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day rate for steadicam scout operator

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#1 Shawn Bossick

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Posted 01 September 2011 - 01:03 PM

Hello all, I just ordered a Steadicam scout, for my Panasonic HMC 150, my first Steadicam, I read a particular post talking about guys excepting lower rates to work, & low balling the other Steadicam operators, Steadicam will be a small part of my business, as I own an operate a full AUDIO/VIDEO facility. & because I am new at Steadicam I will not be as good as you are, as I'm a beginner.

So my question is what are some of the going rates for a Steadicam operator WHO OWNS his own Steadicam? with his own Camera, again my camera is only $4.000.00 a Panasonic HMC-150

Usually I charge $200-$300 a day for my services, a camera man with his own camera, Dollie, wireless mic's & a array of lights, I am hoping to charge more for offering A Steadicam now.

What is the going rates for these services, as I dont want to step on peoples toe's & low-ball all the hard working people in this industry, keep in mind I am a beginer
all comments will help

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#2 Osvaldo Silvera SOC

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Posted 01 September 2011 - 01:19 PM

Hi Shawn,
How are you?, Welcome to the forum.
First question is....Do you know how to use the steadicam you've purchased? I don't mean it in a bad way, just honestly. If you haven't taken a course or seen the DVD instructional, and practiced practiced practiced,etc.. you may not be doing your clients any favors by learning on their dime. I think your current rate is low, If you have several projects that look good and professional, I'd up that rate a few hundred to begin with, maybe up it 300 and add an assistant you can pay 150. That way it makes your day easier, your lessening the impact on you and the client starts getting used to a bigger team. But for the adding the Steadicam system to the mix, After you have learned how to use it or have some viable experience with it and a reel to show for it, make it an A la carte item. Find out what some rental houses are charging to rent a Scout and you can charge that at first. Tell the clients..."I'm only charging you for the rental of the unit, and I'm throwing in the operating for nothing extra since your already hiring me and my other gear on the job." The client will feel they're getting a deal and not bark at the extra rental. Sometimes you have to train your client to work with you, they may not know how much more productive you can be if you have an extra hand...(which will come in handy to spot you when your doing steadicam)....Just my 1 cent...Good luck

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#3 Mark Schlicher

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Posted 01 September 2011 - 02:58 PM


Welcome to the forum. Ozzie's advice is spot-on.

It would also help to know more about your locale, overall level of experience, and the market niches you serve/plan to serve. Real estate walkthroughs, weddings, and indie band videos are a different ballgame than broadcast multicam, high end corporate image videos, etc. Who are your clients? Do you work only with end-user clients, or do you hire yourself out to other production companies. I agree that your regular cam op rate seems way low...at least without some context.

Your local rental houses may not be renting Scouts, but they may be renting Flyers or Pilots or Glidecams. My guess is that a rig-only rental of a small rig would probably be in the range of $300-400 a day.

As you get more skilled and accomplished, and add the inevitable extra-cost accessories to your kit, you should push your labor rate higher, too. Big rig operators tend to get 1.5 to 2x the labor rate of a regular camera operator (or more!). Even if you are working with a smaller rig, YOU ARE A SPECIALIST and should be paid accordingly when asked to perform your specialty.

You won't be competing directly with big rig operators with your Scout, but you should still get to know any local operators, cultivate relationships (ops are generally a friendly bunch) and ask some of these questions of them.
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#4 Shawn Bossick

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Posted 01 September 2011 - 05:41 PM

thanks guys for the quick feedback, I do not know how to operate the Steadicam yet, I signed up for a 2 day course later this month through Steadicam,I wont be learning on the job, I am doing work on the Independent level, music video's, event video's, & weddings. but I would like to move into commercials & reality show's or whatever is a good gig. been at audio for 20 plus years & video around 8 years, & most of my clients are end users, work from start to finish doing everything, HOWEVER I would like to expand in renting myself with my gear out.

So from what I can tell from you guys is find out what they are renting them for & start with that, sounds good to me.
an A LA CARTE item sounds good Ozzie, where do you get the instructional DVD at ? Steadicam ?

So thank you both for your input
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#5 Stephen Wymer

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Posted 01 September 2011 - 06:00 PM

where do you get the instructional DVD at ? Steadicam ?

Tiffen - http://www.steadicam...am_efp_dvd.html
Ebay - http://www.ebay.com/...-All-Categories

Definitely worth the money.

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#6 Shawn Bossick

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Posted 02 September 2011 - 01:33 PM

thank you Stephen
I will get it
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