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How much should I charge for video editing only?

Luis Maymi's picture
Last seen: 7 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: 09/26/2008 - 4:58am
Plus Member

I want to make a few bucks editing homemade videos. Im planning on doing the following:

1) Take homemade videos that are in VHS or in a camcorder and record them in DVD (leaving the video exactly as it its)

2) Make a proffesional video editing of the homemade videos and put them in DVD.

I want to charge each option individually, for the first option I'm thinking like $50 and for the second option charging by the hours of work. But how does charging by the hour works? I will be using Sony Vegas Pro 8.

Another thing is regarding the DVD. Usually I have the problem that the DVD R or DVD RW cannot be read in some DVD players. Why this happen? Its there a special DVD that can be used to avoid this problem?

Thanks in advance


EarlC's picture
Last seen: 6 months 5 days ago
Joined: 10/15/2008 - 1:15am
Plus Member Moderator

I charge $35 per 2-Hour DVD, with a $7 tape change fee per tape. That is for dubbing videotape to DVD, simple black letters on white inkjet printable surface with paper sleeve. IOW four tapes, totalling UP TO 2 hours, equals $35 plus 4x7=$28, for a total of $63. One videotape of 2-hour length would only cost them $35. These are recorded "as is" straight from the tapes, no embellishment period.

If the client wants me to put her copies in plastic cases with customized color inserts and DVD surface graphics, create a title sequence in the DVD, music over titles, and cut out "bad" parts (blurry out of focus, seriously over/under exposed footage, etc.) I do this for $75 per 2-hour DVD, plus $7 tape change fee.

"Clean up editing" where I edit taking out over/under exposed, clean up audio (where possible) enhance with music, add graphics and titles, custom inserts, remove out of focus or unidentifiable images, but nothing fancy beyond cuts/fades - I get $45 per hour and suggest that it can take up to a half-hour per finished minute as a "ball park" figure.

Full on editing with any and all the audio sweetening, special FX, full creative effort, custom packaging and graphics, and where I have complete autonomy with the process based on client suggestions, desires and general input = $75 per hour, and suggest it can take up to 1 hour per finished minute as a "ball park" guide for estimated costs.

If the client "sits in" on the editing process and calls the shots it jumps to $400 per hour. Editing from a client generated EDL (typed with hours, seconds, minutes & frames, with description of ending/beginning scenes) can go from $75 to $100 per hour.

I have gone exclusively with high quality Taiyo Yuden DVDs in dash R and have not had one playback issue or bad disk in more than three years. My second blank of choice is Fuji. I will use no other. Players no older than 3 years generally are OK with dash or plus R recordings. I find that the ultra-high quality decks sometimes are more persnikety about what they will accept, but pretty much anything WalMart sells has worked for us and our clients. Also, ultra high quality or HQ or the highest DVD burning setting, or the faster speeds sometimes can create issues.

I record/dub at 4x, sometimes 8x, and have not had issues, as I said, in more than three years.


LDPLDP's picture
Last seen: 7 years 3 months ago
Joined: 06/27/2007 - 11:59am

I charge $30 per video hour or part thereof. That includes 2 DVD copies w/cases and printed label on DVD. I also insert, within reason, chapter markings so they can skip to individual events. Each chapter marking includes a title.

Regarding DVD compatibility with DVD players - you should burn the DVD at the slowest speed available. The slower the speed, the less chance of errors. Also, NEVER put a plastic label on the DVD. The label can warm up in the DVD and cause the DVD to "cup" making the DVD fall out of tolerance for the laser. Consider buying a printer, such as the HP C5280 ($100-$150) which can print on CD/DVDs that have a white printable surface.


grinner's picture
Last seen: 6 years 9 months ago
Joined: 12/29/2007 - 2:56am

I charge $150/hour.

It would not be out of the norm for you to charge 30 bucks an hour. If it helps, the average freelancer gets 60 bucks an hour on somebody elses gear.


SteveMann's picture
Last seen: 11 months 6 days ago
Joined: 07/26/2005 - 4:35pm

Never, ever burn a CD/DVD at the highest or lowest rate available. Pick a burn speed in the middle of the min-max. If you burn at the max rate, your "burn" may not produce enough contrast between the bits on the DVD-r. The same is true for burning too slowly, you may overburn the bits, again not leaving enough contrast for the reader to discriminate the data well.

Compatablilty: I enclose a card with all my DVD deliveries stating that "if your DVD player is more than three-years old, it may have difficulty playing recordable DVD discs". Ironically, the cheaper, newer players generally play anything I put into them.


digitalhq's picture
Last seen: 5 years 6 months ago
Joined: 04/23/2009 - 1:31am

As far as DVD compatability, I just specifically address it in my contract with a disclaimer that reads: "All video productions will be produced on DVD-R media which is compatible with the majority of consumer-grade DVD players". So far, no client complaints.


Kemper's picture
Last seen: 7 years 7 months ago
Joined: 03/02/2007 - 7:40pm

All of my transfers include removal of blank frames, chapter stops, custom cases, inkjet discs matching the cases, menu's and audio enhancement. For the audio I convert mono to stereo (dual mono L/R technically), noise reduction and level normalization. I gave up on offering the straight copy with no frills. If someone requests it I will do it but most just take the offer as is. I get $60 for one disc (I cap at 80 minutes per disc) and another$10 if it goes to two discs. I also don't offer cramming multiple tapes into one project. There has been the rare occasion where I am given a batch of tapes and one tape has 20 minutes in which I slide it chronologically into another project for nothing. Besides that each tape is $60 or $70. I actually got some comments like "I thought it would cost more" so I may bump it up to $80 & $95 respectively.

This service was a stepping stone to learn editing and to generate capital for the real gear. I still offer it on my cards and my website butI hardly do transfers anymore. My time is better spent doing promo or event work. But learning the ropes in my editing was priceless.

I bought a couple of 200 packs of Ri-Data inkjet hub printable discs when they were on sale and I have had no problems.


candjvideo's picture
Last seen: 5 years 6 months ago
Joined: 04/16/2009 - 12:03pm

I charge $30 per hour for my time. I have gotten pretty good at estimating how much time it will take for a project, but some projects are tougher to estimate than others. I usually estimate a little higher, then when the bill is slightly lower than expected, the customer is pleased.