As most videographers, I never quote a price for videographer services unless I talk to the client first. I am not hiding my rates, I just need to understand the overall requirements of the shoot.
My first thought is sometimes: Do you really need a professional videographer.
We recognize that lots of video on YouTube is created with consumer level cameras.
It can do the job.
Many viewers on YouTube are quite forgiving, especially for videos that are perceived to be authentic and has a sense of immediacy.
Nevertheless, it will not compete for the quality of video produced by a professional with a broadcast quality camera.
But don’t assume, videographers are no more than “just a YouTuber with a more expensive camera.” Most of the time they are experienced with a sizable investment in professional equipment.
It reflects in the quality of the images they produce but it is also reflected in the prices they charge.
So how to keep prices down?
Keep it simple! It’s a great way to keep your costs down. If all you want is a talking head with natural lighting, it will be a breeze to shoot. You can also hire a junior videographer with less experience.
Lighting! Use natural light when you can.
Costs rise with the amount of lighting required. The videographer will charge for lights and the extra crew members required to set it up.
But don’t assume natural lighting is always the answer.
Depending on the situation, videographers need to reduce contrast by either bouncing the light or with a diffusion screen.
All of this requires more crew, equipment and experience. All things that will add to the price.
Style of Shooting:
Simplicity is always cheaper. Talking heads are quick simple but shooting a story that has interviews, sequences and a visual style requires more time and experience.
Expect to pay more because it takes more time to produce.
Events: An event can be shot quite inexpensively with a single videographer, especially if they only need to plug into a sound board there is good house lighting. But if the videographer has to mic the event for the camera and provide lighting, it requires a crew and costs more.
If you need something more than a single angle, than you need to invest in an extra videographer. A two camera shoot provides different angles that can include reactions from the crowd.
Describe your needs than expect a quote
If you ask a few questions, describe your event and ask for options that can keep your costs down, most videographers can provide you with a number of solid options and a realistic price.
Steven Hunt is a senior producer at SDC Video.