Estimate for Short Movie

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    • #51857



      I'm a non video person but would like to either hire someone in the Chicagoland area or use a student. I'm launching a company next month and need a 5 to 7 minute video of myself speaking about my sports career, with some highlights and photos. I don't know where to begin with this estimation, so I need a a rough amount.



    • #204772

      While I'm not close enough to provide or offer my services, I'm on the West Coast, I can offer you an idea of what I charge here to give you some idea of what to expect.


      I have three approaches: hourly, day rate, turnkey or flat rate for the job.


      On average, it requires about 4-to-5 hours to effectively acquire the live footage … depending (if your script is ready, you are comfortable and prepared to speak a cappella/extemporaneously or will be working from prompt cards or a tele-prompter … tele-prompting is going to add to the costs = less time, usually). Rates will run from $50 per hour for a capable student or experienced but part time independent professional video services provider who knows his stuff, to $100-to-$200 per hour for your average professional, upwards to $1K per finished minute for an established operation with the equipment, professionals, knowledge and skills … and expertise to turn it around fast and good.


      My standard hourly rate for videotaping is $75 per hour. My standard hourly rate for editing is $75 per hour. My standard hourly rate for consultation is $25 per hour … sometimes credited toward the final bill for videotaping and editing, but not usually and not always.


      At a minimum of 4 hours videotaping and probably 12 hours editing, you'd be looking at a quote/bill from me of minimum, $1,200. In many cases I'd be considered cheap in the industry. There are, however, a boatload of people who are certainly capable of producing this for you for less and they would consider me either reasonable or a bit on the high side.


      I cannot imagine anyone having been in the business long, invested in the equipment necessary to accomplish your goals/vision, the expertise and confidence needed to do it right, doing it for anything less. If, however, you base your expectations, budget-wise, on my figures you'll probably not get a bad case of sticker shock.


      I have other clients who prefer I give them a day rate, just in case it takes longer to shoot than expected/planned and want to save something off my hourly rate if that happens, blocking 8-to-10 hours for the production shoot. My "day rate" is $600. I do not offer a half-day rate. Some do. This is JUST for me, my equipment and time, so setup and the job, as I wear ALL the hats, takes longer.


      If I need to bring in a crew for audio, makeup, lights, etc., those expenses are in addition and can double the production costs for videotaping, but the end results are usually quite professional (but not always) and usually faster, thus the hourly rate might not be a bad idea if they can do it better or even as good, but quicker = fewer hours charged.


      There are other cost considerations if locations are involved, permits, releases to acquire, etc. There are considerations regarding the materials you want to use (do YOU own all copyright or creative license to everything you'll be including?) And whatever music content you use will need to be copyright free, legally acquired for your use commercially or personally … or if you want to use some commecial song there are a lot of things that come with acquiring the specific rights for that at probably a considerable cost.


      My flat rate for a job such as you indicate and after a 1-2 hour consultation to determine if this is doable or as simple as you popose, would likely be about $1,800 for videotaping and editing.


      Editing, if everything has been well-planned and there are not a LOT of reviews with subjective changes involved, can go relatively fast and be efficient. If all your materials are together and ready, there are no delays in acquiring what is needed or is to be used, and you aren't HARD TO PLEASE or haven't been mislead regarding your expectations for the price you are told, any capable, experienced editor should be able to show you something in 4 hours and provide a finished product in 12 hous or less.


      With me, if a client wants to "sit in" during the editing process, all thoughts about efficient editing go out the door. My fee for provision of that level of editing service is $200 per hour based on a minimum of 10 hours and I guarantee you that in most cases the hours will double. There are too many things that can come up during a "sit in" session that do not help make the process efficient but do make it more time consuming.

    • #204775



      If you're just trying to slap something together or serious about turning out the best product you can, you must keep in mind that what you are paying for is Time. Pre-production, Production and especially Post-Production takes time to do. Bring in persons with expertise and that time may increase or decrease depending on how much or little skill they have in addition to how many extra resources they'll need to accomplish what you want.

      I let all my clients know that's what they are paying for and the more that they ask for, the more time it will take to perform. Most professionals charge hourly rates and or packaged day rates as Earl mentioned. The more days needed to do the work, the more it's going to cost. Anyone and I mean anyone who tells you they can get your entire project done (pre-production planning, production and post) for $300 to 500 dollars… run. Run fast.


      It may be cheap, but more than likely they won't have the skills, access to functional tools and or personnel to pull off the project in a timely manner. Just because they have a 'camcorder' or 'DSLR' and a computer with editing software does not mean they have the skill required. It will seem cheap, but you'll end up wasting time because there will be constant changes to be made, technical problems and so much more. Professionals often run into problems during production, but they have the skill and experience to handle them and keep on budget.

      Earl also brought up a good point about you getting 'sticker shock'. Quality video production work is going to cost money. On average, the overall cost runs from $1000 to $1700 per minute of finished video for a basic production (no famous talent, high-end music licenses or heavy visual or audio effects.) So again it breaks down to time. The shorter your project the less it will cost. The exception to that rule is high-end commercial productions (i.e. TV Commercials.) So don't flip out when you get a proposal that could easily be a down payment on a nice sportscar!

      Your best bet if you don't have access to typical corporate video budgets is to evaluate what your ultimate output will be. Pressing to DVD or Blu-Ray will incur costs for materials, printing, delivery and storage. You say you want a 5-7 minute video to cover you speaking about your sports career, do you have any archival footage of you doing the work? Nobody's going to be enthralled with you just standing there talking without 'B-roll' of you 'doin' the do'. Do you have the rights to use that footage? I guarantee a 'student' will not know how to help you secure those rights or know who can. Bottom line is to check around for a pro who can and will do a good job within your projected budget.

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