How much does a video biography cost?

I’m going to tell you some pricing secrets related to video biographies or “family history documentaries,” as they are sometimes called. How much should you expect to pay and what can you hope to get for your hard-earned video biography money?

Video biographies are gaining prominence as a headliner for an anniversary, reunion or significant birthday. Often there is no such opportunity, just the desire to record mom or dad’s stories or a genealogy of the family, before it’s too late. As a recent survey from Allianz Insurance found:

“Eighty-six percent of boomers (ages 47-66) and 74 percent of seniors (ages 72+) agree that family stories are the most important aspect of their legacy, ahead of personal belongings (64 percent for boomers, 58 percent for seniors ).) and the expectation of inheritance for financial well-being.”

So if you’re reading this, you probably don’t need convincing of the importance of a video biography (or “family documentary video” if you prefer that terminology) and you’re starting to get serious. But how much does a video biography cost? There’s no point in asking for something you can’t afford, right?

The price of a video biography? Pretty much whatever you want. (Wait! Don’t run away. I’m going to blow up video biography “Omert” and give you current market prices, hang in there). But I do have to say that the price or cost of a video biography depends on the features you hope to include. Logical, right? But even better than that, it does not have to costs a penny.

The Zero Dollar Video Biography Pricing Option

The most important part of any family history project is just getting started. And you should never let money stop you from getting started – these are projects of passion, not money (if you know what I mean). And you can actually do quite well on your own.

You need a decent video camera (promise me you won’t be using your phone or laptop – unless you really, For real have no other options); also the user manual; a lavalier microphone; and a tripod. Oh, and a bright room with no direct sunlight on your subject. There’s plenty of guidance on the web, just try Binging “DIY family history video” to see some of the tips I’ve provided elsewhere, then try “video biography questions”. You’re on your way!

You may not have a family history documentary with this free option, but you saved a life through video.

The actual cost options for video biography in dollars

OK, I guess if you’re still reading, you have in mind to contact a professional video producer. How much will that set you back?

First, let’s differentiate between an amateur or a friend; a wedding videographer and a family history professional.

Family history videos by friends and relatives

An amateur or friend will fit into the “Zero Dollar Video Biography Pricing Option” roughly, but they may charge you three or four hundred dollars for their equipment and their time. Or if not, you should think about paying them anyway. This should especially be the case if, in addition to interviewing and filming, you’re going to ask them to record the video, edit it a little bit, and perform it somewhere.

This stuff is clunky and time consuming and it’s really not fair to ask them to do all that for free. And if you decide to rely on their best intentions, delivery of the finished product may be held up a bit!

Family history videos by wedding videographers

Especially if you are willing to work closely with the videographer on setups, questions, images and the like, this can be a good option. A number of wedding videographers are drawn to family history video work because it allows them to film during their relatively quiet weekdays (weddings are almost always shot on weekends).

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Most of the reputable wedding videographers who have been in business for – say 5 years – really know what they are talking about. They can shoot with multiple cameras, know everything about lighting, often have dollies and cranes, a modern editing suite, and are almost always great photo shooters, usually making great audio.

Now, you may not need all of their core talents (intimate knowledge of the time-tested wedding and reception stages, slow-panning for weddings, focus on the rack of flowers to the mother of the bride, etc.). And they be able to not having lit, recorded, and recorded a video biography interview before. Perhaps check to see if they have much in the way of oral history training and access to the institutional resources and knowledge base of a group like the Association of Personal Historians. But they’re almost certainly handsome (hey, they’re still in business in a terribly tough industry) and will not deter grandma! And like I said, they really know their equipment and can be trained well.

My best advice? Try to let the main character who owns the store do the work. And keep in mind the features and options I’ll discuss below. Also keep in mind that wedding videographers often have quite a bunch of part timers for weddings and sometimes use good people like firefighters for “second or third camera”. No respect for firefighters, but for something as important as a video biography you want the very best they’ve got (what power actually being the firefighter).

You can expect around $3,000 or $4,000 for a decent wedding videographer who will film most of a day and do some solid editing, imaging, and delivery on BluRay, DVD, or hard drive (perhaps more or even less, depending on the features you want). need). And here’s the point: it will almost certainly look fabulous (an unhappy bride’s mother is an unhappy client!).

Family history videos by a video biographer

Specialized video biographers are no more expensive or less expensive than a marriage person, after all we are all professionals with cost structures and overhead and the expectation of being able to feed our children! In general, our rates for the same work should be comparable.

But where video biographers may say goodbye to wedding videographers is that they’ll likely be shooting a little more. Some of these features are:

Length of fully machined finished product: The longer the finished product, the higher the price. Editing and creating non-interview content is time consuming. Also, video biographers prefer a longer finished product – reasoning that this is an important family history!

Time spent on pre-production: The longer the time, the more you pay. Serious video biographers like to spend 10 hours or much more on pre-production: meeting with the client; meeting with the subject; talking to all the kids (to make sure we get the stories they like and remember); do basic family and ancestor research; excavate artifacts and sounds; scouting locations and the like.

The number of historical photos to be included and work on cleaning up and repairing those images. Not all videographers are formally trained in Photoshop and know how to get the best out of the footage to create a truly personal documentary (rather than simply showing a “talking head”).