What to charge for video editing?

Discussion in 'Computers' started by Pamela, Jun 13, 2005.

  1. Pamela

    Pamela Supporting Actor

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    Recently, as a favor, I edited a wedding video for some friends. What started as a simple project of dumping the raw tape to DVD became a full blown production, complete with soundtrack, trimming the clips, still photos, etc. Authored the DVD in iDVD, with chapters, etc, for the full effect.
    It turned out awesome. Very professional and polished (I am definitely not one to pat myself on the back, but this time I think I will [​IMG] ). The family was thrilled beyond belief. Tears and everything! Now, word is out and I have a line of people who want me to edit their home movies.
    Problem is, I don't know what to charge. I've been searching price lists on the internet and the prices are all over the place. I don't know where to begin. I know people aren't going to pay $150 an hour. As a graphic designer, I get $75 an hour, but I don't think people are going to pay that, either. There are some package deals where two hours of tape is put onto DVD with X amount of chapters for a set price. I just don't know where to begin.
    Any ideas of where to start?
     
  2. Scott L

    Scott L Producer

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    I was in the same position as you a couple years ago, but with my church. Personally, I got burned out on it all after half a dozen videos. People knew my work and asked me to record & edit their weddings which I had to decline. (so boring!)

    Imo it should be expensive. In my experience people only see the finished product and don't realize the hours & hours of work it takes to create it.

    If you want an example, my friend's company had raw footage of their employees doing silly stuff and they wanted it edited for their Christmas party. They handed professional company X all their footage and were charged a flat fee of $300. The finished product turned out like crap. Simple, sloppy cuts and it looked like they did it in under an hour and a half.

    I hope someone with more experience in this area can chime in. I'm curious as well.
     
  3. Pamela

    Pamela Supporting Actor

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  4. Steve Felix

    Steve Felix Supporting Actor

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    As you realize, you probably won't get what you're worth. I think $50 to $100 depending on skills is appropriate (so you pretty much hit it with the $75 number), but $30 is a more realistic place to start. Location is a major influence on whether you go up or down from there.
    Individuals can't afford personal creative services. Those of us who offer them anyway, at whatever price it takes, do it because we like the work. So, charge what you think you can get away with and chalk up the remainder of your actual worth to charity and personal fulfillment.[​IMG]
    I charge $1300 for wedding videos that are 2+ hours and involve around 1200 cuts, color correction, basic sound mixing, opening and closing niceties done in After Effects, packaging and disc design, plus a day spent shooting with a second person. It really doesn't make sense...
    Edit: That said, I don't offer editing of others' footage. Lacking cinematographic control, my interest plummets.
     
  5. PhilBoy

    PhilBoy Second Unit

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    I did a fast capture/burn for a friend's travel video last night... gawd is that boring.

    Unless the editing was of something to hold my interest, you couldn't pay me enough.

    Even tidying up my own kids videos from way back was less than spellbinding.

    If you like doing it, charge your current designing rate. If the subject is boring, double your fee.
     
  6. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    editing video is definitely a labor of love ... no question about it. as i'm sure you know, you can go over the same edit 10, 20 or (heaven forbid) more times.
    i think a good idea is to figure out how long it will take you to complete the job, then figure out an hourly rate from there? so if it takes you 10 hours, and you're hoping (and happy) to make 300 bucks off the project, that would be about $30/hr.
    don't underestimate how much people are willing to pay for good quality ... especially on something as special as a wedding. everybody (and i mean everybody) wants that one occasion to be archived, remembered, etc.
    i don't think i would charge balls-out (sorry pamela [​IMG] ) at first, but as your reputation grows, i think it's more then appropriate to raise your fees.
    -----
    on a side note, i sometimes do ht installs for people. i charge about $60/hr -- just because it makes it easy to do the math. to me that seems like kind of a lot, but i'm always surprised how often people think that's a good deal. so i guess i'm happy ... or getting bent ... i'm not sure which. [​IMG]
     
  7. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Executive Producer
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    I dabbled in the wedding video thing and tended to charge about $300 flat fee, with the idea I'd up my charge as I got more jobs. That fee just amounted to single camera coverage of the ceremony and reception, with basic editing of the well wishes to the bride and groom from the guests and five copies of the video. This was also before iMovie and iDVD, so in some respects to do the same thing would be faster/simpler/cheaper now, though the equipment cost is something to consider.

    I stopped taking referrals because I lost interest in the type of work (as others have mentioned). Plus as a perfectionist I knew that to do a truly professional job required at least two people and it came down to managing that whole thing, equipment, etc. But now that it's no longer in the domain of tape-to-tape linear editing I have considered putting myself out there for some extra dough. I have personal projects I want to do though, so if I make the investment in current equipment those would get priority.

    So...I would say flat fee would be one way to go - I think $500 would be palatable to most people considering what they are already spending on wedding stuff. And limit yourself to what you will do. For that rate single camera, simple editing and a few copies is reasonable. But that might be creatively frustrating to you too...
     
  8. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Executive Producer
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    The other thing that was frustrating about this type of work is that you're basically working around other priorities. The priority is ultimately not for you to get a good recording of the ceremony, but for the ceremony to be memorable, etc. for the wedding couple and guests. So expect to get to venues where capturing audio is a PITA, the lighting is horrible because it's all candle lighting, and the church doesn't allow cameras except up in the balcony 200 feet away. And being the lone person with one camera and no allowance to put up lights, etc. you basically just have to make do. In this sense you have very little control of the situation and you just have to roll with it. Again, if you're a perfectionist, this can get frustrating very quickly, especially if you're limited by your equipment.
     
  9. SteveLa

    SteveLa Stunt Coordinator

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    Pamela, I'm curious with what you decided to go with for the analog->digital conversion. Did you decide to go with iMovie for the editing tasks or Final Cut?
     
  10. Pamela

    Pamela Supporting Actor

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    Thanks for all of the replies, but guys, your bumming out! Boring ?!?!? I'm afraid I'm going to end up hating this. And here I thought I had a new career! [​IMG]
    I don't want to shoot the video. Not my bag. I used to do wedding photography and I hated it. Don't think shooting video would be any better. People are coming to me with raw footage, so I just have to edit it. The footage I got from the wedding was pretty anemic. I suspect the others will be the same. I look at it as a challenge to turn a sow's ear into a silk purse!
     
  11. Stephen Orr

    Stephen Orr Screenwriter

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    Although I'm a full time 4th grade teacher, I tape, edit and burn stuff for a local high school chorus department about 4-5 times a year. I'm paid about $60 for 2-3 hours of shooting, then approximately $25 an hour for editing, duping, etc. I also charge for supplies.

    I average about $5.00 a disc (for bulk orders), which is a killer deal for the customer, considering what the "professional" houses charge.

    The time I spend on stuff for my church is gratis. They buy all supplies and the occasional software and hardware upgrade... I actually have about $3,000 a year budget.

    I don't do weddings...
     
  12. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Executive Producer
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  13. SteveLa

    SteveLa Stunt Coordinator

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  14. Jordan_Brulotte

    Jordan_Brulotte Stunt Coordinator

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    The price you can charge is dictated by either/or your experience and the quality of your finished product. I would check out the area for people who do the same thing. Check out their pricing, but more importantly, the quality of their product. If your's is equal or better then you should be able to charge basically the same amount. Also, this will give you an opportunity to view the competition and see where you can improve over their product. For something like a wedding video, a person is willing to pay more for a better end product.
    I have been a profesional video editor for quite a few years now (never wedding videos though). In the begining I did projects at a discount or even for free. This gave me a lot of experience and great demo material. Now I feel comfortable to charge an appropriate amount. I usually charge a flat rate as apposed to an hourly rate. Sometimes I'll make $400 for a couple hours work, other times I have made $600 for something that took over 20 hours.
    Good luck! [​IMG]
     
  15. boomsmack

    boomsmack Auditioning

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    dont get bummed i wanna do it for a living too! i love it!
     
  16. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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