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How do you estimate time of audio post production?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #1
How do you estimate time of audio post production?

Question like in the title: how do you estimate time of audio post production?

I mean how do you know how much time you need for post editing, post mixing, sound design, foley, ADR etc. if you charge for hour?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #2
Lives for gear
If you know the producer and trust that elements will be good, it's pretty easy: estimate all the separate functions, based on other films you've done, and add it all up. Fudge upward if they have lots of corrections or notes during review; fudge downward if you really want the work or want to help a friend.

If you don't know the producer or the element, tell them this is a preliminary estimate to be adjusted once you get started. Try to get something in the deal memo that this is a personal service based on best efforts, and that you'll review the budget and make suggestions for ways to save - if necessary - anytime they want. If it's in the US, try not to let "work for hire" get into the deal memo: it's got a specific meaning that can short circuit some of your rights.

If you've never done these functions before, it's all just wishful thinking. Nobody can tell you how long something will take without knowing your skill level and setup. It's all blue-sky. Make a stab based on how much you want this project, and go for it. You won't get rich, but you'll be gathering experience.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #3
as Jay said, it is usually based on your previous experience:
underestimate and you can get burnt,
over estimate & you may not get a second meeting about the project

also very important: read the script, think about the content, be very specific

also
what unique content is involved? how will you achieve it
how experienced is the producer? director? do some research on them
whats the total budget of the film
whats the post schedule & delivery deadline
are there VFX? who is doing them, when will they be delivered & how many updates/changes
when do you get locked picture, how many conforms will be required
Old 4 weeks ago
  #4
Old 4 weeks ago
  #5
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gsilbers's Avatar
 

but its a good topic since its not an easy one. with the amount of competition and all the distirbution changes its a tough one.

ive talked to sales poeple from the audio services for fotokem, technicolor, deluxe, post haste and different audio post houses and its a tough tough thing. thats some intense stuff. obvuously those places pile in a whole bunch of other services so audio can be discounted a lot. but in general the amount of distribution and information about the prodcution will give them a guide on how much to charge. each case is different but different factors will get them a ballpark figure to which they base an overal prices and breakdown. and from there hourly prices i guess. its also how long it takes you to do.
but also, those numbers... i learned.. are quite a secret and a tool for leverage and competition etc. but its bascially grabbing audio card rates from different big studios and leanring what the competition charges when prodcuers are shopping around and from there having some sort of menu depending on the budget of the film.
but im interested to learn how indie filmmakers and audio post studio do this.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #6
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dr.sound's Avatar
 

If I charge as much as the Studio lots the clients go there to be seen.

If I charge as much as a guy who works out of his garage I go out of business.

There is no money in Independent Films anymore.
Nearly all of them have low, low budgets
You must understand how long it takes to do a particular project,
How demanding the clients expectations are and have a great crew.

My experience is..
The lower the budget of the Film, the greater the expectations are.
Why, because they don't know the process and expect a sound package that
is 5 times of what their budget is.
When you find the sweet spot that is good for BOTH the Clients and yourself it's an absolute pleasure to work on Films.

Fortunately I have learned to say No and not have any second thoughts.
My Business model is..
I am in Business to Stay in Business.
I don't subsidize Films and I don't do "Backend Deals"
because the only place you get it is in your back end!!
Old 3 weeks ago
  #7
Lives for gear
When I had a studio, my first thought was it takes about 10 passes per track (Drums are different calculation). 5 min song with only 1 mic on 5 players. That's 5x5x10 so, 250 min for a very simple case.

It takes 1 to 5 passes to capture the track. 2 passes to Adjust each track, 3 more passes for mixing.

As you get better, things go faster. This assumes you understand all your gear.

But I was a tracking house, not post production.

I just thought the Idea of passes X number of tracks is relative.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by dr.sound View Post
The lower the budget of the Film, the greater the expectations are.
You nailed it!
Old 3 weeks ago
  #9
Gear Nut
 

Somebody posted this last year.
I tend to show it as a starter for budget talks..
Attached Thumbnails
How do you estimate time of audio post production?-goodcheapfast.gif  
Old 3 weeks ago
  #10
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Branko View Post
You nailed it!
And the lower the budget, the less likely it has distribution in place. No distribution means no premiere date, which means no deadline, which means they'll beat you to death. And since audio post is the last thing, there's no overage money. Or even worse, they have to go find money to finish the movie at all, and they have to give away ownership and creative control to get it.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #11
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dr.sound View Post
There is no money in Independent Films anymore.
Quoted for emphasis.

As for time estimates, you need to have an idea of the script, budget, and expectations. Also helps if you know who the production mixer is....
Old 3 weeks ago
  #12
Lives for gear
 

There is always some sort of deadline, even if it is invented by the filmmaker because by the time they get to audio post they are desperate to have the project out of their life, and are likely out of money. Even "garage guys" have these same issues: outsized expectations for very low money. You not only have to learn to say "no", both because the filmmaker has too little money and too little experience to understand what their tiny budget can buy, as well as to projects that are really too big for what you can deliver given your resources in the time allotted. You also have to learn when to tell a filmmaker that you are done re: the budget at hand, that changes are only free up to a (rapidly reached) point, that deliverables not mentioned in the original deal are extra costs, and, oddly, that film mixes are not social events (do not bring your partner and friends). One piece of "garage guy" advice: try to find out what camera was used to shoot the film. If you know cameras at all it can be a good indicator of what was spent on production, and thus budget range for post.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #13
Lives for gear
 

Also sometimes I'll straight up ask what their audio budget is. If they hem and haw then they probably don't have much experience and have no idea what is appropriate. And if they shoot back an unrealistically low number I politely decline.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #14
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eoats's Avatar
I do this a lot with small projects from home.


Quote:
Originally Posted by smurfyou View Post
Also sometimes I'll straight up ask what their audio budget is. If they hem and haw then they probably don't have much experience and have no idea what is appropriate. And if they shoot back an unrealistically low number I politely decline.

Maybe someday someone can make an app like this:

Animation Price Guide and 3D VFX Cost Calculator
Old 2 weeks ago
  #15
Lives for gear
Um... that's not an app. It's an electronic bid for what appears to be a single animator with a day job (motorsport.tv) who wants to do freelance, and who has no samples other than motorsport's on his website. All those categories look more aspirational 'this is what I want to do', than demo 'here's what I've done and what it cost'.

Not a knock. More power to the guy, and I hope his drive and creativity give him lots of work. But nothing that could be used as a standard for any other animators, or any animation buyers.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #16
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay Rose View Post
Not a knock. More power to the guy, and I hope his drive and creativity give him lots of work. But nothing that could be used as a standard for any other animators, or any animation buyers.
Better that than a stolen reel, I guess.
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