Why I have enabled “Tip Jar” on Vimeo for my reviews and tutorials…

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ETHICS STATEMENT: Vimeo are one of my site sponsors. They are my video hosting platform of choice, as for me they offer the best service with the best community.  I am writing about this new feature, not at their request, but because I just found out about it and it’s big news!

EDIT: I had to take this post down briefly because there was a slight glitch that meant Vimeo and Paypal would not talk to each other. It’s all fixed now thankfully!

Vimeo have introduced a new feature which I think is going to be massive.  It’s a way of giving a small amount to content creators to show your thanks/ appreciation. It’s a simple way of monetizing online content, no set price is given…anything from $1 to $500 can be donated. This is great as it can help fund further projects, or for me and the reason why I have enabled it on my review videos is it will help me make more of them.

Let me explain more. I am working professional. I earn money shooting, directing, editing and of course teaching. The website brings in some money too. What I don’t earn money from is camera and gear reviews. I don’t take payment and will never take payment from manufacturers for reviews. It’s incredibly ethically unsound, and my ethics are so important to me. I can’t have Canon paying me to review a C300 or Sony paying me to review an FS700. Even if you are utterly fair to the cameras, the fact you have been paid by the manufacturer means your opinion is no longer valid. I need to be totally objective and under no influence from anyone! Without that, my reviews are worthless…

Camera reviews take A LONG time to do to be done properly. Take the BlackMagic Camera review for example. This was 4 days of shooting and 4 days of editing. That’s 8 days of  not being able to earn any money. It is a big hit to take financially, and I know my accountant is not impressed, nor is Sarah who is turning away bookings whilst I do these. But they NEED to be done…I also don’t want to do them in a half-arsed way. So I do them all the way. That BMD one , the FS700 one, the 5Dmk3 one and the Shootouts take so much time. Although they are great content for my site, financially they are getting harder and harder to justify.

Now with new cameras coming out almost every day, it’s looking even harder. I get dozens of requests a day to review Camera X, Y, Z…All I can say is that I will do my best but can’t promise anything. It’s rather overwhelming, and taking time off from paying gigs, which I would have to do to make these, is becoming really tricky.

That is why I have enabled the TipJar feature on the following reviews.


SONY FS700 Part 1 and Part 2




Would I rather not have to ask for this? Of course I would rather not. I would rather just put them up for free so all can benefit without even thinking about money! In effect, they are all up for free and not tipping is of course absolutely fine! It just helps things, well me…how well it works I have no idea. It’s new and it’s a great idea. Any “tips” are accepted with huge thanks. Remember that they all go into making the next ones!

Vimeo will soon be introducing pay to view. I won’t use these for reviews at all, but I can see this also being a fantastic way of monetizing content for others!

Some people will of course gripe that you shouldn’t be asking for money for these things, but unfortunately we live in the real world where we need money to keep on going. So for me, I am totally for it. I am not forcing anyone to do anything – you can carry on as before and just watch for free! All I can say is that, if it works, I can do more and more of the reviews and keep up the quality. I do believe they are valuable resources for people, otherwise I woudn’t make them!

To enable TipJar for your own videos you need to be a PLUS or PRO member. Simply go into your settings and account then add your Paypal info. Then go to a video, settings, advanced…then you can enable TipJar. It’s as easy as that!

The only other option would be to find a sponsor, which I may look into if this doesn’t work…

So if you do contribute I thank you enormously and hope to keep on making great reviews!

Oh…one last thing…I have created a new account dedicated to reviews and tutorials. It’s here. Please subscribe as this is where I will put all future reviews/ tutorials. https://vimeo.com/pbreviews



Introducing Vimeo Tip Jar and more Creator Services from Vimeo Staff on Vimeo.


  1. Can’t see why people would have a problem with this – other than those who seem to live for internet drama, but you handle then well from what I’ve seen! I shall certainly be chipping in a decent amount for the help you’ve already given me and if I earn a few pennies from my project, I’ll send a few your way again just so that others can get the help I had in the future!

  2. I have absolutely no problem with it. I love the donation paradigm. I hope it works and I hope we start seeing a way for filmmakers to capitalize from it. I plan on forking over a couple bones for your reviews. If everyone gives a little it’ll be a big deal.

  3. Not being rude, but i’ve never given a thought to how long it takes to do your reviews properly. All i do know is that you never do, as you say, a half assed review.

    I’ve already got 8 days booked for work in October, if those went away i’d be gutted. I guess the worst thing for you is seeing all these new cameras come out and having to sit down, do the maths and figure how many days it’ll take to review each one.

    Kinda cool in so much as seeing the new gear and sharing. Not so great for the P+L account. More L than P. Never good!

    I hope that this takes off Phil, i really do. I for myself have a pretty much set rate for any camerawork i do whether it be TV or corporate. If i don’t get my rate i don’t shoot. You’ve spent more than enough time not shooting but sharing your knowledge.

    I sometimes complain that some clients don’t offer enough money for shoots. The shoe is now on the other foot and there is no complaint from me.

  4. Your reviews are absolutely priceless Phil, come on troops we need to keep this service going! I’m waiting for the 6d and the C100 review personally and if a donation speeds this up then so be it.

  5. There are so many reasons Vimeo’s “Tip Jar” is better than YouTube’s monetization… not burdening the videos with advertisements, allowing for the “golden bullet” if you help a single viewer enough to prompt donation vs. opting for mass appeal over everything, and (so it seems) passing the whole of the ‘tip’ onto the filmmaker, instead of a measly mystically-calculated subportion. In the States, it’s analogous to the difference between MTV and PBS.

    This has definite chance to increase the number of quality tutorials and tips&tricks on Vimeo… I can personally think of 5-6 ideas I’ve had, but haven’t been able to justify time-wise due to their niche appeal (meaning worthless YT monetization). If I can tip a waitress for refilling my sweet tea, I can damn sure support someone making a video that helps me save or earn money.

  6. Just tipped a small token amount for The Christmas Shootout Part 1 – about what I would pay for a magazine around here. So many of the reviews you have done have been helpful and I would have tipped more but my intent is to try and support a handful of people to get the energy going, as opposed to giving a lot to just one person.

    As far as your reviews, while some people may take things out of context or misrepresent what you have said (or unfortunately view at as gospel as opposed to opinion or by contrast reject your information on the basis of their preconceptions) I will say this:

    1) Your reviews are often very helpful in getting people talking about the pros and cons of a given piece of gear, whether they agree or disagree with you.

    2) I know how difficult comparisons are to do (as I am routinely administering them) and I find that you often do a very good job of recognizing and acknowledging the limitations of your comparisons while also doing some very interesting ones.

    So part of the reason this one got tipped in particular is because of the resolution test. A lot of people really had no idea about the resolution results and they are consistent both with my limited experience with some of the cameras (and extensive experience with others) as well as with several comparisons that have been done since then.

    So, kudos for the Christmas comparison, and especially the resolution test. And thanks. 🙂

  7. Hi Philip,
    I find that right and it’s a great way for you to keep going on doing what you do (and you are doing a great job) and for us all, newbie and experts to keep on having great info from this website and school of videomaking and to be updated with all the new gear and cameras,…
    p.s: it feels strange to say but i just tipped you on Vimeo 🙂
    Thank you very much for all the great job you are doing and looking for next review and other tips of how to shoot great videos…
    p.s: any chance to see you here in Italy? you can count on me if you need anything!!, I live near Venice.
    Thanks again

  8. Just a quick thought…….

    Why don’t you just split the website into two sections. The forum and news and then the video reviews and tutorials?

    I listen to this digital podcast called the RC (not too sure how many people know of it), and they are part of a webframe (i guess you could call it) then includes free podcasts both audio and video and then the paid ‘classes and tutorials.

    Just a thought…………….

  9. I totally support the idea of tipping for great and useful content like yours and I will do it.
    But it seems seems to take a lot of clicks at the moment to donate. Let’s take your awesome BMCC review for example :
    1 – Click on BMCC review blog post.
    2 – Click on the video review to play it. Oups, the vimeo link is not activated on the video.
    3 – Go to your vimeo page.
    4 – Find the BMCC video review and click on it.
    5 – Click on the Tip Jar link.
    Is there a quicker way to access the Tip Jar from your blog directly?

  10. I do not have any problems with the tip jar however I think Vimeo should play ads like youtube and let people put in their Vimeo settings if they wish to view ads.

    There are Youtubers I like to support and I do turn off adblocker when I watch their videos.

    People have a choice if they want to watch ads or not watch ads.

    How many people will use the tip jar? Who knows but I really do not think it will be a lot of people. So I think playing ads before the video might be a better way in supporting filmmakers.

  11. No problem with this – just made my small contribution towards your BMC review. I know how it is working freelance. Keep up the good work – just wish I could see you in Cape Town but a hectic schedule stops me from meeting you. In the mean time, drink a pint of our local brew and may be I’ll have an opportunity to meet you somewhere down the line.

  12. So glad you’re doing this, Phil! Your reviews are invaluable. It is truly a testament to your love for your work that you are so committed to keeping this free for all to enjoy and glean from. Now we have a voluntary and practical way to really say “thank you”!

  13. this is great and pay to view also is. making films costs money and vimeo could be the tv of the future if they develope some things.

    today, you make a movie for more than 200 million or less than 4. inbetween nothing pays of, because so many movies get made these days, tv-series are quite good and videogames are big compeditors too. many people can barly focus enough to watch a short also 😉

    normal movies don’t make it in the cinema anymore and also not in the tv. so people only see crap, while so many good stuff is or could be out there.

    and people don’t want to spend money to find out, that the flic isn’t worth it, so they stream it and have no option to pay afterwards.

    so this is potetially closing the gap and now anyone can make some money.

    but i hope, that vimeo includes this feature acuratly. they usually struggle with there stuff half way. i mean things like the app or the couch mode – good idears but stopped half way. if people can pay, when they watch the movie with the app or when they just watch a facebook post, this is really something.

    (sorry for grammar- and spellingmistakes – i think it’s noticeable, that english is not my motherlanguage ;-))

  14. I totally agree with all the positive comments here Philip – your reviews are incredibly well done and have helped me buy a couple of different cameras over the years. Thank you! I’ll be tipping for sure.

    The “pay to view” feature will be an interesting addition to Vimeo. Do you think it will work? It seems like the million dollar question for years now has been “how do we monetize online content?” YouTube and Hulu’s advertising and people buying from iTunes are somewhat effective, but seem to be better suited for content that has already been broadcast, rather than the type of content many Vimeo users produce. I’d be interested to hear what people think…

  15. — Hey, I believe that if you are making quality content that helps other people make important decisions on spending a good amount of money on an investment, it’s completely okay to ask for money. The tip jar seems like a completely great way of doing that! Your reviews and videos are definitely worth a monetary vote.

  16. Hi Philip, you’ve had several months with the tip jar now. What is your assessment? I mean, are you getting decent tips or do you think you’ll need to find sponsors?

      1. Hi Philip,

        I’d love to have a conversation with you about ways you think a concept like tip jar could be improved to engage more users. I’m in the planning stages of a similar idea and would love your feedback – you seemed enthusiastic and confident in the concept back when you wrote this post, but it sounds like it’s not working out that well. Could I shoot you an email? If so, let me know at allison.usavage@gmail.com. Thanks!


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