A Videographers Worth

It seems these days there is a perception that professional videographers are willing
to work for not much more than a coffee. Granted a cup of Starbucks isn’t cheap, but
it certainly doesn’t come close to covering our time let alone our gear, gas, vehicle,
administration and even training. When was the last time you were able to get a
dentist to do a filling for $50 or your mechanic to rebuild your motor for $100? And
if they did, just how good of a job do you honestly think you are getting?

More over, in many cases you are expected to be much more than just a
videographer. Most of the time you also function as the producer or at least the
production coordinator, the sound person, the editor even the director… and all of
these services at a bargain basement rate. Lots of responsibility, which you need to
get a fair rate for your blood, sweat and tears.

First, let us define the terms:

Standard work day is 10 hours long (portal to portal if responsible for any
equipment), with a lunch break by the 6th hour at least 30 minutes.

Contract work The producer/client needs to provide you with production insurance
for your equipment and should have Workers Compensation coverage. If you have
to travel more than an hour, you need to get your gas and mileage covered as well.

Videographer is someone who shoots industrials, community events, weddings,
sports, theatre and simple interviews. They typically use ambient, available light and
are not responsible for video data handling. Industry rates should range from $350 -­-

Shooter/Camera person characteristically would shoot EPK’s, Industrial videos,
corporate videos, interviews, location b-­-roll even smaller documentaries. Basic
lighting and data handling is required in this type of position. An industry rate
should start at $500/day and could go in excess of $600/day

DoP/Cinematographer (non-­-union) is responsible for technical direction to any
camera, lighting and grip crew. They typically work with film/video lighting to
obtain the desired affect the director and/or producer requires, and are ultimately
responsible for all video data handling and workflow in production. They could be
found on documentaries, high end corporate videos, government videos, TV
commercials, television series, web series and independent films. Industry rates
should range from $600 -­- $1500+/day

Industry rates are usually based on experience, style and training. It is very
important for the professional videographer to know their worth and to stand confidently to the rates the film/video industry has established in North America. By
lowering your rates or taking on a “bottom feeder” project, you not only hurt your
future position, but those of other professionals around you. Once you have that
reputation of working for little and working on under funded material, it is very
difficult to rise to the next level.

Remember, these rates are only for the professional in those positions and do not
include any equipment. Getting a good rate for your camera, lighting and audio is
important as well. After all, you have invested heavily in to your “tools” and with
this equipment you can offer predictable results for your client. That’s worth
something… a standard industry rate!

Written by:

With more than twenty years of industry experience, John Banovich has directed and shot numerous award winning productions. He is well established with in the film industry and brings a wealth of resources through out Canada and Europe As a true story teller, he offers his unique creative and technical skill set for features, series, commercials, documentaries and reality television. He is a director with the DGC (Directors Guild of Canada), a full member of the CSC (Canadian Society of Cinematographers) and a Director of Photography with IATSE local 669. His work has been seen on Discovery, History, Biography, MTV Europe, SPACE, Vision TV, OLN, Oasis HD, Bravo, HDnet, CNN, CTV, Global TV, CityTV, CHUM, KVOS-TV, CBC, EWTN, CMT, BBC, WTN and the Comedy Network. John’s movies and documentaries have screened at several film festivals and been distributed in many countries around the globe. With an arsenal of off-road, bush and survival gear, John has developed an expertise for shooting wildlife and nature. He comes equipped with speciality camera equipment, lenses and multi-rotor drones as well as offering a seasoned, elite crew who are guaranteed to get the material captured.

  • Well done, John. Your article is timely, now more than ever as potential clients are trying to get the most bang for the buck in these volatile economic times.

  • Yes, thanks John for making the presentation at the BCPVA meeting as well as writing up this information for all to see online!

  • Excellent article John. Thanks for taking the time to write it up. I'm still finding it difficult to determine an “industry” rate for someone like myself: producer/writer/interviewer + shooter/editor in the corporate doc area. It's like a whole new position. Not a DoP, not producing docs for broadcast or theatrical, but not really a videographer as you've described above. It's a new ball game but I think there are more and more of us out there. Interesting times we live in.

    • Good article John. It seems like for most of us, the versatile position Wendy describes is what we have to supply. What's it worth? Thoughts?

  • Julie

    excellent summary, it’s good to get people to see and understand the hard work we do

  • Stephen Olafson

    John, great info… do you think these rates are still true for 2015?