Unfortunately your question


Unfortunately your question is like asking “How high is up?” There are an awful lot of variables involved. That said, I’ll suggest some things to consider.

1) You’ll absolutely need to develop a shooting script/shot list before you do anything else. Discuss with your client what each shot/setup will be, whether you’ll need to light it, whether there will be voice-over during the shot, whether there will be closeups as well as a general cover shot. If possible, walk the plant with your client before discussing costs; this should give you a rough idea of a) how many shots there will be and b) how long you’ll spend at each location within the plant. I would allow at least 2-3 hours for this, perhaps more if it looks like there will be detailed shooting at each work station.

2) Double the amount of time you estimate for the shoot, making it clear to the client that he won’t be charged for unused time. It’s better to allocate two days for the shoot and only use one than to try for an extension of time if you don’t finish on the first day.

3) If you will have to do lighting I’d add at least a hour for each setup, especially if you have to run power cables. Chances are in an industrial setting you can get away with an on-camera light, however, and I often have an assistant illuminate nooks and crannies with a powerful flashlight, or bounce the beam off a reflector to increase the ambient light. Don’t worry too much about color mismatches: you’re shooting in an industrial setting.

Our company’s policy is to provide an estimate of editing time required, making it very clear that this is only an estimate and that we will alert the client if it looks like we’re going to exceed the estimate significantly. If all you’re doing is a walk-through of the plant you can probably keep the estimate fairly low — 10 to 12 hours. If the shoot involves demonstrations at each shoot location, with voice-over and captioning, however, I’d estimate 20 to 25 hours.

I would not, under any circumstances, give the client a firm dollar figure for the project, only an estimate. We charge by the hour for everything we do, including pre-shoot conferences, edit review and post-review changes, just like your lawyer charges. For shooting we have a four hour minimum charge, even if the shoot only takes an hour an a half.

If your estimates are high you’ll make the client very happy when you come in below the estimated cost. If you low-ball the estimate you may have a very difficult time getting the job done to your satisfaction at a profit for yourself and your company.

Good luck with your project.

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