13 Replies Latest reply on Jul 5, 2013 8:41 PM by streamthis

    How do you estimate editing time for a client?


      I've recently started doing some freelance work and have been asked to estimate how many hours it will take me to edit the project.  I've heard the 1 hour of editing per 1 minute of edited video thought, obviously it's not as easy as that as there are many variables that differ from project to project.  But does anyone have any tips?


      We'll say this project is suppose to be about 16 minutes long, it's already scripted and soon to be filmed.  It has some simple animations, keying and effects but nothing too complicated.  Let me know what works for you!

        • 4. Re: How do you estimate editing time for a client?

          Estimate how many hours you think it will take.  Then double that and add 20% more.

          • 5. Re: How do you estimate editing time for a client?
            joe bloe premiere Level 5

            Ok, seriously...  16 minutes is pretty long.

            I would expect to spend a minimum of three weeks editing,

            revising, finishing and delivering any program of that length.


            A lot will depend on the quality of pre-production planning.

            If you have a scripted, shot-listed, storyboarded project,

            you might end up with a simpler edit (less chaff to sift).


            Another variable is what degree of supervision / meddling

            will you be subject to in the course of editing.

            Also, what is the potential for you to spend two weeks editing

            and then turn around and spend five weeks making revisions?


            It's up to you to decide how to bill your time, and at what rate.

            I normally bill hourly, but I would likely make a flat bid on a job like this.

            But... I would get commitments on the variables with an understanding

            that there could be a point where the job would go over the bid amount.


            Good luck!

            • 6. Re: How do you estimate editing time for a client?
              the_wine_snob Level 9





              I agree completely, and I will attemp to use that as the prime factor, but...


              As has been mentioned, there are many, many variables, that can come into play. Pre-production, shooting with the end-product in mind, the need for any R&D, Color Correction, etc., good Audio mixing coming in, client's expectations, and their attention to detail, prior to Post, all figure into the mix. Sometimes, quoting is harder than actually doing the work.



              • 7. Re: How do you estimate editing time for a client?
                the_wine_snob Level 9



                I am bigger on "flat bids," but that is just me. If I forget something, then it's on me. However, with some care, and the gathering of ALL details, one can hit it pretty closely.


                If I go over my time estimate, I just smile, and learn from that Project. For me, the end product is the goal, and I would rather be editing, than counting hours. Again, just me.



                • 8. Re: How do you estimate editing time for a client?
                  joe bloe premiere Level 5

                  The majority of my work is :30 ads... hence the hourly rate.

                  Any longer form project (3-4 minutes up) I normally treat as a bid job,

                  but generally based around my hourly rate (with a bit of a break).


                  Frankly, sometimes it comes down to:

                  "How busy are you"?

                  "How much money is in the budget"?

                  • 9. Re: How do you estimate editing time for a client?
                    the_wine_snob Level 9



                    Those are great points, and well worth consideration.


                    Long ago, I developed a philosophy, that served me well.


                    There are three reasons to take on a Project:


                    1. You will create portfolio material, i.e. a show-reel, and that could support #'s 2 & 3.
                    2. You will do something fun, or rewarding, like shooting at a great resort in Bali, with an unlimited wine list, or helping a great cause.
                    3. You will make a bunch of money, which will allow you to do more of the #1 and #2 Projects.


                    I have taken on Projects for all reasons. In a perfect world, one might encounter a client, who offers all three, but any one can work too.


                    Just my thinking,



                    • 10. Re: How do you estimate editing time for a client?
                      shooternz Level 6

                      I edit TVCs in the main like Joe... but the difference is...I am editing my own productions and I can charge myself what I want.  eg I build it into the budget (quote).  I flat rate myself.


                      That does not mean that I dont have to estimate time to do the task and see it through because I still have to schedule and allocate time and resources  to it.  (post production).


                      Of course ...there are always deadlines and screening commitments to clients... in the process.


                      Experience of my own workflow tells me exactly how long editing an job will take me.  eg. Organise, log, cut. 


                      FWIW - not very  long in fact because I direct / shoot  what I edit and I am working to my own storyboards , shot lists ..plus an approved script.


                      I can generally have logging/project organising  done in an hour and a 15 / 30 sec ruff cut within another 2 hours.  No way do I let the client know that though ("exaggeration") and I allow a bit of time to pass before I present it.


                      But...experience also tells me that I will spend a lot of time waiting for feedback and decisions.  No way to charge for waiting time.


                      BTW - Effects and graphics are time consuming and I usually do those in separate sessions by myself and present them after we get through ruff cut stages.


                      I will often have a client ( creative director , agency producer) in the room for final stages of edits ( ie once we get past ruff cuts and on to honing the edit).


                      Later still...the client's client maybe in the room for final approvals and tweaks even.


                      All costed into my own  "flat rate".


                      Note: Any post work I out source...I ask for a flat rate for the task.  Never an hourly rate.


                      One very difficult thing to cost in is the number of preview "exports" and the variety of types plus the uploading time.  I might do up to 30 of these for a TVC production.


                      Its all time.  ( I quote in a reasonably high $ figure for this aspect because it is open ended / unlimited... what and when  it is needed. - always urgent of course.)

                      • 11. Re: How do you estimate editing time for a client?
                        Jim_Simon Level 9




                        • 12. Re: How do you estimate editing time for a client?
                          shooternz Level 6

                          @ O.P


                          Sorry...I keep forgetting to add...I could not edit or even ruffcut 1 minute of completed documentary in one hour and I think that figure is very low!


                          Joe gave you a figure closer to what I would consider doable.

                          • 13. Re: How do you estimate editing time for a client?
                            streamthis Level 1

                            Some may have thought me to be glib with my "double and add 20%" comment.  I'm an "anything but weddings" solo guy (mostly) and my projects are literally all over the place (I like variety).


                            Invariably, I asked to estimate a project based on a greatly simplified descriptive.  The real cards are not revealed until later, but not because they are being coy.  They just don't know better.  The client simply doesn't know what they want "until they see it", so I bid accordingly.


                            But my favorite clients are those that don't ask how much.  They want it done right and are charged strictly by the hour.  Clients know I'm fair, but it takes a while to gain that trust.  I'm at the point in my career where this is more the norm than sweating the dreaded bid, but when I do, the double/20% rule has served me well.