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Albert Zogby
Special effects rate
on Feb 1, 2010 at 7:10:47 pm

Hi,

A video production company approached me and asked if I could do some special effects for a music video they were making.

They wanted a scene where some guys walk into a party where everyone else but them is a cartoon, they meet some cartoon people, and leave with the cartoon people, who then become real people.

Instead of drawing cartoon people or rotoscoping, they wanted me to use footage they shot of people in a party and use effects to make them look like cartoons. I told them I would do it for $55 an hour, and that it could take between 2 and 16 hours depending on how complicated the effects were (e.g. non-cartoon people significantly interacting with and overlapping non-cartoon people would be trickier to edit and therefore take longer). They told me that this rate was exorbitant, especially for "just applying a filter", and that they would expect to have the whole music video done for that price.

Are these guys being cheapskates or is there a more appropriate price range I should have given them?


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Shane Ross
Re: Special effects rate
on Feb 1, 2010 at 8:16:03 pm

Cheapskates. That is actually a pretty lowball rate. If they think it is just as easy as applying a plugin, then let them have at it! THey'll come back when the results they get are less than stellar.

Shows a complete ignorance of what it takes to do convincing visual effects.

Shane



GETTING ORGANIZED WITH FINAL CUT PRO DVD...don't miss it.
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Arnie Schlissel
Re: Special effects rate
on Feb 1, 2010 at 9:09:16 pm

I think your bid was exceedingly low. When someone says something like that to me, I politely tell them that they're welcome to do it themselves, and just as welcome to come back to me later if they're unhappy with the result. At my previous bid, though.

Arnie

Post production is not an afterthought!
http://www.arniepix.com/


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Tim Vaughan
Re: Special effects rate
on Feb 1, 2010 at 10:11:41 pm

While I know it is all based on where you are in the world, that rate ($55/hr) is extremely good. Ya get what ya pay for, and the lower you go, the more headaches and frustration will come. I'd walk away and do like Arnie said.

Tim


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Bret Williams
Re: Special effects rate
on Feb 2, 2010 at 9:11:56 pm

Where is he located? His rate for that complicated effect and his estimated hours sound exceedingly low. Special effects? With your own gear in your own office/home? I'm pretty sure After Effects and other Apps cost the same no matter where you are as does the gear. Not to mention the US dollar isn't worth squat anymore.

I guess I missed it. Is he located in Nicaragua or something?


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Albert Zogby
Re: Special effects rate
on Feb 2, 2010 at 9:48:11 pm

Well, I'm in the Washington, D.C. area, and I was dealing with a local upstart company, but your comment about Nicaragua might be surprisingly accurate...


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Eli Mavros
Re: Special effects rate
on Feb 3, 2010 at 8:50:27 pm

What they are asking you to do does not sound like a simple task in the slightest. If some of the people in frame are supposed to be cartoons and some not, or if only the people are supposed to be but the background isn't, this is going to require you to rotoscope if it isn't shot on green or blue screen. I assume you know what you are doing though, and if you do, you will know that the price you quoted is definitely not too high. I think the estimate of 2 hours is probably way off though, probably closer to the 16 hour side if you are indeed going to have to roto.

Eli Mavros


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Albert Zogby
Re: Special effects rate
on Feb 3, 2010 at 9:26:30 pm

I had worked out a way of using a combination of finely tuned filters on the crowd footage to make them resemble cartoons or painted characters, and then compositing footage of the other actors acting in front of a green screen. That way, I could make the green screen actors appear as regular people in a room full of cartoon people.

The frame-by-frame/rotoscope-type work would have mostly been keyframing changing matte shapes to block the filters from some parts of the scene, and would have been necessary when the cartoon people overlapped with the non-cartoon people while interacting with each other, and I mentioned to the potential client that the more of that they wanted the longer it would take.



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Alan Okey
Re: online and grading a feature in FCP/COLOR
on Feb 1, 2010 at 10:16:39 pm

If their budget for an entire music video is $880.00 (your VFX rate of $55 x 16 hours), I think that tells you just how professional of a "video production company" they are.

I can only imagine what the footage is going to look like. They're probably shooting the video on their cousin's son's friend's phone camera, using only available light and no on-set music playback.

Run.


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