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How Long To Edit a Reality Show?

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Emily Geraghty
How Long To Edit a Reality Show?
on Nov 8, 2017 at 10:39:38 pm

Hi!

I'm working on a project that's taking me longer than I'd like it to, and probably longer than my company would like it to. So I thought I'd ask ya'll what your opinion is.

I'm a producer, shooter, editor sort of person. I produced, directed and edited a 3-cam reality show style web video over the course of 30 days. It includes about 6 hours of 3-cam footage + external audio, and a blogs shot on an iPhone for every day, 27 days.

Pulling selects, putting everything together, scoring, etc...looks like it's going to take me about 8 days for a 20 minute rough cut.

This doesn't include days where I'm in meetings and lose 1.5 hours, an hour here, a half hour there.

I feel like a crazy person that it's taking me as long as it's taking me.

Does anyone have experience in making reality TV? Can you tell me what usually goes into your edit schedules? Let me know any and all thoughts you have.

Thanks,
Em


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Shane Ross
Re: How Long To Edit a Reality Show?
on Nov 8, 2017 at 11:31:31 pm

Well, for an hour long show (45 min)...where we already have story producers who've pulled together rough scene work...meaning they've already combed the hundreds of hours of footage to narrow it down to smaller sections...it takes 6 editors 5 days to make a rough cut. So that's 30 days right there, just for the rough cut, and for already roughed out scenes. Then a few days (all editors) for the fine cut, and more for the locked pic. An hour long show might take two months of edit time to get done (which when we have 6 editors, takes two weeks).

Again, this is with someone (story producer) already watching ALL of the footage, and making VERY rough scenes. That us editors need to watch the footage around to make sure we get the good moments.

And this includes all the time it takes to cut the music and SFX in, as our music is THE music used.

Reality shows are not quick edits. The more footage you have to deal with, the longer it takes.

Shane
Little Frog Post
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Emily Geraghty
Re: How Long To Edit a Reality Show?
on Nov 9, 2017 at 12:10:16 am

Well this makes me feel a lot better. Thanks!


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Bob Zelin
Re: How Long To Edit a Reality Show?
on Nov 9, 2017 at 10:52:39 pm

H Emily,
it's none of my business to respond to a post like this, but I know Shane, and I work for a bunch of reality show companies, so I figured "what the heck - I will make my stupid comments here" -

Reality shows typically are notorious for hiring low priced labor to produce, shoot, and edit their shows. (exceptions to this are Bunim Murray in LA). The workflow that Shane has described is accurate. From reading your post for the second time, I believe that you are working for a VERY LOW BUDGET company that is producing a reality show, and "all of a sudden" YOU are personally responsible for doing ALL the work that is typically done by a team of "slave labor" that typically works for free (except for free morning bagels, and maybe lunch). You should not "feel better" after reading Shanes post. "They" found someone that is very qualified, and is willing to work for a low wage, with all kinds of crazy hours, all by yourself, so that they could complete their reality show, and not have to even buy free bagels for an "intern staff". So YES, you are suffering beyond belief, and it is unfair to you.

Just before I wrote this response, I asked my wife (due to todays insane politically correct climate) "did I sexually abuse you when I first met you" - to which she responded "YES". So I believe that #1, Shane Ross sexually abused me at some NAB show (I was too drunk to remember) and #2 - yes, you are being overworked and abused in your talent and ability to produce and edit a professional show (because your producers are TOO cheap to buy bagels for free interns (story producers) to log the footage from this show, before you even see it). YOU ARE ABUSED !

Bob Zelin

Bob Zelin
Rescue 1, Inc.
bobzelin@icloud.com


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Shane Ross
Re: How Long To Edit a Reality Show?
on Nov 12, 2017 at 2:24:53 am

[Bob Zelin] "So I believe that #1, Shane Ross sexually abused me at some NAB show (I was too drunk to remember)"

I was too drunk too. Those AJA parties with open bars are dangerous

[Bob Zelin] "#2 - yes, you are being overworked and abused in your talent and ability to produce and edit a professional show"

This is true. And if they complain that it takes too long, you can remind them about all the skills and talent and TIME that is needed to make a good show. And always threaten to leave...that tends to get attention, mainly after they hired a cheaper person to come in and a worse product is made as the result.

(PS, I think Bob was drinking when he wrote this. Although I'm not sure, he's always this ornery.)

Shane
Little Frog Post
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Mark Suszko
Re: How Long To Edit a Reality Show?
on Nov 13, 2017 at 10:14:32 pm

This could be the beginning of a very useful thread, outlining for newbies like myself all the best practices for doing such "reality" projects.

They can't complain when it's one person doing a task that is normally 5-person job. The power of a team and shared storage in these kind of productions is that, to an extent, all the sections of the show can be worked on concurrently. There's an old saying about how can a person eat an elephant - one bite at a time. But five people, all biting at the SAME time, can eat the elephant a lot quicker. This is why you see umpteen hundred names in the credits of a Marvel Movie: there's too much work for one team, one COMPANY - to do in the allotted time, so the FX work gets divided among a lot of specialized companies, each doing a part they do best, or fastest, or both.

This is not the kind of project that is efficiently done by a single editor - although, the single editor will have a singular, consistent vision and overview of everything. Really, these specific shows are much more of a "team sport", with one person overseeing the work of the others on their individual segments, to keep them in line with the overall plan.

I look forward to any tips from those who have done productions of this type, especially regarding the organization of the work and division of the tasks.


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greg janza
Re: How Long To Edit a Reality Show?
on Nov 20, 2017 at 4:50:23 pm

If you're doing it all by yourself there's no reason to feel as though you're taking forever to make it. A 30 min show is a ton of work for a single editor.

I'm just wrapping up a 24:30 non-fiction tv show that was built in the traditional documentary style of using interview soundbites as the base for all of the storytelling but with a show host for bump ins for the four segments.

I had the assistance of a veteran tv producer/writer to aid in the building of the segments. She went through all of the raw interview footage and made selects and then together we fleshed out each segment. Once we had a solid a-roll I then built all of the rest of the show.

This method took a full 30 days to get the show completely built and now we're in the final stages of the finishing work- i.e., color and sound mixing which thankfully has been farmed out.

I Hate Television. I Hate It As Much As Peanuts. But I Can’t Stop Eating Peanuts.
- Orson Welles


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Bill Davis
Re: How Long To Edit a Reality Show?
on Nov 24, 2017 at 8:50:32 pm

The very phrase "reality show" is the most egregious oxymoron of this era.

If it's a show - it ain't reality. Period.

These are extremely curated, custom designed and assembled piece of media - purpose designed to attract eyeballs - and sell them either directly to the public or to advertisers.

Distilling the boredom of ACTUAL REALITY into something that will efficiently attract enough eyeballs to be useful in making enough money to sustain the effort - is BRUTALLY hard work.

And as others have noted here far better than I ever can - the people who make "reality tv" are in it for one primary purpose - making MONEY. Full stop. People who make money as their primary goal necessarily balance income vs expenses ruthlessly. An editor is an expense. Period. Full stop. Know that going in.

To expect them to behave in ANY fashion other than maximizing profit by any means possible is to misunderstand how modern money-making works.

They will pay you as LITTLE as possible - for as MUCH work as possible - every - single - time.

The smartest bosses, IF they find you can be exceptionally useful in productivity or skill - will likely pay you enough so you don't run off with your experience and require them to replace you - but there are PLENTY of producers who don't care about turnover - and simply want as much effort for as few dollars as possible. If YOU don't want to do the scut work - they understand somebody in NewDelhi probably WILL.

This looks bleak - but in fact, it represents a push for you to understand one thing. The ONLY thing that will allow you to earn more than anyone else pushing the buttons - is your reputation. That means you can't be "as good" as the next editor. You need to be objectively BETTER at some aspect of production that it needed by the market place.

ONE way to get better is by rote learning. So sucking it up and working stupid hard for little money CAN drive you into advancing farther than your competitors.

But...

(And this is a big deal, IMO)

If you aren't constantly confronting new and unique challenges EVERY GIG you are losing ground. Basically, if you're being paid crap wages to stretch and grow - that's ONE thing. But if you are being paid crap wages to just crank out the SAME crap week after week, month after month - that should be a GIANT flashing red light and ear piercing siren.

RUN from that.

My 2 cents.

Creator of XinTwo - http://www.xintwo.com
The shortest path to FCP X mastery.


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Shane Ross
Re: How Long To Edit a Reality Show?
on Nov 25, 2017 at 11:18:26 am

[Bill Davis] "the people who make "reality tv" are in it for one primary purpose - making MONEY. Full stop."

Uhm...the people who make ANY sort of TV do so in order to make money. People who make commercials do it to make money, people who produce movies do it to make money. People who shoot and edit wedding videos do it for, what? Oh, money. Sure, to tell a good story, to entertain, but also to make money. So not sure what the point is here...this isn't only limited to reality TV.

[Bill Davis] " People who make money as their primary goal necessarily balance income vs expenses ruthlessly. An editor is an expense. Period. Full stop. Know that going in."

This is true of ANY business. Bring in people, pay them as little as you can get away with. But if it's a crucial role...such as a executive VP who knows the ins and outs of a certain business...or a CEO with connections, or a TV star with a large fan base...or editor in a reality TV show...then they need talent, and talent requires you pay them what they are worth. In reality TV, the story is MADE in the edit room. Yes, they do a lot of shooting, and in 95% of reality show, the shooting is pretty much scripted out (hope that doesn't come as a shock), but the shaping of that story is done in the edit bay. And that 5% that isn't scripted, a HUGE part of it is done via story producers and editors...getting past all that boring stuff, and making the interesting stuff look more interesting, more dramatic...digging into the material to tell the story.

That takes talent...and experience, which comes with time. But talent nuntheless, and that's why a good reality editor gets paid well. Hire someone cheap...you'll get a cheap show...a show that really isn't any good. Try to hire talent but not offer what they are worth, and you'll see that talent saying "sorry, but no" and moving on.

[Bill Davis] "They will pay you as LITTLE as possible - for as MUCH work as possible - every - single - time. "

This is true everywhere...but when it comes to reality shows, talented editors know their worth, and won't work for companies offering beans. Sure, many editors will jump at it, and yeah, they will suffer long long hours and little pay. All in order to gain experience and to be employed. But the end product won't be as good as it should. Well, not that it matters to many, they just produce any old piece of crap to throw on the air because people will watch it. As an editor who does cut reality, I can tell you, I'm amazed at some of the shows out there that actually have viewers. Boggles the mind.

I agree with most of what you said, Bill, just was taken aback by how you focused on reality TV's primary purpose is to make money. Networks put TV shows on the air to sell ads and make money, and they want the widest audience possible, so they do everything they can to target shows to gain the audience, so they can get eyes on ads. Most networks don't care how good the show is...only if it draws eyes and sells ads.

Shane
Little Frog Post
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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grinner hester
Re: How Long To Edit a Reality Show?
on Jan 10, 2018 at 7:48:56 pm

Budget 5 days per episode.



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Shane Ross
Re: How Long To Edit a Reality Show?
on Jan 10, 2018 at 11:27:42 pm

[grinner hester] "Budget 5 days per episode."

How long is the episode? How much footage do you have? Have the story producers gone through and made a REALLY TIGHT precut? On a 60 min show (43 of actual show)...we can get a ROUGH cut done in 5 days, if we have 5 editors on it, and a decent precut.

Shane
Little Frog Post
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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