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technique and pricing for simple DVD conversions

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Bob Cole
technique and pricing for simple DVD conversions
on Jun 4, 2005 at 1:10:29 pm

The low end clients keep coming... and I need to find a way to deal with them.

I have editing clients whom I want to keep coming to me, rather than finding someone else, who want to put their old productions (as many as 30 of them apiece) on DVD. I've been using the Digital Rapids 500, Adobe Encore, and DVD Decrypter for the reliable burn -- a three-step process that inevitably takes awhile.

These clients simply want to either: (a) insert the DVD and it plays, or (b) insert the DVD, hit "play" on the machine/remote.

What sort of pricing structure works for these low-end jobs? I have a feeling I'm competing with shops that have one-step encoder/burners, and there's no way I can get away for long with charging editing rates.

-- Bob Cole


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Alex Alexzander
Re: technique and pricing for simple DVD conversions
on Jun 4, 2005 at 3:06:31 pm

Personally, I don't think these super low end ones are worth it. There is a wide difference in price between companies. Some people will pay $800 to $1,250 for a MiniDV based job with a main menu and a chapter menu. If you want motion menus, it can start to go up to $1,500 per menu for the artwork alone.

Other formats cost more and varying encoders then come into play. I mean, if someone has a D5 master and wants a DVD, its another issue. How will the artist create the cover wrap, and disc art? Do we have to go back to film to get a good shot for the artwork or was a photographer on location taking high resolution images in anticipation of the artwork needed later for the cover, ad slicks, and so on.

I mention all that because, just spending time on the artwork for the Amaray case and film output for the prints alone is going to cost around a $60 to $140 each alone. It requires that someone knows layout pretty well too. If you have to be someone who already knows a little about print design and layout, you're that much better off.

Software encoders are rarely faster than real-time, and good encodes take a while in software. You have to be ready to accept varying formats from your clients, and be ready to encode them quickly. Factor in the menu, if there is even to be a menu, and the time it takes to format the DVD, and send it. Then you have the overhead of even dealing with the client in the first place. All of this has to be paid for by the client.

So in doing the math, you will find two things.

1. Your price.
2. You belief in its viability

In other words, will the client get value from what you need to charge for you to be able to provide this service to your client?


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Noah Kadner
Re: technique and pricing for simple DVD conversions
on Jun 4, 2005 at 6:22:55 pm

Get an off the shelf VCR style DVD recorder. It's fool proof and super quick. That's what the low end clients will be more than happy with.

Noah


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Borjis
Re: technique and pricing for simple DVD conversions
on Jun 6, 2005 at 4:52:06 pm



Noah's right.

I would add that It may not be a good idea to not deal with them.
Word of mouth can be a great asset and that happens more often
with consumer based clients. They can represent a substantial
amount of income. All of my "low-end" clients brought my business
an extra $ 45,000 in income in 2004, up 20% from 2003. Would you
rather not have that extra money?

Give them a good price with a good quick and painless process such as a dvd recorder. Panasonic I recommend because of excellent quality, reliability and playback for the masses.


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Bob Cole
Re: technique and pricing for simple DVD conversions
on Jun 6, 2005 at 6:00:14 pm

[Borjis] "Give them a good price with a good quick and painless process such as a dvd recorder. Panasonic I recommend because of excellent quality, reliability and playback for the masses."


Which Panasonic model, and what's a good pricing structure? I've seen some on the Internet which are very low.

-- Bob


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Borjis
Re: technique and pricing for simple DVD conversions
on Jun 6, 2005 at 9:07:16 pm



Any of the Panasonic DMR models will do. Mines an E30.


Listing Pricing info is a little of a taboo for good or bad.

But I can tell you this, do google searches for DVD video
and film transfers. Find a lot of online price guides
and figure out the cost from that. Thats what I had to do
to keep up with my online competitors.

Factor that the DVD Recorder is machine time because all
you do is set it up and come back when its about done.
Once the machine is paid for, it's gravy from there.

and here's a last tip:
charge a setup fee (people always accept it)
and charge by the disc not by the time. That way you'll come
out ahead so to speak on smaller tape transfers and even
out on larger ones, but then economy of scale kicks in
and you still make out well.



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BrAd S
Re: technique and pricing for simple DVD conversions
on Jun 13, 2005 at 8:40:56 pm

I love the idea of bringing on a set top DVD recorder for the small jobs. Instead of sending people to the local wedding guy, I can actually make some money on the call, "I've got some home movies I'd like to transfere to DVD." Also, I could easily send out screening DVDs instead of screending VHS copies.

Question:
Which, if any, of the models allow for menu's and chapters markers? If they burn directly from a VHS, do you have to sit through the whole thing to add chapter markers, or can you do that later?
Also, can these recorders handle really bad video? What happens when a client brings in a very poor VHS tape? (aren't they all?) Does it just gloss over sync loss and torn video?

All I need is to talk to someone who's used these, instead of a sales guy at best buy.

Thanks,
BrAD



Praise to the COW

BrAd Steiner
ImageWorks Media Group


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