Jump to content


Photo

How much does the average cinematographer make per amature feauture?


  • Please log in to reply
13 replies to this topic

#1 Jacob Van Balen

Jacob Van Balen
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 19 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Sandy, OR

Posted 28 June 2007 - 04:10 AM

I was just wondering on how much the average cinematographer make in an amature feature film?
  • 0

#2 Brad Grimmett

Brad Grimmett
  • Sustaining Members
  • 2660 posts
  • Steadicam Operator
  • Los Angeles

Posted 28 June 2007 - 04:40 AM

I would guess that on an average "amateur" feature the DP makes just about $0.00.
  • 0

#3 Mark Bonnington

Mark Bonnington
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 87 posts
  • Other
  • Redmond, WA

Posted 01 July 2007 - 05:59 PM

If you own the video equipment, lighting, or any other major components critical to making a movie then you might be able to get some sort of pay for providing that equipment. But the actual position of DP is probably not one that comes with a salary, since amateur projects usually don't have money and can find people willing to perform DP duties for free.

Edited by Mark Bonnington, 01 July 2007 - 06:00 PM.

  • 0

#4 Tim Pipher

Tim Pipher
  • Sustaining Members
  • 90 posts
  • Producer
  • Los Angeles (Burbank), CA

Posted 03 September 2007 - 11:38 AM

What about an average professional feature?
  • 0

#5 David Mullen ASC

David Mullen ASC
  • Sustaining Members
  • 15966 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 03 September 2007 - 12:15 PM

Rates vary wildy. Typical union scale (bottom) on a low-budget feature (1 to 6 mil) is around $3500/week but usually it's actually higher due to long days.

I started out shooting 1/2 mil features for about $1000/wk to around $1600/wk. One week of paid prep, usually a three-week shoot, so I'd average about $6000 total per feature and if I were lucky, I'd shoot three of those a year. That was a decade ago, though.

You always figure that the lowest they can really offer a crew member is a paltry $100/day, so if your typical grip or 2nd AC is making that, then your keys are being offered closer to $200/day, so the DP may be offered $300/day. Of course, many keys add to this amount by renting out their equipment, something I didn't really do as a DP.

This is the bottom end of paid low-budget feature work of course.
  • 0

#6 Tim Pipher

Tim Pipher
  • Sustaining Members
  • 90 posts
  • Producer
  • Los Angeles (Burbank), CA

Posted 03 September 2007 - 01:01 PM

Thanks very much, David. Here's a follow up question:

If the money were right and he liked the project, would an experienced DP with a history of big time union features be likely to consider a non-union feature?

Thanks again,

Tim
  • 0

#7 David Mullen ASC

David Mullen ASC
  • Sustaining Members
  • 15966 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 03 September 2007 - 02:10 PM

Just depends on the circumstances, i.e. are they available and not up for a bigger job, do they think the budget & schedule match the ambition of the project or does it seem like a no-win scenario for the DP, do the people involved seem nice and know what they are doing, etc.
  • 0

#8 Tim Pipher

Tim Pipher
  • Sustaining Members
  • 90 posts
  • Producer
  • Los Angeles (Burbank), CA

Posted 03 September 2007 - 02:55 PM

Sorry to keep pumping you for info, but is there a risk that the union would cause trouble for the DP if they found out the member was involved in a non-union project?

Also, would SAG actors be likely to get into trouble for non-union acting jobs?
  • 0

#9 David Mullen ASC

David Mullen ASC
  • Sustaining Members
  • 15966 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 03 September 2007 - 03:18 PM

IATSE members (the craft guilds) are allowed to work on non-IATSE productions but SAG actors are not allowed to work on non-SAG movies, hence why most low-budget movies are always SAG even if they are not IATSE (or DGA or WGA -- the directors and the writers.)

DGA members are not allowed to work on non-DGA productions.
  • 0

#10 Paul Maibaum ASC

Paul Maibaum ASC
  • Sustaining Members
  • 154 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 03 September 2007 - 04:33 PM

IATSE members (the craft guilds) are allowed to work on non-IATSE productions

Since when??
  • 0

#11 David Mullen ASC

David Mullen ASC
  • Sustaining Members
  • 15966 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 03 September 2007 - 04:48 PM

Since when??


Did the rules change recently? IA members have always been allowed to work on non-IA productions as far back as I remember. The only requirement is that they notify the IA just in case the IA feels like organizing the production, which is unlikely on an under 1/2 mil production.

I've been on two non-IA shows with mostly IA members that went union after the first week. But both were 3-mil features.

I started out shooting non-union features for a decade but half my crew were IA members usually, especially the camera assistants.
  • 0

#12 Paul Maibaum ASC

Paul Maibaum ASC
  • Sustaining Members
  • 154 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 03 September 2007 - 10:42 PM

An IA member is "allowed" to work non-union only when the Union averts its gaze because the by-laws of Local 600 clearly state:
ARTICLE 13 SECTION 10 of Local 600 by-laws states: A member of this Guild may not accept an engagement to accomplish work over which this Guild has jurisdiction for lower wages and/or benefits than those provided for in the applicable working rules and conditions of this Guild. A violation of this Section shall subject the member to fine or other disciplinary action.
ARTICLE 13 SECTION 15 of Local 600 by-laws states: No member, after having been notified that an employer or a production has been declared unfair, shall work for said employer or on said production. Any member who violates this Section shall be fined $500.00 and the loss in wages caused the membership of this Guild by the member working for said employer.
I cannot speak for what the other locals do but Local 600 allows its' members to sign on to non-union productions in order to get those shows organized. If the organizing fails to get the producers to sign a contract, Local 600 members are told in no uncertain terms to leave the production. True, there may be productions with such small budgets that the Union has little interest in organizing them, but if that is the case then I am sure the Local 600 members are in violation of Article 13, Section 10 as described above.
I do know, for a fact, that on such shows the Union will usually turn its back and let a Local 600 member work so he/she can earn whatever they can, but it is by no means the stated policy of the Union.
  • 0

#13 Brad Grimmett

Brad Grimmett
  • Sustaining Members
  • 2660 posts
  • Steadicam Operator
  • Los Angeles

Posted 04 September 2007 - 03:02 AM

I do know, for a fact, that on such shows the Union will usually turn its back and let a Local 600 member work so he/she can earn whatever they can, but it is by no means the stated policy of the Union.

It's not the stated policy of the Union, but it is well understood by the Union that it's members are often working on non-union jobs. I guess it's basically an unwritten rule that it's allowed. I think the fact that lately the union has been urging it's members to "report" the non-union jobs they are working on is proof that this practice is allowed (whether it is in the by-laws or not).
  • 0

#14 Marc Shap

Marc Shap
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 76 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 05 September 2007 - 12:26 AM

Rates vary wildy. Typical union scale (bottom) on a low-budget feature (1 to 6 mil) is around $3500/week but usually it's actually higher due to long days.

I started out shooting 1/2 mil features for about $1000/wk to around $1600/wk. One week of paid prep, usually a three-week shoot, so I'd average about $6000 total per feature and if I were lucky, I'd shoot three of those a year. That was a decade ago, though.

You always figure that the lowest they can really offer a crew member is a paltry $100/day, so if your typical grip or 2nd AC is making that, then your keys are being offered closer to $200/day, so the DP may be offered $300/day. Of course, many keys add to this amount by renting out their equipment, something I didn't really do as a DP.

This is the bottom end of paid low-budget feature work of course.


Hearing your response is really quite refreshing, after shooting a few no-low budge features, music videos/commercials and shorts its nice to know there is some light at the end of the tunnel. Your work is really inspirational.

best,
marc
  • 0


Paralinx LLC

NIBL

Aerial Filmworks

Cadrage Directors Viewfinder

Zylight

Visual Products

K5600 Lighting

Robert Starling

Lemo Connectors

Glidecam

Pro 8mm

Abel Cine

System Associates

Rig Wheels Passport

CineLab

Ritter Battery

rebotnix Technologies

Cinelicious

The Slider

CineTape

K5600 Lighting

Ritter Battery

Visual Products

System Associates

Aerial Filmworks

Robert Starling

Pro 8mm

CineLab

Rig Wheels Passport

Cadrage Directors Viewfinder

Glidecam

Abel Cine

rebotnix Technologies

Paralinx LLC

The Slider

NIBL

Lemo Connectors

Zylight

CineTape

Cinelicious