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Freelance editing and rendering time

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Adam Benjamin
Freelance editing and rendering time
on Sep 17, 2012 at 10:43:32 pm

I'm editing a video at the moment through a producer. It's quite a low budget project. I received half of the flat rate a few months ago, and am to receive the 2nd half at the completion of the edit.

The client has gone past his 1 revision in the contract. Now I'm working the revisions at an hourly rate of $50 for editing and $25 for exporting and uploading.

After the first round of the hourly rate the producer told me that I had to deduct time from $50/hr for rendering time. He is referring to the time it takes to render a clip in the sequence, while I'm editing. Is this crazy?

Also, after I submitted an edit, he told me that I could not charge the hourly rate for a revision he(the producer) had, even though it was during the revision that the client made.

I know that is lengthy, but please tell me if it seems like I'm being taken advantage of, or if this is just the business of low-budget editors.


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Mark Suszko
Re: Freelance editing and rendering time
on Sep 18, 2012 at 1:25:53 pm

I hope he took you to dinner and kissed you first.
Realize that in fact you have the advantage here, in that you are holding the materials and final product, he's the one with a deadline to meet.

As far as the issue of the render time, its important to know, what was agreed to, ON PAPER, before you started. If there was no specific agreement to a pro-rated hourly rate for rendering, then a judge would have to assume the rendering costs what your actual pixel-pushing time costs.

Moreover, machine time is machine time; if your machine is tied up rendering for this client, it can't be used for any other client until this guy's work is done, and especially if you stick around to monitor the render, then there is no basis IMO for the lower rendering rate to be applied now, if it wasn't agreed to beforehand.

It is part of a producer's job to try and shave costs where possible. What this guy is doing is attempting to "grind" you, after the fact. His changes are what's costing extra money, and he's trying to make up for it by wheedling a discount out of you after the fact. I don't think you should flinch. Stay the course, and by all means, make it clear you are not letting the master, or anything he can copy/dub from, out of your hands until the final payment is in your hands. Payment On Delivery. Holding the master, and his deadline, are your only leverage. If he insists he needs something to show the client before the final payment, you had better superimpose time code windows and/or watermark logos across the center of it before you give him anything.

He's already tipped his hand. If you don't take heed, it's your own fault.

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