Big editing job... what should I get? What should I charge?

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by Kingsly, Sep 8, 2006.

  1. Kingsly macrumors 68040


    I just got an offer to do a big editing job... around 40 hours of video to log, capture, and cut.

    I have no idea how much to charge. Obviously I want to charge less than the norm... to make it a good deal for the client and possibly secure future jobs. ;)

    Also, 40 hours of DV is around 520 GB. I would prefer to run a RAID1 (mirrored) setup to protect against crashes. Equipment is covered in the contract. So... what two drives shall I get? I was thinking two LaCie big disks (1TB each) or two Seagate 750GB HDD's. I'm also thinking about a 23" cinema display. :p
  2. LethalWolfe macrumors G3


    Jan 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    "how much should I charge" is akin to "how long is a piece of string." The answer to both being, "Well, it depends."

    Where do you live? What is the job specifically? Do you know what other people in your area charge for similar work? Are you looking for a hourly, daily, weekly, or project rate? What is the budget of the project? How experienced are you? Is this "just another gig" or are you willing to take a pay cut because it will open doors for you in the future?

  3. Kingsly thread starter macrumors 68040


    Some kind of music industry promo video type thingy
    I have no clue
    Probably project rate... I know I'll never keep track of hours
    Don't know...
    I want to take a cut to open doors... but I do get smaller edit jobs all the time. I'm not even an editor. Im a director who is really good at editing. :rolleyes:
  4. 3dit3r macrumors member

    Nov 18, 2005
    Hmmm...not sure how you can be offered a 'big' editing job but have no clue what the project is about. And if you get smaller editing jobs all the time, you should have some sort of clue as to how much you should charge. Plus, if you are a director, you should also have some basic knowledge of how to approach this. It's important to get as much info about a prospective job before you commit or give a price.

    You'll need to figure out a few details first.

    1) What their overall budget is for post.
    2) What is the time-frame for completion.
    3) What do they expect (fine cut + dubs, etc.)
    4) Length of the piece.
    5) 'Type' of piece which will give you a clue as to how long it will take to assemble.
    6) How much have they allotted for an editor or how much do they want to pay an editor...etc., etc.

    I would talk to other editors to see what they charge in your area. But you'll find it can vary widely. I'd suggest somehwere in the lower spectrum; possibly between 150 and 200/day.
  5. Kingsly thread starter macrumors 68040


    Well, I was really just contacted for the first time today via a proxy.
    Said proxy is supposed to get back to me with the above details ASAP.
    The smaller jobs are usually around $400/wk. It ends up breaking down to about $25-30/hr...

    Your estimate of $150-200 sounds reasonable to me. Plus, they are getting me two totally great hard drives. ;)
  6. MacFan25863 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 20, 2004
    I live in Valenica, too.

    I just finished a promo video for a small business out here. I charged them $350. It's about 2 min long, and took me about a week to make (including filming + editing).

    I'm a high school student, though, so you can probably get away with charging more.
  7. Kingsly thread starter macrumors 68040


    Well, as I said this is about 40 hours of video. If I were to do around 3 tapes a day (I have to have a life... or, um, at least school :eek: ) it would take around 15 days to just log and capture! That does not include watching it all and editing... which is at LEAST another 50 hours.
    Oh, also they may need me to film it all too. :eek:

    Where in Valencia are you?
  8. MacFan25863 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 20, 2004
    Have you considered splitting the workload with someone else? For a student, that is a lot of work. Even just having a friend or someone to help you log would probably be a big help.

    I live in Stevenson Ranch (I go to West Ranch High).

    What about you?
  9. Kingsly thread starter macrumors 68040


    Castaic. COC film program. I have some friends at West Ranch.
    Also, do you know Mrs. Reeves or Mr. Martinez?

    I would split the load... but I don't know anybody who can reliably operate Apple's Pro apps.
  10. MacFan25863 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 20, 2004
    Oh, cool. I took some film classes at COC last year.

    Is Mrs. Reeves the nurse? She had to wash my eye out last year after I got something in it while moving stuff in video production...

    I don't know of a Mr. Martinez, but we are getting tons of new staff members every year, so it's hard to keep track.
  11. LethalWolfe macrumors G3


    Jan 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    Before you accept the job you need to find out all the details you can and confirm that these people are legit and that you will get paid. This is starting to sound like a add you'd see on craigslist. :eek:

  12. Kingsly thread starter macrumors 68040


    I know the Proxy really well. In fact, he's kind of like my producer for a few upcoming projects...

    Yeah, she's the nurse. Roy Martinez is, I think, the anti-drug guy on campus. Big tough looking latino guy...

    What classes did you take @ COC? What teachers? Sara, Mike, Ron, Dave... ?

    Finally, if I get the job and your interested, I would love some help to log and capture all this footage. I'd be glad to reimburse you for your time... :)
  13. DeSnousa macrumors 68000


    Jan 20, 2005
    Brisbane, Australia
    That's great, congrats on the position. Sounds like fun :)

    Sorry I have no input, just had to mention how cool it sound :D
  14. notjustjay macrumors 603


    Sep 19, 2003
    Canada, eh?
    Hmm.. I hope the OP gets some good money from this. Maybe I'm just being jaded, or perhaps it's the ADD in me speaking (well technically I'm probably ADHD, but anyway) but I think I would grow wary of this project very quickly. A week just to capture and log footage? And possibly having to shoot that 40 hours of footage too?!

    Nobody's mentioned yet roughly how long the finished piece is going to be. 40 hours sounds like a lot of raw footage to sift through looking for the best of the best of the best (sir! ... with honors! :D)

    Oh well. I guess I'm not cut out to be a pro video guy yet. :)
  15. Kingsly thread starter macrumors 68040


    You don't know the half of it. I also have three hours of interview video that I need to sort through and edit three different spots with. Then I need to go over and edit together an hour of a birthday party I shot last weekend. Before that I need to build the website for the interview video (thank god for iWeb!)
    This sunday I'm shooting a short scene for some actors to have a demo reel. Then I need to edit that.
    Oh yes, THEN I have this 40+ hour job... and Im in film school M-F! :eek: :eek: :eek: :mad: :eek:

    P.S. Final Cut decided It no longer wants to launch, I'm low on external HDD space, and I don't know how to import 24p HDV. :(
  16. LethalWolfe macrumors G3


    Jan 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    AFAIK FCP can't handle 24p HDV (I'm assuming this is from the JVC camera). Apple announced an update that will fix that (and other issues) but it won't be released for a month (source). You'll have to use something like Lumiere HD to transcode the footage into something FCP can accept.

    Going back in the thread a bit I think a project rate would work against you unless you can estimate accurately how long it's going to take. If you don't feel like you can keep track of hours just charge a weekly or daily rate. Talk to them about hours though 'cause most people assume a 10hr day (8hrs straight + 2hrs at time and a half).

  17. Kingsly thread starter macrumors 68040


    Yeah, its the JVC. What a drag.

    Guess I'll just shoot 30p and export to 24... wont look as good, oh well.

    Yeah, you are probably right to suggest a daily rate. I am still waiting for more info about the project.
  18. Keebler macrumors 68030

    Jun 20, 2005
    first rule of thumb...never, ever work for free. unless the doors are GUARANTEED to be open for future jobs, treat it like a one off. value your time. people will know when you aren't and when you're just grabbing cash (not saying that's what you're doing, but you get the point :)

    also, have you edited alot of stuff before? 40 hours is ALOT..i can't understate that enough. do they have an outline of what they want to edit or is it up to you? if so, what is the plan wrt to editing time if they come back and say, ' want it edited this way."? that is a huge possibility if you don't know up front. if you have notes to go by..then great, but remember, everyone's idea of anything is always different (either slightly or by huge margins).

    i always charge a transfer per hour rate and then editing time. the transfer ends up being the total amount of running don't charge for 40 hours transfer if only 10 was used, but count your time to edit.

    btw, a great, cost effective program to counting time is 'jobtimer' allows you to automatically count time per task per project. i love it.

    i don't mean to scare you, but be aware of the pitfalls. also, you should account for rendering GB space as well depending on what you're doing.

    best of luck.
  19. MacFan25863 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 20, 2004

    Hmm, I don't really know of an anti-drug guy on campus. Is he new?

    I took Film Aesthetics and History of Cinema, both with Peterson.

    I would love to be able to help out, but I really don't have the time. I'm juggling 4 AP courses, ASB, our school TV show, band, teaching a Jr High robotics class, and working on a few of my own projects, so I'm really busy. Maybe post some Ads on campus, or ask around in the multimedia lab?
  20. Kingsly thread starter macrumors 68040


    Wow, a Mac fan/musician/film guy/robotics buff? Who lives in Stevenson ranch? I think I found my new best friend!! :eek: :rolleyes: :D

    Keebler, I am seriously considering turning down the job. It would be great and all... but my gut is sating "no" and my brain tends to agree. Its just too much work for a full time student with four other projects on his plate. Either way, Im meeting the guy tomarrow (have a separate shoot Im directing tomorrow) and then I'll get more info.
    MacFan25863, you are free to join us if you like. ;)
  21. MacFan25863 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 20, 2004

    Haha..yes, we are a rare breed.

    I'm agreeing with Keebler..drop the project. If you want to try and get your name out there, try doing some stuff with Public Access (SCVTV, aka Ch. 20). I've done stuff with them before and they are great to work with.

    Their studio is over by Hart High School off San Fernando Road.
  22. Keebler macrumors 68030

    Jun 20, 2005
    i kind of feel bad, but wanted you to think about the size. i guess the positive thing is that you already have these types of opportunities coming to you :) good idea to meet the guy and go over the scope. if you do turn it down, make sure you tell him why (the course load etc..) and then let him know that you are sorry, but you are still open for creative opportunities down the line. oh and a good thing to say and something you probably will say from the sounds of it, let him know you could do the job, but you wouldn't be able to put the right amount of concentration into to it to complete the job properly. people always like honesty.

    best of luck,
  23. DrRock macrumors regular

    Jun 18, 2005

    40 hours is a LOT of footage to log. That's a full work week without cutting a single frame. Be sure to consider your time investment. Don't undersell yourself. If you feel that you maybe don't have as much experience as a pro outfit, and that you should charge less hourly, that's fine. Just don't give them a flat rate that you think is fair then end up spending three times as long putting it together.

    One thing you can do is charge a half rate for the time spent capturing footage. Sure, it doesn't take as much effort on your part, but it still ties up your machine. A half rate is pretty fair for both sides. Then charge the full rate for the actual editing time. Or just keep track of how much time you spend non-editing, (troubleshooting, etc.) and be fair when you count hours.

    Pro editors get a LOT hourly, so don't be afraid to let your client know that your time is valuable. You can charge a bit less of course, but remind them (nicely, of course) that they are getting a good deal. I once shot and edited an entire wedding for $500. That's about 12-13 hours of actual wedding & reception time, more than an hour of travel time, and at LEAST 40 hours of editing time. When you do the math, I wound up making about $6-$8 an hour.

    it will especially take you longer to edit someone else's footage. It is a HUGE difference from editing something you shot. On stuff you shot, you have an idea of where the good takes are, and what you need. It's already in your head how you want it to look. This is a different ballgame.

    Anyway, what I'm sayin' is don't sell yourself short. If you get halfway into it and realize you're not making enough money, the work could suffer, and handing a client a shoddy finished product does not equate to future work.
  24. Kingsly thread starter macrumors 68040


    Well now I'm told its more like 12 hours, which I can handle. I was telling my friend (who set this thing up) that I am sorry but I just can do 40 hours. His response was "well, I have a feeling its closer to 12 hours (12 interviews) and besides, if you fell it will take time.... just charge them a lot more!"
  25. Sdashiki macrumors 68040


    Aug 11, 2005
    Behind the lens
    This is more like a $500-1000 job.

    If people want to argue, id like them to, because we know its 40hrs of video to cut into something, whether an minute or an hour.

    hours and hours of video, should cost something alone. Like say you charge $5/hr of video, just to rip.

    Then you charge an hourly rate $20/hr+ for the actual editing.

    keep logs and present this kind of info to the client, BEFORE working. And ask for 50% beginning and 50% at the end.

    Video editing is straining work when you consider the bulk this client wants worked with.

    If you break it down to real world hours and an hourly rate, do you really think video editing is worth $8/hr or $30/hr?

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