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How long to edit

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Greg Ball
How long to edit
on Feb 1, 2015 at 5:19:42 am

I'm working on a quote for a client on a series of videos that we'll shoot at their conference. I'm a fairly quick editor. They will have 24 video presentations that will be about 1 hour each. I'll be inserting PowerPoint slides into most of the presentations. Let's assume 20 slides per presentation. How long would you estimate to edit these presentations? Most will be shot with 2 cameras.

I'll also need to give the client DVDs with timecode burn-ins for approvals.

The client has suggested that it took 35 hours of editing last year. I don't know how anyone can edit 24 hours of presentations in 35 hours. What do you folks think? Thanks so much.

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Shane Ross
Re: How long to edit
on Feb 1, 2015 at 6:50:46 pm

Not sure how someone got that done in 35 hours. Because you first have to import the footage (two 48 hours of camera...and then another 24 hours of powerpoint) and prep it...multicam it or layer it and crop so you see both. Import the powerpoint presentations...and all that takes time. And from jobs i've done that are similar, it's taken 2 hours for every 1 of footage. But that's because they want me to trim things up and take out stumbles and anything repeated. If you have presentations and they are all well rehearsed and presented, then I'd say 1.5 hours per hour. That's to allow switching camera angles and dropping the powerpoint into the timeline and transition to it.

So 24 hours of edit I say 36 that is close to their original estimate. But the import and prep might add another 24 hours, shorter if you use Adobe and don't need to transcode...but you still need to bring it in, organize it...multicam it.

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Mark Suszko
Re: How long to edit
on Feb 2, 2015 at 3:53:38 pm
Last Edited By Mark Suszko on Feb 2, 2015 at 4:02:03 pm

The thing that will make the most difference here is, bringing in a switcher to live-switch the cameras and slides, then using post just for "clean-up". The cost of HD portable and semi-portable switchers has come way down, making rentals for such events as yours something to consider.

For one production of a one-hour lecture with 2 cams and slides, without a live-switch, you're looking at 2.5 hours of time to ingest tapes, or, if you use hard drives or memory cards, 30 minutes to an hour to transfer. Then figure ten minutes to synch up tracks and set up the multicam format timeline, then you have to play and jkl skim the timeline of one cam to lay down in and out points for the powerpoint stills you have saved off as jpeg or TIF. THAT part there, will be the time-killer, forcing you to work slower than real-time, so that, even if you edit stuff like this brutally fast, the best you're going to do is two hours. You don't say what the deliverable is, tape would take realtime to output, a DVD or internet file would take, say, 30 minutes to set up and render.

So, our back-of-the-napkin total for just one of these would be between 2.5 (If using P2 or hard drive captures) and 4.6, say five hours (using tape). This also assumes the editor is really not taking any breaks or meals, and is just working like a machine, hopped up on Red Bull.

Now, if you live-switch in the field, your post consists of one hour or less of loading time, and however long it takes to fix a bad take here or there, which can be found by skimming or referring to notes made during the event. If you wanted to re-insert the powerpoints for some reason, your master shows already where each one goes, so it's a drag-and-drop operation, maybe twenty minutes.

Our total for the live-switch is between 1.5 and 2.5 hours, and that time savings can be used to do the overall stack of projects faster, OR... to improve the projects' graphics, shading, sound, etc. and still do the job in the same amount of time as before, only it's now a much better-looking and sounding job.

As someone who does exactly this kind of work, many times a year, I'm happy to say, we finally got a portable HD switcher and HD scan converter (to get the PowerPoint out of the laptops) and a hard drive recorder to live-switch these babies in the field, and I'm hoping and planning to never go back to multicamming in post for seminar/lecture-type work. It's too 20th century.

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Greg Ball
Re: How long to edit
on Feb 3, 2015 at 4:32:54 pm

Thanks Shane and Mark!

Mark HD switcher and HD scan converter and hard drive recorder are you using? What cameras?

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Mark Suszko
Re: How long to edit
on Feb 3, 2015 at 10:33:44 pm


Panny 900 or P2 DVCProHD pro cameras, typically, outputting DVCProHD 720/30.

Feeding SDI with embedded audio to a new Panny AG-HMX100 Digital A/V Mixer and Switcher, recording to AJA KiPro.

Mics go to the cameras first, then, back to the switcher by SDI embedded audio, audio mixer is part of the switcher. The switcher can store a few graphics, including a title card and credits, or, if it's death by powerpoint, i.e. a LOT of slides, we bring that in via an Edirol / Roland VC-1-SC Up/Down/Cross Scan Converter, inserted between the laptop's VGA output and the projector input. Now all the sources are HD and the powerpoints will be super-sharp, even the unreadable tiny fonts become readable.

We have three kiPros, so, we can roll iso on two cameras direct into hard drives with up to 6 hours record time, or using the P2 camera cards, about 90 minutes of ISO per P2 camera, though you can keep adding cards on the fly to extend the recording time.

This setup means one director and one camera op can run the entire 2-camera gig. If the speaker never moves, you could, in desperate situations, lock down both cameras and just run the switcher, occasionally bumping a camera to new framing. This Swither, though, I believe, is also capable of working with robotic PTZ HD cameras, in which case, one guy could theoretically run 4 cams plus graphics and audio. Of course, they don't pay that guy or gal the salary of 3-5 people. That would be silly. Right?

But, the entire point of the exercise is to capture as complete and finished of a show as possible, live, spending the minimum of post time to clean up minor mistakes or tweak picture and sound issues.

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