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Re: (Business advice) How long it takes to edit a 52 minute doc

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Mark Suszko
Re: (Business advice) How long it takes to edit a 52 minute doc
on Apr 15, 2014 at 2:24:32 pm
Last Edited By Mark Suszko on Apr 15, 2014 at 2:26:34 pm

David is right. If you know your day rate, charge weekly. A flat rate means you are most likely to under-charge and wind up losing money.

As far as estimating, as you see, it is not a simple answer. And it gets more complicated, the less firm of a direction or script or outline you have in advance. You can expect to spend a week to ten days, just logging and ingesting the footage. We don't know your shooting ratio; did they shoot only the bare minimum to tell the story, or did they do many, many alternate takes and angles? The fastest linear edit job I ever did took exactly two times as long as the running length of the finished work to execute, but that was pretty much cuts, only, based on an hour's worth of footage all shot in chronological sequence, with only one take for most of the shots. Famously, ( or rather, infamously, ) on "Apocalypse Now", they were able to agree on one cut per DAY, on most days.

As far as deadlines, if there is is a fixed deadline of three weeks to air, then what happens is, the program is declared "finished" at that deadline, but *how* "finished" it is, you can't say. You can only say: "it is as good and complete as I could make it in the time you allowed me". You have to sort of triage the edit as you go, not wasting a lot of time experimenting with alternate cuts, and concentrate on getting an overall form to it first, leaving more artful coloring, sound design, and music or graphics decisions for later, if there's time left. If you have a real script, you can count the pages and relate them to a calendar, to say: you must be on page N by day Y, mapped out for each day, to get done on time.

And no, this is not generally the best way to make something extraordinary in a doc. When you don't have time to be artful, you have to cut more brutally, in "news package" style.

Check out the Business and marketing forum, if you have further questions - this topic is right up their alley.


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