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Author Topic: ROI on video  (Read 2462 times)

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« on: May 04, 2017, 13:57 »
0
I'm trying to decide if it'd be worth it to step up my video game and the most important thing is ROI.

I currently don't have good gear to do video and I'm thinking of buying the GH5 with the metabones adapter and maybe some video lights (if I need anything else, let me know). Let's say all the equipment will be 3500-4000 USD and that I need to pay the person shooting, color correcting and grading the videos (let's say 600 USD per month), what do you think how much we need to produce in order to make this a profitable venture?

We'll be able to shoot/edit 8hrs each day, so that should give us a lot of time to create a lot of clips, but there's only so much you can do indoors and without models, so there'll be additional costs.

What I'm looking for are the opinions of people who have attempted something similar or have more experience with selling video. Is this a dumb idea that will never pay off, or it could?

Thanks!


« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2017, 14:09 »
+2
So it will be you + 1 person doing the filming? Aren't you the person filming?

I would advise to learn color correction and grading yourself to have ultimate control and keep costs down. Of course it's completely impossible to say whether it will pay off for YOU without knowing your skills, creativity etc. but of course it CAN pay off within 6-12 months if you do it right.

The GH5 will certainly provide incredible image quality in good light. I will probably upgrade from the GH4 soon myself. 10-bit footage, IBIS and 4k 60p are three amazing features. There's always the dilemma of full-frame/m43 but there simply is no convenient camera that can do it all (under $10,000, but not even then).

I'm going crazy comparing all the cameras looking at Sony (lovely image quality WHEN/IF it works), but the GH4/GH5 always end up being the best all-round alternatives for filming.

I buy gear for the love of filming/taking pictures, and don't stress too much about the income at first.
« Last Edit: May 04, 2017, 14:13 by increasingdifficulty »

« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2017, 14:13 »
0
How many videos have you created with the gear that you already have and how many sales do you have?

I would suggest before you invest, you need to identify an area of the market that sells really well for you. And you can learnthat even with a simple camera, doing only hd not 4k.

Just create upload and edit 2000 cips first and see what sells. And do all the editing, color correction yourself, to learn it.

that will give you a much better idea on how much money you should invest.

Also try to buy your gear used, you anyway need to change it every 2-3- years.

I have been doing video for about 3 years now (not full time) and I am still learning what kind of clips sell, I dont find it straightforward at all, much more complicated than with photos.

also different agencies sell different files, it takes time to identify which is the best place for your content. is it worth having files somewhere exclusively etc...

Also is there a special area of expertise that you have? A technician will do very useful tech clips, a cook or restaurant chef understands the food industry, a nurse or medical doctor is good at creating medical clips. What are you good at?

There is much more to it than gear and time.

If you have the right content, shooting and editing on your iphone might be enough.
« Last Edit: May 04, 2017, 14:15 by cobalt »

« Reply #3 on: May 04, 2017, 14:23 »
+2
A very general tip is that cinematic camera movement sells. Many photographers starting out with filming don't think about this and lock everything down on a tripod (which of course is good sometimes).

I've had the most success with clips that have (good) camera movement in them, which usually means filming with a slider or a gimbal/steadicam.

It's fascinating how something uninteresting as a photograph can be interesting with the right camera movement.

« Reply #4 on: May 04, 2017, 14:45 »
0
So it will be you + 1 person doing the filming? Aren't you the person filming?

I would advise to learn color correction and grading yourself to have ultimate control and keep costs down. Of course it's completely impossible to say whether it will pay off for YOU without knowing your skills, creativity etc. but of course it CAN pay off within 6-12 months if you do it right.

The GH5 will certainly provide incredible image quality in good light. I will probably upgrade from the GH4 soon myself. 10-bit footage, IBIS and 4k 60p are three amazing features. There's always the dilemma of full-frame/m43 but there simply is no convenient camera that can do it all (under $10,000, but not even then).

I'm going crazy comparing all the cameras looking at Sony (lovely image quality WHEN/IF it works), but the GH4/GH5 always end up being the best all-round alternatives for filming.

It'll just be one person, I'm here in the role of an "investor".

I buy gear for the love of filming/taking pictures, and don't stress too much about the income at first.

That's the case for me usually, but I don't have long term interests in video in the role of a camera man/editor. It's just that the income from photos is dropping, and will probably continue to drop, so I need to diversify. It's not a choice out of "love", I've been doing stock photos for 8 years now and I like taking photos. Videos - meh. I just want to find out if it's a good investment and how long could it take to make it profitable. Business venture, nothing more.

« Reply #5 on: May 04, 2017, 14:54 »
0
If you dont like video then maybe just try to do a little video with your photoshootings and see what sells.

I find video a lot more complicated than photos, you need to think differently. Just pressing the movie button is not enough.

Like others have said, camera movement and timing is vital to develop a good story and there are a million ways to shoot a simple scene.

If you dont enjoy thinking about that, i dont know if investing in video is worth it.

Most people i see that tried video went back to photos, because it is an easier way to make money.

« Reply #6 on: May 04, 2017, 14:54 »
0
How many videos have you created with the gear that you already have and how many sales do you have?

I would suggest before you invest, you need to identify an area of the market that sells really well for you. And you can learnthat even with a simple camera, doing only hd not 4k.

Just create upload and edit 2000 cips first and see what sells. And do all the editing, color correction yourself, to learn it.

that will give you a much better idea on how much money you should invest.

I have several thousand clips already online, but 99% of that are animations and they sell "fine". By fine I mean that they returned the investment and are now bringing around 25% of my total income.

The other 1% is high-end stuff, such as hyperlapses, which are a bitch to shoot, edit, develop, stabilize etc. They don't sell at all almost. I sell a timelapse/hyperlapse here and there, but it's definitely not worth it. I only do them because I love to create them.

I have almost no experience with "regular" footage, nor the equipment to make it. That's why I opened this thread, to see what can I expect. I can't buy and then un-buy equipment.

I have been doing video for about 3 years now (not full time) and I am still learning what kind of clips sell, I dont find it straightforward at all, much more complicated than with photos.

also different agencies sell different files, it takes time to identify which is the best place for your content. is it worth having files somewhere exclusively etc...

Also is there a special area of expertise that you have? A technician will do very useful tech clips, a cook or restaurant chef understands the food industry, a nurse or medical doctor is good at creating medical clips. What are you good at?

There is much more to it than gear and time.

If you have the right content, shooting and editing on your iphone might be enough.
Well, I could get a used GH4 or something, but a 700 USD difference isn't really much if I'm already paying someone 600 USD monthly to use the equipment. And if the GH5 can improve the quality of my clips, like shooting in 4k at 60 fps and then slowing it down to 30 or 25fps... dunno.

I don't have a field of expertise, but agencies often send out their "video trends" newsletter, so I thought to start like that. I can't do everything (like aerials), I don't want to do some things (hyperlapses - too much time and they don't sell), but regular footage concepts we could do.

Usually I always test the market with new photo concepts, and if it works, I produce more. But here I'm unable to do it because I don't have the equipment. And if I'm buying equipment, I want to buy something that will stand the test of time and allow me to use it for a couple of years, instead of buying a new camera after 9 months etc.

« Reply #7 on: May 04, 2017, 14:58 »
0
A very general tip is that cinematic camera movement sells. Many photographers starting out with filming don't think about this and lock everything down on a tripod (which of course is good sometimes).

I've had the most success with clips that have (good) camera movement in them, which usually means filming with a slider or a gimbal/steadicam.

It's fascinating how something uninteresting as a photograph can be interesting with the right camera movement.
Gimbals and steadicams maybe. I heard the opposite regarding sliders - my friend is an editor and he tells me he always looks for clips with "authentic" camera movement, a little shake, like it's handheld. Because it looks authentic. He says he would never buy something shot on a slider. Granted, that is only one data point, so he could be completely wrong regarding the general trend.

But yeah, I'd probably get a gimbal for the GH5. Another 700 USD+.

« Reply #8 on: May 04, 2017, 15:01 »
0
It'll just be one person, I'm here in the role of an "investor".

I see.

Well, this portfolio I know made around $30,000 per month a while back at P5 only (with fewer clips than now):

https://www.pond5.com/stock-video-footage/1/artist%3Ahotelfoxtrot.html#1/2063/resolutions:8K:4K:HD1080,artist:hotelfoxtrot

That's probably as good as it gets.

I currently get around $2 per clip per month or a bit more (total across all sites), and I'm certainly no genius videographer, but I learn new things all the time. My oldest stuff doesn't sell because I was thinking like a photographer and it's quite uninteresting stuff. Now I plan and think ahead much more and the results are 100 times better. Camera movement etc.

Regarding hyperlapses, I do lots of those, and they sell well for me. Collectively, they have the best average for me. They are mostly of famous landmarks that really symbolize the city, and they have paid for the trips (hotels/flights etc.) and more.

I do agree they are a pain to make, but I think it's worth it.
« Last Edit: May 04, 2017, 15:06 by increasingdifficulty »

« Reply #9 on: May 04, 2017, 15:03 »
+1
If you dont like video then maybe just try to do a little video with your photoshootings and see what sells.

I find video a lot more complicated than photos, you need to think differently. Just pressing the movie button is not enough.

Like others have said, camera movement and timing is vital to develop a good story and there are a million ways to shoot a simple scene.

If you dont enjoy thinking about that, i dont know if investing in video is worth it.

Most people i see that tried video went back to photos, because it is an easier way to make money.

I won't be doing any of the shooting, so I actually don't care about the production :D it's up to the guy that will be using the equipment.

I'm only trying to find out if I'll waste 5000 USD for a failed experiment if I do it, or not. I have no idea how "regular footage" sells. How much can one expect, on average, for 1000 clips, per month? Only numbers will determine my decision.
« Last Edit: May 04, 2017, 15:06 by spike »

« Reply #10 on: May 04, 2017, 15:06 »
0
Well, this portfolio I know made around $30,000 per month a while back at P5 only (with fewer clips than now):

https://www.pond5.com/stock-video-footage/1/artist%3Ahotelfoxtrot.html#1/2063/resolutions:8K:4K:HD1080,artist:hotelfoxtrot

That's probably as good as it gets.

I currently get around $2 per clip per month or a bit more (total across all sites), and I'm certainly no genius, but I learn new things all the time.

Regarding hyperlapses, I do lots of those, and they sell well for me. Collectively, they have the best average for me. They are mostly of famous landmarks that really symbolize the city, and they have paid for the trips (hotels/flights etc.) and more.

Thanks! 2$ per clip per month is not bad at all.

I guess I live in a part of a world that nobody cares about, so no one is interested in hyperlapses of those landmarks.

If I lived in a big city in western Europe or NY or Dubai, then maybe.

« Reply #11 on: May 04, 2017, 15:07 »
0
Thanks! 2$ per clip per month is not bad at all.

I guess I live in a part of a world that nobody cares about, so no one is interested in hyperlapses of those landmarks.

If I lived in a big city in western Europe or NY or Dubai, then maybe.

Well, none of my hyperlapses are from where I live either. I had to travel to the places people want to buy clips from. But I see it as a free trip with a bit of work involved. Can't complain. ;)

« Reply #12 on: May 04, 2017, 15:14 »
+1
Well, none of my hyperlapses are from where I live either. I had to travel to the places people want to buy clips from. But I see it as a free trip with a bit of work involved. Can't complain. ;)

And you're profitable?

Dunno, to get somewhere "interesting", I'd need to spend at least 500 USD on tickets, then likely the same amount for 5 days of staying in a hotel. That's already a 1000 USD.

If you get an average of 30$ per hyperlapse (20$ on FT/SS and around 40$ on P5 for 1080p), you'd need to sell 35 clips just to cover the expenses. And to pay for your own time (5 days of shooting, at least 10 more days of editing and stabilizing) if your daily fee is 100 USD, you'd need an extra 1500 USD, making the total expenses 2500 USD. So you actually need to sell 2500/30 = 83.33 clips, just to cover the expenses.

And from my experience, there's no way one will sell so many of them. So I do them for fun and as a side project when I find something interesting, but can't fathom how traveling to create them could be profitable.

« Reply #13 on: May 04, 2017, 15:19 »
0
#
I'm only trying to find out if I'll waste 5000 USD for a failed experiment if I do it, or not. I have no idea how "regular footage" sells. How much can one expect, on average, for 1000 clips, per month? Only numbers will determine my decision.

1000 clips of what?

Lifestyle, medical, taking care of seniors?

backgrounds and timelapses?

Food shootings?

There really is no average. I get around 18 dollars a clip, but it can be 4 dollars (istock) or 300 SS. But videos is a lot more work than photos. And although there is less competition, it is also a much smaller buyer market.

But since you are selling photos, i guess for you the question would be how well do videos of the themes you work in sell.

I dont quite understand why the intial cost to test video has to be 5000 dollars and lots of staff. That seems like a strange way to approach a business venture. Whoever is taking your photos now can produce a little video alongside it. At least enough to test the market.

But up to you of course. Good luck :)


« Reply #14 on: May 04, 2017, 15:27 »
+1
Well, none of my hyperlapses are from where I live either. I had to travel to the places people want to buy clips from. But I see it as a free trip with a bit of work involved. Can't complain. ;)

And you're profitable?

Dunno, to get somewhere "interesting", I'd need to spend at least 500 USD on tickets, then likely the same amount for 5 days of staying in a hotel. That's already a 1000 USD.

If you get an average of 30$ per hyperlapse (20$ on FT/SS and around 40$ on P5 for 1080p), you'd need to sell 35 clips just to cover the expenses. And to pay for your own time (5 days of shooting, at least 10 more days of editing and stabilizing) if your daily fee is 100 USD, you'd need an extra 1500 USD, making the total expenses 2500 USD. So you actually need to sell 2500/30 = 83.33 clips, just to cover the expenses.

And from my experience, there's no way one will sell so many of them. So I do them for fun and as a side project when I find something interesting, but can't fathom how traveling to create them could be profitable.

Not profitable right away of course, but about 8-10 months after a trip or so. After that it's all profit. It's very much a long-term thing naturally, but I love to travel and once you've done it for 2 years the old stuff pays for the new travel.

Single hyperlapses have made me around $5-600 per year, and I can film/make 5-15 of those in a day on location. Then, as you say, lots of time in post production married to the almighty Warp Stabilizer. But with each hyperlapse, I spend less time in After Effects because I learn from my mistakes (don't use 16 mm unless you have a track or you're in love with wobble ;D).

Of course, hyperlapses aren't the ONLY thing I do when I'm on location, so there will be lots of regular timelapses and footage that's much faster to process and get online along with that.

I didn't know it before, but now, a couple of years into it, I can say the trips do pay off (the earlier trips not as much as the recent ones because I know more now). There will always be 1-2 years when $$$ has to come from somewhere else though.
« Last Edit: May 04, 2017, 15:34 by increasingdifficulty »

« Reply #15 on: May 04, 2017, 15:33 »
0
1000 clips of what?

Lifestyle, medical, taking care of seniors?

backgrounds and timelapses?

Food shootings?
Lifestyle.

I dont quite understand why the intial cost to test video has to be 5000 dollars and lots of staff. That seems like a strange way to approach a business venture. Whoever is taking your photos now can produce a little video alongside it. At least enough to test the market.

I don't have anyone else taking photos - I'm taking all the photos, the person working for me is only doing animations but that will come to an end soon (the market will be saturated). Now it's time to diversify, so I'm looking into the option of producing regular footage so that the guy can keep his job and that the portfolio can keep growing. If it's a risky venture that will probably not pay out, I'm totally fine with not doing it, I earn comfortably as it is.

« Reply #16 on: May 04, 2017, 15:40 »
0
Single hyperlapses have made me around $5-600 per year, and I can film/make 5-15 of those in a day on location. Then, as you say, lots of time in post production married to the almighty Warp Stabilizer. But with each hyperlapse, I spend less time in After Effects because I learn from my mistakes (don't use 16 mm unless you have a track or you're in love with wobble ;D).

Wow, 5-6k! If you don't mind me asking, what was the location? I'm not gonna fly over there and do them, just wanna see what kinds of locations could produce a return like that. Fine if you want to keep it to yourself too.

Yeah, I spend less and less time, but I managed to pull off 14mm hyperlapses as well, you just need to play with the optic compensation plugin in AE and then when you stabilize it, just push it in the opposite direction. Neat little trick. :)

Of course, hyperlapses aren't the ONLY thing I do when I'm on location, so there will be lots of regular timelapses and footage that's much faster to process and get online along with that.

I didn't know it before, but now, a couple of years into it, I can say the trips do pay off (the earlier trips not as much as the recent ones because I know more now). There will always be 1-2 years when $$$ has to come from somewhere else though.
Noted, thanks.

« Reply #17 on: May 04, 2017, 16:14 »
0
Wow, 5-6k! If you don't mind me asking, what was the location? I'm not gonna fly over there and do them, just wanna see what kinds of locations could produce a return like that. Fine if you want to keep it to yourself too.

Yeah, I spend less and less time, but I managed to pull off 14mm hyperlapses as well, you just need to play with the optic compensation plugin in AE and then when you stabilize it, just push it in the opposite direction. Neat little trick. :)

That was $5-6 hundred per year (for single hyperlapses), not thousand (yet at least)... That would've been even better, but it still seems to pay off.

Cities/countries I've been to are some of the big ones in the world, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taipei, London, Rome, Berlin, Venice, Tokyo etc.

I haven't filmed in NYC or LA yet (wish I had when I lived there 10 years ago) but I think they would sell even better.

London and NYC are probably the two cities most in demand for any type of footage.

I've seen Moscow and Lisbon sell well too, but haven't been there myself. Dubai is a good hyperlapse location too (haven't been there either).

« Reply #18 on: May 04, 2017, 16:51 »
+2
This is kind of like an impossible answer. Everyone will have different experiences.

My experience is that I was doing this part time from 2012 - 2016 and built up a tidy portfolio of 5000 clips. I began to earn more than my day job which was in film and animation so gave that up and now doing this full time (just video).

It's hard to say if this will work as an investment. It really depends on the talent of the person you are employing. What skills does he have? What ideas? Will he copy them for his own portfolio when he sees the potential in it?
Who will be editing / uploading and key-wording? I ask this as this takes way longer than filming. You may get him to film on Monday and Tuesday. Then Wed /Thurs / Friday will be doing all the post production. Pre-production also takes ages. Planning the shot's etc.
Honestly you've got to totally have faith in who you employ as it will be their own sole responsibility and don't get too disheartened if after 4 months they say 'see ya' and start there own stock portfolio.

The experience I've had as a stock videographer is that I still get surprised on what sells.
Ive worked for weeks on stuff that has never sold on all stock sites and yet worked one night where I've made well over $10,000. You honestly don't know?

Good luck anyway.

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« Reply #19 on: May 04, 2017, 23:34 »
+2
If it's a pure investment, and you won't be using the camera, it might be better to hire somebody who already has their own gear. Would be more expensive, but you'll save the $5K outlay. Plus, if it doesn't work out, you're not stuck with $5K worth of equipment that you need to get rid of.

And you can hire people who are already in these cities. They might cost quite a bit more than $100 a day, but then you're saving on the $1000 for tickets and accommodation... and you're not out of town for a few days/week. Plus, the local person will know these landmarks like the back of their hand... when to go, where to get the best shots etc. And if you go for a week and it rains every day, you're down $1000, but if the guy is hired to get a shot of x when it's sunny, then he has to get a shot of x when it's sunny.


« Reply #20 on: May 05, 2017, 13:34 »
0
If it's a pure investment, and you won't be using the camera, it might be better to hire somebody who already has their own gear. Would be more expensive, but you'll save the $5K outlay. Plus, if it doesn't work out, you're not stuck with $5K worth of equipment that you need to get rid of.

That's a good idea, I'll try to rent the equipment first, 5k is too big of an investment for something with so many unknown variables.

« Reply #21 on: May 05, 2017, 14:42 »
0
You are better off making them offer you a price first! Ask them what their budget is for this clip in their project. I always try to make the other party
quote first as it is usually higher then I will quote.

« Reply #22 on: May 05, 2017, 17:44 »
0
You are better off making them offer you a price first! Ask them what their budget is for this clip in their project. I always try to make the other party
quote first as it is usually higher then I will quote.

you live in a perfect alternate world! ;)

SpaceStockFootage

  • Space, Sci-Fi and Astronomy Related Stock Footage

« Reply #23 on: May 05, 2017, 22:45 »
0
You are better off making them offer you a price first! Ask them what their budget is for this clip in their project. I always try to make the other party
quote first as it is usually higher then I will quote.

Are you in the wrong thread Jeff?


 

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