Video editing - how much does this cost?

15 replies
I know a lot of you on here have created short videos, either for sales or to keep in touch with your list.

How long should it take for a skilled video editor to put together a SHORT video? Are the following things something that need to happen for a short web video (uploaded to Youtube for an ezine)?

"Picture editing, color correction, sound editing, and graphics"

I recently hired an editor for a client of mine, and there was a MASSIVE disconnect in how much time it takes to edit a video to make it look professionally done.

We showed her a Youtube channel that had well produced videos. You could tell they were shot with an iphone on a tripod or something, but the editing was done by someone who knows what they were doing, and there were some customized parts (animated intro, etc)

We found someone who could do the videos that we were looking for, gave her the info and the raw footage. Cut to my client emailing me a week later QUITE surprised at a bill she had gotten- the contractor went for 16 hours on a 5 minute video.

16 hours is like....creating a web site for me. My mind was blown! Now, some of this was initial talks & setup, but WHOA!

This person worked on a screenshot tracker for me, so I know that (as far as I could tell) they were actually working during this time. I don't think she was trying to cheat it or anything... I think she just took a seriously long time on this
#cost #editing #video
  • Profile picture of the author KenJ
    Hi Amberly

    There is a clear disconnect here between what you thought you would pay and what you were charged. I do not think 16 hours is too much as long as the video was excellent at the end of the process. The problem could have perhaps been avoided with better and clearer discussion in the first place.
    This happened to me once on an order for aluminium. (Don't ask) I thought I was ordering 500 metres. I was supplied with 5000 metres which was their minimum order level anyhow.
    I had to pay although after discussion they reduced the cost by 25% due to the misunderstanding.

    I suggest you tell your editor that you were surprised by the invoice level, you want to hire them in the future and is there anyway to reduce it.

    Short answer - 16 hours is reasonable IMHO.

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  • Profile picture of the author Beatinest
    If you are happy with the video and it will generate profit for you or your client then it's money well spent. Sometimes perfection is time consuming. However, if the end result sucked and you're not going to use it...well...that's a different story.
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  • Profile picture of the author Brandon Tanner
    Originally Posted by amberlymiller View Post

    Cut to my client emailing me a week later QUITE surprised at a bill she had gotten- the contractor went for 16 hours on a 5 minute video.

    16 hours is like....creating a web site for me. My mind was blown! Now, some of this was initial talks & setup, but WHOA!
    Depends on the type of video... but for certain types of videos, 16 hours is nothing for a 5 minute video. Heck, I've spent weeks (working full-time) putting together a 2 minute video. If the video requires a script to be written, an actor or voiceover artist to be hired, lots of fancy animations/effects, and everything synched together perfectly with music... it can take a considerable amount of time and effort to put all of that together.

    I've also made much simpler 2 minute videos that took less than an hour to create. So it just depends.

    Bottom line though is that the length of the video has nothing to do with how long it will take to create & edit. It all depends on the type of video it is and how it's put together.

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  • Profile picture of the author Fun to Write
    I studied radio/TV/film in school and have sat at a video editing desk for hours on end. So, let me tell you the answer to your question is - it depends on the project.

    Editing requires lots of intuition and technical know how. It also requires lots of patience.

    You told the editor you wanted professional quality work. Well, that requires making countless decisions about what footage to put where. Editing is NOT a quick and simple thing for real creative work.

    Could you have found someone to do it cheaper?

    Maybe, but it really comes down to value. Did she do a great job on your video?

    Are you able to use it for the purposes you want?

    If the answer is yes, then her fee is worth it.

    Next time do more research on different editors. Highly skilled professionals have higher fees. Less experienced editors cost less.

    You could always seek out college students with video editing experience. They would probably work for much less than a professional.

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  • Profile picture of the author spearce000
    How short is a piece of string?

    Without knowing exactly what was involved I can't say whether you were getting a good deal or not, but if there's lots of graphics, overlays, matching of action etc. then it can be a complicated and time consuming process. I have to agree with other posters: 16 hours of editing for a 5 minute promo isn't that bad. Heck, I've spent a week editing a 30 second TV commercial.

    Editing live action is a LOT more complicated than putting together Powerpoint and Camtasia video. Everything you see on TV or on YouTube isn't put together in real time – it's just that really good editors make you think it is!
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    • Profile picture of the author honestim
      Hi there,

      As bad as it sounds I am not surprised it took that much of time to edit or create a video. It can be less or more depending on the quantum and quality of work. Trust me, been on both sides of the table and I know 5 minutes of finished video is a long long time.

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  • Profile picture of the author kencalhn
    I'm a pro, make some of the best infomercial style videos in the world (really), since 2001, and it often takes me 20-30 hours per finished 60 seconds of pro video. It varies widely, but if there's complex animations, jump cuts and storyboarding it always takes at least 20 hours, so that's not at all extreme re 16 hrs for 5 minutes, if it's a professional video w/custom logo animations etc
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  • Profile picture of the author Ron Desi
    I'll concur with everyone else. I can put a 5 minute spokesperson video together with no intros, outros, fancy graphics in 5-10 minutes. If the client wants something complicated, advanced, lots of graphics, professional quality, etc, then it could take well over 20 hours per minute of footage.

    If it's of average quality, some bells and whistles but not alot, 16 hours sounds pretty reasonable.

    Ron Desi
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  • Profile picture of the author mgsmith
    I suggest you wait for the outcome first so that you would know if 16 hours is reasonable or not. If you think the video is very well-edited then I think 16 hours is worth it. Video editing is a hard work.


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  • Profile picture of the author Chris-
    Video editing can certainly take some time to do well. I recommend doing some for yourself, so you understand what's involved.

    LightWorks is an opensource (free) editor good enough to be used in some Hollywood movies, but the learning-curve is a steep one . . . I've just started with it myself!

    Another way to get a good answer would be to post a specific job on a good outsourcing site (I use oDesk), and contact a lot of different workers and ask how long each would take, how much they would charge etc. These kinds of jobs are competitive, so you will get what you pay for, and the amount of time taken is unlikely to vary much for similar quality of work, although of course. As usual, cheap workers might cost you more time, and usually more communication to correct mistakes etc.

    Hope that helps

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  • Profile picture of the author illiptic
    I shoot every single video I do on my smartphone and edit with a simple little app called video stitcher.

    Nice looking, edited videos don't really make a difference in my experience when it comes to selling and building a rapport with my list.

    The way I communicate and an understanding of the art and skill of influence does.

    Thats just my opinion, but I would rather have a youtube video with 100 videos shot with my phone with really good, useful content than 20 with a bunch of nice looking, edited videos.

    Again, all entirely just my opinion of course.
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  • Profile picture of the author seobro
    Hi Amber:
    Well, a 30 second TV commercial takes me hours to edit and time is money. Quality is what we worry on. Hope that this video is super. Always put in a contract how much you are gonna pay. Best to find that out early on. All the best to you.
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    • Profile picture of the author cashforcabinets
      I needed a video made for my website so I went to Projects - and for a 2 min video they wanted $200k+

      They were very nice about it though.

      but if you youtube "ATTICAMMA"'s channel and go to his video's I edited them all back in 08 and it took me about 12 straight hours to edit all the videos and compile them all, but they didn't have any special effects it was just editing.

      here's a quick link to the videos ATTICAMMA - YouTube

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  • Profile picture of the author julesw
    Spent 6 weeks with an Editor on a 60 mins tv show in former life as TV Director (without motion gfx) .. so 16 hours for the video - if it's good is ok
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