This has to be the most frequently asked question of any production company. Our response: How much does it cost to build a house? How much does a car cost? The answer is in the details, my friend. And production is no different. The details of your request determine how many people we assign, what camera model we use, how large or small the lighting package will be…it goes on and on. Each of these factors has a dramatic impact on our cost to fulfill your expectations.
For example, let us say that we receive a call from someone asking for a simple camera operator for a one hour interview. Based on our experience, the general public will anticipate the cost to be from $200 to $500, while someone in the production industry will expect from $550 to $1800 depending on the amount of equipment involved. Two hundred dollars and up to eighteen hundred dollars is a huge range and shocking to most. But even a small DSLR camera, once combined with a good lens, steady tripod and memory cards, can easily turn into a $500 rental and we have yet to add audio and lighting.
Now, we will say that it IS possible to get an owner operator with everything for $500 all-inclusive. But it is important to realize what you are and are not getting for that direct rate. You can find more on that in our articles Videographer or Video Company: Which Is The Right Choice? and The Risks of Hiring Freelance.
So now we assume that you have read the above two articles and now understand the pros and cons of hiring direct as well as knowing if a professional video company is what you really need. If you are continuing to read this, than you know that a professional company is your choice. And now starts your second adventure in learning. If you EVER call a video company and they don’t bombard you with a long list of questions, beware. The likelihood of you ending up paying more in the end, in one way or another, will pretty much be a sure thing. Either costs will be added on later or you’ll end up paying another company to clean up the mess of unprofessional footage you’re left with.
First rule, there are no package rates in professional production. There are no set costs for people, equipment or services in production but an experienced production company can give you a range expected for an individual camera operator, sound person, etc. as well as specific types of productions:
1 person camera operator for interviews, documentary, news coverage, conference/convention coverage: $850 to $1100
1 person camera operator with audio assistant for interviews, documentary, news coverage, conference/convention coverage: $1100 to $1300
2-person camera operator and sound person for interviews, documentary, news coverage, conference/convention coverage: $2,600 to $3,100
3-person interview /News crew (Camera Operator, Sound Operator, and Grip) with deluxe lighting package: $3,800
Commercial Production excluding editing: $6000 – 20,000
Full Service Commercial Production with simple editing and titles: $12,000-$40,000
Full Service Commercial Production with motion graphics, color grading: $40,000-$60,000
Now for the disclaimer. The rates above are NOT set in stone. In the world of professional broadcast production you absolutely get what you pay for. The above rates do NOT include:
It doesn’t stop there. There are many great producers, directors, writers and DP’s who will work on a limited budget, but they are the exception, not the rule. An in demand member of the production community can command several thousand dollars per day.
So how much will it cost for your next video production? Ask us. The consultation is free and with a series of questions we can give you a best estimate on the cost for your personal video project.