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Time taken to edit classical CD?
Old 12th January 2013
  #1
Time taken to edit classical CD?

A young friend asked me today how long it takes, typically, to edit a classical CD. I've done a few but A) I'm usually the producer as well, so I spend more time selecting takes on artistic grounds than actually editing (and he was asking specifically about the editing process, from a list of takes to use) and B) I realised I've no idea if I'm typical!

Anyone got any (obviously rough) typical estimates to share?
Old 12th January 2013
  #2
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1 edit every 2 seconds?
Old 12th January 2013
  #3
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JonesH's Avatar
Really depends on the music and complexity of the edits in my experience. But mostly my discipline
Old 12th January 2013
  #4
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Depends on the performer. Could range between 1 to 100 edits per minute.
Old 12th January 2013
  #5
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Plush's Avatar
I always advise the client that it takes 3 hours of editing for every hour of recording. The recording is made in the edit room.

Atelier HudSonic, Chicago
Old 12th January 2013
  #6
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Larry Elliott's Avatar
Thanks Plush for that "rule of thumb". Most helpful
Old 13th January 2013
  #7
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roonsbane's Avatar
I tell clients 2-10 minutes per edit. It depends if the original edit point works transparently and musically or you have to slide the edit point to make it right. I am not a fan of that process since staring at a computer tends to suck your soul. This puts the pressure on them to keep edits to a minimum and play the sh&% right to begin with as much as possible.

Cameron
Old 13th January 2013
  #8
Gear Maniac
 

This is in an interesting question. The editing process is influenced by so many factors but I find in general, a two or three day recording for a single CD takes me about 4 days to edit. The first three days are the first edit in which I systematically go through and compare every take of each short section - typically a musical phrase or two, often 8 to 16 bars. My producing markings help direct me to the best take but I like to have listened to everything again as the ear can deceive when listening for a particular aspect and the best take sometimes turns out to have a defect in say tempo or background noise that makes it incompatible. This incidentally is why on the session we like to get it right more than once and will often say to an artist 'let's do one more for cover'.

The last of the four days is usually in response to artist comments and occasionally with the artist(s) present. The deliverables (CD master, 96k versions, high quality MP3s and 30 second sample MP3s) all with metadata, are beginning to become quite a significant part of the process and something which we have to allow more time for.

The thing to remember is that editing is an extremely intense process and depending on your stamina and discipline, it might be possible to do it quicker but I tend to need breaks at increasing shorter intervals as the day wears on, but maybe I am just getting old.

I hope this is a useful insight.

Matt
Old 13th January 2013
  #9
In the days of tape editing we normally said 1 minute of recording time equals 10 minutes in the editing suite. Today I don't think it is anywhere near as long and as others have pointed out a lot depends on how well the recording sessions went and how well the material was covered. Computers have sped up the editing process considerably but have also made it possible to do more complex editing that would never have been possible in the days of tape editing. This has opened up the flood gates and now 2000 edits for a classical piece is considered, by many, to be the norm. In the old tape days if we did 100 edits to a piece it was considered a lot.


FWIW
Old 13th January 2013
  #10
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Roland's Avatar
This is all a bit like asking how long is a piece of string, however, in my experience, anything from 10 - 600 edits is par for the course these days. Once you get above 150-200 that's a lot (we are talking around 3 edits per minute of run time).

I reckon I can generally do from 8-12 edits per hour, depending on the material being worked on.

I never charge less than a day for edits and I consider 2-3 days the norm so I guess that means about the 150 - 250 edits are about average. That also means that it takes approx 2 days (maybe a little over) to edit per day of recording (a day's recording for me is 6 hr's actual recording).

To answer the original post, all albums are different, and some artist require "more work" than others. I've got an album of works for left hand only that I made recently and that only has around 50 edits, Steinway artist, for a comercial release on an independent label.
Old 14th January 2013
  #11
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Yannick's Avatar
 

a good cd production of 18h recording time results in 6-8h of material, for a 70 min CD. This can vary (solo projects are often less, contemporary chamber music often more)

The 1st edit of these 6-8 h of material takes 16-24 H of editing.
Then the client gets typically a 6h session to add corrections to the edit.
For a good production this gives a max. of 30h of edit for 8h of session material.

This can easily be 20h more for the less straightforward ones...

300 edits for 70 minutes is quite normal here. Once the takes are decided, in Soundscape I need about 15-30 seconds/edit (clean, undetectable ones).
Old 14th January 2013
  #12
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Roland's Avatar
I agree with Yannick, that to make edits only takes 20 - 30 seconds, however, it's the listening and deciding on the best in/out points that often means 8-12 edits an hour is good going. it's easy to make edits and then go back and hear that it doesn't work in context, even if the edits themselves are totally inaudible.

It also has to be born in mind that an orchestral record is likely to have less edits than a solo piano or chamber piece, I say likely because it isn't always the case.

Often editing obeys the law of diminishing returns, in that the more you do, the more the piece as a whole suffers so I normally suggest as many as needed and as few as possible.

Obviously YMMV!
Old 14th January 2013
  #13
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Yannick's Avatar
 

I like orchestral productions, as generally, there are about 2-3 times less edits, and the orchestra cuts like butter
Old 1 week ago
  #14
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So the answer is that it varies enormously from editor to editor, and from performer to performer.

Speaking as a pro player, it is something akin to sacrilege if you make mistakes in the studio, or make too many mistakes. Particularly accompanying a soloist. It detracts from your professionalism. I think this is something that previous generations felt more than today. Today, edits are expected to make a performer's performance perfect, whereas earlier generations assumed that a perfect performance was their job more then the editor's.

I was recording a soloist recently who I was told was a perfectionist. He made so many mistakes that it was only through vast amounts of editing that the recording got through to the final disc. I even had to edit a run of four semiquavers by taking a note from four takes to complete it and get around the mess. That's four notes in a row needing to be editing.

And yet another ensemble played the most difficult piece, with constantly changing time signatures and myriads of notes per bar in places in long takes. It was the attitude of the conductor which brought that about. So the job became simply a matter of editing long takes together, instead of the four edits to a beat to get the "perfectionist" soloist out of shtook. My son, who was witness to this vast amount of editing of the perfectionist's performance suggested a change of title for the CD release to, "Edited highlights!"

I feel really strongly about this wall to wall editing thing, more as a player than an editor. Some players think it is the duty of the performer to have his stuff together and not rely so heavily on editing. A moderate amount of editing is to be expected, sometimes the best players come unstuck too, but to go into a studio expecting to make your performance through editing and not performance is not a professional way of going about things.

Last edited by Geoff Poulton; 1 week ago at 11:49 PM..
Old 1 week ago
  #15
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Whoops, a seven year old thread.

They'll be able to edit that out.
Old 1 week ago
  #16
Thumbs up

12 - 66.6hrs

Depends on the client.
Old 1 week ago
  #17
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ISedlacek's Avatar
Aren't there really musicians who are able to play the music just once and perfect live ? And to just record it ? To glue the endless faulty attempts bar by bar is a bit sad state of things ... but the present digital technology is quite tempting to do this. The only thing is that what we listen after that may not somehow have the flowing "spirit" behind it but is just a kind of "lego" ?
Old 1 week ago
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Geoff Poulton View Post
So the answer is that it varies enormously from editor to editor, and from performer to performer.

Speaking as a pro player, it is something akin to sacrilege if you make mistakes in the studio, or make too many mistakes. Particularly accompanying a soloist. It detracts from your professionalism. I think this is something that previous generations felt more than today. Today, edits are expected to make a performer's performance perfect, whereas earlier generations assumed that a perfect performance was their job more then the editor's.

I was recording a soloist recently who I was told was a perfectionist. He made so many mistakes that it was only through vast amounts of editing that the recording got through to the final disc. I even had to edit a run of four semiquavers by taking a note from four takes to complete it and get around the mess. That's four notes in a row needing to be editing.

And yet another ensemble played the most difficult piece, with constantly changing time signatures and myriads of notes per bar in places in long takes. It was the attitude of the conductor which brought that about. So the job became simply a matter of editing long takes together, instead of the four edits to a beat to get the "perfectionist" soloist out of shtook. My son, who was witness to this vast amount of editing of the perfectionist's performance suggested a change of title for the CD release to, "Edited highlights!"

I feel really strongly about this wall to wall editing thing, more as a player than an editor. Some players think it is the duty of the performer to have his stuff together and not rely so heavily on editing. A moderate amount of editing is to be expected, sometimes the best players come unstuck too, but to go into a studio expecting to make your performance through editing and not performance is not a professional way of going about things.
this illustrates how difficult (if not impossible) it is to predict how much it will take to edit an entire album - usually, i can tell/make a more educated guess when i'm 15 minutes into the recording.

worst case so far has been twice as long for editing as for recording, best case has been going straight into mastering! usually it takes about the same smount of time.

(a friend of mine once spent MONTHS editing bits and pieces together of an orchestra recording for a production which then didn't get released as the orchestra meanwhile got merged with another in an attempt to cut down money...)


___



p.s. i forgot to mention that (at least with the projects i get to work) smaller ensembles often chose to play shorter segments and although i'm typically using less mics on them (yet still more than most other engineers), this leads to way more edits than when working with large ensembles.

the amount of time it takes to edit can become considerably longer once we're talking about huge track counts which in some rare cases has led me to NOT do edits across all tracks but to mix all segments (less main mics, ambis and efx which go into stems) but then just edit full mixes (and those few stems), pretty much the way as editing tape back in the analog days!

in terms of speed, this has proven to be much more efficent - actually, i think i'd go nuts to edit across more than 96 tracks and therefore would gladly pass along the work!

Last edited by deedeeyeah; 1 week ago at 01:12 PM.. Reason: p.s. added
Old 1 week ago
  #19
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Yannick's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ISedlacek View Post
Aren't there really musicians who are able to play the music just once and perfect live ? And to just record it ? To glue the endless faulty attempts bar by bar is a bit sad state of things ... but the present digital technology is quite tempting to do this. The only thing is that what we listen after that may not somehow have the flowing "spirit" behind it but is just a kind of "lego" ?
The art is doing both. Getting nearer to the totally controlled perfection the artist longs for, while being able to go further musically, as during live performances one simply cannot take the risk all the time.

Of course, some live performances have an incredible level & musicality. But those that are & have a technical perfection (depending on repertoire of course !) are quite rare ...

I often hear the musician(s) on stage tell me, now we're going to try something I/we would never dare to do live. High-risk takes, intercut with clean takes to solve a couple of problems !

session time = editing time as a general rule.
Old 1 week ago
  #20
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mljung's Avatar
I have spoken with quite a few musicians who look at some of their recordings as lifeless due to the large number of edits that was made producing the recording, where the focus was perfection. "Ah don't listen to that album, I can't recognize myself there, didn't like the process or the result".

Still editing is a wonderful tool to help getting the best performance, and to reduce some of the anxiety that the recording situation can produce.

I remember the Nimbus label had a sort of motto, which I see as a fine way to approach editing. That is to use editing to save a performance, not to create one.

Personally I've done a few recordings for fine musicians for competitions and grants. All have to be recorded live with video, so it's clear that no edits has been made. It really works and can make wonderful vivid recordings - depending on the musicians of course.

::
Mads
Old 1 week ago
  #21
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kludgeaudio's Avatar
 

How much money is available? Divide by about $100/hr for the editing suite and that's how much time is spent editing.
--scott
Old 1 week ago
  #22
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James Lehmann's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Geoff Poulton View Post
Today, edits are expected to make a performer's performance perfect, whereas earlier generations assumed that a perfect performance was their job more then the editor's.
+1

Excellent quote Geoff, that could apply to lots of things today beyond just editing classical CDs!

For example, I work in education as well, so... "Today, teachers are expected to make a student's exam results perfect, whereas earlier generations assumed that a perfect exam result was their job more than the teacher's."

Although I'm sure there are no parents or students here who would suggest such a thing!
Old 1 week ago
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kludgeaudio View Post
How much money is available? Divide by about $100/hr for the editing suite and that's how much time is spent editing.
--scott
depends on the deal: i haven't been working with the clock ticking for years and i'd never wanna go back there - i much prefer (and practice) working on global budgets.

besides, i'd never pay anyone $100/1h for just using a pc and a mouse...
Old 1 week ago
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
depends on the deal: i haven't been working with the clock ticking for years and i'd never wanna go back there - i much prefer (and practice) working on global budgets.

besides, i'd never pay anyone $100/1h for just using a pc and a mouse...
Oof. . . wait until you find out how much some programmers and excel wizards make.

You're usually paying someone for their expertise, judgment, and skill. Not the tools they happen to use
Old 1 week ago
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnEdson View Post
Oof. . . wait until you find out how much some programmers and excel wizards make.

You're usually paying someone for their expertise, judgment, and skill. Not the tools they happen to use
no doubt about it!

however, i differentiate between the time when someone needs me, two assistants and a truck full of gear for a day or if i'm chasing but a mouse...

...and my clients are quite glad i do so! although i operate on global budgets, i invoice the services in detail: my problem if my estimation was too low, i cannot blame the client! and if it was to high, i charge less.
Old 1 week ago
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mljung View Post
Personally I've done a few recordings for fine musicians for competitions and grants. All have to be recorded live with video, so it's clear that no edits has been made. It really works and can make wonderful vivid recordings - depending on the musicians of course.

::
Mads
I think you might have something there, you'll rarely hear critiques of a demonstrably live concert (or concert recording) ....if it hasn't been tainted with edits...because the visual aspect trumps the audio aspect mostly, and the listener respects and appreciates the risk-taking and inevitable mistakes which accompany live performance. Contrast this against a typical studio or recording session...where it's known and/or assumed that all mistakes will be removed as part of the process. That (perfection) becomes the norm and the listener's expectation....
Old 1 week ago
  #27
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mljung's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
I think you might have something there, you'll rarely hear critiques of a demonstrably live concert (or concert recording) ....if it hasn't been tainted with edits...because the visual aspect trumps the audio aspect mostly, and the listener respects and appreciates the risk-taking and inevitable mistakes which accompany live performance. Contrast this against a typical studio or recording session...where it's known and/or assumed that all mistakes will be removed as part of the process. That (perfection) becomes the norm and the listener's expectation....
There is no doubt that I have taken much more care doing the sound-recordings than the videos. The videos are simply one fixed camera of all the involved musicians, and is there to prove that the performance is done live. This makes the musicians aware that they cannot just do parts over and over, and more observant on the full scope of the musical piece. This is demanding but can produce very coherent musical performances. That said I prefer to listen to the recordings without video, I'm first of all a listener to music, and really enjoys that limitation - I can't see the performance but can imagine it, which makes my listening experience deeper That is, unless I attend a concert or do a sound-recording ;->

::
Mads
Old 1 week ago
  #28
3 - 5 hours of editing for every hour spent recording is my general rule of thumb.

I charge by the hour for post production work; by the day for on-location session work.
Old 1 week ago
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RobAnderson View Post
3 - 5 hours of editing for every hour spent recording is my general rule of thumb (...)
that seems to be a lot, compared to my and some other people's experience - now i don't claim to be the fastest editor (either) so i'm wondering what gets you to this ratio:

is it that you get to edit very complex music, work with artists who need massive help, with artist who have very high requests, do you get to edit across hundrets of tracks? any thing else? and may i ask what editor/daw you're using?
Old 1 week ago
  #30
Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by RobAnderson View Post
3 - 5 hours of editing for every hour spent recording is my general rule of thumb (...)
that seems to be a lot, compared to my and some other people's experience - now i don't claim to be the fastest editor (either) so i'm wondering what gets you to this ratio:

is it that you get to edit very complex music, work with artists who need massive help, with artist who have very high requests, do you get to edit across hundrets of tracks? any thing else? and may i ask what editor/daw you're using?


Experience.

Approximately 20 years of experience tells me that for every hour I spend in a recording session, there will be 3 hours of post production.

Of course, all of the artists I work with play everything perfectly in one take;

but, to cover my a$$ in the budgeting process, I inform them that for the most complex projects, tjere is an outside chance that we could go as high as 5 hours of post production per hour spent recording.

YMMV of course.
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