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Larry in Virginia asks:
One of my commercial clients manages multi-unit apartment buildings all around the DC area. Recently, I was asked if I could do a 30 second time-lapse for their marketing of a new building. I think technically, I can do it, but I have no idea what to charge for this.
They want to compress about 3-4 hours of images into the 30-second video. In addition to those hours, plus the 1 hour travel time to/from the site, I’m looking for input as to how long it would take to process the images into the 30-second time-lapse video to get an idea of the total labor hours for the project. Then I’m also looking for any advice as to an appropriate fee. The client only needs the raw video. They will add titles and whatever else they want to polish it up.
First, you should understand there are two very different approaches to making a timelapse:
The labor hours for #1 are way more than #2, so a first step is to decide which level of quality is required. Technique #1 removes flicker and most clients will want to pay for the better quality of #1.
As for what to charge, I think this is a matter of just applying your hourly rate to make sure you are getting paid for your time. Don't quote a price for #1 without trying it first to make sure you know what you are getting in to!
Don't forget someone has to be on site to turn the camera on and off. In my example above, when the construction workers arrive, my 11-year-old grandson can turn on the iPhone time-lapse app and at the end of the day, the video automatically appears in my Apple Photos app (across town) when he turns it off. These logistics are probably the toughest part of getting the video.