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Rates for commercial cinematographers


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#1 Benjamin Lamb

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Posted 23 April 2017 - 05:54 PM

I'm looking to put together a totally independent, non-union project that would effectively be a promo/ad. I'm wondering if anyone here could give me some info on average rates for high-end cinematographers (those who shoot national commercials/music videos) for a day shoot. Also averages for DPs who are a little less established? Any info is much appreciated! Thanks everyone


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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 24 April 2017 - 01:06 AM

This may fall under the category of "if you have to ask, you probably can't afford it"...

There is such a range of budgets for commercial spots that there is also a range of salaries. The rates tend to be high, higher than for longer-form projects. I only shot about three national spot commercials and it's been awhile but I think the offer was around $10,000/day? But I'm sure some famous cinematographer is probably getting five times that. But I'm also sure that there are commercials made that offer much lower rates. So I don't see the point in being too open-ended about it. Better to find a line producer who has made a commercial of the type you are planning and talk to them, or better yet, hire them.

A good starting point, even if you are doing the commercial non-union, is that the guild minimum rate for the cinematographer is around $6500/day I believe (don't have my rate card here...)
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#3 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 24 April 2017 - 03:26 AM

The commercial rate is anywhere from union scale (which I think is in the $800/day range) to about $4500/day for a well established, known, experienced commercial DP at the top end. The highest end commercial DP's with lots of feature experience, like Chivo, Deakins and guys like that can command a little premium. Maybe to around what David says, but that's about it. I once heard Kaminsky got $10K/day for a Nike ad, but that would almost be a unique situation and very rare.


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#4 Miguel Angel

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Posted 24 April 2017 - 07:37 AM

The commercial rate is anywhere from union scale (which I think is in the $800/day range) to about $4500/day for a well established, known, experienced commercial DP at the top end. The highest end commercial DP's with lots of feature experience, like Chivo, Deakins and guys like that can command a little premium. Maybe to around what David says, but that's about it. I once heard Kaminsky got $10K/day for a Nike ad, but that would almost be a unique situation and very rare.

 

 

I have to say that the most well-known cinematographers are well above €20.000 / day on commercial projects. 

 

We had Janusz coming to shoot the 2nd unit of a Nike commercial that we were shooting with Chivo years ago and he was such an amazing person to work with!!! :)

 

Have a good day.


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