How to calculate time-lapse price for licensing footage

Discussion in 'Job Offers / Cooperations' started by Davo Laninga, Mar 30, 2016.

  1. Davo Laninga

    Davo Laninga New time-lapser

    Location:
    Phoenix, Arizona
    Looking for advice from fellow TimeLapsers. I've been timelapsing for a couple years and have been developing my portfolio. Today for the first time I was approached by a French advertising firm who wishes to use of one my sequences for a commercial that will be shown in France, and available over the internet. I have no clue what to charge for licensing. They are willing to pay - they've asked for my rates, but I have no idea how to respond with something that's fair. Any input you have would be really appreciated. To see a sample of my work:

    You may prefer to give advice directly and not via this forum. Email is simply davo @ davolaninga.com.

    Thanks!

    Davo
    www.davolaninga.com
     
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  2. marcofama

    marcofama Time Lapse Network Founder Staff Member

    Location:
    Italy
    Well, the purpose of asking questions and/or showcasing a video on a forum is that you want to raise awareness, and get public feedback from the community I believe Davo.. not private, right?
    o_O

    However, you do create very good jobs.. this reminded me of the stunning:
    http://timelapsenetwork.com/video/monsoon-storms-hit-arizona-beautifully/

    That said, I've seen amazing scenes (like 15/20'') being licensed at 500$ each... but that depends whether it is Getty Images licensing your works, or shutterstock or "lower end" agencies you know...
     
  3. mark thorpe

    mark thorpe Time-lapser

    Location:
    Yokohama, Japan
    Donate a few bucks and support the project!
    This is a copy and paste of a recent Blog Post I created for my site. It gives an overview of how I approach my pricing structure.

    Enjoy.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Stock footage, how much does one charge for stock footage, especially when it relates to time-lapse imaging? This is often a question I get from friends when discussing the genre. Time-lapse in itself is a unique beast insofar that it merges the two camps of still and motion imaging. As a 20yr+ video camera operator, I still stock shoot video but time-lapse is now my core focus. I have to look at the formulas of both genres and their related pricing structures to find a happy medium. I was quite shocked to recently see stock 4K Time-lapse clips of some 40sec in length being licensed at just US$33 a clip. Whilst the clip was well shot, composed and edited I couldn’t help but feel that the shooter in question was simply supplying a stock agent with clips that were so generically conceived that it would be difficult to expect large numbers of sales. So I got to thinking about what the real cost of time-lapse shooting works out at. This is the conclusion I came to.

    OK so lets say for example that people want to shoot and deliver time-lapse in the 4K Video format. There are a number of components one should base a stock clip license value on and these are:

    • Cost of the DSLR Body
    • Cost of the Lens
    • Cost of the Accessories
    • Cost of Editing
    • Cost of Shooting
    To start with let’s look at the DSLR body. For arguments sake let’s say we’re shooting with a full frame DSLR, sorry for the ‘Nikonians’ but I’m a Canon guy, always have been. So let’s say we’re shooting with an EOS5D MkIII, new price for the body alone, US$3,499 at launch. That camera in itself had a shutter expectancy of some 150,000 actuations which seemed quite low but as that is the reported number that is what I work with. So we now have our sparkly new DSLR, the next parameter I need to look at is the sequence itself. Firstly we need to look at our quality delivery. If we’re delivering 1080P, although who is these days? then we will probably base our shoot on a 30fps baseline. If we are to deliver 4K then, IMHO, to match that added resolution we need to up the fps, in my case to 48fps. This has a dramatic effect on the value of the base commodity. Our last remaining core element is the lens. Again for arguments sake I’m going to suggest that the lens, and all accessories used in this formula, will serve the exact same lifespan as the camera. For an awesome third party lens let’s say we’re adopting the Irix rectilinear 15mm f2.4 lens, market price at launch, US$783.

    Once we have the three main commodity values we can start to work out the absolute base value of physically shooting our sequences. Our DSLR / Lens Combo working out at US$4,282, we’re looking at shooting, again for ease, a 20sec sequence at 48fps which will require a total of 960 frames. Let’s round that out to a cool 1000 exposures given we will probably take some test shots, some still images of the location for prosperity and maybe one or two shots of other aspects of the location. You can see where I’m starting to go with this. If we stick with this model we have the following formula to work with.

    A shutter with a life expectancy of 150,000 actuations divided by time-lapse sequences that require 1000 exposures per sequence gives us the option to plan for 150 sequences on that shutter. We then look at the base commodity price of the DSLR / Lens combo and divide that by the 150 planned sequences to get an equipment amortisation cost of US$28,52per sequence, this is the toll it takes on the gear to shoot that sequence. And that photographer was selling a 40sec clip which if shot at 30fps would have worked out at even more, in fact using the same formula it works out at US$34,25. Straight off of the bat the photographer is losing money. Then factor in the advertised 37% agent fee IF the shooter was exclusive to that agent (55% if non exclusive) and you start to get the idea.

    To continue. We don’t shoot time-lapse hand held, so we need to factor in Tripods and support, we need to add a Slider / Rail track and Motion Control units. Again for arguments sake as this is purely a model, let’s say we’re using a Kessler Crane Second Shooter Plus with a TLS 6ft Rail from the same company. This system is fitted with a 3 Axis Pan and Tilt head and an array of accessories for quick release and deployment. All told for this motion control package we are looking at adding an additional US$2,564.65 to the cost of the Camera / Lens Combo, thus far with this factored in a spending of US$6,846.65. OK nearly there. Tripods and heads. For the rail we need to support each end so that means adding a couple of good tripods and sturdy heads to the mix. I’m a Manfrotto guy so let’s place two of their 055 Carbon Fibre sets of sticks fitted with their 057 Magnesium Ball Heads with a quick release connector plate. We are only as good as the quality of our gear, you want to make a living at this? Don’t scrimp at the outset. OK, so all in, our tripod and head requirements set us back a further US$819,98ea, and we have two so that is a tally of US$1,639.96.

    Now we’re getting somewhere. Almost all in our gear requires an expenditure of US$8,486.61, finally we’ll add memory cards, let’s say 1 x Lexar 64GB 1066x Professional CFcard at US$82,99 and 1 x Lexar 64GB 1000x Professional SD Card at US$47,99. This gives us a grand and almost final total expenditure of US$8,617.59.

    Additional factors that could be added to the cost is the editing expense costs. You use Adobe Creative Cloud on the basic monthly Photographer Plan, add another US$9,99 a month to the expense sheet. Additionally to edit your masterpiece you will need access to a third party timelapse plugin editor. The industry standard in this regard is the no compromising plugin LRTimelapse Pro. To get the Pro License add a further US$280. As a photographer we’ll say you want to ‘keep up with the Jones’ and replace your camera every year for the latest model so we’ll apply a shelf life of 1yr for the complete system. Needless to say the Tripods, MoCo rig and other accessories will, should, last longer but again this is a theoretical situation to get you the best bang for your buck in a realistic outline that you can use to outline your base costs to any entity who may baulk at your quotes. So add the Creative Cloud and LRTimelapse annual fees and you will have the total expenditure on your part as the shooter, US$9,017.47. Your per sequence base equipment amortisation cost works out at US$60.11.

    Lastly you then need to factor in other variables. The cost of the journey to get to where you were shooting. Needless to say you can’t add the full price to the clip value as that is unreasonable. In a perfect World let’s assume we can licence a clip say ten times. Simply divide the trip cost by ten and add that to the value of the clip. It costs me a base transport cost of some US$100 to get to Mount Fuji from my house in Yokohama so let’s say I add US$10 to the base clip price. For my final overall pricing I then apply a video formula for the final clip which is to all extents and purposes a video clip. Depending on the content of the clip, if it is a locked off and generic view of a basic city scape I would license that at a rate of US$20sec. On a sliding scale depending on the activity depicted on the screen, how long it took to shoot, there’s a vast difference between a quick city scape sequence and the work and time that goes into a day to night ‘Holy Grail’ transition for example, I would adjust accordingly hitting up to a max of US$35sec for the absolute creme de la creme of sequences. So anything up to US$700 a clip is reasonable if you truly value your craft, your equipment and your reputation.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2016
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  4. marcofama

    marcofama Time Lapse Network Founder Staff Member

    Location:
    Italy
    Donate a few bucks and support the project!
    Mark, any chance we can tweak this a bit and publish it on TLN - possibly redirecting some readers to your blog post / site too?
    Please let me know, drop me an E-Mail ;)

    take care and thanks
     
  5. mark thorpe

    mark thorpe Time-lapser

    Location:
    Yokohama, Japan
    Donate a few bucks and support the project!
    Yes feel free to use it as you like. I also responded email wise to your last regarding that tutorial.

    Cheers,
    Mark.
     
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  6. Oliver

    Oliver Active time-lapser

    Location:
    Miami
    Donate a few bucks and support the project!
    All that is good but when I comes to selling your footage it's a matter of offers and what's available already. There are dozen if not hundreds of stock footage websites (pond5, shutterstock, Artbeats, etc). I would start to compare with the current market offer. For instance, here is the Pond5 page from the well know hyperlapser Kirill Neiezhmakov, the price are very cheap...
    https://www.pond5.com/artist/nk87#1/2063/resolutions:4K

    Then the next big question is the type of licensing. Selling to a local business for internet marketing is not the same as national TV or Hollywood.
     
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  7. mark thorpe

    mark thorpe Time-lapser

    Location:
    Yokohama, Japan
    Donate a few bucks and support the project!
    How is it in imaging that we are expected to take what people offer? I wonder what would happen if I walked into a car dealership and after an extensive sales pitch I told them I wanted the car but would only pay 60% of the tag price. You think I'd be driving out of that showroom? Nah, I doubt it. I'd get laughed at more like. How is it that people can tell us what it is they want to spend on imaging that they want or need but are unwilling to pay what is the correct price? It really boils my spuds to hear this constant time and time again.

    I don't look to ever use agents. I was recently approached by an entity who at the end of the day wanted 70% commission if they were not exclusive. This is a family channel so I can't repeat what I thought to respond to them. If people want to sell their clips for peanuts then let them. The photographer you linked to based on the base commodities outlined in this post above only indicate at his lower end he is actually losing money on sales once commissions are paid. Is that really how one goes about business? Their profit margins are so slim that they will need to sell tens or hundreds of a single clip to make their money back. Not only that, they are destroying cameras at accelerated rates and not to mention making it incredibly difficult if not impossible for others with families to support who try to make a living through imagery.

    This scenario is dealing more when people come to me to request specific sequences etc.
     
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  8. Oliver

    Oliver Active time-lapser

    Location:
    Miami
    Donate a few bucks and support the project!
    Hi Mike,
    Don't get me wrong I totally agree with you. You are right but unfortunately the market is overly saturated and the buyers are in position of force to bring the prices down or move on until they find the lowest possible price. Just a simple fact, it's not about right of wrong, agree or disagree. I regret this situation but I experience it on a regular basis. Since photo is not my job, I never settle for cheap price but I also rarely sell any footage.

    To come back to your car dealer example, the buyers does ask ridiculous price because he can tour the hundred of stores and find what he wants. Actually it's even worst than that because now they are asking the free footage for "credit only" and many people fall for it.
     
  9. Oliver

    Oliver Active time-lapser

    Location:
    Miami
    Donate a few bucks and support the project!
    Here are two emails I receive this week. The first one is a big media company that want my raw video file to be upload on their own video player. Basically they don't even have the decency to use my video URL anymore (so no view counts for the author).
    The other email comes from a very big photo-video hardware company who wants to use my video for marketing purpose, for free and for credit only...
    Both of them got my middle finger for an answer

    Media company:
    "Hello,
    We are happy to announce you that we would like to publish this week your video : Earthlapse on XXX Facebook Page : https://www.facebook.com/XXXX (more than 2 million fans).
    To make it more viral, more popular and impact more people, we would like to upload your video directly on our page. Of course, we will mention your name / Facebook page on the title of the Facebook video, to respect your work and of course to make you have more exposure and opportunities. Are you ok with this kind of collaboration ?
    Don’t hesitate to share other new creations with us and feel free to share this Facebook post with your community.
    Best regards,
    "

    Camera manufacturer:
    "Hey Oliver!
    I’m emailing you on behalf of XXXX, who are currently looking for videos to add to their online content library.

    I recently came across your video ’Miami Derezzed’. We’d love for this video to be included on XXXX’s YouTube ‘Creator’ channel, as well as Facebook Video and XXXX Social networks. We would credit you of course, including your website url if you wish.
    What we would require from you is access to the video in as high a resolution as possible (sent over WeTransfer/Dropbox/etc.) without any transitions, crossfades, titles or watermarks, so we can add some XXX branding to it. Some trimming may also be required. If the music used is copywritten, we may have to find a similar track to replace it with.

    Similar videos from this project can be on XXXX's Creator Channel, all of which have been very successful.
    Please let me know if you’d be happy to get on board with this project and we can discuss the matters further, as well as answering any questions that you may have.
    I look forward to hearing from you!

    Regards,

    XXXXX
    XXXXX@gmail.com
    Phone: XXXXX
    XXXX Content Editor
    "
     
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  10. marcofama

    marcofama Time Lapse Network Founder Staff Member

    Location:
    Italy
    Donate a few bucks and support the project!
    Hahahhhhhahahahahha

    Ps. Ain't funny at all
     

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