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Billing Quandary

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Chris Babbitt
Billing Quandary
on Nov 15, 2009 at 11:36:24 pm

I apologize in advance for the double-posting. It was suggested that I post over here after posting on the FCP forum.

I have always considered the process of capturing from tape as well as laying back to tape part of the editing process, so I have charged my regular editing rates for these processes as well as the actual time spent editing. The same goes for DVD encoding & authoring. This seems to me to be perfectly appropriate for the usual short-length projects, and nobody objects. However, I am now working on a seminar series with a total length of about 50 hours, recorded on 2-hour DVCAM tapes. So, if we need to do only a couple of edits in one of these 2-hour segments, it involves 2 hours of capturing and up to 1.5 hours of encoding or 2 hours laying back to tape, while the actual editing is like 5-10 minutes. I want to be fair to my client, but the time spent capturing is time I cannot spend on another project. Do the rest of you charge varying rates for these processes?




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grinner hester
Re: Billing Quandary
on Nov 16, 2009 at 1:40:43 am

No. None of my time is worth less than other time. As you said... you can't bill full rate while ties up doing this stuff.. unless charging fullr ate for doing it. If they can get it done cheaper elsewhere then they should do that. You should not charge less because it's less chellenging. You are charging for time.



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Rich Rubasch
Re: Billing Quandary
on Nov 16, 2009 at 2:02:00 am

We have multiple systems so as long as I can cut on another system and the uploading can be automated....simple logging and let the decks run, then our uploading rate is $125 while our editing rate is $175....$225 for HD

Grinner is assuming that he is tying up his only system and his time. But even with a simple second Mac workstation you can cut, build graphics, author, work on other things. That way I can bill $125/hour to upload while I'm billing $150 an hour to build animations on another project.

So although Grinner thinks he's making as much money as he can, he's not. And I LOVE telling clients that I am going to charge a lower rate for the long uploads because it's fair and they love the good news.

Bill what you think is fair for the long uploads, get a second Mac and bill for your time on that Mac too. You'll be making $300+ per hour in no time!

Rich Rubasch
Tilt Media Inc.
Video Production and Post
Owner/President/Editor/Designer/Animator


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Steve Wargo
Re: Billing Quandary
on Nov 16, 2009 at 3:22:27 am

We charge 65% of hourly for capture. And $1.50 a minute for layback, plus a setup charge.

Steve Wargo
Tempe, Arizona
It's a dry heat!

Sony HDCAM F-900 & HDW-2000/1 deck
5 Final Cut (not quite PRO) systems
Sony HVR-M25 HDV deck
2-Sony EX-1 HD .

Ask me how to Market Yourself using Send Out Cards


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Mark Suszko
Re: Billing Quandary
on Nov 16, 2009 at 3:58:23 am

If the machinery is not tied up so you can't do anything else, then the issue is if it is unattended capture, or really a first rough cut at the stage of ingest.

If you spend more time/effort in a rough edit during ingest, you reduce the final edit time. Add the times up and compare to the longer edit you'd do if you *didn't* pre-screen during ingest. Are we maybe adding up the same number, just in two different columns?

If you consider the proper logging and pre-cutting in ingest to be editing, (and I do), then you should charge for editing. If you are ingesting without any supervision, call it dubbing and charge what you charge for dubbing time.

What you don't want to get into is an argument with clients about what part of your time is more valuable. I once got sent to a client of the wedding video guy I worked for to collect. She adamantly argued that she was told our work would cost fifty dollars an hour, and her master tape was one hour long, so she only owed us fifty dollars for a six-hour, two-camera shoot with eight hours of editing. I asked her if she thought the Hollywood movie she paid six dollars to see was all made in two hours.



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Nick Griffin
Re: Billing Quandary
on Nov 16, 2009 at 12:57:41 pm

I'm with Rich on this one and, unless you're just starting out, it's almost a no-brainer. Our reason for having multiple systems is expressed as "the computers should be waiting for you, not you waiting for the computers."

I'll also point out another obvious no-brainer, the kind of un-attended digitising / uploading / dubing that Chris is talking about is a whole different ball game than the more typical scene selection / setting ins and outs for a complex edit. That's just the first step of the editing process and therefore should be billable at the same rate as the later stages of editing.


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Steve Wargo
Agreed
on Nov 17, 2009 at 6:54:23 am

I agree with Nick and should have clarified earlier. If it's selecting shots, it's editing. If it's typing in a cut list and walking away while the machine works, it's something less. This is where the second system rule comes in. If you've only got one system, you can't penalize the client because you don't have enough of the proper tools. Well, you can. But that's only gonna last till they figure it out.



Steve Wargo
Tempe, Arizona
It's a dry heat!

Sony HDCAM F-900 & HDW-2000/1 deck
5 Final Cut (not quite PRO) systems
Sony HVR-M25 HDV deck
2-Sony EX-1 HD .

Ask me how to Market Yourself using Send Out Cards


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Chris Babbitt
Re: Agreed
on Nov 17, 2009 at 5:08:31 pm

OK, so what percentage of your full editing-rate is fair to charge for a straight capture or batch capture?
What about for encoding the DVD?



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Rich Rubasch
Re: Agreed
on Nov 17, 2009 at 8:23:00 pm

As I stated earlier, we are $125/hr versus $175/hr for editing. We basically took the "human" element out of it. If we do an entire day of uploading I usually will cut them a break on the hourly.

We charge $80/hr for encoding and $125/hr for DVD Authoring.

Getting confused? Not to worry, all rates are clearly posted on a neat rates page on our site.

Rich Rubasch
Tilt Media

Rich Rubasch
Tilt Media Inc.
Video Production and Post
Owner/President/Editor/Designer/Animator


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grinner hester
Re: Agreed
on Nov 18, 2009 at 6:19:29 pm

You do just have one system, right?
and it's being booked?
100 percent.




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