lot of work for very little money.

      As a point of reference and without devulging my rates. I operate in a large market. Broadcast Video Journalists here charge $350 per day for their services and their packages rent for $750 to $1700 based on format. Most clients insist on an A-2 at $300 per day. I know, great money if you can get it, but too few clients and too few days have driven me to a more main stream client base.

      I know you have to cut your own deals, and you earn what the market will bear, but I’m having trouble reconciling the disparity in price points from "broadcast" to "consumer". I don’t decrease the quality and selling "broadcast experience" impresses no one when there is someone willing to shoot and edit for a fraction of what I normally charge.

      I say all that to say this:

      I suppose it’s all a matter of perspective. Charging someone $100 for a video package of anything is giving it away. The gear is less expensive, but it isn’t free and knowledge and talent, regardless of your experience level is worth more than that.

    • #178394
      AvatarAnonymous
      Inactive

      Compusolver,

      Thanks for the welcome!

      Yes. Been building Yahoo stores for clients since 2000. Some are still around and some aren’t. Generally the ones that aren’t are the people who didn’t want to pay for advertising.

      I’ve broken down the time for each video, compared and crossreferenced what others are charging and should have packages up on my site soon.

      Since you do web work yourself, and if you have some time please take a look at http://www.perigeeanimationstudios.com for me. I am still working on it and may have to rework quite a bit of it. I helped my buddy with this site… he did the animations and I am converting all of them, preparing them, built the site, etc etc.

      I’m trying to determine whether the examples should be .mov’s or if I should make them .wmv’s. instead. If I should remove the watermark or keep it there?

      As for the products we have available so far I have our main format’s… NTSC DV AVI’s at 720×480 and Mpeg1 at 320×240. I would like to offer another format for Mac users but not sure which codec to use, or if I’m offering the filetypes editors, presenters, or live production companies need.

      I also think I screwed up on the loops page by starting the movie up on the page load but have no feedback one way or the other on that. Well thats not entirely true, our first customer bought our video loops package last month and it didn’t stop them from buying it but I do know that some people are annoyed by video or sound that starts up automatically on page loads.

      Our first customer was a pretty cool one. I went to the concert at the UMB Bank Pavillion and saw our products on a huge LED screen and projection screen.

      Anyway, if you get time your input would be greatly appreciated.

      Thanks,

      Axel G.

      .

    • #178397
      AvatarAnonymous
      Inactive

      I have been making montage videos for about a year and a half and have also struggled with what to charge. I also started out doing it for friends. I have since started charging and have 4 packages: Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Bronze. The Gold ($100) has pan and zoom effects, customized titles, and is synchronized to the music. The Bronze ($50) has no pan/zoom or synch and basic titles. All the photos are the same length with cross-dissolve transitions. I also offer "photo cleanup" to each package, priced per job. That’s were the Platinum and Silver packages come in (i.e. Gold + cleanup = Platinum). Each package comes with a customized DVD case and label. Copies are $20 (Gold) and $10(Bronze).

      On the one hand, I feel like I charge too little, based on the time I am putting into it. On the other hand, for the average person, if I charge based on time, it would be way too expensive. So I basically have decided to charge what I think it’s worth to people.

      I recently did a $50 video for a customer and they ordered 19 copies! So for that one video, I will have made $240!!

      Another thing I did was to compare other’s prices on the Internet.

      Hope this helps.

      Steve

    • #178398
      Avatarkevinvideo
      Participant

      geuntman@yahoo.com Wrote:

      I have been making montage videos for about a year and a half and have also struggled with what to charge. I also started out doing it for friends. I have since started charging and have 4 packages: Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Bronze. The Gold ($100) has pan and zoom effects, customized titles, and is synchronized to the music. The Bronze ($50) has no pan/zoom or synch and basic titles. All the photos are the same length with cross-dissolve transitions. I also offer "photo cleanup" to each package, priced per job. That’s were the Platinum and Silver packages come in (i.e. Gold + cleanup = Platinum). Each package comes with a customized DVD case and label. Copies are $20 (Gold) and $10(Bronze).

      On the one hand, I feel like I charge too little, based on the time I am putting into it. On the other hand, for the average person, if I charge based on time, it would be way too expensive. So I basically have decided to charge what I think it’s worth to people.

      I recently did a $50 video for a customer and they ordered 19 copies! So for that one video, I will have made $240!!

      Another thing I did was to compare other’s prices on the Internet.

      Hope this helps.

      Steve

      How many photos do you work with in each package?

    • #178396
      Avatardfwsphotog
      Participant

      Hank-

      A very thoughtful, smart, well formed response. I’ve been self employed for 6 years. In broadcast, there is no question. This is what is charged. Entities realize that if someone charges less, it probably equates to less quality or unusable product and they just won’t take the risk.

      That is not the case down at Ed’s Used Scuba Diving Equipment or Barbara’s Real Estate. Ed and Barbara don’t know anything about video. All Ed knows is that he wants to price a 30 second cable commercial for his business and Barbara–a 3 minute video of a property she has listed for sale. So Ed and Barbara have a preconcieved notion that a 30 second commercial or a 3 minute video should only take a few minutes to shoot and edit. Why should that cost more than $100?

      When they learn everything that goes into shooting a commercial or a profile– the time, the resources, the quality, the questions… then Ed and Barbara have second thoughts and they should.

      You’re so right, Hank about being a salesperson and the need to fully understand what you’re selling, the intrisic value and how to price your products.

      Video production isn’t for everyone and not everyone can afford video production. It helps nobody to "give it away’ just because a client can’t afford it and you need a hundred bucks.

      I can undercut anyone in town but it will only hurt me more in the long run to do it.

    • #178399
      Avatardfwsphotog
      Participant

      I appreciate the comments and the bantor… I think it helps the general population to hear varying views.

      Here’s mine:

      I’ll quit the business before I give anything away. No one, not even the client, prospers from free anything. Besides, is anything really free? I just read something on the airlines recinding a fare increase over the week-end. Talk about an unprofitable industry! Just a $5 per one way fare increase initiated by Delta and matched by the other US carriers unraveld under pressure from foreign carriers.
      The TV, video production and visual delivery business has been bleeding under pricing pressures as well.
      I respect anyones business model and if giving away services tend to add more business, I’d like to hear more about it. My established clients wouldn’t dream of asking me to do anything free for them. In return, I can’t in good faith offer a free service to anyone else.

      My post was more in line of how to price a very subjective product in a very subjective industry. My point was this: If there are people with video acquisition gear trying to drum up some business and they don’t know what to charge (which I believe is the crux of this thread) then my point is "What is your time and talent worth"? More than $5 an hour?

      Back in the day when video production was seeing better days, I would often hear producers tell clients, "time, quality, money… pick two". I think it applies today as well. I shot a video christmas card for my wife and I last year. Spent 5 hours shooting and about 3 hours editing the project. A lot of people asked me what it would cost to shoot one for them next year. If I went by the rate card, it would cost $750+. I don’t think anyone would consider that a "value". So you have to ask yourself how much discounting of your talent can you withstand to gain the business. I won’t do them for $100 and I certainly won’t do them for free. Does anyone’s next door lawyer neighbor give away his service?

      I’ll put a caboose on this very convaluted train of thought…

      I say again…not everyone can afford video production and we shouldn’t discount till it hurts to earn business. We should earn business by providing a professional, valuable, creative service exceeding the customers expectations and offering that service at a "resonable price".

    • #178400
      Avatargajake15
      Participant

      we shouldn’t discount till it hurts to earn business. We should earn business by providing a professional, valuable, creative service exceeding the customers expectations and offering that service at a "resonable price".

      I’m a rookie in the "business". It’s actually a side business. I produce photo montages, tape to DVD conversions, family history interviews, and sports scholarship/highlight videos.

      When I first started for "pay" in 2004, I did stuff for dirt cheap considering my product. I spend hours on projects and always, always give it my best effort. I have yet to have a customer whose expectations weren’t exceeded when they got their video. It usually starts right when they see the case and cover of the DVD, "Wow!! I didn’t expect this! This looks great!".

      I raised my prices after I started doing subcont work for a full-time wedding videographer. He told me that I was dramatically underselling myself and this was before the first photo montage I did for him. He added $50 to the first invoice I sent him and he said, "that still wasn’t enough".

      I’m still not high, but I’m not super cheap anymore either. I’ve had a couple of potential customers run off after a quote I gave them. Thats ok though. All of my customers have either come back for more videos or have brought me new customers. If youre looking for pricing ideas, poll the internet and/or call videographers and ask them. Ive found that most are very, very informative and helpful (2 of the ones Ive spoke with sub out work to me occasionally). The guy Ive done work for charges his customers $250 for an a la carte 50 picture photo montage without pan/zoom (price listed on his website). He did over 60 weddings last year and all of those folks bought the photo montage.

      It took me a while to understand this, but don’t underestimate your talent. Yes, most computer literate folks CAN make a photo montage, but not as many are willing to put in the time to do it and if you don’t put the time in, you can’t gain the experience needed for a great looking product. I’ve learned that even though I love producing video, I can’t sell myself short for a little bit of cash. Close friends, family with small projects yes, but that’s it.

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