Shooting Motion With Stills – How To Do It, What To Charge And What Rights To Give

I received an email the other day from an established still photographer who was feeling the heat to get with this motion business. The subject of motion was brought up twice in one week by editors he works with all “tethered to the rise in magazines producing iPad content.” He was having the “panicked realization” that he needed to start learning this new skill set and start buying expensive new equipment and software. He wanted to hear from some folks who’ve already made the transition to adding motion to their stills shoots to “get an understanding from them about what they are charging in the way of fees, the rights they’re granting, the production charges that get folded in.” He fears that most editorial clients are “going to do what they did when digital came out and say, hey, we’re not going to pay anything additional for this since we’re already paying you for the still shoot.”

So, I picked up the keyboard and contacted a handful of photographers from a full blown commercial director to someone who told me that shooting motion saved his bottom line in 2010. I think you will enjoy their thoughtful, varied and honest responses. I’d love to hear more in the comments.

Photographer 1
I figured this was starting to happen to folks. In the commercial world we keep the two budgets separate, because they really are two different animals. That being said I know mags are starting to pressure photographers to shoot video, sound, etc.. At minimum if they wanted video and sound, I’d make sure they pay for a seasoned camera assistant (that has experience with 5D, 7D, etc..) and an experienced sound person + their gear. You might pressure them to let you charge some extra rental for video accessories, monitors, and camera support, follow focus, etc.. which can cost two or three times the cost of the camera itself.

You can make it look good without a crew, but so many things can go wrong when you start shooting video with sound, to have a few people helping is huge. Also, if you are just getting started doing this I’d stay away from the whole post production monster, it’s such a big learning curve AND super time consuming, it can be very frustrating. But, I will say on the other side of the coin, if you are really serious about telling stories with video or film, sitting in an edit bay working with an experienced editor is a great way to learn. You can see all your mistakes and what a cut needs, to move it forward. Content is everything.

On the money front I get paid a creative fee to:
1. shoot stills (and then we license those images for additional $$$, but retain copyright)
2. direct and/or shoot video (usually the client owns all that footage, the agency/client pay a fee and walk away, unless I’m involved in post, which we are doing more and more of).

We also make money by owning the production company (a lot more responsibility, but we have much more control over the production, and we control the budget on our end) it’s standard to charge a production fee when you are running the production. I’m not sure editorial clients understand yet how complicated it can be to create visually engaging footage with sound. If they just want some rough footage with sound from a mic mounted on the camera, that’s one thing, but if they want a cohesive piece that actually works as motion with high production values.. that’s another beast altogether.

Photographer 2
I do hope people realize that you cannot tack a video shoot onto the back end of a photo shoot without compromising your photography (and your video). If you have an hour with a subject and you have to spend valuable shooting time dicking around with video you are likely going to miss the shot. Besides, making a video of any quality requires a fair amount of time committed also. Definitely more that 15 min.

I don’t know of any sane photo editor that would sacrifice quality of image just to get some b-roll for the website. I know some people like it, but I personally hate BTS video and I most certainly don’t feel like taking video of myself taking photographs. On a lot of my shoots there is an EPK crew hired by the client lurking in the background and I have to spend time trying to keep them out of my way. Annoying.

I know photographers are experimenting with different methods and different techniques in video with varying degrees of success. I see a whole lot of video that should of stayed on the editing room floor, but if you get the opportunity to charge a fee for your services then you should charge what you feel your services are worth. There are no standards for video right now. Everybody is just making this shit up as they go. But to put things in perspective when I moved to New York in 1985 the day rate for editorial photography was $400-$500 a day. 25 years later the editorial fees are still the same. How much more do you really think magazines are going to cough up for a 3-minute video clip?

I think people are seriously underestimating the complexity of video and if they think they can just quickly learn sound design and Final Cut and storytelling and directing they are gravely mistaken. These jobs are not photography. But if you can get away with charging for things you aren’t really very good at then more power to ya. That said, you could easily hire people to fill these positions for you. I have hired assistant camera guys, gaffers, sound guys and editors for $250 a day (and that is the cheapest you will find skilled people for.) And I have charged some camera and lighting rental used for video as part of the photo shoot.

Photographer 3
I realized I might not be the best person to respond to this question as I don’t really do much editorial work. Most of the video work I have done has been direct with my fashion clients and some advertisers. I know the trend of putting editorial content on iPad is driving a big changes in the editorial industry, but I can’t really speak to any of that. I can at least offer some general observations based on my limited experience. Maybe some of it will be helpful.

Shooting even a simple motion project requires quite a bit of specialized knowledge. I wouldn’t recommend anyone tackling something like this without having experienced professionals to back them up. And it’s important to keep in mind that the post production of a motion project can be a complicated and time consuming process that requires expensive professional services. One day of a motion shoot can sometimes turn into a solid MONTH of post-production. Even to quote a client on the production expenses of a motion shoot can require an expert! This all must be kept in mind when talking with clients about their motion needs. If you are lucky, they have some experience already with motion, so they know budgets for this kind of work are huge… by comparison what you quote will seem like a bargain. If the client has no experience, you will need to educate them on the associated costs to produce motion. There is no way for it to be folded into a still budget, and I think most clients realize this.

For simple motion projects that are done in conjunction with still photography shoots, I think the best way to figure out pricing is to base it on your experience level and what kind of production you have the ability to put together, how much your actual costs are going to be (keep in mind how much time you will spend in post) and come up with a flat charge based on that. And of course, you have to keep in mind what the clients expectations are. If they just want something basic, you can probably put this together yourself, with the right people to help out. But if they are coming to you for a high production value project, you need to be realistic about what you are capable of putting together, because it’s REALLY easy to get in over your head with motion.

For small motion projects, like behind the scenes videos that are shot at the same time as a still shoot, I started out only charging a flat fee of $800. That was basically at my cost, and I was actually losing a lot of money if I factored in how many hours I was putting in learning Final Cut during the editing process. But it was worth it because I had no experience with motion, and it was a way for me to learn without too much pressure. Over time, as I built my knowledge, and my ability to put together a higher end production grew, I raised the fees for this service. I am currently charging a flat fee of $2,500 for this simple motion project. I can do it this inexpensively because I own my own equipment, and I do a very basic production… I make sure the client understands that this is not going to look like a SuperBowl TV commercial. My main out of pocket expense is having an experienced and talented camera operator for the shoot, which will cost me about $600. And I know I will be doing a day of editing afterward. With each motion shoot I am building my knowledge and experience, I am hooking this client into the idea of coming to me for future motion projects, and I am building a reel that can be used to get work from other clients. We have been booked on several corporate videos, music videos, and a web series all based on starting out with these $600 little video projects.

The only usage I limit is TV Commercial, otherwise the client can use the video how they want for as long at they want.

Photographer 4
The question of how to handle changes in business that are brought about by technological innovation, cultural shifts, new laws and other forces are always interesting. Commercial photography is no different than other industries in that regard, and it’s frighteningly similar to all the other technical crafts or arts that have suffered through changes. Anyone who has In Design on their computer right now would all be well-served to talk to people who used to set type, and they should have spent some time with the monks who used to copy books by hand. Kindle anyone?

I have urged my assistants and other people in the industry to look at this from the point of view of the client, as we are all clients of many industries, and make our decisions based on what we think is rational criteria. If a client asks you to shoot, produce, provide or edit video along with the still photography, first look at the request from the client’s point of view. There are numerous technological and economic reasons for the request, and, quite literally, photographers now can provide something to clients that we didn’t have the capacity to provide before, with little extra effort. A clip for the iPad site on the web seems reasonable to me, especially considering a photographer’s talent in seeing the scene and the new capabilities of the cameras involved.

I have found in the last 25 years that the question of “what to do/charge/produce” is best approached by noting how different it would be from what’s been done so far. Practically, how much more difficult is it to record video than to shoot a still frame of an editorial subject? You may need more equipment than for just the still, but not that much more, especially for a clip on the web. Editing software comes as part of the Mac operating system, and while FCP Suite is now $1K, FCE is pretty cheap. Virtually everything I see on the web as a clip could be produced in iMovie.

So you should charge more if the client is asking you to add clips to the job, but not by much, and additionally the client should expect few still setups for a given amount of time. If they want edited footage, you should charge for that too, based on whatever retouching fees you charge. If you charge $1.00 for an hour of retouching time, it makes sense that you’d charge something near that for putting footage together. If the client wants clips along with the still take, figure out how much longer it would take to produce them and any other costs involved, and propose adding that to the estimate. A lot of the decision making is in the specifics, but for small jobs, a $1,500 fee might go to $2,000 and have fewer still images. On larger productions, we’ve added a camera operator and sound man to work under my direction to shoot the scenes that we set up for stills. It slows us down from our normal pace, but the client is forewarned, and happy.

If the client doesn’t have more money for more production, then they have a choice. If it’s a flat fee job for still images, and they want to add video clips, there will be fewer still images to pick from. The fee they pay you is based on your time at a certain level of expertise. It’s up to you to determine what you can produce in that amount of time (or for that amount of money – same thing.)

In my mind it makes sense to keep the rights to the clips the same as the stills, and I find that this makes sense to most clients as well. We have had jobs where the video was licensed separately from the stills, but in those cases, the video was for a certain purpose that didn’t relate to the purpose of the stills.

It’s heresy in the little pond of commercial photography, but the truth is that the quality of the still or video images doesn’t often affect the outcome of their use. A big client of mine – and by “big” I mean a company that is a household name and also pointed to frequently as being a cool and powerful force in advertising – told me a story of his daughter, shooting a video on her point and shoot, putting it together in iMovie, and by virtue of her father’s position in an enormous company, linking it to part of their web presence. That little video drove traffic and exposure up in that area of the company, a company who risks almost being overexposed in consumers’ minds. Was there posterization in the shadows? Absolutely. Bad focus? Check. Shaky, cell-phone quality sound? Yep. Was it effective? Very much so.

So put yourself in your client’s position in your own industry. You have a certain budget, and that budget comes from your boss or from common sense – think of your own willingness to spend money on a car, a plumbing call or for music on iTunes. In your client’s shoes, you know you need a certain number of readers or customers to make your business work – how do you get them? Your daughter’s video drives people to your website, strengthening your brand and maybe even leading to sales. Sure, a professional’s video might be cooler, better done, have fewer “technical” mistakes, but does it drive sales?

Instead of reacting to the requests for video with “now they want something for nothing,” start asking questions. What are they trying to do with the video. Who are they trying to reach? How can you help them? Become valuable, or better yet, irreplaceable. We will all pay more for that assistant that’s reliable, motivated, intelligent and devoted to the production going smoothly, so become that person to your client. Charging for that is easy. If your favorite irreplaceable assistant said he couldn’t afford to work at the rate you’re paying, wouldn’t you offer more?

Here’s the point: our clients, editorial and commercial, are running a business, for which they need customers. We are their partners in making that happen, and their challenges and changes aren’t personal, vindictive or immoral, any more than our own designing of a promo card isn’t an attempt to drive designers out of business. I’ve survived in photography for 25 years – albeit not perfectly – by approaching the business of photography as a business, combining the clients’ needs and limitations with my own, finding the common ground and then doing the best job I can.

Photographer 5
So yeah, a really important question – and of course with all the bullshit competition photographers feel for one another it’s turned into one of those total unknowns, wild west, each person pricing it on the spot things …

To some extent we’re all fiscally ignorant about how to charge for video work. I’ve taken on video in a couple capacities – editorially if I’m asked to try and pull some video content out of what is most first and foremost a stills shoot, I just do what I can, and for no extra charge – for a couple reasons … one, I see it as a gift that I’m being asked to do it, and don’t have to deal with a videographer that I have no history with, so that the overall production remains firmly in my camp – and two, what a kick ass opportunity to flex that muscle … you build your archive of video material, which you use to show off your skills when there really is video money in a budget.

I often shoot small video clips even when it wasn’t asked of me – no loss if it’s crappy, and such a plus if there’s a nice offering you can send off to the art department. Video has become such an important part of things, web content as well as iPad editions, that editors can’t be left in the dark about what they’re gonna get – they need assurances, which means video can’t be an after-thought – it must taken very seriously (which often means that both stills and video are compromised to some extent). So the idea of knocking out a stills shoot, and when something rich was going on that felt like great video content just switching modes on the 5D Mark II, are fading fast … my new approach, which everyone seems happy with, is to bring on my own video guy to work alongside me, someone I know and communicate well with, and charge accordingly for their rate – or frankly, just make it work with whatever budget the PE, AD, CD have put out there …

The money conversation becomes interesting when there’s real money involved, a robust budget from a commercial client… they love your photography and that’s why you got the job, and they’ve seen your video work and are satisfied & confident that this can be one-stop-shopping… then how to go about it? In two cases this past year, I shot stills and video for sizable, week-long projects, and in both cases I also hired a second video shooter and sort of self-assigned my primary role as the director of the whole production. I know at this point that I’ll get the necessary stills – I’m careful never to be too relaxed about it, but there’s a degree of confidence that comes with time that is helpful to lean back on when you need to take in the bigger picture – in this case, of where we’re at on both fronts… if I’m not thrilled with the video that I can see we’re getting, I jump in and pick up some of the slack, re-establish the energy & look of what we need to achieve and if I can see that video is right on target then I keep shooting the stills, and more importantly, steering the overall ship in the right direction (a task that isn’t talked about nearly enough).

As for money, in my experience, videographers don’t make nearly what still photographers can make on a commercial job – so we’ve estimated the job out with a slightly larger creative fee (for essentially playing the role of director of the thing) and brought on a trusted second or even third shooter solely dedicated to video. I paid them shoot day rates of between $1,500 and $2,500 and travel day rates of $750-$1,000. They seemed quite happy with that in both cases, but again it’s important to stress that this isn’t a Heineken commercial going to air – this is web content. Production expenses increase, for sure, because you’re talking about more people, more equipment, hotels, meals and flights, but I’ve always seen the goal as how to envelop video without it crushing the budget – essentially, how to make my version of capturing video as well as stills more attractive than another solution that’s gonna bum me out – like the ad agency piggy-backing a totally separate crew on top of mine which usually only serves to generate more stress and animosity on set, which of course hampers the efficiency and, let’s face it the enjoyment-factor, of doing the job right.

Equipment wise, it’s not expensive at all, unless you’re going Red. I shoot sort of real life, documentary, life-style type of work so lighting is kept as simple as possible (and if we need video & stills in the same condensed window of shoot time we opt for continuous lighting instead of strobes so that both parties have the set-up they need, and then it’s just a matter of dancing around one another, or laying out the timing of things so that everybody gets their moment). The 5D Mark II is a beautiful machine, as we all now know, and there are great solutions for audio that aren’t that complex, so there are fewer and fewer reasons not to bounce back and forth between stills & video on that camera based on what’s happening in front of you. The Panasonic systems, HVX-200 or HPX-170, are moderately priced rentals, as is the Sony EX-3… beyond that I don’t know much about different video bodies to work with. Granted rights, similar to stills, excluding advertising – and truthfully, I stay out of that… agents navigate that territory better than I can.

Ultimately my take on video isn’t that it’s another place to make more money, it’s a skill we all better get comfortable with and build into what we already do. Hell, so many industries have been crushed or disappeared entirely with the fall of the economy – if all we need to do is get comfortable with a similar medium and make that a part of what we deliver on a job, I see that as getting off easy – PLUS, what photographer hasn’t always wanted to play around with moving pictures?

There Are 31 Comments On This Article.

  1. Lots of food for thought. As a photographer with somewhat limited experience shooting video, it seems to me, like photography you get what you pay for – higher production budgets and you may get a better or more usable product in the end. It has always been up to you the business person to decide if the clients wants something for nothing and your willingness to walk away from a bad deal.
    I must say, I do have fun shooting video. Thank you photographer 1-5 for sharing your insight and experiences.

  2. all the photogs responses were great! just a couple questions/comments:

    for photographer #5, I understand why you would want to over-deliver to the client by giving them a little video when it works out but I also wonder why you/we wouldn’t offer that up as additional content that the client could purchase? sort of like an up-charge. there are so many other industries that provide over-and-above what the client wants but then offer something more for more $. It seems like good business sense to me NOT to throw it in for free as it just provides an avenue of expecting more for the same price.

    for photog #5 and #6, the cost of adding video being “not much” or “very little” is so dependent on what you are trying to produce…yes it doesn’t cost any $ to push the record button on the 5d and edit in iMovie but it does cost time and anything more of a production value than 5d/iMovie will very much cost more in tools, software, computer hard-drives, computer speed, education/workshops, etc, etc

    the web/iPad IS the new TV Commercial field…it bothers me to hear about, well if its “just” for the web no biggie its not like its for TV…but it is…I don’t know about you but commercials on TV rarely lead me to the advertisers product, on the web however I am a click away and if its interesting I will click and explore the product…the TV is on mute during the commercials when and if I even pay attention

    I think the first three responses really got to the heart of the matter that motion is different and it is a big deal…and I really liked the response that it is “really easy to get in over your head with video”…

    anyway. great post Rob.
    thanks.

  3. One thing I have been wondering is what to charge, or expect, for licensing completed spec video pieces for editorial web use. Anyone have any idea?

  4. Great post, I’m happy to see the different takes on the medium. What seems to be lacking, by and large, however, is that photographers aren’t seeing this as an opportunity to exponentially grow their business. The film/video industry is quite a robust monster that already exists, and that doesn’t require convincing anyone of additional, legitimate production costs associated with producing great content, much less eating the costs ourselves under the guise of “experience” or “good client relations”.

    The video (+ sound, graphics, editing, etc.) skills photographers are learning (and paying for) on their own, are fundamentally changing the way in which we can execute our vision. It makes sense that, as our skills evolve, we continue to expand our search for clients, outside of traditional stills clients. It may be assumed, but it deserves to addressed.

  5. Far too many people have a outdated view of the value, power and reach of web content versus traditional “TV” content. Between interactivity/links, content accessibility and longevity, the potential for content to go viral, and the shear volume of internet traffic, we as content creators may be making a huge mistake if we agree to marginalize the value of video capture when undertaken in conjunction with our still work.

    While you can make the case that it doesn’t cost a whole lot to press the movie start button since the camera is video capable and already there, I think that view may be shortsighted: There is a creative direction and conceptualization required that goes beyond planning for and executing stills, and which can be or become quite involved depending on the client and their goal. I agree with Photographer 3: One really has to go into a still and video session with his or her eyes wide open and has to be willing to admit when additional resources are necessary- pre-capture, during capture and after-capture. I

  6. Surely there are guys out there who have been shooting video for years, they are the experts, just as a stills guy is an expert in photography. I realise the boundaries are blurring but surely the videographers are buying into DSLR with video capability and shooting to a much higher standard than a stills guy.
    The only way I can see this working for a stills photographer is if he offers it as an extra and gets an expert in to do it alongside, or does it cheap and cheerful.
    Photography will still be around in years to come, it did not die when the cinema or tv came along. We are running scared because of the recession and Nikon and Canon are taking advantage of this by selling us yet more cameras that we probably do not need.
    Don’t get me wrong I find the advances in technology very exciting and interesting.When I come to replace my current system I will probably have video capability as standard and I will probably have a play with it, but I doubt I will shoot video, after all I have garageband on the Mac but I ain’t brought out an album.

    • @Paul Adams, Back in the 1970s I worked for a TV Commercial producer. A still photographer was brought in to shoot the print campaign using my lighting. At lunch break we rolled the dolly back and he brought in his tripod and Hasselblad.

      Who knows, this type of thing could become common again.

      BTW the motion shooters don’t need a V-DSLR, a Phase One will work for stills, along side their present motion cameras.

  7. Excellent piece.
    I really thought Photographer 4 & 5 had wonderful perspective. Photographer 3 is right on the money about the learning curve. I’ve shot & edited 2 dozen projects with my wife as a team and just now I am becoming cost efficient in the editing room.
    However, we are shooting bigger projects and after all the experience I can speak the same language as the editors handling our bigger projects which is soooo helpful. It’s a different language, with quick keys!!
    Keep them coming!
    Tony

  8. One size doesn’t fit all. I’ve seen videos that run from simple BTS, to celebrity interviews during a photo shoot, news reels, mood pieces for web sites and full-on high production value commercials. Where do you want to be?

    Motion production has always been a collaborative undertaking, not a control freak one-man-band. To be successful you really do need a team for higher end work.

  9. @c.d.embrey You couldn’t have said it better! With the wide range of ways video is used, from traditional broadcast to iPad clips, I agree that the most important first step is defining which level of video production someone wants to be, which dictates all the next steps..team..equipment..what to charge..etc..

  10. It will be interesting to see how long we have before the client just says to shoot video and they’ll pull stills from the footage, I know present technology has its limits but what about 5 years?

    • @Mark Tipple, They have been asking for this for years now. And when the RED came out, many thought it was going to happen, but I haven’t heard much else on it. Even if resolution does get there in a few years, you’ve got shutter speed to consider. Although in motion a shot looks sharp, the single frame rarely is, and nowhere near a nice clean f/11 with strobes. Now maybe if cameras improve enough to be shooting at ISO 12,000, 1/2,000 shutter at 21 mpx with little noise…. we might hear these requests again. Even then, I’m not sweating it.

  11. What photographers should be worried about are directors tacking stills onto their shoots. I think it’s much easier to make that happen than vice versa and the client gets a lot more value out of the scenario.

    • Donnar Party

      @sinuhe, This is how we do it. I’m a DP and I shoot the stills. I light my sets with the stills in mind, sometimes doubling up HMI and strobe with the same gobo, so I can switch to strobe quickly. The stills are not an afterthought to the motion, its a cohesive, unified production. I used to be a stills guy. I eat better and have better insurance now that I’m IATSE 600.

  12. I used to be a staffer (photographer-editor) at a mid-sized national magazine. I embraced video early on and have evolved into a preditor (video producer/editor). As some have already noted rates are dependent on the task.

    I charge for editing by the hour because that’s a rate that the industry understands. I’ve heard rates anywhere from $25/hr for the kid cutting in his bedroom up to $80/hr for docu-drama editors in NYC

    For videography I charge a day rate and give up all rights (except for self promotion). As a technician in the editorial world $250-$500/day is what I’ve heard people paying.

    I have a 5D M11 and charge an equipment fee. As I’m in editorial, my camera is in the line of fire and since I’m a preditor and work alone, I view my camera (rigging, sound gathering equipment, lighting, etc.) as an assistant and charge accordingly.

    For most video shoots I do, I take establishing shots (stills) during the shoot then in the editing room I pick out screen grabs (which at 1920×1080 can only be used at a quarter page or smaller and then only if they are in perfect focus which, if you look at a clip frame by frame, doesn’t happen all that often). I combine these stills and screen grabs together into story pitches for the magazine. If they sell I retain the rights as I would any photo stills.

    It’s a mashup.

  13. My goal for the coming year is to find videographers I can call on. When I’m asked if I do video, the answer will be YES. A client surely has a lot of trust in your talent if they come to you with that request. I’ve just got to be sure to match the production level with the expectation. See that wasn’t so scary.

  14. The means of creating visual content is in a constant state of transition. The current state of acceleration is both exciting and scary. Adaptability and position are key. The variables will change, but the sum should remain: create with impact and charge accordingly.

  15. It seems like we didn’t really answer the question being asked… the focus of the question was on the editorial side and all the answers while insightful didn’t really deal with shooting video for editorial clients.

    Photographer #2 spoke most about the editorial side and made all the normal good points, but didn’t really offer any answers.

    Are editorial client is going to have more than a couple hundred dollars to throw at you when the stills budget are already low? Then you have to ask yourself, is it worth the time and effort for that couple hundred extra dollars… because as everyone who answered points out, video isn’t something that can just be tacked on and quickly accomplished.

    I think there is money to be made in shooting video… but not so sure on the editorial side. On the editorial side to keep things within budget you’ll likely have to do everything yourself… did you really get into photography to be a sound engineer? Or am I wrong? Maybe we can have a follow up with some answers limited only to editorial, because I’d love to know.

    Jeff

  16. Have to agree with Jeff Singer.
    Seems these arguements lead to suggest that every photographer will need to become a videographer in order to stay afloat, because the industry will want and look for and expect it. Especially as #4 points out that a toddler with a point and shoot can produce a corporate level “IPadmercial”. Ties into the previous post about the state of the advertising industry greatly, so no we have out of work advertising shooters doing digital media on their mK11’s. Is the point that a photographer becomes a visual art director taking on all aspects of digital content branding?

  17. This whole (bundled/BTS) motion business just sounds more like filler filler filler than Killer Killer Killer. Which is what great still shots should be.

    We are adrift on a sea of mediocrity and it seems like no-one is ready to stand up and tell anyone. BTS video, the Emperors new clothes!

    • @Kent Johnson, I totally agree with you Kent. A “jack of all trades is a master of none” and “to be everywhere is to be nowhere.” There will always be people that think they can do everything by themselves and there will always be clients that will hire them. But the work will always be mediocre. Great work only comes from specialists. In the final analysis, I don’t think it matters if photographers want to stay focused stills or attempt to crossover with motion because there should be plenty of work for both types of people. But, great work comes from specialists and mediocre work comes from a jack-of-all-trades. There are people that are good at drifting between mediums, but those people are devoted managers producers or directors rather than photographers.

  18. I appreciate the honesty in the photographer’s statements and in particular “much of the today’s video can be produced with “Imovie”.
    Too much focus is being put on FCP when compelling audio can carry a piece a long way.

    Having said that, it is all about having choices and some may find this website helpful as they look for video production help http://www.findingtheframe.com/ .
    It was created by newspaper photographers and they are very good at providing requested information at all levels.

  19. I’m writing a piece on this topic for American Photo Magazine. If any still photographers would like to speak to me on the record regarding their experience shooting video for editorial, advertising or corporate clients, please e mail me at: greg@gregceo.com and I will send you some questions.

    My deadline is the end of the day today, 12/30/10.

    Thanks!

    –Greg Ceo

  20. Ok let me put this to rest. Simply put if you think video in anyway is something you can add on like pickles and onions, then you are way out of your league and should put down your video cameras and stop contributing to an already overstaurated bad youtube videos filled with horrible shallow depth of field videos of hair and makeup being prepped. Furthermore iMovie is a giant pile of fesis, if you think minimizing the power and organizational strength of a program like final cut isnt a big deal, then as House so often puts it, ” You’re an idiot.”

    Video is a trade on its own. As a stills shooter that came from a film background I can speak to this. Don’t disrespect an industry you have no real education in. I agree videos need the right crews, time and effort, arguably more planning and time than stills. Stills at the end of the day pale in comparrsion to the amount of work that goes into producing a decent video spot. And no it doesnt have to be a superbowl ad to require this, all videos need this, unless it is a video shot on your iphone of your stupid nephew opening his christmas presents.

    As an experienced video editor I can also speak to the fact that mostly what I receieved from “directors” on low budget projects ( which by the way sounds like all of you in this forum with the exception of a few talented people) was bad, shaky, over exposed, unstructured garbage. That then I had to save in post. But at the end of the day if you hand your editor a pile of sh!t, he or she may be able to give you the mona lisa, but it will still stink like sh!t.

    Here is how it needs to breakdown on a simple video budget

    Creative Shooting Fee $5000 plus usage
    1st assistant $500
    2nd assistan $500
    sound operator $ 500
    equipment fee — will vary but use your brains your gear alone, camera, lenses, computer, software, desk, office, stationary supplies, etc is worth at least 20k so you should be charging at least a minimum of $500-$1000 and that doesn’t include any extras like lights, dollys, grip gear etc

    Previous posts are correct, the internet or web videos are not a small reach, they are Global, virtually unlimited usage when you consider how many mediums it can be viewed on ie; apple tv, iphones, blackberrys, ipads, android devices and of course on your computer. This usage needs to cost money so charge for it you morons. Why is you tools are ok paying a mechanic $250/hr to work on your car but producing an original creative video you think a couple thousand is normal? You should all be ashamed. Grow up or go work at Starbucks. It’s called professional for a reason. Supposedly you all went to school
    for this and are highly trained so start acting like it and stop underbidding those of us who want to make a living doing this FYI a real editor charges $150/hr