According to Video Maker, the main thing a Los Angeles videographer charges for is his equipment. It makes sense, given that they can’t do their job as best as they can without proper equipment. Even a simple setup—camera, tripod, wireless microphone, and light kit—can cost the videographer upwards of a few thousand dollars. Ergo, this is an investment they need to protect.
But while the bulk of the bill may be their equipment, time and labor are also factors videographers consider when calculating their rates. Knowing what you’re paying for—and comparing it to industry standards—may help you make a better decision when picking a videographer. Likewise, understanding rates can help you choose what type of pricing structure works best for you.
As is true with any career, you also pay for the time of the videographer. While more established names have flat-rates depending on the scope of the project, videographers new to the scene are more likely to charge per hour or per day.
There really isn’t a better scheme for this; it all depends on what your project needs. If you think it can be done in just an hour or two, you may save more by choosing a videographer with an hourly rate. However, if the timeline is quite complicated, flat rates would work best for you.
Some freelance videographers charge an hourly rate. These are usually small event videographers that can afford to take on one or two projects in a day. They usually ask for a rough estimate of how long the event will take, calculate it times their hourly rate, and then request for at least half the payment in advance. For instance, a Los Angeles videographer who charges an hourly rate of $100 will cover a 3 hour event for $300, but you’d have to pay him at least $150 first.
One of the advantages of choosing a videographer with an hourly rate means he or she is more or less “locked in” your project. Being paid per hour makes them accountable for every minute less they face a dispute, and thus can’t afford to work on other projects besides yours.
Other videographers offer day rates. These are more commonly team of two or three videographers—or video producers—working together, and they’re more suited to large events. If you’re planning to cover a shoot, a tour, or a full-day event, you could save more by getting a day rate instead of a per-hour charge.
For instance, the same Los Angeles videographer who charges an hourly rate of $100 will come to about $800 for eight hours. Meanwhile, a videographer who has a flat rate of $800 per day could cover your event for ten or twelve hours and you wouldn’t have to pay overtime.
Those with project rates tend to be a bit pricier, but they also tend to have more time, more staff, and better equipment. Again, there are exceptions to this rule. Videographers with a flat rate per project could ask as much $4,000 to shoot, edit, and produce a commercial. This means that regardless of the number of days it takes him to finish—whether two, three, or a whole week—you end up paying the same amount.
Depending on the scope of your project, this option could save you a ton of money. Most Los Angeles video production companies tend to charge per project rather than per hour or day, mostly because the scope of the projects they normally take on would amount to a ridiculous sum if calculated by a per-hour or per-day rate.