FAMILY ORAL HISTORY PROJECT
site: fohp.info - file: services.htm
Commercial Services Page (β)
In a number of places in this website it is
mentioned that you might consider hiring out some or all of the various tasks
associated with your oral history project — the recording, interviewing,
editing, mastering and archiving processes — in order to minimize your
own equipment acquisition expenses. This is the page where I show you what it
will cost to engage our services (myself & a reporter friend who
has conducted thousands of interviews for clients).
There are five categories of expenses that must
be taken into account when engaging our services --- some of the charges are
variable, depending upon the nature of the project, while others are fixed,
irrespective of the scope or duration of your project. The expense categories
- Equipment Charges - a charge of $150 per interview trip for
one-on-one or one-on-two fixed-site interviews. Interviews involving four to
eight primary (non-tourist) individuals will incur a $500 equipment
charge for a fixed-site interview. Interviews involving nine or more
individuals will incur our maximum equipment charge — $750 per trip
(we really don't like doing these; they are exceedingly difficult to
record well in the typical home environment, requiring substantially
more equipment to conduct). And, depending upon our interviewer's
pre-interview discussions with family members it may be determined that it
would make no sense to attempt to interview that many people at once, anyway.
For mobile interviews, one-on-one interviews will incur an equipment charge
of $300 per interview trip; for one-on-two or two-on-one interviews the
trip equipment charge will be $500; and, for two-on-two interviews the
trip equipment charge will be $750. (wireless radio
microphone equipment + portable mixers and recorders don't come cheap)
Other expenses arising from a mobile interview (bicycle rental, state
park permits, sunblock, insect repellant, calamine lotion, etc.) will be
billed at cost (our interviewer and audio engineer really don't want
to ride a bicycle 20 miles to sit on a blazing hot sand dune next to a swamp
and feed the mosquitos for six or eight hours ... your interview subject will
probably be of a similar mind, and if you are just the "producer" you too
would need to ride along with the rest of the unhappy crew --- none of this
"I'll wait in the car, sleeping" nonsense).
You will also be required to engage the services of our own recording
engineer who will perform all equipment set up, conduct the recording
process, and perform the equipment teardown. Our equipment is not
available for separate rental.
- Recording Engineer - $50 per hour (or fraction thereof), from the
time of arrival until the time of completion of equipment teardown. There is
a minimum charge of 4 hours. Meal breaks & other off-site times are
If it is necessary for the recording engineer to come to the proposed site for
the recordings in order to scout it (locate power plugs, determine seating
types, availability and layout , listen for distracting sounds, etc.) the
standard travel charges will apply plus an hourly charge of $25 once on-site,
3 hour minimum, until site suitability is confirmed or rejected (it is a
good idea for the project's producer to have at least one alternate site
selected if the preferred site is deemed unsuitable for use).
- Interviewer - $75 per hour (or fraction thereof), from the time of
arrival until the time of completion of the interview process. It carries a
minimum charge of 4 hours, meal breaks excluded. The time includes the
(non-recorded) on-site pre-interview questioning of family members to
ascertain desired topics of coverage, the interview itself, and the
post-interview followup (unrecorded) questioning of family members as to the
desireablity of additional questioning and on what topics. You may choose to
conduct the interview yourself and avoid these expenses.
If it is necessary for the interviewer to engage in one or more pre-trip
discussions with family members by phone you will also be charged $40 per hour
for that service, plus any long distance telephone charges. The time required
for those additional discussions will not count towards the 4 hour
minimum required on the day of the interview.
- Mastering - a $75 equipment/software fee per project plus $25 per
hour for transferral & editing + production of one "master" set of audio
CDs or flash memory cards. This is also considered an optional expense; if
you choose not to use our services we will provide you with the original
"raw" recorded media so that you may perform these tasks for yourself or have
someone else do the work on their own equipment and on their own time.
- Miscellaneous Expenses - These charges will vary based upon the
circumstances of the recording duration, environment and consumed media.
- Recording & Mastering Media - at cost (no markup).
- Transport & Mileage - We charge 53¢ per mile, round trip,
measured from East Lansing, Michigan to the location of the recording. We also bill
$15.00 per person per hour of driving time, to and from the recording site.
- Vehicle Parking & Road Tolls - as charged to us (no markup), if necessary
- Lodging - varies, based upon day of week and number of individuals
making the trip (each housed in a separate room).
- Per Diem - $30 per person, per full or partial day, for trips outside of the immediate Lansing area
- Archiving - just the cost of the storage media for the first
five years; after that, $2 per year per project, up to an additional five years.
Since the solid state media & disc-based media have a finite "reliable"
shelf life of approximately 10 years we strongly urge individuals to have
existing archival materials migrated to newer media every ten years (
preferably every seven or eight years).
All recording project trip durations must be
determined in advance --- due to other work & family commitments we will
be unable to extend an engagement beyond the originally agreed duration.
Since this is a third job for us our
availablility to conduct interviews will only be for weekends. Our strong
preference is to limit the radius of travel to 100 miles from Lansing. The
time that we spend conducting these interviews comes out of the time that
we have for other personal activities; we'd like to help you out, BUT ...
the hourly rates that we charge for our services on your behalf are
already significantly discounted from the hourly rates that we earn at our
regular places of employment — asking for a (further) discount would
dis-incline us from participation in your project. We do not
conduct freebies — no "I want to write a review of your services ...
could you please provide a sample of your work by interviewing my mom for me"
kinds of requests.
For two day recording sessions outside of the
immediate Lansing area (25 mile driving radius) we would leave Lansing Friday
evening, driving to the recording site & check into a motel. Saturday
morning would involve equipment setup starting by 8:00 am. If the recording
session ends by 5:00 pm on Saturday evening we will return to Lansing that day;
otherwise, a second evening at the motel will be billed. Staying on-site
Saturday night will mean that there would be no necessity to tear down the
recording equipment setup and then re-build it the next morning. We need to
be finished with teardown and be on the road back to Lansing no later than 7:00
pm on Sunday evening.
For the mastering process we will also work
primarily on weekends. Depending upon the original "raw" recording medium
it may be necessary to perform the transferral in real-time (such as with an
analog tape recording). You may wish to limit the amount of time we expend
editing the recordings --- snipping out every little "dead" spot, hem, haw,
& cough may take many hours of dedicated work. Production of the final
"master" product from the edited source materials is usually the easiest (and
shortest) block of time for which you would need to pay.
For a simple 4-hour one-on-one project in the
Lansing area you should expect to spend in the $400 to $750 range for the most
basic charges (equipment & engineer only). For an all-day session with
equipment, engineer and interviewer the cost would more likely be in the $1,000
to $1,250 range. Add in the editing & mastering charges and you are looking
at around $1,500 from start to finish (but does not include production
of additional distribution copies of the interview). Need for us to travel to the
Detroit, Muskegon, South Bend, Mackinac City or Benton Harbor areas? Expect to
spend upwards of $2,500 to $3,500 for a weekend's work, travel, meals &
lodging. We would require a deposit of 50% of the anticipated expenses
(travel, lodging, per diem, etc.) before the start of the first interview
session; the remaining expenses, hardware fees & the personnel time fees
would be due at the time of delivery of the "master" recording.
|NOTE: We anticipate that our earliest one-day
availability will occur in December of 2014, with our
earliest two-day block of available dates occurring in mid-February of 2015
(yep, our schedule really is that overloaded).|
We can handle only one interview project per month right now — a
week to do pre-interview work, the interview weekend, the editing/mastering,
etc. + a weekend off will burn an entire month of our "free" time". If you are
planning to do your own interviews you may well find that our limited
schedule mirrors your own.
In addition to everything else that is mentioned
above, we would really like someplace indoors to place our
equipment containers; someplace that is in close proximity to the room in
which the interview will take place (but not the room in which it will
take place unless it is a really large room). We will need to unpack
the equipment containers to remove the items that we will be using to do the
recording and then repack them at the end of the interview session. Walking back
and forth from the equipment tub locations to the interview room burns time;
getting our equiment tubs close to the interview site will save you
money & will leave more time available for the actual interview process.
We created this website as a way to explain
what we are doing and to provide a how-to guide for the individual that
wishes to do everything for themself. Simplifying and minimizing equipment
acquisition/rental, travel and project complexity should save you a bundle of
cash if you are prepared to go it (nearly) alone with the most
bare-bones setup and a severly limited number of people being simultaneously
recorded (we reiterate: one-on-one interviews are the best, from a planning,
cost, conducting and listenability perspective). Yes, we are trying to
talk you out of hiring us, but if you insist upon doing so, plan to fortify
your checkbook's working balance!