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How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Director of Photography

How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Director of Photography?

Freelance Director of Photography rates vary greatly depending on the type of video production, location, and individual needs of the project. That’s why it’s normal if you’ve been wondering “How much does it cost to hire a director of photography?” Generally, the overall cost associated with video cameraman rates vary depending on the amount of experience the crew has, the length of the shoot, and the creativity involved to provide the film with its unique visual identity. Whether you’re filming a simple employee training video or capturing the unique elements of your business, an experienced DOP can make a world of difference in the final results of your film.

Camera Department Rates

Camera department rates include DOP hire prices, video cameraman rates, equipment costs, and technician fees. Generally speaking, camera department rates are provided on a “per day” basis which includes a 10 hour shoot day. While it is possible to hire for less than a full day, it is generally recommended that you hire for at least a half-day to ensure the production crew can take their time filming and precisely editing the footage to accurately depict the creative vision of the project.

Below is a look at various costs associated with the camera department:

  • Director of Photography day rate: $1,500 to $2,500
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  • Camera Operator day rate: $850 to $1,250
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  • Digital Image Technician day rate: $500 to $750
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  • Gaffer/Key Grip day rate: $500 to $600
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  • Grip/Electrical day rate: $400 to $500
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  • Swing day rate: $350 to $500
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  • Sound Recordist day rate: $900 to $1,200

Hourly Rate for Director of Photography

The actual hourly rate for Director of Photography will vary based on his or her experience and ability to produce a visual signature for your film production. The DOP is responsible for several important tasks that come together to create a visually unique film. They begin working in pre-production and continue until the film is complete. Hourly freelance director of photography prices can range from $150 to $250 depending on experience and individual film needs. Overall day rates for the Director of Photography range from about $1,500 to $2,500.

Local DOP Rates

Local DOP rates for your video production will likely vary with several factors including the length of the film, the experience of the DOP, and the type of production being created. Complex screenplays are naturally going to require a higher paid DOP to pull off the creative vision and build the visual signature of the film. Likewise, you can expect to pay far less overall for a DOP that oversees a commercial versus a feature film. In the end, local director of photography costs are going to depend on the unique needs of the project and can only truly be defined by talking with a local production company about your upcoming project.

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