Online Video - Creating new programming


Videography production and editing costs:[1]

Roger Genereux, Studio Supervisor of KOCE-TV Foundation Production Services, in January 2005 proposed a multiple-filming rate for the benefit of Orange County, CA regional museums. A $3,150 contract would allow for six separate shoots at a per-shoot cost of $525. The equipment used would be a single betacam with audio and a camera operator to shoot a lecturer at a podium. These shoots would be approximately 1 hour long, not including travel time and set up. The rate is based on half day use. There is also a $25.00 cost for each 30 minute 3/4" videotape. Similar arrangements may be possible through PBS affiliates in other metro areas throughout the nation.

KVIE quoted in its September, 2005 rate card: "Field Package includes either a Panasonic AJ-D900WA DVCPRO 50 camcorder OR a Sony BVW-400A Betacam SP camcorder. Also lighting kits, full complement of grip equipment, full complement of mics, color field monitor, also available a Sony BVW-35 Beta-SP recorder. Rate based on portal to portal. Includes videographer (4 hr. minimum)" at a hourly rate of $125 or $500 per 1/2 day.

A videographer in Orange County, CA quoted in September, 2005 $275 for a single camera shoot of a lecture and $325 for a two-camera shoot, without editing. With titles and post-production editing the respective quotes are $450 and $500. This videographer indicates that post production editing would be less expensive than live editing and also would provide for color corrections and a means to fix audio issues if they arise. Another Orange County videographer, employed by a regional video production company and working on an after-hours basis, quoted earlier in 2005 a $500 production fee for one operator and camera, including costs of equipment rental, setting up lights, audio and camera, tape stock, recording time, tear down and mini-DV tape.

Also in September, 2005, a Chino, CA firm quoted a package including two cameras, one operator, xlr cable w/ barrel, 3 hours editing, tape stock x2, and a master on one of the following: mini dv / beta sp / dv cam / DVD. The client is to provide other information to be added at the time of editing including stills, titles, etc. The production cost for this package totals $750. If two camera operators are required, the added cost for the second operator is $250. The standard editing hourly rate is $75.

A Fullerton, CA videographer quoted in August, 2005 a basic rate for on-site DV videotaping at $450 for a single camera with one operator and $750 for a two person crew for a half-day. The rate for two cameras, with a two person crew, is $1,100 for a half-day. Depending on the particular production requirements, a two camera live switching arrangement could require the addition of a Technical Director with appropriate additional costs. The firm's standard rate for post production digital video editing, operator and non-linear editing system, is $110 per hour. They offer a 10% education/non-profit discount from standard rates.

For a slide show in a lecture hall, TFAO agrees with Smithsonian TV that the utilization of one operator with two cameras, one camera fixed on the projection screen and the second camera trained on the lecturer, plus video mixer equipment connected to a camcorder to capture the mixed footage, offers a satisfactory production arrangement. The single operator is free to provide zoom and other effects as needed for the camera following the actions of the lecturer, while the other camera, focused on the projection screen, remains stationary. While filming, the operator provides live mixing, following verbal and gestural cues from the speaker to switch between shots of the speaker and the screen. Audience reaction and Q&A shots for this type of event are probably not necessary. For more description of the Smithsonian TV solution please see Technical considerations.

If the project is the filming of a lecture slide show, and the museum wants high quality still digital images to be inserted into the final cut in substitution for the lesser quality live on-screen footage of those images, a separate quote needs to be obtained for post-production editing to accomplish this task.

For an interview session including two people, a two-camera, two-operator package makes sense. Each operator is free to follow either the movements of the person asking questions or the person answering them. Live editing can be performed at the event or be done through post-production editing.

When obtaining quotes from videography firms, TFAO recommends that museums be as specific as possible about the time and location of the shoot, including the audio equipment and electrical outlets, etc. in the lecture hall or other facility.

Museums weighing the costs of purchasing equipment and training their own staff -- against the expense of turn-key services provided by independent firms -- need to evaluate the costs and benefits of both approaches. In instances where the continuity of online video projects is unclear, the services of independent contractors may be the best approach. For museums planning to record a series of events, TFAO suggests that museums initially contract with independent firms to gain knowledge of how the components of a project are completed, what equipment is needed, and the amount of time involved in each work flow step -- before purchasing equipment and training staff. In addition, online video standards continue to evolve, equipment is becoming rapidly more powerful and less expensive, and editing software is becoming easier to use. Before equipment and software is acquired or staff trained, a museum should compare the estimated savings to be gained through amortizing capital and training costs over a number of projects against the repetitive expenses connected with outside vendors.

The complexity of a project will dictate the operator skill level and equipment required. As needed, a museum may decide to purchase none, some, or all of the equipment and assign trained staff or contract with outside operators. Since post-production editing requires deferent skills and equipment (computers and software) than production work, a museum may elect, for instance, to bring production in-house before editing services. Grants may be available for portions of the process and local firms may donate selected services.


Buy vs. outside service provider analysis for production of videos of slide show lectures.

The following analysis is for the production component of creating online video presentations. Pre- and post-production phases are not included. Equipment mentioned below is only for illustrative purposes and is not endorsed or recommended by TFAO.

Equipment purchase, before educational institution discounts:

MX-ProDV mixer by Videonics: $2020
consumer digital video camera: $300
two Panasonic AG-DVX100A cameras @ $2500 = $5000
Sunpak - 620-800 - Video-Pro M Tripod with Fluid Head: $150
video cables and connectors: $100
pre-existing sound board, microphones, lighting: $0
Equipment total: $7570

Staff operator @ $35 per hour:

training: 10 hours = $350
Per shoot: 4 hours = $140

Based on the above equipment/staff costs and the independent videographer quotes listed above, TFAO estimates that museums would find a breakeven point at approximately 12 lectures. Taxes and delivery charges are excluded.

1. These quotes are primarily focused on pricing for slide show lectures at museum facilities and are based on a 1/2 day rate including local point-to-point travel time, on-location set up and disassembly of equipment in addition to actual production time.

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rev. 9/9/05

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