Going rates for Editing/VFX work?

ScottReidScottReid Website User Posts: 130

Other than participating in big budget projects like blockbuster movies, what tends to be a starting hourly rate for this kind of work?


  • Stargazer54Stargazer54 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 2,721 Ambassador

    Editing and VFX are two separate things.  And VFX can cover a lot of ground on its own - compositing and motion graphics to name just two.  Each of these can have its own rate.

    Plus the question is a little vague, so my answer may be as well.  I'll tell you what I used to tell students and that is to figure out what you "realistically" want your yearly salary to be and divide that by 1920 (the number of working hours from 9 to 5 in a year).  That will give you a basic rate.    So if you want to make $80K/yr. then your rate is about $40/hour.

    But of course, if you are freelancing, you probably aren't going to be working full time at video production and motion graphics, so to compensate - double your rate to say $80/hr.  

    Plus, you need to do some comparative cost analysis with the competition and that really depends on your location.   A full on edit suite in Chicago or LA is going to have a higher rate that one in Wichita.  So price accordingly.  You could see ranges from $300 to $2000/hr (or more) depending on the geographic location and the type of work being done.

    Don't forget to factor in insurance, rent, travel expenses, etc.   If I had to go on a remote shoot, I'd give an hourly rate, plus mileage - that sort of thing.

    The main thing is not to sell yourself short.  Don't be afraid to ask a fair price for your work. 

    This means being prepared to let the job go if you don't get it.   As soon as you drop the price, to just to get the job you have devalued your work and your time.   Clients often have little respect for your time and the ones who have no money to spend are usually the most problematic.   They often expect Star Wars on a beer budget and can't understand why it is taking so long to finish the project.   And they will probably ask for changes, because you have cheap rates or even refuse to pay for changes.  

    Higher end clients with actual budgets have done this a time or two and understand the process.  If your work is good and on time, they will pay their bill.  Ironically, ridiculously low rates won't attract high end clients, just the cheap ones.

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