I am not a professional editor and would like to hire one. I have about 100 hours of HDV footage that I would like to have edited into 1hr. What would this cost and how long would it take?
I'd have to read the script to give an accurate answer
The story I have is the discovery of the Sundance Kid including his death in 1936 in Utah. I know nothing about the editing process and would like to know the basic steps required from the filming to the finish.
Watch all of the footage.
Perhaps get the interviews transcribed so that you can write a script. This means exporting small QT files with timecode burned in and sending it to a transcription company.
Figure out the story arc. Where you want to start, go to next, and next, and then finish. Write this in the script with interviews and suggested b-roll. Also add VO where you feel it's needed to move the story along, or condense what interview subjects say.
Give the script to an editor...and all the footage. They will then make a radio cut with the VO and interview bite. Watch that to make sure that the arc goes where you want it to. Then the editor starts to flesh out the cut with b-roll and other footage...archival, stills. Oh, yeah, you will need to assemble any stills and archival footage you might want to include. And yes, it will cost money to use them.
Music...you will need to either find a composer or use companies that provide stock music. The editor will add music to the cut to aid in telling the story, and to add pacing. You will need a decent budget for music.
Or...give the footage to a seasoned editor and let them find the story. Or give them a few sound bites you want to hit, and in what order...give them the story points you want to make, and let them build from there. Collaborate in this manner as you cut.
Editing can take 5-8 weeks...if you have a very tight script. Or it can take up to a year if you aren't finished shooting yet and need an ending. Or up to 5-9 months if you are building without a script and need to tweak things here and there to make things work. There is no set duration for this. Even for TV docs, where we have a tight script, we are given between 5-8 weeks, but it might take a little less, or a little more.
And then comes the budget. Can you afford to pay an editor full time for this? Meaning $300-$600 a day? Or typically about $2500 a week (well, those are Los Angeles rates)? Because if you want this done quickly, you will need to pay an editor to work on this, as we can't work for free full time. Or, if this is offered as a side gig, one that you might have an editor work on during his non-work hours so that you don't have to pay them as much...if they consider this a "passion project"...that means they can only spend a few hours a day on the project, so the time it will take will be longer.
Many many factors in this. But no matter what, you will need a decent budget. To pay the editor, may for music (unless you have a friend who will donate time on this end), pay for archival pictures and footage (unless you get those for free too).
Little Frog Post
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def
There are lots of people who say they can edit: look for one near you who has edited work that you like, and ask her / him ... though it's usually helpful to think through as much as possible audience, outlets (distribution), story at an early stage and before shooting too much footage.
It's hard to raise much money with traditional distribution approaches for independent doc films, even if the story is spectacularly strong and the editorial and technical standards high: there's a lot of material out there and broadcasters can pick and choose. This might limit your budget, or push you towards self-distribution or web sales ...
These might help ...
I might be interested in working on something like this. Feel free to contact me.
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Thanks for the comments. I made the Sundance Kid discovery. It took me over five years to complete the research. I contracted with a person to film and make a documentary. The filming was completed on October 1, 2012. The film includes the exhumation, forensic and DNA tests. It includes some horse scenes on the very trails that Butch and Sundance used in the Robbers Roost. It includes a train and a bank robbery scenes and interviews with old times that actually knew Sundance. At the reburial we used a horse drawn Hearst with cowboys pulling the Hearst to the grave-site. A professional western cowgirl singer sang some ballads and prayer was said then he was reburied for good. This is all on film. Anyway I could not understand why he did not have the editing and the documentary finished by now so I made the original comment. I now understand how much time it takes and the different steps required.
Several years ago we contacted the history channel to see if they would be interested in the project. They said Westerns are always popular and this is a unique story. They wanted two complete one-hour documentaries to broadcast consecutively. We are on a limited budget and just cannot do what they want. I guess at this point the alternative is to produce a trailer and present this along with my book with the proof to different outlets. Where do I go from here?
Here are three newspaper links to the story.
Some people in your predicament pitch their projects on Kickstarter to raise the funds for completion. before you ask others for the money, though, you really need to have everything "squared away". This not only includes the time and expense of the editing, but also making sure all the rights and permissions are in order for every audio and visual element, every interview. Any broadcast outfit interested in your final product will insist on all these legalities being taken care of first. You should have been working on those things all along, and probably have, bug I anted to mention it.
If your shooter/ editor is halfway into the process now, better I think to stick with him rather than hand it off to another editor. If all you have is raw footage, then you can shop around some. You have to have a number of days in mind and a maximum amount you can afford.
It takes at a very bare minimum, two times the length of your raw footage, just to look it over and start picking out choice visuals or quotes. At least 200 hours then, and vey likely, more like 300 hours, to log and tag the rough selects out of a hundred raw hours of tape.
Then the footage has to be loaded into the system, unless you did that the same time as you did the initial logging. If done separately, another fifty hours, maybe.
And you haven't really cut one frame of program yet, only thrown away the most obvious trash parts.
The actual first rough cut might take one or two weeks. That's not counting audio sweetening, adding music, or color correction or fancy effects, that's only cutting together the story and leaving blank markers for effects composites, etc. So you see it takes time.
Quick funny story: in my wedding shooter days, the boss sent me to deal with a client that was unhappy. She paid for a one-hour master tape and said since we charged 200 an hour, the one hour master should cost 200 bucks and not a couple grand. I had to explain we shot two cameras for six hours making 12 hours of raw footage) and edited for three eight-hour days. I asked her if she thought a 2-hour movie in a theatre takes two hours to make. That's when she started to get it.
If you want to get a network involved, either you try to sell it to them completed, or you need to find a company with a relationship with the network to become attached to the project in a partnership...and they can then pitch the idea to the network and negotiate getting funds from the network to finish the show.
But know that then you are beholden to the network. They get to give notes and be in charge of how the documentary will be laid out. Because it is their money that is involved. Just like if you take a movie idea to a movie studio...if they give money to get it made, they can make changes..and they do.
Tough choice. How to fund it on your own and HOPE to sell it (and if you do, the network might still have changes in order to make it fit their network...such as timing it for commercial breaks and such)...or partner with a company that has a relationship with the network and go through them.
I know several companies that have such relationships...if you are interested.
Little Frog Post
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def
Wow has this been enlightening! Shane Ross gave me a badly needed education and Mark Suszko pointed to the next steep. Now Shane Ross gives me more education and an opportunity. He will be one of the first to get a copy of the book.
As far as the documentary is concerned we are hoping to remain independent. Until I read the messages on this site I was about to give up on that.
When I first mention my Sundance Kid discovery to strangers they are naturally skeptical and they should be. I don’t have my book published yet for them to see the proof and documentation. Incidentally I am getting and approving the final edit this week so hopefully the published book will be available very soon. I will leave a message here when that book is available.
I got ahead of myself a year ago when working with a screenplay writer we submitted the screenplay to a Hollywood personality. Like every else he was naturally skeptical too and just backed away. That was when I realized I have to have the book completely finished and in their hands along with the screenplay before they commit to anything.
There was only one Sundance Kid and I have his complete story from his birth to when he was murdered.