Video Production Crew Rates


As a freelancer in the world of video production, I find myself being asked one question over and over. That question is, "what is your rate?" A lot goes into a rate quote.  Hopefully this article will help explain the cost factors of video production.  I promise that I will get to specific prices by the end of the post.

The cost of video production on a corporate video or a commercial is usually subjective.  A lot of things factor into it.  This is why I think so many companies, camera operators, and producers in the field are often apprehensive when it comes to quoting a client's rate.

I typically work off of specific guidelines when it comes to the amount I charge my clients. Oftentimes businesses find it hard to wrap their heads around the fact that freelancers are actually running a business entity.  As with all businesses, the cost of doing business apply to a production company.  

To make things easier to understand, let me break down how I calculate my rates for video production work.

1.  Equipment

When I show up to a job, I usually supply all of the technical tools to accomplish the goal of the production. The basic tool kit includes a camera, tripod, monitor, microphones and sound recording equipment, backdrops, green screen...

A pair of C300's

A pair of C300's

Along with the purchase cost of the equipment comes the maintenance and upkeep. Video production tools are highly technical instruments. Just like a car, they need servicing to keep them performing well.

In addition to owning my own equipment, some clients or jobs specifically require me to rent specialized equipment to accomplish a successful shoot.  Additional rental rates may be a factor.

2.  Personnel

On almost all jobs, my rates include a 2 person crew. This typically myself as a DP/camera and a sound recordist. I prefer working with a sound recordist because so much can go wrong on a production that it pays to have a professional set of ears focusing on the audio. This allows us to produce visually pleasing and great sounding video.

A second set of hands also allows us to move more efficiently. We can set up and breakdown more quickly or one person can park the car while the other loads in.

In some scenarios, sound is not needed. Depending on the job, I can pull it off by myself as a "one man band", but I'll often try to budget in a production assistant (PA) just to help keep things moving along smoothly. 

3.  Insurance

Accidents happen. Not only do I carry insurance covering my equipment, but I have liability insurance for the locations that I work in. If something catastrophic were to happen as a result of my crew, we are fully insured.


4.  Transportation

This covers car insurance, gas, mileage, parking and airfare and travel time reimbursement.  A radius of 50 miles is included in my standard rate. That covers working in New York City. 

5.  Media

Today's HD camera systems shoot digital files to cards and disks. These files are transferred from camera media cards to a portable hard drive for editing or archival. In the past you would have to purchase multiple videotapes for a project. Now I let my clients either provide a hard drive, or I can provide one at the current market cost.

Basic Numbers

Now that you know how we determine what everything costs, I can give you some numbers to start with so you have and idea about what it costs to have a camera crew for a day.

For a two man crew (DP/sound recordist) with a camera package, lights, and sound package rates start at $1650 for a 10 hour day. Some clients request half day rates. Half day rates start at $1250 for 4 hours.

If you only require me and a PA, our 10 hour day rate starts at $1150.

It is difficult for me to quote post production prices as that is often determined by the scope of the project. 


When it comes to choosing a video crew I understand that each job and client has very specific needs. I am not going to be pompous and say that I can do it all and achieve every look and style out there. Each and every DP has his or her own style. I have no problem recommending other camera operator that I think would be a better fit for your project.

Let's discuss your ideas. Email me