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Rates: standard def vs. hi-def?


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#1 David litz

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Posted 13 October 2007 - 08:23 PM

Hello, all...

What a great forum! Just a question for everyone: Do you charge differently for hi-def shooting vs. standard def shooting? For example, let's say a corporate, commercial, or network client wants something on Beta SP or DigiBeta. Then another client wants something on hi-def (Sony Cine Alta, Varicam). Do any of you charge differently depending on the format? My rate sheet is broken down into 3 categories: High Def, Standard Def, and Film. Standard def is currently the least expensive, high def is in the middle, and film is the most expensive. My sticking point is in what day rate to charge for camera systems like the P2 and the XDCAM, which are certainly more involved than a Betacam, but maybe not as complex as an F-900 with a downconverter, lens adapter, et, etc.

Again, I'm not talking about equipment charges, but day rates. I actually called one of the rental houses I have a relationship with (they are in a different market, about 5 hours away)and asked the rental manager what the DP's down there do. I figured he would be a good "neutral" person to ask. He said, "yeah, you should absolutely charge more for high def. There is certainly more skill and knowledge involved in regards to settings, menus, etc".

I tend to agree with him. The dreaded part (for me) is justifying the high-def upcharge to clients that you shoot a lot of standard-def AND high def with.

Any thoughts on this? Thanks!

David
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#2 Kevin Zanit

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Posted 13 October 2007 - 09:17 PM

I don't shoot much standard def these days (plus my market is more commercials and music videos, not corporate type stuff), but my rates are the same regardless.

That said, my rate usually fluctuates based on the project's budget, and in most cases the standard def projects are much lower budget. The last standard def project I did was an internet show on Superdeluxe that we shot on the SDX900, my rate would have been the same had it been F900.

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#3 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 13 October 2007 - 11:18 PM

Yes. The going rate for corporate/studio (EPK/DVD)/doc work for standard def is $500/10hrs. That is BetaSP, DigiBeta.

The going rate for the same clients in HD (HDCAM and other HD) is about $700/10hrs.

The rates seem to be "Decided" by the circles one works within, so if most of the people who also do what you do who also work for the same people you do charge one rate, that's the rate everyone gets. With no union-type environment, the standards for pay can and do fluctuate but generally are within the above parameters.

Note: Those are Los Angeles rates which are several years in the running. I likely will make the attempt to raise the Standard Def rate to at least $600/10 in 2008.

Also, those rates are without gear. A normal HDCAM rate for Videographer, Audio Mixer, and all gear is about $2,300/10hrs with $500 going to the Audio Mixer.

The rationale for the higher HD rate is that it is a specialty. There are a lot of "gotchas" in the HDCAM menu and not knowing how to properly set the camera up could easily wind up costing the client thousands of extra dollars in post to "fix" the mistake. SD is more or less a point and shoot technology. HD requires some engineering-type education which should, and does, command more money.

I hope that helps.

Edited by Brian Dzyak, 13 October 2007 - 11:22 PM.

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