The Cost of School & Church Videos (A Cheaper Plan)

How Much Should I Pay A College Student For a Video? 

At a minimum, my rule of thumb is that the student should be netting $25/hr for a project they are producing.
This industry doesn’t quite work on hourly pay but if you calculate it out, you’d be looking at well over $100/hr for a professional video production business to make a video for you.

Remember, the student is carrying a heavy creative load and until the project is off their shoulders and delivered to the client, they carry the stress of that around with them.

Film Student Filming Classroom

One expensive part of production there is no way around is the equipment. Camera, lighting, and sound equipment is expensive, it is fragile and can easily be damaged, and it quickly depreciates in value.

If a student doesn’t have their own equipment, they may have access to equipment, but that comes with expensive lab fees that they pay every quarter.

Do not expect a student to just work for you for $25/hr w/o
including equipment rental fees into their contract.

You should expect to pay $100-150 for a very basic equipment rental package of a camera and tripod, and accessories. Sound & lighting will cost more and often needs to include an additional charge for an
assistant.

It’s also important for the school or church to realize the value of what they are asking for and be willing to spend time engaging in pre-production (the time planning what is going to happen) with the student.

Many clients claim they want their video to appeal to young people, but don’t think to engage the feedback of young people in the conceptualization phase. If you want a video for your business but haven’t worked with a marketing expert to identify a need that the video is fulfilling and a clear message and target audience, you’re wasting everyone’s time. Don’t make a video.

How To Ask A College Student To Make A FREE Video?

Don’t.

If one is so inspired by the story of your business, non-profit, school, or general story idea that they volunteer to do it for free, fine.

But if someone is going to school to learn to become a content creator for a living, don’t ask them to make you a free video. It devalues their work.

If you don’t have money, find something they need that you may have as a way of trading.

How To Ask A College Film Professor To Promote My Video Project?

I often get asked by various local entities if I know of students willing to work on a video project.

This is often problematic, because people who seek out students to create videos for them often do so, because they can’t afford the market rates for a professional.

This means they rarely have experience with the medium and often have unrealistic expectations or demands.

What makes it much easier for me to connect a student to a potential job is when the business that approaches me has planned ahead and doesn’t need the video for at least 2-3 months.

My students are full-time students, and their education comes first. Finding time to fit in a client project means they have to make sacrifices elsewhere, so if you are expecting a quick turnaround where a student needs to help you creatively concept a project, shoot it, and then edit it, you’ll need to realize it’s not going to happen as quickly as you might like.

Where Can I Find A Cheap Videographer? 

Someone just starting out that has something to prove.

The problem with this question is that if you try to find the cheapest videographer, you may end up
unhappy with the product and find that you pay more in loss of time, frustration, or lack of engagement with a mediocre product.

Donald duck showing that nonprofit films still cost money

It’s completely possible to hire students, who are affordable, that may be able to deliver a stunning project that ticks all of your boxes. But it’s hit or
miss.

When you hire a professional, you may or may not get something that is better quality than what a student could make, but what you should expect is that the client will deliver the same industry-standard quality, consistently, and on-time.

With a student, you will almost never have that experience. They may be good at a few aspects of filmmaking; perhaps they are really good at lighting & composition, but it’s unheard of to find a student that is good at listening and understanding what the client wants, helping to script it out or preplan it, has strong people skills, can transport equipment, set it up, light it, get good sound, edit it in a way that reaches the target audience and maximizes engagement, and does it for cheap and can deliver the finished product at
the agreed upon time.

So either hire a professional, or be willing to get in the trenches with the student and be willing to compromise on any and all of the above. It can still be rewarding, and definitely much cheaper, but it won’t necessarily be easy.

What Do I Tell My Videographer I want?

You should have 1 clearly stated goal for the video that all discussion must revert back to.

You can use our Video Matrix to plan all of your content at once. 
-JJ Reynolds

Any time you and the student explore creative ideas, the question
should be: does it clearly serve the goal for the video?

Bring examples of videos that are in the style of the video you want made, that utilize story, lighting, camera work in the way you want. That helps create
a starting point for you and the student to discuss how to achieve the result you want and if the student is actually capable of doing that with the skills and resources they have at their disposal or budget you’ve given them.

How to get college students to make your school videos

How Long Will It Take A College Student To Edit My Video?

It all depends on the nature of the video.

Just keep in mind most student are students-first, and their education comes first. So even if they say they will
have it delivered to you by a certain time, that may not happen.

I recommend setting some reasonable check-in dates with clear expectations of progress that can be shown, not verbalized.

Have them send you an assembly edit of the story (it can be all audio,
no need for video here), then a rough cut, and each step along the way, feel free to give feedback.

Do realize that this will add some stress to the student, and may involve additional time in editing they hadn’t budgeted for, so it’s completely reasonable for the student to include a limit to the amount of feedback you can give them before they charge you an additional hourly rate for editing.

What Do I Do If They Stop Responding After Filming?

If you found the student through a connection at the college, perhaps their teacher, reach out to that contact person.

About The Author – Tim de la Torre

Tim de la Torre, Resident Artist for Film & Television, has partnered with his wife, Jaymie, to run a boutique media production company since 2009. With a particular passion for non-fiction storytelling, Tim has produced TV shows for Hope Channel, documentaries, and various projects for many corporate clients.

His favorite parts of his work are to have his subjects trust him to tell their stories, and opportunities to travel the world. He is excited to mentor his students and challenge them to take their projects to the next level..

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