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Average postprod duration for a regular movie?
Old 23rd March 2010
Gear Head

Average postprod duration for a regular movie?

Hi guys,

I'm writing some document just now in which I'd like to throw the order of magnitude of the postprod process on a regular movie. Here, regular means a 90 minutes drama, not a student film, not a pool of sound effects, not a Titanic... just 90 minutes, just a drama. There'd be three dialogue editors (that seems a fair number), and about three effects editors. If my postprod team sounds too tiny, feel free to correct its structure, it doesn't cost me much to hire/fire guys

It's only gonna go on a poster that sums up my research. Now you might start thinking "well, how much have you researched if you can't even guess what you're trying to guess?". Well, I do have an idea and I'd like you guys to confirm or infirm my proposition: I would say it's about 2 months.

Thanks in advance for your replies! It's nothing hyper crucial but I'm in such a rush that any help is a time savior!

PS: I'll soon be submitting ("soon" = tonight) to your critique the 13 minutes movie i worked on. It's worth what it's worth, I came out more experienced and wary than I was when I started, and now I'd like to hear what is wrong with it. But more on this later...
Old 23rd March 2010
Lives for gear
Uncle Bob's Avatar

Just go to IMDB, pick a bunch of the type of films you are targeting and check out the size of the audio post teams. Most of those films are completely Foleyed in addition to the production dialog and ADR, not to mention sound effects and the mix.
Old 23rd March 2010
Gear Head

True uncle bob... I completely omitted more half of the process... Well while I work on that, what about the duration then?
Old 23rd March 2010
Lives for gear
Jfriah's Avatar

So many factors, mate... a) what's the deadline on the project they need to deliver on, b) how many people do you have able to work on it (b1-what is their level of experience in that area/genre), c) what's the overall budget, d) at which stage is audio post happening--right from production? from editorial? totally dead last?, e) how much 'sit and talk in a nice quiet room' is there?,

2 months? I'd love that schedule on a 90 min drama feature.

I was just handed 5 weeks on a 102 minute drama with a couple gun fights, some car stuff, plane on frozen river, and apparently lots of ADR.

And then I put 225 hours myself (one-man project) into a 93 min low-bud mockumentary with really bad location sound. Foley only where needed (no M&E).

Old 23rd March 2010
Lives for gear
dr.sound's Avatar

The duration is determined by the delivery schedule, the budget and the availability of the Actors, Producers and Directors.
The other factor is how long do you want to work for free?heh
Old 23rd March 2010
Work expands to fill the available time

All the best

Old 23rd March 2010
Lives for gear
Uncle Bob's Avatar


At the "Hollywood" level figure two (2) to ten (10) man-hours per linear minute of film for each of the four aspects of audio post - dialog, Foley, sound FX, mix.

90 minutes X 4 = 360

360 X 2 man-hours per linear minute = 720 total hours (straight drama)

360 X 10 man-hours per linear minute = 3,600 total hours (action/adventure/sci-fi)

At the indie level it all comes down to time and budget. I've done everything from a "fix and mix" in 50 hours and to a complete "soup-to-nuts" in about 400 hours. I've got 18 weeks for my current indie feature project, but I work on it when the studio isn't booked, mostly nights and weekends. I'm about 240 hours in on this one.
Old 24th March 2010
Lives for gear
mikevarela's Avatar

If you could get 2 weeks per reel and a week to mix, that would probably work. On a 90 min feature, you're probably looking at 5-6 reels.
Old 24th March 2010
Gear Head

Beautiful guys, and Uncle Bob, man-hours is actually the best measuring unit for what I'm interested in!

Thanks for all the comments, I'm just trying to give audio postprod non-aware people a taste of what it's like in the real world. I really appreciate your input!

PS: I will now submit a movie to your critique. It's called Loneliness Lies in Twos.
Old 24th March 2010
6 reel flick... nothing crazy but a good flick....

first off there is picture editorial and sound pre-dubs . I did the predubs for American Girl and that took about 10 man/hrs / week for about 6 weeks (60 man/hrs). Lots of do's and redos' as editorial progressed...
then you get the first "cut" and you run out a do recordings of a few items if you are lucky... a couple days there for a simply film with 2 people (32 hrs). Then
you get your Foley team cooking ( maybe a day or 2 for 2 people / reel (2 * 1.5 * 2 * 6 = 36 man/hrs)

at 1 weeks / reel for sound design ( 3 people )(120 hrs/reel) (720 man/hrs) and a week for dialogue/ADR work (2 people) ( 80 man/hrs), then a couple days for music editorial/edit....(16 man hrs) 1 week to mix...(2 people= 80*6=(480 man/hrs) then a couple days for print masters, QC and final outputs (16 hrs )

60 + 32 + 36 + 720 + 80 + 16 + 480 + 16 = 1440 man / hrs
and as all project managers will tell you there are contigencies and overruns that the client many/or maynot pay for... lets say 1 round of picture changes with conforms.... (1 person 2 days = 16 hrs )
1440 + 16 = 1456
and as with any project add 10 % for the oh-**** factor ... lets just add 2.5%
36.4 hours
1456 + 36.4 =

1492.4 man hours to do "sound" for a 6 reel basic feature....

so there ya go Uncle bob.... the math works! right in the middle.

Old 24th March 2010
Gear Head

Spot on Geo
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