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Editing rate for consistent multicam work.

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Patrick Simpson
Editing rate for consistent multicam work.
on Jul 22, 2011 at 3:30:30 pm

I'm looking for advice for how much to charge for some editing work.

I'm being offered consistent work editing multicam business seminars for a business that seems well established; I would be doing the bulk of editing and then handing it off to be polished and put on DVD. Eventually I would possibly be doing the polishing and DVD authoring.

I'm 26 years old and have been doing serious editing since I was about 20; I'm quick, have a good sense of rhythm and am technically savvy. I'm working in the Detroit area - a market that I'm new to (and so not established in).

Most of my work in the past has been working on a (low) salary for a non profit organization and I'm trying to work out what a realistic rate should be as a freelancer. It should be noted, too that I'm working on my own Final Cut system.

I want to be competitive without underselling myself and without overcharging for my experience and for the market. Is somewhere around $20/hr unrealistic? It sounds like the client is looking for some kind of a rate break since it would be consistent work. I also don't want to scare the job away as I'd like the work but I dont want to set myself up for exploitation.

This is all very new, tricky and complicated for me and I'd appreciate any of your expert advice.


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Josh Paulson
Re: Editing rate for consistent multicam work.
on Jul 22, 2011 at 6:56:10 pm

$20 an hour is very low. You can edit mulicam in FCP realtime with the multiclip feature and maybe do an entire project in an hour! You have skills and should be paid for them. I've seen production houses charge from $75 and hour to $150 for work similar to this. Since the edit machine is your, you should charge like you're the owner of your own business. But it's all about striking a balance with your client and doing what you feel comfortable with. I just think $20/hour is low for an experienced editor.

"Cool it preppy." - A.C. Slater


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Scott Sheriff
Re: Editing rate for consistent multicam work.
on Jul 23, 2011 at 6:45:31 pm

[Patrick Simpson] "Is somewhere around $20/hr unrealistic?"

Yes. Not only unrealistic, it's insane. I have two words for you. "Low Ball".
Is this one of those Craigslist jobs? Tell them to take a hike.
That is only around 40k per yr if you break it down to a full time job. Editors on average should make 50k-65k plus benefits, and that is with the 'company' assuming all the overhead.
Keep in mind you are the 'company', and have overhead. Hours being put on the machine, utilities, insurance, etc. And freelancers generally charge more than salaried editors since you don't usually edit 40 hrs per week. Some of your time will be consumed doing billing, maintenance, etc.
FYI You should post stuff like this in the business forum.

Scott Sheriff
Director
http://www.sstdigitalmedia.com


"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur." ---Red Adair

Where were you on 6/21?


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Patrick Simpson
Re: Editing rate for consistent multicam work.
on Jul 23, 2011 at 10:46:42 pm

Should I delete this post and repost in the biz forum or is that bad ettiquette?

20" intel iMac, 2.66 GHz, 4GB ram
View my reel - http://www.youtube.com/patrickdsimpson



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Mark Suszko
Re: Editing rate for consistent multicam work.
on Jul 25, 2011 at 2:47:11 pm

You don't want to make a habit of cross-posting, but it isn't hurting anyone, let it slide this time. We can talk more about money side in the Biz forum, but since we're here, you need to have figured out a real hourly rate, and you need the best possible handle on the hours it is going to take you to do this kind of work.

You don't say in your post, for example, if your cameras are tape or file-based. Right off the bat this makes a huge difference in the amount of hours spent, considering the tape has to be ingested in realtime, but file-based cameras shooting to memory cards or a hard drive can have the files transfer to your scratch drive much faster, or, if you like to roll the dice, you could work directly from the original file media, if your time pressure was that bad. Mind you, I don't advise that practice as you risk losing all your original media; I would always take the time to port my media to a scratch drive and leave the originals as backups. But a file-based camera system means you could save three or more hours per day per job.

Assuming the live event was an hour, you shot with three tape-based cameras, you have three hours of footage to digitize. Then figure you have set up multicam and you play the thing in real-time, marking the switches "on the fly". That will be an hour or so, minimum. Figure a half hour to go back and tweak a few of the edits you put down. Now figure some time for cleaning up the audio, adding titles and music bumpers, color correcting the video, and tweaking the powerpoint slides that were shot live. You know that if you bring them in now as tif files they are going to look WAY sharper than what was shot off the screens at the live event, so you do that, because that's just how you roll as a perfectionist, and you line each shot up as an insert into the original footage. Depending on how many slides there were, and how intricate you want to get in how you add them to the timeline, this could be another 2 hours, maybe more.

Six and a half hours is what I have figured at this point. Playback out to a DVD recorder or videotape master in realtime: 1 hour. Alternately, exporting the hour to DVDSP or using the timeline's "share to DVD " function: 1-2 hours to render has been my experience. Roughly the same time might be spent compressing the files for web viewing, if you don't do DVDs.

Now you have a DVD master, and you'll have to make ten dubs, perhaps. The amount of time needed to get this number depends on what you have for equipment, but say you have the 10-bay DVD duplicator that I use, it can spit out ten 2-hour DVD's in about 5 minutes, and the adjacent printer can inkjet label them in about ten minutes.

You are pretty darned close to an 8-hour day now, and we didn't figure you a lunch hour, morning and afternoon coffee break/smoke break/ get your butt out of the chair and exercise break, whatever.

The thing is more or less a full-day job, especially so when some little problem pops up (and they almost always do) so you should probably charge your day rate on it, just to keep things simpler than making it an hourly thing. Day rate for this kind of work makes things easy because it means one consistent rate for ALL the elements you may have to bring to the party, all the gear, all the various apps, all your tricks of the trade, whatever it took to get it done. Don't offer half-day rates, invariably a job takes a little more than ahalf day to do, has been my experience, and you are unlikely to be able to put th other half of the day to productive use for some other client, so you're cutting your rate in half for no benefit much of the time if you offer half-days.

So, do you know your day rate? You should. You should know it from calculating ALL your expenses and adding in costs for investing in your further training, for maintaining and upgrading your gear and software, for your insurance and your expendables and utilities and etc. PLUS your actual profit margin. This gives you a hard number, below which, it is costing you money to do the work, and above which, you are getting ahead. If the job takes less than a day, you can either just leave it like that, because the job kept you from taking on any other paying assignments - or if you're a goody-two-shoes, or the clients are grinders, apply a discount in hours to the NEXT job you do for the client. Or give them a rebate on the dubbing part, something like that. A very common method for billing post work is to bill in thirds: a third to start the project, a third at the middle, roughpcut stage, the final third on delivery. You can also do it in halves, but get some money up front no matter what.

You gotta approach this as a business first, in order to stay around long enough to be an artist about it.


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Scott Sheriff
Re: Editing rate for consistent multicam work.
on Jul 26, 2011 at 6:55:52 pm

[Patrick Simpson] "Should I delete this post and repost in the biz forum or is that bad ettiquette?"

No worries.
I was just thinking the business forum would attract more opinions on this type of thing.

Scott Sheriff
Director
http://www.sstdigitalmedia.com


"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur." ---Red Adair

Where were you on 6/21?


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Walter Soyka
Re: Editing rate for consistent multicam work.
on Jul 28, 2011 at 9:32:51 pm

[Patrick Simpson] "I'm trying to work out what a realistic rate should be as a freelancer"

See the Freelance Switch rate calculator [link] for some guidance here.


[Patrick Simpson] "It sounds like the client is looking for some kind of a rate break since it would be consistent work."

Any hour that you work at a discount is an hour you could be working for someone else at full rate. My time is a little cheaper by the day than it is by the hour, but I don't (and haven't been asked) to give a volume discount on my day rate.

I do sometimes negotiate project fees instead of timed billing -- this can work well for everyone if you can carefully control the scope. Projects that are subject to large, time-consuming changes are not good candidates for project fees.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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