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Pricing a Web Video Project?

Hi! I’m looking for some advice on how to price a job. This would be a short documentary video (about 5 minutes) shot on miniDV for a website of a national business trade magazine. I’d be shooting and editing this story, with the carrot that if the pilot works out, I could be shooting a whole series of mini docs for them. Since most of my video work to date has been pro bono or self-funded projects, I’m not sure how to price the pilot. Do you price by the minute (say $1,000 per min.) as a flat rate? Or do you calculate your day rate (say $300) and multiply that by the number of days you think it will take to shoot and edit, with travel and other expenses charged separately? If it matters, the web editor who offered me this job is someone i worked with for five years as a reporter. He knows my video and editing skills, and asked me to give him an idea of what this would cost on Monday.

Additionally, how do you deal with retaining or selling the rights for online video publication? At this stage, I’m just happy to be published so long as i’m compensated well. I don’t think there’s tons of resell value in what I’ll be shooting.


by Craig Schneider at 2008-03-09 03:36:44 UTC (ed. Mar 12 2008 ) Brooklyn, NY , United States | Bookmark | | Report spam→

“I’m just happy to be published so long as I’m compensated well. I don’t think there’s tons of resell value in what I’ll be shooting”

Thats the issue. Lots of people operate at the extreme end of each argument. They’re either happy to be published for a pittance (or free), or they dig their heels in about syndication and re-usage when frankly, there isn’t any.

If you don’t think theres a lot of re-use milage, then there’s no point arguing about something you don’t need (for this job…maybe not so for others).

You just need to make sure you’re compensated fairly at the front end – and draw up a license accordingly for the specific usage. Theres no point charging per minute as you have no idea how long the piece will be (imagine arguing with the client that it needs to be longer…) and its usage, not length that is the billable factor.

In theory, the video could be used for:

Video Podcast for iPod/iPhone and other handheld devices like cellphones.
Projection at a tradeshow or conference.
Local TV spot
Video News Release (video version of a press release handout)
Archive Use (documenting the workflow of a particular job or product)

In usage terms you should just make out an non-exclusive license for Web Use only.

If at some future date, they want the thing on say, DVD, you can negotiate another license (apart from the fact you’d also have to charge them to re-render the video to DVD specs and possibly construct the DVD as well), or if a local TV station calls you for footage, you still have the usage rights.

Most if not all usages will require a freshly rendered and compressed video file to specific specs (frame rate, aspect ratio etc) – this is ‘editing’ and so like digital image processing, it takes time, effort and kit and those costs need to be paid for.

So you can either factor in those costs up front if they require multiple uses, or charge an editing fee on an ‘as and when’ basis.

In time terms, its difficult because websites in theory, can sit there ‘forever’ and still be accessed by Google from time to time or the video can even end up on YouTube – in fact, the publication will probably be hoping for the video to ‘go viral’ anyway, as that will drive traffic to their site (in theory).

So its better to figure out what the ‘useful life’ of the website/video is going to be TO YOU, and estimate a fee from there. Somebody, somewhere might use Google in 10 years time to research a (then) obsolete product/service, but chances are by then you’ll have shot and been paid for their latest product ;)

There are embryonic business models like GumGum which are looking to use web stats to price content over time, but its too early to tell if they’ll get traction.

So again, factor in what its worth to YOU and estimate from there.

The usage license would be:

1st Use on their Website only.

Additional usage rights to be negotiated on request.

As for fees, for similar magazine/website clients I charge a daily shoot day/edit day dayrate with usage license factored in, for others I’d calculate an overall production budget based on usage only.

I’ve found two stumbling blocks in charging print clients for video, which is something they’re not totally familiar with.

1/ They think its going to cost a fortune
2/ They think it can be done for hardly anything.

Neither is true, but costs are costs, and have to be paid for. Garbage in, garbage out.

Your dayrate/license fee should be a realistic reflection of the costs involved (shoot, edit, output) and the ‘value-added’ factor you bring to the table, by shooting video that doesn’t look like someone threw a camcorder down some stairs with the lights turned off ;)

by [former member] | 09 Mar 2008 15:03 | London, United Kingdom | | Report spam→

Thank you very much for your thoughtful response. All good things to consider, and some issues i didn’t even think to consider particularly on the rights side.


by Craig Schneider | 11 Mar 2008 21:03 | Brooklyn, NY, United States | | Report spam→

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Craig Schneider, Writer/Photographer Craig Schneider
Brooklyn, New York , United States


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