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Old December 31st, 2005, 10:54 AM   #1
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How much for video editing work?

I know this is pretty much a market-specific question, but general answers would be helpful.

An aquaintance wants me to put together a montage of video clips, some of which I have and some of which the aquaintance has. Tasks will include capturing video, assembling the cuts, polishing the final version (maybe some audio scrubbing), and outputting in a variety of formats (wmv, DVD, etc).

I have really no idea how much this thing should cost. I've seen photo montage assembly going for around $200, for maybe 75 or 100 pictures.

Can anybody offer some advice?

Thanks,
Matt
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Old December 31st, 2005, 08:07 PM   #2
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Charge hourly.

Never do a flat rate unless you can create an accurate estimate and have complete control or have a contract which tightly defines the amount of work.

The amount of work you describe can take a couple of days or a week depending on what's involved.
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Old December 31st, 2005, 08:28 PM   #3
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If some of the footage is yours, you should get paid for that also, in addition to any editing time. The specifics of this project (who, what, etc) seem pretty important in striking a fair deal.
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Old January 6th, 2006, 12:43 PM   #4
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I would say it depends on how well your established in the video field, and how well the quality of work you do. Ive heard of people working up to $750 dollars per hour editing. But me as a student, i usually settle for anything.
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Old January 6th, 2006, 01:21 PM   #5
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Ive heard of people working up to $750 dollars per hour editing.
$750/hr for editing would be for the *facility* on top of the editor. Everything in the room might cost hundreds of thousands of dollars (fully equipped Avid suite is about $400k; some other editing systems like Quantel iQ add to this cost). The $750/hr rate does not include the costs of all the support staff and salespeople needed to get that job and maintain the facility.

I don't think top editors (i.e. features, TV series) make more than a few/several thousand a week.

On the other hand, editing is not the most expensive. Telecine is, and it can run up to $1900/hr (telecine suites average $2 million). see http://www.the-mill.com/pdf/ratecardny.pdf

2- Matt, if you are friends with this person, I would suggest asking that person what they think a fair rate is. This is nice because they will get a fair rate and be happy about what you charge them.

If they don't know what a fair rate is, quote them your rate and ask them if they think that price is fair. It's good to let them know what your normal rate is, so you don't get referrals because you're cheap.

To determine your rate: Figure out what hourly rate you'd like to earn (say $8/hr, which is what you'd make at a mcjob). To earn that much, your freelance/contract rate should be roughly twice that since you have unbillable hours (finding work, training), have to do your own accounting, and have equipment to pay for.

If you think you should make the same money as someone working a salary job at $20/hr, your freelance rate should be somewhere around $40/hr.

3- Another way of looking at things if to consider the value of the video to the client. i.e. a training video for a large corporate client might save them 5,000 hours of instructor time, which means maybe $100,000 savings to the company. Charge a proportion of that.
In this case, this approach doesn't really make sense.
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