Post-Production : Charging for editing... by Rafael Pinero

Rafael Pinero

Charging for editing...

Hello fellow editors. This might sound like a stupid question but here it is the case: You are a great editor, you've edited feature films. Corporate videos, music videos, hunting videos that are actually in the market, etc...someone you know wants you to edit his anniversary vacation, he gives you 3 hours of footage altogether from a go-pro camera, a still camera that also records video and a handycam that records video to a hard disk; he also gives you around 2000 pictures and he wants you to make a 20 minute video with the footage given including still pictures ( You have to choose them from the 2000 pictures given) and also include music and some titles in the video... How much would you charge? I would appreciate your opinion.

Michael Corcoran

Hi Rafael, That is a really good question. My sister turned 40 last year and she wanted to make a video for her birthday with friends and colleagues wishing her happy birthday. Vanity project yes!! It became a beast and was handed ALL of her and her husbands home / mobile video + many many hours of baby videos. Then was handed an interview, pictures, music….the beast became a 40 minute documentary. I think when it comes to friends and family I am rubbish and charging full whack so my best approach is to sit down and work out how long you think it would take to view all the footage, come up with an idea, make a first edit, colour correct and present this time frame to your friend so they can see how much actual time you would be investing then ask them to make you an offer, if it is ridiculous tell them how much you normally charge!!

Neels Smit

I will say no because the time spend and money you can ask just doesn't make it worth spending the time. Anybody with a half decent computer can do basic editing. Depending on the relationship you can help them set-up their computer system and even show them how to do a basic edit eg. by doing the intro. If said person is not able they must find someone close to them to help (teenager). They create an "offline" edit. Then you come in for an afternoon to "fix" the edit by sitting with them on their system.

Michael Corcoran

That is a very good point as I spent far too long on said project. I can handle clients easily, friends / family is always a tricky one!!!

Aneesah Marie

I would tell them your hourly rate, your standard rate... and tell them the more prep work THEY do the less it will cost them. Friends have to realize your time is valuable and the more time you spend on their project the less time you have for projects that get the rent paid. You can always reduce the final invoice by 10,15% but friends and family need to understand this is what you do for a living, this is how you pay your bills. I tend to always have student assistants on deck and I might throw them a project like this and be able to charge the client friend a reduced rate.... It certainly is a challenge working with friends but as friends they shouldn't take you for granted... consider that if you were going to say a lawyer, doctor, reael-estate agent friend they would likely charge you what they charge everyone else and if you're lucky a sliiiightly reduced rate... why should an editor be any different?

Rob Wallace

According to the 'Gubmint statistics, editors make $36.00 per hour. So do you offer a hourly rate or a project rate? You offer both. Once you get a handle on the video you can say to the client, I think I can get this done in about 10 hours, so $350.00 is my price, but If your project goes beyond 10 hours I will keep you posted and you can decide how much over your budget you want to go. This gives the editor some control over his fee. This is particularly useful with irksome clients.

Aneesah Marie

Remember that rate does not consider equipment... if you're working on your equipment that you may pay for monthly (NLE)... my standard rate is $45 an hour if I'm on my lighting speed very expensive set-up.

Rafael Pinero

You're right Daniel, this is a job that would take at least 2 weeks.

Beth Brumley

Well I like to kinda agree with robin... Let's keep in mind how busy your schedule is and having that much to go through... OIY! But just in my own opinion depending on how desperate I am for extra work to keep my skills in tune I would say let's wait until it's done to see how much it's worth to you.

Michel Massicotte

Hi Rafael. I categorize jobs or requests like these as "mercy" or "crossroads" edits. In the hands of an average person, the video might be like any other 1,000s of videos on YouTube. But in the hands of a person with a special eye, it could go in another direction. Who knows, you might actually enjoy a change of pace with this project? I like the thought of working with stills, especially for action sequences. Like creating a storyboard with sound. Put in key moments, like your friend twisting in the air, the incredible splash, and the resulting giggles, laughs or cheers. Let the mind fill in the rest. Incidentally, this technique worked for a film company, such as Eastman Kodak, promoting the quality of their work in processing digital pictures. Good luck and post your decision and the results should you decide to commit. Thank you. :)

Emily Mitchell

They could also just send it to Movie Mamma She does nothing but edit together people's cell phone videos & pictures. That is her job. She would love a project like this.

Rick James

For this reason I don't do these types of edits, That said, if they are friends I always give them a break on the price no matter how hard, but the work is done on my time and if important stuff comes up, then it has to wait until I'm finished. For anyone else, normal price as usual.

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