Know Your Worth — What Your Peers Charge for Commercial Film Productions

Know Your Worth — What Your Peers Charge for Commercial Film Productions

Image for postPhoto by Colton Williams

I have seen a lot of producers trying to hire film crew in Los Angeles for sub-standard rates so I got the idea to compile together a list of rates based on discussions that I?ve seen in various private online groups. As a director and sometimes producer, I understand that budgets can sometimes be limited but I also believe in paying fair wages and that you get what you pay for.

Ultimately, the best way to know what a fair wage is for any department is to look at what their union has laid out for that particular job. Even if it?s a non-union shoot, you should get paid in the ballpark of the union rate.

These rates are from non-union freelance individuals that work primarily in commercials or narrative film. Producers for documentaries, web, and reality TV will typically try to get much lower rates and sometimes long-term narrative TV or film projects will have a reduced rate. All of these rates are based on a crew that works in the United States in major markets (unless indicated).

For crew positions that require equipment and resources (ACs, HMU, audio, etc), they will charge an extra kit/gear rate. That rate varies depending on what they own.

I?m missing quite a few crew positions but as I come across rates for other departments I will update this article. These are all direct quotes from professionals in the industry.

Director

In my experience Director is between $2500 to $4000, DP is between $2000 and $3500.

Directing usually $5?10kUSD per job flatrate [sic] not including post.

Directors usually get 5?10% of the total budget.

10k a day plus 5k per hour for OT.

Directing rates vary. Sometimes a 10?15% (or more) of budget. Sometimes day rate.

Producer:

800 to 1000 a day

$1,000 a day

Director of Photography

$1,200-$1,800 (more, depending on the experience/skill).

1.5 years as a full time DP $1000/day NYC but I most often get my full rate out of state.

I scale pay with budget, so if I can get more I?ll generally pay more, up to $1500/day for a DP

DP rate is $1300/10hr day. I frequently go down to $1000.

DP $1200-$1500 w/ no kit,

I only DP. Almost 100% narrative. Rate is usually $2k/day. I?ll show up for $1500, though. Right now I?m doing a Union $3mil feature for $2k/week. $1500/10 DP rate w rig.

DP -$1200/day ? two years of experience

As a DP $1000/day,

$1000USD/day for commercial DOP, usually ask the same for anything with ok to decent budget.

My current asking rate as a DP is $1400.

1500/10 excluding OT. This is without gear.

Assistant Camera

$700?750/10 as a 1st, and ~$600?700 as a 2nd.

2nd AC- $500/10. 1st AC- $600/10.

AC ? $500/10.

I?ve been working freelance gigs in Knoxville, TN for 2 years. Mostly camera op or 1st AC. I usually don?t have any trouble getting $650/day.

1st AC $718 (per commercial rate)

1sr AC 13 years experience $600/10 on average. I get hired a lot to op or run a gimbal as well so I?m running double duty a lot of the time and that hikes the price up a little bit. Usually in the $800/10 range.

2nd ac $350/10. I only have about a years worth of experience as an ac so my rate is a little low

DIT (Digital Technician)

DIT $700 (plus gear, which changes per job in the $500-$1500 range),

$750/10 is common. Lower budgets go to $700/10 or /12 depending. Gear is $700-$1200 per day. Loader/Data gets $250-$500/10 and $250-$500 gear.

Steadicam

$1800/10 (with gear)

Steadicam: $2200/10 minus OT

Standard rate for steadi is 1k for op and 1k for gear.

Rate is anywhere from 2600 to 1400 depending upon the job and what gear o mine is needed

RED EPIC W Package and Steadicam Package ($2500 a day)

Drone

At least 1500. If the job calls for a spotter or second op: $3000+

Inspire2 fully loaded with two crew starts at $3k/day. Heavy lifters start $4500.

$1500 for a single op setup. If it?s complicated enough to require a separate a cam op, then I charge $2500. This is all for Inspire 2. I basically don?t fly my octa any more, but it started at about 5k.

$1500 is a good baseline for an experienced op with good gear. Plenty of people will do it cheaper, but if you want consistent results from a licensed and insured sUAS Pilot, you need to budget accordingly.

VFX Supervisor

I charge $1000 a day + per diem. And I believe I am cheap and that is for local shoots. Kit fee is additional.

If you want one from [name of a major VFX studio] they bill $5000 a day

Directly hiring an individual, non-union, $1,000-$1,500 a day.

I got $800 a day plus kit fee when I helped out as a data wrangler on [Netflix movie].

Lighting

depends on how big of a crew usually on a commercial 650 gaffer key grip 650 bestboys respectively 600 electrics and grips 550 each, then you gotta rent a grip truck. Theres [sic] another 1000?4000/ day then lighting that gets really really expensive.

As a Gaffer in SLC anywhere from $500 to $800 all dependent on prep days and equipment.

I try and go for $750 a Day when I know there?s Order Prep/Pick Up/Etc that I?m not charging for, but it usually lands at $600 a day.

For a gaffer, $550?750. For a grip, $450-$550.

Audio

Bay Area Sound Mixer ? Labor $650/10HR and basic audio kit rental starts at $300 will scale to $550+ depending on what?s needed.

Professional Sound Mixer $600 ? $1000 day rate, and $350 bag rate 12hr day. Every sound mixers rates vary, but remember your paying for skilled service.

Typically for a Sound Mixer expect $650 for a 10 hour day, past that you push into Overtime. Additionally plan for $300 as a starting place for gear (Recorder, Boom, 2 Wireless, and Hardline to Camera). Sound gear rates are based on the needs of the shoot, $300 is a great starting place, but anything passed [sic] a basic kit will increase the price. ? Henri K. W. Rapp www.henrirapp.com

My current rate for prod sound mixing is $650/day. For myself, and a full kit, it?s around $1,200/day. When I?m doing super basic stuff, it usually comes out to $850?950/day.

Art Department

Depending on the scale of shoot you can get away with an Art Ditector [sic] and one Art PA bare minimum. In NYC for a very low budget scripted shoot (non-commercial) you are looking at $400-$650/12 for the Art Director and $225-$250 for the PA. Art PA?s typically get paid a bit more than a regular PA because they need more experience than a set PA and their job is specific.

HMU (Hair/Makeup)

HMU is $550-$1200 including kit fee.

400?600(ish) in my area for makeup. Really depends on what kind of makeup is needed also.

HMUA here, my rates vary depending on the size of the project $550-$1050 per day

Hair/makeup typically $500?750 day rate for lead and $200?300 per assistant. Plus kit fee. That?s just the single day rate. If a lot of pre prep is needed, that?s a separate charge

You shouldn?t be getting below $600/10

Hair & makeup artist: $900 a day (includes kit).

Wardrobe

Wardrobe / Prop StylistPrint $750 / 10 Hr DayAdvertising $1000/ 10Hr Day

It depends on the type of shoot but for wardrobe: key is $500?2k and $200?400 for assistant(s) [sic]. I know union assistants can?t make less than $450/day, so use that as a guide.

Wardrobe & props stylist: $1,000 a day

Production Assistant

In my experience?PA?s are $225

I usually see PA rates from 175?200 (on the high end) in Atlanta. All depends on production and their budget.

I think 175?250 is industry standard with 250 on the high/commerical [sic] end.

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