Thread: Cost for Grading? Transcoding?

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  1. #1 Cost for Grading? Transcoding? 
    Senior Member Alonzo Von Threet's Avatar
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    Hi,

    I rented my Scarlet a couple of times this year in July for about $500 a day in the Buffalo/Rochester area.

    However I was not responsible for grading or transcoding for that matter. I simple showed the clientele where to DL REDCineX for free and away they went.

    Of course, they were digital experts and were looking to handle the look of their own work.

    So my question is how much would a Scarlet operator charge to simple transcode or grade footage?

    Also, considering since I have a RED Rocket and I can trancode quickly? I'm not sure how long a minor grade show take for 30sec commercial where I shot an 30 minutes to an hour of footage?

    Does one charge by the bit rate say 1k as opposed to 4k? or simply Gigabytes?

    I'm looking for real numbers.

    Thanks
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  2. #2  
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    I'd come up with an hourly rate and charge whatever is fair for your market.

    I have personally done color-timing on commercials here in LA where we went well over 4 or 5 hours for a "simple" :30 second spot. It gets worse when there's 9 or 10 people arguing in the room, or if there's multiple different versions of the same spot. And I've done other commercials that took an hour, from start to wrap up. Hard to come up with a blanket fee that will cover everything.
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  3. #3  
    Senior Member jimhare's Avatar
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    Also, really depends on whether you're talking about transcoding (dailies, offline, general use) or full on grading, which suggests years of experience, calibrated monitoring etc. etc.

    I tend to do transcoding at a flat rate, especially if I'm just using the meta data and not touching each clip.

    Generally a couple of hundred for the lot, as long as there aren't terabtytes of footage. I don't worry about the resolution or type of output, I just run it in off hours and enjoy the bits of cash as a bonus.

    But grading is a whole other story. A great colorist can work quickly and confidently, so you may want to work on a blanket rate so they don't get impatient if it takes a while to get a pleasing result.
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  4. #4  
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    I charge for transcoding by the gigabyte + by the hour for however long I need to adjust the footage, if I'm not just transcoding with the metadata settings it was shot at. You should set your prices for what your time and the time your system spends on the transcodes is worth.
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  5. #5  
    Quote Originally Posted by Alonzo Von Threet View Post
    So my question is how much would a Scarlet operator charge to simple transcode or grade footage?
    Transcoding is a tehnical activity, grading is both technical and creative one.
    If you ask photographers or painters in your area "what is the price of a photo/painting", you'll get different answers. If you are interested in grading I suggest doing it first for a while as a practice, then estimating a price, not the other way around.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alonzo Von Threet View Post
    I'm not sure how long a minor grade show take for 30sec commercial where I shot an 30 minutes to an hour of footage?
    Quantity of raw material is irrelevant, that affects the editor, full grading is done on an edited sequence.
    "Minor grade" can mean a lot of things, the amount of work and/or time required does not have to be minor. Time it takes depends not only on colorist's working speed and abilities but on client's as well, plus on their collaboration. Creative decisions take time, not just the process of bringing them to life, and the time required for both parts varies.
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  6. #6  
    As I see it, If you want to beat that alexa rental then you should offer free redrocket transcodes for offline. Basically transcode to DNXHD or proress with in camera setings or the DP's RCXP settings. If you do not do so I think alot of rental clients will find alexa a better choice.
    Most clients do not have a rocket and they do not understand the greatnes of having the raw files for grading/online. So if it's any kind of obstacle to go the "new tech route" then they will choose another path. Basically they only want the better new stuff if it comes to the same price and without hassle.

    If you got a RR computer and know your stuff it does not take much effort to render a few terabyte of footage. So normally (depending on what client ofcourse) I charger between nothing or 1000USD per shooting day.

    Me doing creative grading is another thing, that comes on a far wider range, between nothing and 1000USD an hour.
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  7. #7  
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    In NYC when I am just dumping cards, setting a basic LUT, and transcoding my typical rate is 600 per day as a entry level non union DIT. But only a rather large production has use for such a position, low budget stuff really just makes the DP or AC wear multiple hats. So it really depends on the size of the production and their expectations. Like mentioned above if you refuse to include this stuff for free on low budget stuff, and fail to communicate the advantages of shooting in raw/4k in the r3d format...some may end up misled into thinking its a useless step between them and their prores or dnxhd files.

    A lot of Alexa productions don't even shoot raw besides on the high end side. Another way to do this on red is if your not shooting high frame rates but just 24, or 30 you can just use an offboard recorder to transcode in real time as you shoot...IE Pix240 or competitor...

    So without knowing what kind of market your in, its hard to say honestly what it would dictate and if your clients would be willing at all to even pay for these services
    Last edited by Brian Merlen; 10-02-2013 at 07:58 AM.
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  8. #8  
    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Merlen View Post
    In NYC when I am just dumping cards, setting a basic LUT, and transcoding my typical rate is 600 per day as a entry level non union DIT. But only a rather large production has use for such a position, low budget stuff really just makes the DP or AC wear multiple hats. So it really depends on the size of the production and their expectations. Like mentioned above if you refuse to include this stuff for free on low budget stuff, and fail to communicate the advantages of shooting in raw/4k in the r3d format...some may end up misled into thinking its a useless step between them and their prores or dnxhd files.

    A lot of Alexa productions don't even shoot raw besides on the high end side. Another way to do this on red is if your not shooting high frame rates but just 24, or 30 you can just use an offboard recorder to transcode in real time as you shoot...IE Pix240 or competitor...

    So without knowing what kind of market your in, its hard to say honestly what it would dictate and if your clients would be willing at all to even pay for these services
    Agree, but then again, the rental client might look at your offbouard recorder and talk about the possible ways to use it for different frame rates and get it to be triggered by camera and saved as separate files etc etc is rather confusing. My experience tells me that then they will very much go and spend the little money they have on an alexa instead. Think of it if you are a producer and rent for a day and do not have to much experience and or knowhow around all these technical stuff and have a production that you need to get done that has all kind of stressfull things inlcuded as the budget is tight etc. Then do you want to stand there and rely on recorders, have an extra "floating cost" for transcodes, get any delays in editing and or online.... The answer to all of those is usually no.
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  9. #9  
    Senior Member Alonzo Von Threet's Avatar
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    I have to thank all you guys for all your input. Viewing your input, I realize I am not far off in my thinking that it's just not something that can be pinned down. There's lots of variables and one big one is the client. You guys hit the nail on the head to mention of the market, the client, the job, the amount of data, the experience, the specifics creative or technical. So it will have to be evaluated by a case by case scenario. What I am also happy about is you guys explain how dynamic that case by case scenario can be.

    I was simply trying to merge with a green screen studio that mainly does print. I was trying to do pro video for music video and commercials. The studio doesn't even know what color grading is, and I didn't realize with my previous rentals with professional Directors, they were so advanced they didn't even ask me to transcode. They just wanted the RAW Data. Again to very broad extremes. However I can see how transcode could be part of a package at now extra charge and "minor" grading can be an exuberant floating charge.

    Thanks All. If you don't mind...Is there a link to the Alexa you speak of? Sounds like a competitive bite in the RED Raw workflow/system.

    Again, much thanks all.
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  10. #10  
    Senior Member Adrian Jebef's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alonzo Von Threet View Post
    Thanks All. If you don't mind...Is there a link to the Alexa you speak of? Sounds like a competitive bite in the RED Raw workflow/system.

    The only man on the planet who hasn't heard of the ALEXA...

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