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Video Production Compensation Guide (2019)

Jul 15, 2019

Project-based contractors have been a cornerstone in video production for decades. The economics of a one-off project work end up preventing most companies from adding full-time staff as a reoccurring line item to their payroll. The flexibility of temporarily hiring most above and below-the-line talent is typically preferred no matter the size or scope of the production. While these freelancers and companies command a premium in comparison to their in-house counterparts, it’s the ladder who pose the greatest financial risk. Once you figure in health insurance costs, vacation time, retirement benefits, etc., it clear why studios and creative agencies have long preferred specialized freelancers and vendors to carry out their project’s vision.

As you evaluate your project budget, you may find it difficult to settle on a particular budget based on your talent needs. Freelancer costs can vary based on a number of variables. A final rate will depend on local talent supply and demand, skill proficiency, travel requirements, equipment rentals, amount of editing involved or special requirements like intricate capture angles or motion graphic creation.

A chart of sample day rates can be found in the chart below. These figures were determined using US-based freelancer data in the Shortlist platform. Compensation may vary by market, project needs and more.



Be sure to consult with your freelancer and request a quote based on the project brief. We recommend you narrow what exactly you need to make your project a success and then determine how that fits into your overall budget. It’s common to pay studio or field workers based on the day or half-day. Fortunately in most arrangements, this will include pre-production, equipment rentals, and setup costs. For more information, speak with one of our hiring consultants at info@shortlist.co.


This is an excerpt from our new e-book, the 2019 Video Production Guide to Freelance Hiring.