[by Gail Mooney]
First let me say that I position myself as a producer and that I estimate on the entire video production. I do not hire myself out as a Director or Director of Photography or as a Camera Operator. Many times I may also direct and shoot a project but when a client comes to me and asks for an estimate, I estimate on the entire production from concept through creation.
With that said I estimate each video production much like I would estimate a still photography production except there are more components I need to consider. Essentially there are three major parts to every video production:
• Pre Production
• The Shoot
• Post Production
Within each of these parts I need to consider my costs as well as my fees. Below are some items that I consider when estimating on a video production job but certainly not limited to them as each job comes with its own particular needs.
• Producer or Creative Fee – this is my fee for producing the job. It does not include my fees for other aspects of the project that I may undertake such as shooting or directing. It also does not include any licensing or usage that may apply.
• Writer, storyboard creation
• Crew – DP and/or Camera Operator, Still Photographer, Audio Engineer, Gaffer, Grip, Assistants
• Casting, Talent, VO talent
• Make up, stylists
• Editor/Editing suite
• Graphics or motion graphics artist
• Stock footage, photography, illustrations and music needs
• Equipment – camera package and other camera needs – jibs, dollies, monitors, specialized needs like Steadicam or teleprompter with operator, lighting package
• Location needs, catering, travel logistics and expenses
• Exportation of product as files and/or hard media (DVD or Blu-Ray)
A lot of my clients want fixed price contracts. Rather than to be presented with estimated man-hours and billable, they are asking me for firm bottom line figures. For that to work and for me to protect myself, I need to make sure that I think of everything that a job will require and make sure these costs are reflected in the estimate. I also need to be clear with my client and include in the estimate a description of exactly what the project entails, what we are responsible for and what we are not responsible for.
Lastly in order to know how much to charge in the way of my fees and to estimate how many hours I will need to spend on a job, I rely on past jobs and proposals. I base my fees on both my cost of doing business – what I need to make a profit- as well as what the market will bare for this type of job in my area.