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Old November 13th, 2012, 07:15 PM   #1
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Question to those of you who hire editors to edit your wedding films...

I have a few questions for those of you who hire extra help editing wedding films for your wedding company.

1. Typically how much do you pay your editor and what type of product are you producing?
2. How often do you receive a product from your editor and its perfect? Or is it the norm to always have fixes or restructuring?
3. How long do you expect or have the films finished once you give your editor a wedding to edit?



I am a hired editor and I am just curious about such things.
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Old November 14th, 2012, 12:48 PM   #2
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Re: Question to those of you who hire editors to edit your wedding films...

Perhaps we should turn it around on you....

1) How much do you typically charge?

2) How often does the company come back with changes?

3) How soon do you deliver?

:)
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Old November 14th, 2012, 01:07 PM   #3
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Re: Question to those of you who hire editors to edit your wedding films...

David
I typically pay 18-20% of the package price, the edits are usually never perfect but usually pretty close. And it really depends on how much content there is to work with like rehearsal or a long ceremony avg is 3-4 weeks.... but thats just me...
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Old November 14th, 2012, 01:43 PM   #4
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Re: Question to those of you who hire editors to edit your wedding films...

haha fine Dave:

1. $500 for 15-25 minute cinematic film + dvd menus + all the events or most edited in documentary style.
2. Typically get anywhere from 8-20 fixes. Mostly trims or shot replacements or audio adjustment.
3. anywhere from 3-4 weeks

I honestly feel like I am being jipped with what I am being paid. I do sometimes think am I not giving her a more perfect rough to look at, seems like our creative judgment is miles apart at times. What I think looks great he later doesn't like it at all.
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Old November 14th, 2012, 02:05 PM   #5
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Re: Question to those of you who hire editors to edit your wedding films...

Sean,
It sounds like you have more issues than being underpaid. You should talk to your employer and voice your concerns. It may be best if you are able to part ways, but I would give them the benefit of hearing your concerns. I give my guys absolutely raw video and audio and expect them to give me a good first cut. Then we shape it from there. But they have ownership of that first cut and because of what I get paid, they get paid accordingly. Best of luck. Let us know how it turns out, but if you have resentment already I think there's another issue that should be addressed.
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Old November 14th, 2012, 02:54 PM   #6
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Re: Question to those of you who hire editors to edit your wedding films...

Its only a 2nd steady side job to my FT editing position. IDK if its that bad where I should part way, there isnt any angst between us, besides the compensation part, I am just hard on myself. I expect to give a rough and get only positives and no fixes. Until then Im never happy. The creative differences isnt that bad, there has just been a few instances I add a cool edit shot and it gets rejected.

I sometimes think, I must be doing a good enough job, otherwise why keep giving me work.
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Old November 14th, 2012, 03:11 PM   #7
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Re: Question to those of you who hire editors to edit your wedding films...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sean Nelson View Post
Its only a 2nd steady side job to my FT editing position. IDK if its that bad where I should part way, there isnt any angst between us, besides the compensation part,
Have you tried asking for more money? Instead of $500, what do you *think* it's worth?

How long is it actually taking you to complete (total man hours, not days or weeks) including all the changes following the rough cut?

How much money do you have invested in equipment to do the job with, and how are you amorising that over the jobs?

We all like to think we're worth more than people want to pay 'us', but don't want to pay as much as other people want for things we want from 'them'. It's called human nature :)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sean Nelson View Post
I am just hard on myself. I expect to give a rough and get only positives and no fixes. Until then Im never happy. The creative differences isnt that bad, there has just been a few instances I add a cool edit shot and it gets rejected.
The whole point of a rough cut is to find out what they don't like - otherwise why bother with a rough cut? Just make it perfect first time :)

In terms of cool edits being rejected, I learned a long time ago not to get too attached to a shot. If it doesn't fit I'll grouse around a little for sure, but it's going to get dropped and that's that.
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Old November 14th, 2012, 05:03 PM   #8
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Re: Question to those of you who hire editors to edit your wedding films...

Great feedback Dave. I have a general idea of what I am worth. Really the point of me asking these questions is to get a feel around the industry, see if im around the average or if I am getting underpaid. Just curious to see what others pay or get paid, same woth the rough cuts.

Last wedding it was about 17-18 Hours from start to finish excluding meeting up with him etc. This wedding I am working on is on hour 21ish and I think I have less than 1-2 hours left until its completely finished.
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Old November 14th, 2012, 05:32 PM   #9
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Re: Question to those of you who hire editors to edit your wedding films...

Interesting. We often spend around 40-45 man hours on editing video, sweetening the audio, colour corrections, DVD menu design, packaging design, production of DVDs and mailing them.

So if you're doing it all in 18-20 hours then @ $25 an hour I think it's reasonable pay for working at home in your spare time.

If I were running a business with staff and premises then that figure would need to be much higher just to cover overheads (including employee taxes etc), but working from home it's not too bad.

Of course.... we'd all like more :)

So, how much is your customer selling the video service for? How many people film on the day? How much does it cost to find the clients (advertising, bridal fairs etc) ? What other costs are involved in their business, including insurance, equipment costs etc.

Think about how all this breaks down and then see where the real value lies. I would argue that the cost of finding the clients in the first place is a lot higher than most people realise, and once you add in the insurance and equipment amortisation then things can get really tight.

Of course, Brides think they are being over charged for their videos anyway. Their general perception is that you turn up, stand around all day doing not much more than their brother or uncle could do and at the end of the night take the 'tape' out of the camera, stick it on a DVD and mail it to them.

We all know that's not how it really goes, but trying to get them to understand the real work and costs involved is a battle that most people will lose :(
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Old November 14th, 2012, 05:50 PM   #10
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Re: Question to those of you who hire editors to edit your wedding films...

The first wedding I did for the company it took about 40+ hours. I just focus on ways to improve my speed each time I do one. I didnt factor in the 30 minute drive to his place, then 30-1 hour with him checking dvd getting new project.

Each wedding I edit is different. The one Im editing now is a 4 camera shoot kind of shoot. Plus sliders/steadicam shoot throughout day. I will say he charges anywhere from $2500-$4500 per wedding.


How I have it it so short is, I have footage organized to what camera or type of shot (steadi/slider). I have a project for each event (ceremony, prep, reception). Music is predetermined by what the couple choose. I just edit each event in full for the dvd, and so when I edit lets say the ceremony in the film, I have a edited form already there to grab.
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Old November 15th, 2012, 05:10 AM   #11
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Re: Question to those of you who hire editors to edit your wedding films...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sean Nelson View Post
How I have it it so short is, I have footage organized to what camera or type of shot (steadi/slider). I have a project for each event (ceremony, prep, reception). Music is predetermined by what the couple choose. I just edit each event in full for the dvd, and so when I edit lets say the ceremony in the film, I have a edited form already there to grab.
Sean, that's how we do it most of the time too... and getting to a rough cut in 16-20 hours is certainly doable once everything is ready to start, but there's time taken to get the footage from the camera and ready to edit, and then things are certainly not finished and on a DVD in the time it takes for a rough cut.

You really should add your time for driving because if you weren't doing the edit, you wouldn't have spent that time driving. So if it takes you 2 hours there and back, plus a little chat time while you are there, you just added another 10%-15% to your edit time you weren't originally counting. Whether you want to charge the same hourly rate for driving or not is up to you.

However, out of interest, how much of your 16-20 hours is spent:

• Reading the cards

• Creating backups prior to even touching the media in the edit software (which could in theory corrupt things)

• Ingesting the footage and keywording / sorting

• Syncning multiple cameras from the ceremony, speeches and first dance ready for a multicam edit

• Doing the edit itself

• Screening the edit rough cut

• Taking the rolling credits from their rough text form, formatting them and inserting at the end of the film

• Making changes to the rough cut get to a final edit (picture lock)

• Colour Correction on the final edits

• Audio sweetening (including removing AC noise etc during speeches etc).

• De-Noising low light video where required

• Final watch through to make sure everything exports correctly (not every one does this)

• Rendering / Exporting for DVD (transcode to MPEG2)

• Creating the DVD menus

• Designing the DVD case sleeve

• Designing the DVD label

• Producing the DVDs and testing on a real DVD player

• Printing and inserting the DVD sleeve & completed DVDs in to the packages and sealing for presentation to customer

• Inserting the DVD in to the mailing envelope, printing and applying the shipping label

• Taking the DVDs to the post office (don't forget to deduct the cost of postage from your revenue too!)

It seems to me that we can easily get to a rough cut within 16-20 hours of editing, but the extras that go on before and after take more time than most people realise, or care to add up. Think of it this way, if some one else were doing this for you, they'd want paying, so how many hours of pay would it take to get from cards being removed from the cameras to shipping the final DVDs? For us it's generally somewhere in the 40-45 hours range. It can be as little as 20 (ceremony only) and as much as 100+ where things have gone wrong on the day (poor acoustics means longer in audio edit, dark venues takes longer in denoising etc).

For anyone thinking of getting in to wedding videos who thinks it's a case of buy a cheap camera, turn up, have fun videoing a wedding, take the 'tape' out and stick it on a DVD (which is what most brides think you do!) then think again.

If two of you shoot all day then you have something like 24 man hours on the day (equipment prep, travel to and from the wedding, then the wedding all day) plus a lot of post production work afterwards. Unless you're in a fairly affluent area (which is going to cost you more to live in) then the average bride doesn't want to pay enough to cover all this time and still maintain a healthy hourly rate (if you're honest with yourself about the actual time it takes).

And none of this even begins to amortise the cost of the cameras, audio recording and post production systems over their useful working lifetime. equipment is not free, and the cost of it needs to be reasonably deducted prior to calculating any remaining funds that are eventually divided by the hours to spend working, to get your hourly rate of pay.

If we were to price weddings the same way we price commercial work then we'd never get a single booking (in our area at least)!

So, all this comes back to whether you are getting paid enough. My question to you would first be, how much time do you *really* spend on these weddings and how much do you have invested in equipment that will need to be replaced in 2-3 years time (meaning you need to be earning that cost 'now' as part of these weddings). You may or may not come up with favourable numbers, but in the end a lot of this comes down to what the market will bear. If you think it's worth $1,000 but can't find anyone willing to pay more than $500 then that's all you're going to get.

Right now it's tough getting most brides to pay a realistic price for the service because they simply don't realise how much effort is involved, and even if they did, there is always another guy down the street willing to do it cheaper. The fact they use inferior equipment, produce the shakiest footage known to man, don't colour correct, don't sweeten the audio, don't produce nice DVD cases etc, well, none of that is known until it's too late. To have to educate each and every bride is difficult and time consuming. Oh, and there's more time taken - the original inquiry and booking process, not to mention all the time handling inquiries for bookings you don't get.

It may seem like you're not getting a large enough piece of the pie, but some times it may be that there are more pieces to cut from the pie that is already to small.

Anyway - I'm interested in your numbers for the above activities because it's always good to know what everyone else is doing :)
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Old November 15th, 2012, 03:39 PM   #12
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Re: Question to those of you who hire editors to edit your wedding films...

Here is timeline:

1. 30 minutes commute back n forth with 30 minutes of checking previous film plus grabbing new footage.
2. Transfer all footage to ssd from portable hd while working on other projects. Organize files/rename (5-10 minutes)
3. Grab footage and drop on a timeline for each part of day (prep,ceremony, reception) (20mins)
4. Use plural eyes to sync audio with footage (10-15mins) (I am doing other stuff as it syncs for about 10 mins a event.)

5.Edit in real time each event (event length plus 10-20 mins each)
6. Edit wedding rough, 10-15 hours
7. Color correct (1-2 hours) (dont really cc to the point of precisions, ussually leave a lot untouched or get cameras matching by being in the same ballpark.
8. Audio sweetening/fixed (30mins-1 hour) (I use izotope which makes it quick or sometimes im already given soundsoaped audio files as a trailer was already edited of the film before I started.)
9. Watch entire film and make fixes (30mins-1hour)
10. Upload it and get notes from company (15mins-3 hours)
11. Look at film again and make more fixes (15mins-1hour)
12. Use previous made dvd project and switch around menus and everything for new wedding (1 hour)
13. Make new motion menu for main menu (30mins)
14. Test dvd on computer and at house (30-1hour)
15. 30 mins back n forth and watch with company and given new project.

Total looks about 21 hours.

I was once asked to do a project from a already made project that had everything synced and organized from editing a trailer. Also would get paid less for what was already done, so I did that for less and i found out the organizing and syncing saved me maybe an hour plus using a new program im not used to (premiere pro), after that I asked its not worth it, so I continued getting weddings from scratch.
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Old December 6th, 2012, 07:32 AM   #13
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Re: Question to those of you who hire editors to edit your wedding films...

Sean,

At Colorburst Video, we provide lots of editing, color grading, and finishing. We've also developed a bit of a reputation as being able to resurrect some video with really awful technical problems. A year or two ago, we attempted to market wedding-editing-for-hire here in the Midwest and got absolutely terrible results.

The few responses we got fell into two categories:
1. Large well-known firms looking for an experienced editor and well-equipped workstation for $10/hour (or less!)
2. Smaller one-person shops who were looking for expert help on an as-needed basis, and who expected very quick turnaround on problem footage and edits. Think "dark reception video with on-camera mike" and "need it in the morning." Usually at a low-rate and/or "we'll pay you when we get paid."

I'm still interested in expanding into this part of the business and would appreciate more info on how you broke into this market and how you connected with higher end shooters.


Jim
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Old December 6th, 2012, 08:12 PM   #14
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Re: Question to those of you who hire editors to edit your wedding films...

My freelance rates:
Doc editing (includes audio finishing, chapter titles, excludes grading)
8 hours to sync, organize and edit @ 25 hr = $200 (traditional Christian wedding under 30 minutes)
+$50 for a Catholic wedding (average 1 hour ceremony)
+150 for Indian wedding (average 2 hours ceremony)

Highlight editing (includes audio finishing, chapter titles, excludes grading)
8 hours to cull footage, 16 hours to edit (2 hours per highlight minute) @ 25/ hr = $600 (traditional Christian wedding under 30 minutes) 20 minute feature takes another day so +200

Does not include mastering the dvd, printing dvd's, creating menu's, or encoding. File is sent as adobe premier 5.5 file. Does not include audio licensing or song selection. Highlights typically require 3 songs.

as a comparison, more than $1k to outsource it:
http://www.thedreadededit.com/
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Old December 6th, 2012, 08:38 PM   #15
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Re: Question to those of you who hire editors to edit your wedding films...

Hey Jim,

email me and I can answer your questions.

Sean@sean-nelson.com
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