I normally dislike having to justify why I charge what I charge, but there is on occasion a total misunderstanding with a client’s expectations, with regards to video production and what I charge.
I’ve run three other businesses including website design, and search engine optimisation, but with my video production business, some clients expect a professional video for a few hundred quid, and have no idea what it really costs to keep this kind of business operational, to a professional level anyway.
After noticing numerous groups online with their focus centered solely on justifying their pricing, I quickly noticed this and felt immediately frustrated. I knew I’d invested a pretty penny in this business, just like all the other videographers, and that they failed to educate potential clients on why they charged what they did.
Firstly, let me begin with expenses. Very real expenses. Not the extreme kit, but necessary kit for the job.
The Equipment costs
1) Most videographers have two cameras, a main camera and a backup camera for their B-roll. Average price for 2 basic mirrorless cameras with 4K compatibility: £4000
2) Computer hardware. With editing 4K a videographer will need a beefy CPU, fast memory and a good graphics card. £1500
3) Professional computer monitor for accurate colour. This is an ABSOLUTE MUST. £450
4) Lenses. A single lens can cost up to £2000 each. Videographers usually have around 4 for the task at hand so that’s £8000
5) Lighting. You need this for filming and it is an absolute necessary, it also costs a small fortune. A videographer will spend atleast £2000 on lighting easily, which includes the softboxes too.
6) Tripods and gimbals. Like the rest, there is no cheap. £1500 for a gimbal and tripod easily.
7) Cases. For carrying cameras and other small items for filming, a videographer will use quality cases like Pelican cases, and these are a good £500 each.
8) Sound. A videographer will need good quality microphones, one for interview segments such as a wireless Lav set, and a shotgun condenser microphone with battery / recharging capacity. £1000 in total.
9) Sliders. A slider (usually motorised) can move the camera horizontally back and forth at a smooth and consistent rate, and is very well used in interview segments and for gathering b-roll. Decent sliders can cost atleast £500
10) Drone. I recently bought a 4K drone and spare batteries with the legal kit such as fire extinguisher and flight case. This was £2000 in total.
11) Styling luts for colour-grading in post-production. A videographer will spend roughly £100 a year on these.
Insurances and Training
1) Public liability insurance for atleast £100,000 legal cover, this came to £500 a year, which includes insuring the kit against possible theft at home, or onsite.
2) Drone training with the UAV academy. This cost me around £500.
3) Drone insurance. This can cost upto £300 per year.
Yearly costs for maintenance and upgrading
1) £2000 per year for camera upgrading. A camera in this day of age goes off like fresh fruit, because manufacturers like Sony and Canon will release a new filming-capable camera every 6 months.
2) Sensor cleaning. Working on-site will inevitably get the camera sensor dirty and it’ll need a clean on both cameras, and this should be done by a camera specialist. £50 per year.
Total for everything: £24,900.
And you think you are paying a lot for video production? Think again!