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Thread: Charging for export time?

  1. Default Charging for export time?

    Hey forum. I have a general question, which I guess amounts to asking for advice, but I am genuinely interested to know how people deal with this.

    I am a freelance videographer and editor using Adobe Master Collection. As you know, videos take time to export. Especially if they are HD and heavy on graphic elements. My PC is a relatively quick one - 3.4ghz, dual core.

    Recently I did 5 short videos for a client, each of them being quite heavy on graphics, and they needed me to send compressed files to their FTP for sign off. They would keep sending new changes, tweaks and amendments, however, what they are not aware of, is that even a small change (like changing a word, a letter or a one second cut) would then mean a good couple hours of exporting time - for example compressing down to H.264 or WMV for them to check the edit in their offices. And so working on 4-5 short videos meant that i could clock up days of simply exporting the simple, quick changes they were asking me to make.

    Do you guys have similar issues? And how do you charge for this? Is your exporting time factored in and charged for in advance? I'd like to know because there are times i genuinely think of quiting this business because of the time I lose on exporting - the stress and frustration can just be too much - especially if I have other work I need to get on with and am delayed. I am also wondering if buying a new quad core would actually increase the exporting time significantly. As I find that the multicore processors seem to be lower clock speeds (2.6 etc as apposed to my current 3.4ghz) and thus may not help me much.



  2. #2


    Quad Core is what you want for the kind of work you are aiming for...especially with heavy duty graphics that you generate in After Effects. Also, What speed HDD do you have? How much Ram? Are there bottle-necks in the export and render process that could be fixed inexpensively.

    We had a 10-12 page topic recently on a wedding editor who kept having client make demands of "re-edit this that and this" and many guys were of the opinion that all terms need to be agreed up front, Including how often client can request changes.

    So for example, If in your contact it states:
    "You may book 1-3 hour of meeting time with me to agree your specification and request, full story board and script must be written up before work is begun, when final script is signed off editor will begin work on video, once editor has completed video, he will submit a copy of it to you for final approval, at THIS stage you may request any final alterations to the video in question and you may only request changes to be performed once, if you wish further modifications to the video you will be charged X amount accordingly for the additional man hours worked."

    And you present those terms up front, It will deter people from constantly sending you emails that say
    "Oh yeah and could you make the logo a bit bigger" "I just remembered, I want the logo to be green not blue thanks" "oh and the managing director is now Suzie not Tom" "While you at it, Could you change the division name to blalabla" "I like it BUT I want you to do this before I am happy with it"

    If I order a building to be built and the contractor buys a load of "red" paint for the lobby and then when the building is nearly done I say "Oh nononono! I want blue instead" Client would have to pay for the cost of the blue paint as well as the cost of the red paint.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    London, England


    OP hasn't replied, but it seems to me that the issue is one of charging customers for what is a lot of work (or repeat grief, if you like). Every change is a massive amount of work, for it can cause "unexpected" effects - and will certainly mean you aren't doing something more-productive.

    Therfore each "project" should be budgeted for the "Time to Take" - and- "Time to Make" - roughly I'd suggest these are likely to be similar - OK maybe throw-in a bit of travel, insurance and wear-and-tear on the car. Now the Editing and download (if I understand it), is a "time issue" - that's a cost. If this is done once then that's an end to it, but for each change perhaps there should be a charge....

    That "Tariff" was what the OP wanted. . . . any takers?
    Maybe consider it in terms of % - like:-

    Word changes on each single title frame 1% each time
    Word-change on multiple frames (eg credit-rolls) 2% each time
    Colour changes as above in addition, text or background.
    Font-changes (within available fonts)1% - if new fonts are required 5% per font-face
    Logo's and still-pictures (in .png )(copyright-free certified) 5% per 5, or less.
    Sound effects
    Colour/hue changes, or matching multiple shots (where the camera cannot cope) 5%

    Now if the project is a "free" or "Taster" etc, then perhaps you should give them the "Time to take" free and charge for the Time to Make, with a notional 250 FOC - anything more and you charge, to make the customer understand there is a "value" in what you do . . . . and if it's done again, then the effort has to be paid for.
    Last edited by vidmanners; 10-10-2011 at 09:04 PM.

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