How To Determine Professional Video Editing Costs

Posted by Bill Knowland Feb 14, 2018 6:00:00 AM

Due to deadline pressures, it is not uncommon to work through a video production without accurately tracking video editing costs.

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It is a good idea though to track the real hours during video editing so that you can re-analyze the actual video editing ratio when the project is complete. That way when it is time to estimate a future project you will have a better handle on how much time the project might take and what it might cost. 


So, how much does it cost to edit a video? One way many professional video editors work is by estimating how many days a project may take to edit—for example, three to four editing days for every day of shooting. This ballpark estimate is good but doesn't take into consideration if the source video recorded on the shoot day was one hour or four hours. It is also best to identify the shooting part of the ratio as the amount of source footage, not the finished video time. For example, based on a shooting to editing ratio of 10:1, two hours of source footage would require twenty hours of editing. Factors that may affect the ratio are: how many camera were used when shooting, how many cuts per minute, the complexity of audio, will there be motion graphics services required, how much color correction and finessing will be needed, are there complex montage sequences, how many rounds of revions are planned?-etc.. 

A typical workflow may include the following video editing services:

  • Importing video, logging and identifying selects
  • Rough cut
  • Input and revisions
  • Color enhancement and sound mix
  • Final review and delivery of compressed video.

Video editing ratios for a 3 to 5 minute marketing video production range from 5:1 to 25:1. A video with long takes will edit quicker than one with many insert edits or cut-aways. Likewise, dramatized videos with many different angles and takes will require more editing time.

A music video production with lots of rapid edits and intricate montage sequences might be more in the range of a 25:1 to 35:1 source to edit ratio.

Depending upon the region you are located in, professional video editing rates range between $75 to $150/hr. Here is an estimate of what a reasonable editing budget would be for a 3 to 5 minute marketing video production that was cut from 2 hours of source footage:

Using a source video to editing time ratio of between 15:1 to 20:1 at an average rate of say $100 to $125 /hr, you could anticipate the editing cost for a 3 to 5 minute marketing video from 2 hours of source footage would be $3,000 to $5,000.

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Topics: Video, Video Marketing, Video Production

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