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Old November 2nd, 2006, 03:37 PM   #1
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Editing takes a LONG time! Or does it?

I love editing with Final Cut Express! However, I'm fairly new at it (just over a year) and am still astonished at how LONG it takes me to get a project done!

For the last few months I've been shooting and editing a video of a soccer team to be shown at their end of season banquet. It's a profile of the players and a short retrospective of their season that is going to be about 20-30 minutes long. So far I have shot over 16 hours of footage (games, interviews, etc) and have spent an estimated 100-150 hours on just the editing alone...and I'm not done yet!

Is this normal or is it my inexperience that makes it take so long? Also, what would most of you charge for something like this? I lo-balled the price so I can have this for my reel, but I was wondering what a project like this is really worth.

Thanks to all in advance!

Mike
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Old November 2nd, 2006, 07:04 PM   #2
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With experience, you'll get a little faster, but that's about how long it'll take. Editing is a long process.

As far as pricing goes, it depends on the demand for the service where you live.
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Old November 2nd, 2006, 07:24 PM   #3
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You will get faster, but it is still very time-consuming. In your case it might help to script it a little, so the next time you can shoot with the editing in mind. Unscripted footage is a pain to edit.
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Old November 2nd, 2006, 07:28 PM   #4
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Hi Mike,

I did one of those 2yrs ago. Same issue of time, finding and loading all those best game highlites at 15 to 30 secs apiece (with some for every player), out of all those game tapes, is the killer. I had to do it in just over a week, at season's end. Ended up with about a 40 min. DVD.

Sure looked good on the 15' sceen for the crowd at their banquet.

With my equipment set up, doing the Video was easy. It was the editing that hurt.

I charged $25 per hr. for both Videography and the editing. Worth double that at least.

Harold
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Old November 2nd, 2006, 09:19 PM   #5
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Editing is where the magic happens-thats where you take all that "stuff" and make it into a viable finished product and that takes time. Lots of it. The good thing is all of the RAW footage you have after all you can't edit what you don't have
As everyone said you will get faster with the editing process as time goes on but there is only so much you can do. It's a time consuming process. Remember there's never enough time to do it right the first time but there's always enough time to go back and do it again and most important, you want it when??????

Don
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Old November 2nd, 2006, 11:09 PM   #6
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A one hour drama like LAW & ORDER will take 2-3 weeks to edit. Half hour shows like MALCOM IN THE MIDDLE about 1.5 weeks. Just creative editing. then the online and output take another couple days.

I am working on a 2 hour documentary that will take 8 weeks with TWO editors.

Yes, editing takes a while.
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Old November 3rd, 2006, 12:20 AM   #7
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I've done editing for HS football for 3 years now, and I've found that as you do more and more games, it gets faster and faster. I can easily get through all three games of the week (Frosh, JV, and Var) in 3.5 hours. During my first year, it took me much longer to get through a game, maybe 2 hours per game, but it get faster.

When you have more creative control over a piece, then it takes much longer, because it's not black and white, you have to deliberate over what clips/shots you want to use.

Don't worry, it will get better!
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Old November 3rd, 2006, 02:04 AM   #8
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It also depends on what you are editing. I've had a 60 sec spot take nearly as much time as a 5 minute interview, but the spot had a lot of "flash" to it and probably had more edits than the interview did. It's kinda funny how that works out. At first you are like, "Sweet, only 60 seconds this'll take no time at all." Then you realize that you *only* have 60 seconds to get your point across so every frame has to be the best it can possibly be 'cause you don't have room to be wasteful.

On the other hand look at the movie the Russian Ark. A feature length film w/a very short edit schedule. ;)


-A
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Old November 3rd, 2006, 08:04 AM   #9
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Thanks

Thank you all for your input. I knew I would get some good answers here!

I'm glad to hear that what I am experiencing is not unusual. I think I have a natural flair for editing and I had a gut feeling that spending a lot of time on it is the only way to make a good video.

Emre Safak: As for scripting, I try to go into my projects with a rough idea of my story in mind so that I have an objective while I'm shooting. But I also try to be flexible enough to recognize when there is a better story unfolding in front of me and adapting my shooting to that. If you have some tips for scripting a piece with non-professionals then please let me know! Most of the soccer players and their families were very shy around me at first and didn't react well to being told what to do. My strategy then became trying to be as inconspicuous as possible so that they would forget that I was there. It worked some of the time.

Don Bloom: You wrote, "Remember there's never enough time to do it right the first time but there's always enough time to go back and do it again and most important, you want it when??????" I know ALL about THAT! I've been a commercial printer for 20 years. Printing is all about meeting the impossible, must-have it or die deadline and then finding that there's time to re-print it!

Harold Schreiber: 15 to 30 second action clips!? I'm lucky if I get 5 to 10 continuous seconds that I can use! Any advice you can give me on the equipment you used and your methods of shooting?

Still thinking about pricing for next time. It's hard to predict what the market will bear. I suppose I should just price the work at what I think it's worth and see what happens.

If anyone is really bored and has nothing better to do you can check out some clips of my work at...
mikepulcinella.com

Here you can find a trailer for my documentary on the insane world of bodybuilding...
ironsport.com

Any critiques would be welcome.
Thanks!
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Old November 4th, 2006, 08:02 PM   #10
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I have been working on a documentary for two years, and I just realized that I can count on at least two more, much of that editing but some of it, studying and reading about my subject (American consumerism) Editing and crafting stories is the most powerful thing most of us will ever do in our lifetimes, save for maybe parenting. But when you hone your skills you might develop a sort of synergistic race car driving and DJ turntable spinning joy, where it becomes like a dance. Like all great forms of expression, great editing usually comes from those that love the act of it.
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Old November 5th, 2006, 04:45 PM   #11
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Editing can take roughly two to three hours of work to put together a single minute of video. That's a very broad average. I spent two weeks re-editing a project that someone else did, from 20 minutes down to 12 minutes (also had to get some additional interviews and shots).

Either way, it's a painstaking process. But quite rewarding, too. As mentioned earlier, it's where the magic happens. It's the equivalent of taking a pile of lumber and turning it into a house, or fine furniture or a jewelry box.

I do know of one producer, however, who thinks that editors are just stupid mechanics. Needless to say he will soon discover that it'll be harder to find good people to work with him.
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Old November 5th, 2006, 09:23 PM   #12
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Dean is about right. I can edit 3-4 pages of script (3 to 4 min of screen time) in a nine hour shift. But that is the ROUGH CUT. I will go back later and refine...more time.
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Old November 5th, 2006, 11:49 PM   #13
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I warn clients that every edit may take a minimum of five minutes to complete. You have 20 edits? Well that's two hours not including finding and capturing the raw footage, checking alternate takes, adjusting audio, setting transitions, creating titles and color correcting.

Creating a paper edit helps if you don't have access to the edit system but that requires time-code dubs of the raw footage on VHS or DVD.

Editing takes time except in extraordinary circumstances.
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Old November 6th, 2006, 02:45 AM   #14
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I tend to disagree...the more I edit, the longer it takes. Although my NLE skills have improved, and I can fly around FCP at a very fast rate, this has just meant that a spend even longer on the actual creative side. I tend to spend a heap of time doing rough edits, then fine cuts, then audio edits (and I do everything myself), then another few fine cuts and EVENTUALLY I have something finished. I now spend a lot of time fine tuning transitions, cuts, and choosing the correct footage. If you're doing EVERYTHING in-house (colour correction, audio, vfx, etc.), then you're going to spend a heap of time, like me, doing all the rough work then fine tuning. To get fantastic results you need to spend a lot of time getting to know your footage. Anyway, back to work (Rough_Cut_1944-06112006-v129)!...
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Old November 6th, 2006, 07:47 AM   #15
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Thank you all! It's great to hear from all of you, pros and non-pros alike. I feel much better now about the amount of time I spend on my projects.

What makes it more difficult for me is that the "video thing" is a side job and I only get a few precious hours each night to edit.

The woodworking analogy is a good one. The creation of any worthwhile art or craft takes much time...why should video be any different?
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