Typical pay scale chart for top film crew members in New York

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Typical pay scale chart for top film crew members in New York

Are you looking for a reliable New York camera crew? Considering the cost implications of engaging a top-tier film crew in New York City, one of the world’s premier hubs for film and media production, is essential. The Big Apple, with its unique blend of urban landscapes and iconic backdrops, presents endless opportunities for filmmakers and producers alike. However, navigating the financial aspects of film production here demands a clear understanding of the typical pay scales for various crew roles. Knowledge of these costs not only helps in budgeting and planning but also ensures fair compensation practices that attract the best talent in this competitive market. Whether you’re a seasoned producer or a startup business venturing into video content creation, getting acquainted with the standard pay rates is essential for the smooth execution of any project.

The complexity of film production in New York is reflected in its pay scale dynamics, which are influenced by a variety of factors including union rules, the scale of the production, and the specific demands of the shooting locations. This guide, “Typical Pay Scale Chart for Top Film Crew Members in New York,” aims to demystify the pay scales for top film crew members in New York, offering a clear view of what budgetary allocations might be necessary. As the industry continues to evolve, staying informed about these financial aspects will empower producers and filmmakers to make informed decisions, ensuring that every dollar spent contributes to the creation of high-quality, impactful media content.

The Vibrant Film Industry in New York

New York City is not just a bustling metropolis but also a pivotal center for the global film and television industry. Known for its skyscrapers, diverse neighborhoods, and cultural vibrancy, the city offers filmmakers a canvas unlike any other. Productions ranging from blockbuster movies to independent films and everything in between find a home here, utilizing the city’s dynamic landscapes—from the serene Central Park to the gritty streets of Brooklyn. This thriving industry not only boosts the local economy but also plays a critical role in shaping global cinema trends, cementing New York’s position as a key player on the world stage.

Moreover, the city’s commitment to supporting the arts is evident in its numerous grants and incentives aimed at encouraging film and television production. These initiatives help to sustain and grow the industry, ensuring that New York remains at the forefront of technological advancements and creative innovation in filmmaking. The diversity of the city not only enriches the storytelling possibilities but also attracts a wide range of talent from across the globe, further enhancing the industry’s capacity to produce wide-ranging and impactful content. As the industry continues to evolve, the economic and cultural contributions of filmmaking in New York are expected to expand, underscoring the city’s vital role in the arts and entertainment sector globally.

Key Roles and Their Responsibilities in Film Production

When it comes to understanding the pay scales for film crew members in New York, it’s essential to consider the diverse factors that influence these figures. Union affiliation plays a significant role, often dictating minimum wage standards and benefits for various positions. For non-union projects, rates can vary more significantly, influenced by the budget, the producer’s discretion, and individual negotiations. Here is a more detailed look at the typical pay rates for key positions on a New York film set:

  • Director: The driving creative force of any film, directors in New York typically earn between $1,000 to $2,500 per day based on their experience and the scale of the project.
  • Cinematographer: Responsible for the film’s visual elements, cinematographers can expect to make $900 to $2,000 per day, with rates varying significantly with experience and the type of production.
  • Gaffer: Tasked with overseeing the lighting, gaffers in New York are generally paid between $600 to $1,200 per day, depending on the complexity of the lighting requirements.
  • Sound Technician: Ensuring that the audio quality is top-notch, sound technicians can earn from $500 to $1,000 per day.
  • Production Assistant: Often starting out, PAs can expect around $200 to $350 per day, serving as an entry point into the industry.

These figures reflect a broad spectrum of what film crew members might expect to earn in New York, showcasing the city’s competitive but rewarding market. Understanding these pay scales helps producers and crew alike negotiate fair compensation, ensuring that each project can proceed with a team that feels valued and adequately remunerated.

Typical Pay Scale Chart for Top Film Crew Members in New York

Navigating the pay scales for film crew members in New York requires an understanding of various influential factors, including union affiliations, production budgets, and the specific demands of each role. New York’s film industry is diverse, with productions ranging from large-scale Hollywood films to independent shorts, each with different financial resources and crew requirements. Here’s a deeper look into the typical pay rates for key positions, which reflect both the level of expertise required and the unique challenges of filming in such a vibrant urban environment.


The director is the creative visionary behind a film, responsible for guiding the artistic and dramatic aspects, and working closely with the entire crew to achieve the film’s vision. In New York, the director’s pay can vary widely:

  • Feature Films: Directors can earn anywhere from $2,500 to over $10,000 per day, depending on the film’s budget and their reputation.
  • Television and Commercials: For TV shows and commercial productions, directors typically make between $1,500 to $5,000 per day.
  • Independent Films: Smaller productions often have more constrained budgets, with directorial daily rates ranging from $500 to $2,000.


Cinematographers, or directors of photography (DPs), are essential for determining the look and feel of the film through lighting, framing, and camera movement. Their expertise is particularly in demand in a city known for its diverse aesthetics from the neon lights of Times Square to the understated elegance of the Upper East Side.

  • Major Productions: Rates can range from $2,000 to $3,500 per day.
  • Mid-Level Productions: For less expansive projects, DPs might earn between $1,000 to $2,000 per day.
  • Independent Projects: On smaller indie films, the rate might fall between $500 to $1,500 per day.


BBP - on set

The gaffer is the chief lighting technician on a set, working closely with the cinematographer to create the appropriate lighting atmosphere. Their work is crucial, especially in New York’s unpredictable weather and varied indoor lighting conditions.

  • Large Productions: Gaffers can command between $800 to $1,500 per day.
  • Smaller Productions: On smaller sets, daily rates might range from $400 to $800.

Sound Technician

Sound technicians in New York face a unique challenge, given the city’s ambient noise levels. They manage all aspects of a production’s audio, from on-set sound recording to the final mix.

  • Feature Films and TV Shows: Rates are typically between $600 to $1,200 per day.
  • Documentaries and Independent Films: For productions with tighter budgets, pay might range from $300 to $600 per day.

Production Assistant

Crew Team Beverly Boy

Production assistants (PAs) are often entry-level positions but are crucial for the smooth operation of a film set. They handle everything from running errands to crowd control, especially chaotic in a bustling city like New York.

  • Starting Rates: Typically, PAs earn from $150 to $250 per day.
  • Experienced PAs: Those with more experience working in complex environments like New York might earn up to $350 per day.

These pay scales provide a snapshot of what film crew members typically earn in New York City, reflecting the high costs of living and the premium placed on skilled labor in the entertainment industry. For anyone looking to work in this dynamic field, understanding these figures is crucial for negotiating fair compensation and planning careers in one of the world’s most exciting filming locations.

Comparing New York Film Crew Pay Scales with Other Major Cities

When compared to other major film production cities like Los Angeles and Atlanta, New York’s pay rates are generally higher, reflecting the city’s higher cost of living. For instance, a cinematographer in New York might earn 10% to 20% more than their counterparts in other cities, compensating for the steeper living expenses. For a broader comparison, check out our article on film crew pay scales across major cities.

How to Negotiate Your Pay as a Film Crew Member in New York

Securing a fair wage is about more than just knowing the typical pay scales; it’s also about understanding how to negotiate effectively. Here are a few tips:

  • Know Your Worth: Research and understand the standard rates for your role and experience level.
  • Prepare Your Portfolio: Showcase your best work, particularly projects that highlight your ability to work in demanding New York environments.
  • Understand Union Rules: If applicable, familiarize yourself with union standards to ensure your negotiations are informed and within legal bounds.

Networking within New York’s film community can also provide insights and opportunities for both finding work and negotiating pay.

Conclusion: Stay Informed to Ensure Fair Compensation

Keeping informed about the “Typical pay scale chart for top film crew members in New York” is essential for anyone involved in the city’s film production industry. Whether you’re hiring a crew or looking for work, understanding these pay scales helps ensure fair compensation that reflects the unique demands and costs of working in New York. For more information or if you need assistance with your next production, don’t hesitate to contact us at Beverly Boy Productions. Remember, a well-informed crew is the backbone of any successful film project!