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Old March 25th, 2006, 04:30 PM   #1
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Edit job for existing footage?

Hey everyone,

Since I started my business last year, I've mainly shot weddings and church events. Yesterday I got a lead from a client that wants me to piece together footage for a nonprofit organization thats already been shot . I think they want me to put about 30 minutes of it together for a fundraising event.

Since this is not something I normally do I have no idea what to charge; and whether to charge hourly or a set fee. I haven't talked to the client yet so I have no more details, but BEFORE I call I'd like some ideas on what you might charge (just an estimate) based on the given info and assuming its easily transferrable (DV or 8mm) to my PC.

thanks!
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Old March 25th, 2006, 06:28 PM   #2
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I would charge a set fee based on the estimated hours. To do this, you'd have to find out how much footage you'll need to watch.

I'd also want to see a sample of the footage before I committed to the project.

I like to price myself at $65 per hour. If I'm expected to watch 4 hours of footage plus eight hours of editing, my price would be $780.
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Old March 25th, 2006, 07:15 PM   #3
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Thanks Chris, sounds reasonable to me. Would anyone else agree or disagree on these terms?
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Old March 26th, 2006, 02:52 AM   #4
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something to think about first:

do you consider yourself a fast "proficient" editor....or are you at a "learning" pace?

if you're quick and proficient....charge the standard rate for your "area". $65.00 per hour is actually quite high. THere's tons of editors here in LA(Hollywood) that edit for various networks that make a lot less. im sure if you're in high demand...you'll get the higher rates but for the type project you posted...I'd be surprised if they pay the 65-hr.
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Old March 26th, 2006, 11:42 AM   #5
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Look at the footage first. If you've got quality footage shot by a competent cam op - great. If you've got Bob from accounting swinging around a full auto consumer camera - good luck.

Mike
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Old March 26th, 2006, 01:05 PM   #6
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oh yeah...forgot about that....if the camera work is realy good....this makes your job as editor more streamline, but if the footage looks marginal.....your edit job could take much longer because you may have to "fix" things that you woldnt have had to with good camera work

i think 20 to 40 per hour is a more realistic rate.
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Old March 26th, 2006, 05:07 PM   #7
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First, I would have to go by the customer's word as far as prof. vs. amateur footage. They are about 400 miles away. I'm sure when I speak with them I'll be able to tell quickly.

Second, I really don't mind if it's amateur footage (even though I'd much prefer to work with good footage shot with a prosumer cam - but I doubt it).

If it's amateur footage but the job pays fairly well, I'll put the best possible edit together and keep my name off of it since I didn't shoot it.


Joe, I'll have to agree with you that after thinking about it, $65 for most folks is steep - I'll probably lower it to the $35-40 ph range. However, besides color correction, I won't take lots of time fixing things (like steadying shots, for example), and I'll be upfront about that.

I've already got lots on my plate as it is.
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Old March 26th, 2006, 05:15 PM   #8
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Hey Brandon-

Good luck and keep us posted once you've completed....
joe




Quote:
Originally Posted by Brandon Wood
First, I would have to go by the customer's word as far as prof. vs. amateur footage. They are about 400 miles away. I'm sure when I speak with them I'll be able to tell quickly.

Second, I really don't mind if it's amateur footage (even though I'd much prefer to work with good footage shot with a prosumer cam - but I doubt it).

If it's amateur footage but the job pays fairly well, I'll put the best possible edit together and keep my name off of it since I didn't shoot it.


Joe, I'll have to agree with you that after thinking about it, $65 for most folks is steep - I'll probably lower it to the $35-40 ph range. However, besides color correction, I won't take lots of time fixing things (like steadying shots, for example), and I'll be upfront about that.

I've already got lots on my plate as it is.
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Old March 26th, 2006, 05:25 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brandon Wood
I've already got lots on my plate as it is.
It's a shame we don't live closer. I'd be willing to lend a hand. It can't be any worse than the footage I get every year from this junior football league (10-12 yr olds) team. They'll send me about 6-8, 8mm tapes for me to capture and edit. It's fun work.

Church/non-profit, I'd lean more towards the $30-$40 range, too. Good luck!
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Old April 2nd, 2006, 07:43 PM   #10
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Just a thought

This may not be an issue, but make sure the client has rights to the footage. Most professionals or businesses want to make the money for editing footage they shoot. If the organization taped the footage themselves, no problem. If they asked for a copy of raw footage from the local cable company or production house, you may find yourself in a sticky situation. Many people not in the business do not fully understand copyright and ownership of footage, so you may want to ask a few questions and possibly even get written permission to edit this footage from the original shooter.
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Old April 2nd, 2006, 08:37 PM   #11
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Your rate has to be based on your business needs, not your client's.

A typical business model involves about 20-25 paid hours a weeks and many more hours doing things like computer maintenance, talking to potential clients, paper work, buying supplies, updating the web page, marketing, etc.

If you're an editor, there's the frequent cost of software updates, the likelihood you'll have to get a new computer every 2 years or so, monitor for color correction, deck for input, insurance for your gear, utility bills, rent or mortgage for your home/office, groceries, the car and all its expenses (if you have one) etc. Don't forget you might actually want to make money to go out to dinner or go to a movie or buy a toy.

In my market $30/hr on 20-25 paid hours could barely pay for rent and utilities. Houston TX though has about a $40 lower cost of living though for example so $30-$40/hr might be a fair rate in your area.

If you haven't seen the source video, give an estimate based on the job description. At the end of that time send them an approval copy (with window time code burned it). At that point they can decide to pay for additional color correction, audio sweetening, more fx work. This way they'll have the basic job done or they may find it worthwhile to pay for more time for fixes or other enhancements. Don't forget to add dubs to the price if the want any.

BTW, asking to see the raw video first is exactly the kind of unpaid stuff that eats up your time. Nothing wrong with working that way but you need to take that into account when you figure out how many paid hours you actually can do in a week to meet your expenses, have money for new software/gear, etc.
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Old April 2nd, 2006, 11:48 PM   #12
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UPDATE:

I told her $35 per hr., which I believe is fair for my market area. The footage was shot by some high school students from taking a video training class last summer, and they evidently used prosumer cams. The footage is very good and I got lucky to have lots of great footage to work with.

BTW, she said the per hr. cost was right in her budget, so it worked out perfectly.

Thanks for the advice from everyone, it was invaluable.


p.s. Hey Edward, where in TX is San Patricio anyway? Is it near San Antonio?
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Old April 3rd, 2006, 01:32 AM   #13
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Great Points Craig.....the lower rates I mentioned was for in house meaning YOUR house and not a rented studio. Most studios in California wouldn;t touch this sort of footage for lees than 60.00 per hour but there's so many freelance guys with edit bays in their apartments that do this sort of work for much less than the 65-hr. It's tuff unless youre in high demand because there's so many that will do the work for less and cut the rates to intollerable rates. I bet the rates in NYC are up there considering the cost of living, etc.




Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig Seeman
Your rate has to be based on your business needs, not your client's.

A typical business model involves about 20-25 paid hours a weeks and many more hours doing things like computer maintenance, talking to potential clients, paper work, buying supplies, updating the web page, marketing, etc.

If you're an editor, there's the frequent cost of software updates, the likelihood you'll have to get a new computer every 2 years or so, monitor for color correction, deck for input, insurance for your gear, utility bills, rent or mortgage for your home/office, groceries, the car and all its expenses (if you have one) etc. Don't forget you might actually want to make money to go out to dinner or go to a movie or buy a toy.

In my market $30/hr on 20-25 paid hours could barely pay for rent and utilities. Houston TX though has about a $40 lower cost of living though for example so $30-$40/hr might be a fair rate in your area.

If you haven't seen the source video, give an estimate based on the job description. At the end of that time send them an approval copy (with window time code burned it). At that point they can decide to pay for additional color correction, audio sweetening, more fx work. This way they'll have the basic job done or they may find it worthwhile to pay for more time for fixes or other enhancements. Don't forget to add dubs to the price if the want any.

BTW, asking to see the raw video first is exactly the kind of unpaid stuff that eats up your time. Nothing wrong with working that way but you need to take that into account when you figure out how many paid hours you actually can do in a week to meet your expenses, have money for new software/gear, etc.
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