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Is this business model viable?

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Nina Staum
Is this business model viable?
on Apr 18, 2008 at 7:49:53 pm

Does anyone work at home exclusively as an offline editor? I have 8 yrs experience in editing, several TV docs and short dramas on my resume, and continue to get sporadic freelance calls despite the fact I have not been a freelance editor for over five years and have never advertised. My ideal would be to edit long-form work at home, probably with the odd corporate on the side. I own a small out of date Avid DV system that is entirely reasonable for that dream, but not broadcast quality. I would plan to send projects to either a production company for online or do the online edit myself at an independent filmmakers' co-op, depending on the project.


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walter biscardi
Re: Is this business model viable?
on Apr 19, 2008 at 12:19:16 pm

Not sure how viable this is anymore as even home-based systems can be top of the line HD broadcast these days. I honestly don't know anyone who is even doing an offline / online workflow anymore with the low cost of large hard drive arrays these days. It's easier and faster to simply capture the footage at full online resolution and completely finish a show from start to finish.

Does anybody work at home these days? Absolutely, a lot of editors here in Atlanta work from their homes. It's a very viable business model with the editing systems available these days. But all the editors I know have full broadcast capable systems and the only thing they need to rent are the VTRs for ingest.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Biscardi Creative Media
HD and SD Production for Broadcast and Independent Productions.

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Brendan Coots
Re: Is this business model viable?
on Apr 19, 2008 at 5:06:05 pm

I agree with Walter. If you want to do this, working from home isn't the problem - your rig is. A decent mac pro with Final Cut Studio 2 will run you about $3500 total if you set up a business account with Apple. If you add 3 additional 500GB drives (another $400) in RAID-0, you could handle anything up to 2K.

I would also add that, under your model, clients will more than likely want to sit in on sessions. You will want to have a room in your house that is your dedicated edit suite, and deck it out to be comfortable for clients and feel reasonably professional.

Brendan Coots

Splitvision Digital

http://www.splitvisiondigital.com


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walter biscardi
Re: Is this business model viable?
on Apr 19, 2008 at 7:34:09 pm

[Brendan Coots] "I would also add that, under your model, clients will more than likely want to sit in on sessions. You will want to have a room in your house that is your dedicated edit suite, and deck it out to be comfortable for clients and feel reasonably professional."

And this is entirely do-able. The first two years or so of my company was all run out of an extra bedroom in our house. I purchased a full $30,000 FCP system from scratch including BetaSP deck, sound systems, broadcast monitors, the whole works because that's what my clients were used to working with.

But I set up the room pretty much as a professional edit suite so when we were in that room, it was all business. My clients loved it and when we moved to our new facility, I pretty much brought the same feel to that place which the clients continue to enjoy.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Biscardi Creative Media
HD and SD Production for Broadcast and Independent Productions.

STOP STARING AND START GRADING WITH APPLE COLOR Apple Color Training DVD available now!
Read my Blog!
View Walter Biscardi's profile on LinkedIn


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Bruce Bennett
Re: Is this business model viable?
on Apr 20, 2008 at 2:21:59 pm

[Brendan Coots] "I would also add that, under your model, clients will more than likely want to sit in on sessions. You will want to have a room in your house that is your dedicated edit suite, and deck it out to be comfortable for clients and feel reasonably professional."

Brendan has a good point here. I use both scenerios for my subcontractors (set up for clients and not set up for clients). Those who are not set-up for me or my clients know that they need to provide me with "more than usual" approvals via DVD or encoded ftp'd files. In my opinion, these "extra steps" should be obsorbed by YOU and not charged in addtion to your normal rates (i.e, "Why should I pay for you not being set up for me to sit in the hot seat?").

Bruce



Bruce Bennett
Bennett Marketing & Media Production, LLC


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Nina Staum
Re: Is this business model viable?
on Apr 20, 2008 at 2:25:19 pm

Thanks for the honest responses.

A $4000 investment on a system would be totally reasonable, considering you could make that back on one corporate project. I am not super attached to Avid and I've edited FCP and I think I would find it preferable for corporate work.

My concern is that if I'm going to finish broadcast-quality projects, you get into a bunch of other things you need, like scopes and a decent monitor...although I guess for a doc you could just rent them for a week while you finish and if you get a series you're probably making enough to buy that stuff.

My other concern is the leap of faith...although I *have* been offered docs and TV series as work-from-home editor, I would feel kinda stupid if I gave up a perfectly good job and bought a fancy FCP and then ended up cutting wedding videos. I'm not concerned about making the same amount of money, I'm more interested in finding a way to work that's better for my family.


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walter biscardi
Re: Is this business model viable?
on Apr 20, 2008 at 5:58:56 pm

[Nina Staum] "My concern is that if I'm going to finish broadcast-quality projects, you get into a bunch of other things you need, like scopes and a decent monitor...although I guess for a doc you could just rent them for a week while you finish and if you get a series you're probably making enough to buy that stuff."

Honestly, we have zero hardware scopes in our facility, never have. We use FCP and Color's Scopes for all that. But yes, you do need a good quality broadcast monitor which you could rent for the final color grading. For just your day to day editing you can easily purchase a 42" Panasonic Pro Plasma for just under $1,000.

[Nina Staum] "My other concern is the leap of faith...although I *have* been offered docs and TV series as work-from-home editor, I would feel kinda stupid if I gave up a perfectly good job and bought a fancy FCP and then ended up cutting wedding videos"

You have to make the decision that's best for you. I would suggest you invest in an updated system that doesn't put you out too much. Like you said, maybe a $3,000 - $4,000 setup that you can start out by working at night and on weekends for side projects. If the work really starts building up, then you can make a decision to go off on your own.

Nobody on these forums can tell you if going off on your own is the right decision because only you know all the factors in your career and your family life. For me, it was a good decision. I've been self employed for 11 years now, 8 of them with Biscardi Creative Media, and I'm very fortunate to be where I am. I have a very supportive wife and no children so it was a bit easier.

The best you can do is start out developing clients on the side and see if the opportunity feels right to you to make a clean break.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Biscardi Creative Media
HD and SD Production for Broadcast and Independent Productions.

STOP STARING AND START GRADING WITH APPLE COLOR Apple Color Training DVD available now!
Read my Blog!
View Walter Biscardi's profile on LinkedIn


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Mark Suszko
Re: Is this business model viable?
on May 3, 2008 at 8:21:25 pm

If your home is out in the 'burbs, technically you may be violating zoning regs. Most of the time this will not lead to much if any trouble, depends how many people and trucks come and go each day from your driveway, and how blatantly you advertise. But a cheesed-off neighbor might turn you in some day.

Since I more or less seem to live in edit suites these days, I'd rather it was home. OTOH, if I tried to work out of the home, it's a very disruptive household, not conducive to clients visiting. Also, every once in a while, you get a creep or nutjob for a client, and now you have them coming to YOUR HOUSE. About a year back, some COW poster talked about how such a setup led to a very dangerous and uncomfortable situation that got physical.

So maybe a studio apartment NEAR the house is a better bet overall.


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Nina Staum
Re: Is this business model viable?
on May 5, 2008 at 2:37:03 pm

That's a valid point about bringing creepy people into your home. I don't know that it would make me not want to work at home, since you can have so much more flexibility and keep the costs down. But it's probably good to keep safety at the top of the list and get to know people a bit before inviting them into your home.



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