How Much Should I Charge for a Video?

videographer

This is it, then. So, you've gone to film school or at least put in the time to educate yourself with books, articles, and videos found on sites like YouTube. You have expert knowledge in your field. You are equipped with a photographic device. You have your gear. You have the skills necessary to begin working as a professional filmmaker or videographer.

Exactly how much do you charge, though? There could be a wide range of responses if you ask around or do some research online. Also, many customers, for better or worse, may offer their own estimates of value before you even begin working for them. There's a chance they might say "exposure!" but we can only hope.

However, the true answer depends on the individual. Let me walk you through the first steps of the calculation. However, this is just a guide, so results may vary. That's good news, though, because it will enable you to calculate your true value and articulate it to prospective customers.

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Table of Contents

Where to Start?

In most fields, professionals have had centuries to perfect the art of billing for their services. In the medical field, professionals know what is reasonable and customary, in the construction industry, they know what the average cost of materials is, and in the fashion industry, they know what the average cost of labour is. History in these fields has allowed for the development of rate structures that are intuitive and easy to use.

Also, film editing didn't emerge until the early twentieth century. About 30 years ago, the first non-linear video editors were developed. The term "prosumer" wasn't coined until the late 2000s, when desktop video editing software became widely available to the public. From a small group of experts in the field cutting strips of celluloid, a massive industry has emerged.

working videographer

Charging an Hourly Rate

  • It's great to get paid hourly as a freelancer. Every additional minute that you put in at work ensures that you will.
  • It is challenging to predict how long the project will take you in advance. Moreover, experience as a freelancer that some projects end up taking much longer than anticipated. Charging an hourly rate allows you to be worry-free about an endless project whose scope changes.
  • The client has too much power to alter the project's scope when they are locked into a project fee. The client will recognise that your time is valuable and that you cannot waste it on "tests" and "versions."

Charging a Fixed Rate

  • Using a fixed rate secures a specific sum of money. If you bill by the hour, the client might decide to end the project in the middle of it. Or you might complete the task more quickly than you anticipated. In either case, having a fixed fee ensures that you will at least receive a certain sum of money for the project.
  • Working for an hourly wage encourages complacency and sluggish work.
  • The client feels that paying a premium hourly rate is expensive. Especially It might be difficult for you to accept that your hourly rate is $80. However, the client is unaware that more than 30% of that amount is spent on taxes, that you must pay for your equipment, and that you do not receive any vacation or retirement benefits.
  • However, if you charge $800 for a 10-hour video project, you've effectively charged an hourly rate of $80. Paying someone $80/hour and not knowing how long it will take them is a much better deal than paying $800 for a video.

If the extra hours are the client's fault, you may be able to add them onto your bill if the contract allows for it. In the video projects I've worked on in the past, for instance, we've provided two rounds of edits: one after the rough cut and another after the fine cut. We reserve the right to impose additional fees should they return with additional notes after we have delivered the 'final cut.'

Pricing Video Editing

Let's address one of the most crucial points before we get into how much money a video editor can make. How can one maximise their earnings as a video editor? It makes no difference if you're self-employed, the owner of a small business, or an employee at a large corporation. You'll need to haggle over price at some point. If you want to improve your negotiating skills, consider the following advice.

Market Video Editor Rates

There's probably going to be a big gap between what you pay in Los Angeles and what you pay in Alabama for the same service. It is helpful to learn as much as possible about what is considered "reasonable and customary" in your market. While some location-specific information can be found online (including in this article), the best way to learn about a place is to simply ask someone who lives there.

Video Editing Pay Requirements

You need to think about things like equipment, software licences, professional dues, advertising, health insurance, and so on. You may be surprised at how many auxiliary items are required when working independently. And which will cost you money. This will help you determine how much money you will need to earn each month, even if you are given a full-time job.

Read the Terms

Get a clear picture of the project's payment structure, including whether you'll be paid on a per-hour, per-day, per-week, or per-month basis. If you're a freelance editor or videographer and don't currently use contracts, here's how to start. First and foremost, you need to know how long the project will take in order to give an accurate quote to the client. To put it bluntly, if you're just starting out, you might feel like you're throwing darts in the dark for a while. To be sure, you'll get to the point where estimating the amount of time needed to edit a project feels like second nature.

Clients Affect Videographer Rates

Think about the customer; this is the point at which terms like versions, lifts, and revisions become relevant. This is especially important if you are being paid a flat rate, as you will need to specify the scope of your compensation up front. The client presents you with 125 hours of raw footage, 65 of which are interviews.

What do you do? They want you to condense the whole thing into a 30-minute documentary for primetime TV, and you better be accurate with your estimate. Or else you risk losing a lot of money. Or, if you've drastically under-estimated, you'll have to put in a lot of own time to finish the project.

Transparency Helps Set Editor Rates

Last but not least, gather as much information as possible about the project in advance. This is true whether you are searching for a permanent position or a one-time assignment. Before quoting a rate, it's a good idea to find out how much money has already been set aside for the project's editing. You may need to adopt a "sliding scale" policy, so keep that in mind. As a means of creating varying prices for various occupations. Be sure that cutting costs on a project is for the best reasons possible. It may be to build a client relationship, to get a high-profile job, or to flex your creativity.

As an alternative, you could use the adage "fast, cheap, good—pick two" if a client keeps asking you to lower your rate. Then, if they keep coming back, it's because you must be doing something right, so don't be shy about saying as much.

Find Out What Is Expected of You

Interviewing for a job is similar to talking to potential employees, but pitching to a client is very different. The pay range will likely be known to an editorial house, and they will be able to evaluate your abilities. A client from the outside, on the other hand, cares only about the final product. They will have fewer tools at their disposal with which to assess you.

Staff video editors are evaluated in a different way than independent contractors. Most people automatically use hourly wage language when negotiating with clients. It is common practise to multiply your hourly rate by the estimated number of hours even for flat-rate projects. However, this strategy may backfire, especially when dealing with middle- to upper-class customers. More money can be made if the negotiation is framed in terms of value and risk rather than time.

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How Do Videographers Charge?

Documentary Editing

There is a significant time commitment involved in editing a documentary. In this case, "long" means a very, very long time. There are more revisions than with a story or a commercial. You could spend countless hours re-editing material that will ultimately be changed, and that's if you're lucky and your director isn't too picky.

Videography 

There is a significant time commitment involved in editing a documentary. In this case, "long" means a very, very long time. There are more revisions than with a story or a commercial. You could spend countless hours re-editing material that will ultimately be changed, and that's if you're lucky and your director isn't too picky.

Commercial Videos

If you're just starting out in the video industry, you can expect to rely heavily on paid gigs. A commercial, an internal company video, an online tutorial, or any other type of company-produced video would all fit this description. If you're going to be the sole videographer for the project or the one in charge, it's probably best to get paid per project.

In the business world, transparency regarding project costs is highly valued. Typically, you'll be asked to submit a "bid" for a project, outlining the scope of work you're willing to do and your expected compensation. In this case, rather than charging an hourly rate, it would be more appropriate to quote a flat project fee for creating a two-minute promotional video for the company's new product. Check out our post on Should I hire a wedding videographer?

What Is Your Time Worth?

This is the most variable factor, and it varies considerably between individuals. If you agree to work for a client and put in hours, days, or weeks on a project, you should know how much that work is worth to you.

It's important to value your time. Your time is a symbol of not only the effort you've put into learning your craft and expanding your skill set, but also of everything else you could be doing or experiencing if you didn't have to work.

FAQs About Video Editing

At the most basic level, look for editing software that allows you to ​​edit the length of clips, turn clips into multiple shorter clips, duplicate clips, slow down or speed up clips, increase or decrease the audio of clips, as well as add transitions and background music to clips.

Video editing is necessary because it is the key to blending images and sounds to make us feel emotionally connected and sometimes truly there in the film we're watching. It's a safe assumption to say that video editing is among the most essential jobs in the film industry.

In short, becoming a video editor is a great career. Many opportunities are available, and more innovative concepts are always on the horizon. The result is a career path that will support you for the foreseeable future.

Editing is a crucial skill in video production that can make or break the overall quality of a video. However, editing is a relatively simple process to understand. Once you have learned the basics, you'll be able to use your new skills to raise the quality of your videos significantly.

  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail.
  • Knowledge of media production and communication.
  • The ability to work well with others.
  • Knowledge of computer operating systems, hardware and software.
  • To be flexible and open to change.
  • The ability to use your initiative.

Conclusion

Find out how to determine your genuine worth and confidently explain it to potential clients with this helpful resource. If you get paid by the hour, you don't have to worry about how long a project will take. By using a set interest rate, a certain sum of money can be guaranteed for the undertaking. Incentives based on time rather than results promote laziness and complacency in the workplace. Instead of spending $800 on a movie, you might save a lot of money by hiring a freelancer at $80 an hour.

Equipment, software licences, professional dues, advertising, medical insurance, and so on are just a few of the many expenses you'll have to plan for. This will serve as a guideline for your monthly income requirements. For a while, if you're just starting out, it can feel like you're shooting in the dark. Having a conversation with a client is significantly different than having one with a potential employee, yet it is similar to having an interview. If the negotiation is framed in terms of value and risk rather than time, then more money can be made.

If you need to reduce spending on a project, make sure you're doing it for the most beneficial reasons. It's common for newcomers to the video industry to rely primarily on paid work while building their portfolios. This might be anything from a commercial to an internal company video to an online tutorial made by the company. Getting paid on a per-project basis is the most efficient method.

Content Summary

  • You have expert knowledge in your field.
  • You have the skills necessary to begin working as a professional filmmaker or videographer.
  • Also, many customers, for better or worse, may offer their own estimates of value before you even begin working for them.
  • That's good news, though, because it will enable you to calculate your true value and articulate it to prospective customers.
  • The client has too much power to alter the project's scope when they are locked into a project fee.
  • Using a fixed rate secures a specific sum of money.
  • In either case, having a fixed fee ensures that you will at least receive a certain sum of money for the project.
  • Working for an hourly wage encourages complacency and sluggish work.
  • The client feels that paying a premium hourly rate is expensive.
  • If you want to improve your negotiating skills, consider the following advice.
  • It is helpful to learn as much as possible about what is considered "reasonable and customary" in your market.
  • While some location-specific information can be found online (including in this article), the best way to learn about a place is to simply ask someone who lives there.
  • Get a clear picture of the project's payment structure, including whether you'll be paid on a per-hour, per-day, per-week, or per-month basis.
  • If you're a freelance editor or videographer and don't currently use contracts, here's how to start.
  • First and foremost, you need to know how long the project will take in order to give an accurate quote to the client.
  • Last but not least, gather as much information as possible about the project in advance.
  • Before quoting a rate, it's a good idea to find out how much money has already been set aside for the project's editing.
  • Be sure that cutting costs on a project is for the best reasons possible.
  • More money can be made if the negotiation is framed in terms of value and risk rather than time.
  • There is a significant time commitment involved in editing a documentary.
  • If you're just starting out in the video industry, you can expect to rely heavily on paid gigs.
  • If you're going to be the sole videographer for the project or the one in charge, it's probably best to get paid per project.
  • In the business world, transparency regarding project costs is highly valued.
  • If you agree to work for a client and put in hours, days, or weeks on a project, you should know how much that work is worth to you.
  • It's important to value your time.

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