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crew How much does it cost in the US to film stuff?

Let's say we wanted to film something in Connecticut. So how much would it cost for a single camera op (with a professional camera and some lights) and someone on sound for one day? I hear the prices are completely crazy in the US compared to the UK. Is this correct?
 

Nate North

Business Member
indieBIZ
You could probably make it through a day with 2-3 grand at a minimum, if you are aiming for pro level and using all free actors. Standard would be more like 60 grand a day, and if you were doing something big, much more. It's hard to answer because there are so many factors. Crowd scenes, car chases, etc, can run up bills fast. A basic crew for a documentary shoot with minimal lights and a pedestrian camera with an amazon plastic gimbal, that could be done for 600 a day maybe. International stuff obviously comes with flights, hotel, food, etc, on top of your normal catering and salaries. Bottom line, you need funding to go shoot in other countries. If ROI isn't part of your math, and someone left you a fortune, you could come here to shoot a non studio film. If that isn't the case, you might consider hiring me to dub in some American trees and landmarks in post, and simply shoot in the UK on a historically bright sunny day. That will get you 90% of the way there at 15% of the cost.
 

indietalk

IndieTalk Founder
Staff Member
Admin
Are you saying it is a one day shoot or asking what one day costs so you can multiply? Because it doesn't work like that.
 

directorik

IndieTalk's Resident Guru
Let's say we wanted to film something in Connecticut. So how much would it cost for a single camera op (with a professional camera and some lights) and someone on sound for one day?
A camera op (not a Director of Photography?) who owns a pro camera and some lights (not a full package?) will likely charge between $300 and $800 per day. Someone on sound (not bring the kit?) will likely charge between $250 and $500 per day.

There are so many variables you do not mention that I've given you an unrealistic ballpark figure. It's possible to find people for less. Or more depending on... well... many variables.
I hear the prices are completely crazy in the US compared to the UK. Is this correct?
I don't know. What are the prices in the UK?
 

Alcove Audio

Business Member
indieBIZ
So, to sum up...

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A camera op (not a Director of Photography?) who owns a pro camera and some lights (not a full package?) will likely charge between $300 and $800 per day. Someone on sound (not bring the kit?) will likely charge between $250 and $500 per day.

There are so many variables you do not mention that I've given you an unrealistic ballpark figure. It's possible to find people for less. Or more depending on... well... many variables.

I don't know. What are the prices in the UK?

I hire a professional soundies in the UK is $350 USD per day including OK kit. I hire pro camera ops for $475 USD per day including OK kit.

When I say 'OK,' I mean something that will get me a professional look / feel. So for cameras, technicals are 4:2:2, 4k 10 bit with a couple of lights and tripod etc.... For sound, kit would be an F8, decent mic (NTG3 or similar), couple of lavs plus bits (soundbag, boom etc...) and professional enough skills to get what I want.

I don't advertise myself as a camera op but I'm OK and people call me occasionally. I have a couple of days shooting in November for a couple of different customers and charging around £700 or $1,000 USD each day because of some expenses.

However, I mostly produce so am likely to win some business where I need to do a couple of days shooting in a couple of different locations in the US. I'm not allowed to work out there so have to hire crew to do what I need. Working out ballpark figures to figure out what I need to pay.
 

directorik

IndieTalk's Resident Guru
I hire a professional soundies in the UK is $350 USD per day including OK kit. I hire pro camera ops for $475 USD per day including OK kit.
Looks as if the prices in the UK and the USA are in the same ball park.
You'll have no problem finding people in that price range in Connecticut.
 

directorik

IndieTalk's Resident Guru
My mistake. Usually people don't come here asking about union rates. Typically
producers are asking about free lance, non union crew prices.

Yes, we have union minimums. I'd be glad to give you the union rates if that's what
you're looking for.
 
My mistake. Usually people don't come here asking about union rates. Typically
producers are asking about free lance, non union crew prices.

Yes, we have union minimums. I'd be glad to give you the union rates if that's what
you're looking for.

In the UK, rates are pretty standard irrespective of any union involvement. The market and pay structures sort of take care of themselves and standardise. There is an almost unofficial 'rate card' at any point in time although some people publish them.
 

indietalk

IndieTalk Founder
Staff Member
Admin
A local line producer is going to help a lot. Connections to crew, permits, etc. If I were you I'd be talking to line producers. Let them know the project, ask them about costs/connections as part of the interview process, etc.
 
A local line producer is going to help a lot. Connections to crew, permits, etc. If I were you I'd be talking to line producers. Let them know the project, ask them about costs/connections as part of the interview process, etc.

I am the producer. I sold the concept to the client, am bringing the money in, organising everything.
 

directorik

IndieTalk's Resident Guru
In the UK, rates are pretty standard irrespective of any union involvement. The market and pay structures sort of take care of themselves and standardise. There is an almost unofficial 'rate card' at any point in time although some people publish them.
It's a little different here in the states. The day rates are similar to union rates and
the market and pay structures sort of take care of themselves but the final fee is
more open to negotiation with non union folks. The kit fee can change depending
on the kit itself and the individual usually just incorporates that into their day rate.

I really don't think you are going find the prices are completely crazy here compared
to the UK. Even though you are the producer it can be very helpful to hire a local Line
Producer (as our founder mentioned) to get the best talent and deals.
 
It's a little different here in the states. The day rates are similar to union rates and
the market and pay structures sort of take care of themselves but the final fee is
more open to negotiation with non union folks. The kit fee can change depending
on the kit itself and the individual usually just incorporates that into their day rate.

I really don't think you are going find the prices are completely crazy here compared
to the UK. Even though you are the producer it can be very helpful to hire a local Line
Producer (as our founder mentioned) to get the best talent and deals.

Thanks for this! Suddenly everything makes sense when you put it this way. Really helpful. Just working out what I want to do and how I want to do it.
 

indietalk

IndieTalk Founder
Staff Member
Admin
One more thing to note. New York/New Jersey/Connecticut is the Tri-Sate Area. No doubt you will be utilizing NYC in some way. I'm not sure if you know of the proximity as well as the close relationship. Many people live in CT, work in NY, and drive to NJ like it's another NYC borough. This rings very true in the film biz here. If you work for a grip truck company you will find yourself in any of these states on any normal day. So make sure you consider NYC when you resource. The people you talk to will consider CT part of the area and you have a much larger pool!
 
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