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    Post-Production Audio Costs
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    For a simple 85 minute character-driven theatrically (digitally) released drama feature film, with very few sound effects, what would a rough estimate on post-production audio work be?


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    Senior Member David W. Jones's Avatar
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    Somewhere between $100 and $1M. Kind of like asking how much will it cost to shoot an 85min feature, no?


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    Senior Member Ewan L's Avatar
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    It depends on who's being hired and how many. Are you using a foley artist or are you using sound effects from libraries? Are you hiring a top notch composer? You need to consider these first.
    The name is Ewan Lumsden


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    Are you tracklaying in a way that makes life easy for the dubbing mixer or leaving him to do all the work. If you are not a professional editor get one in to sort things out before dubbing.


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    Senior Member gonzo_entertainment's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by David W. Jones View Post
    Somewhere between $100 and $1M. Kind of like asking how much will it cost to shoot an 85min feature, no?
    Exactly. Somebody with a short resume looking to build it or a friend, maybe less than $1000. A $1500/Day professional post audio guy really doing a nice job on it, tens of thousands minimum.


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    Quote Originally Posted by David W. Jones View Post
    Somewhere between $100 and $1M. Kind of like asking how much will it cost to shoot an 85min feature, no?
    I was hoping that I provided enough details, that I wouldn't get a response like this. Alas, never fails.


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    Section Moderator Alex H.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew McCarrick View Post
    I was hoping that I provided enough details, that I wouldn't get a response like this. Alas, never fails.
    Think about the question, Andrew: an 85-minute film is not "simple", at all. Not many SFX you think? Okay, but what about dialog editing? Do you want it done right, or just done?

    You can cheap out on SFX for what little you think you need (you get what you pay for), if you really want, or you could hire a Foley stage to do some work (there's a few hundred more per day). Dialog editing cannot be shortcut much at all if you want anything decent in the end. It takes a while to match takes, cut in the room tone where needed... what about ADR? If it has to be done, it has to be done.

    Expect an experienced dialog editor, doing the job right, to get through between 1 and 3 minutes of dialog per work day, the latter being a rush job. How much will that cost? Depends on who you hire, but it can be a few hundred per day at least. Average 2 minutes per day, for an 85-minute film, that's over a month of dialog editing. Music editing, FX editing, and then the mixing phase will add up as well.

    So... how well do you want this done?
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    Sound Ninja Noiz2's Avatar
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    I think if you go to the stickies and look for the "how to make your film sound like it had a budget" thread (post sticky I think) there are a lot of details.

    BUT. What are you aiming for? The "not many FX" part is a BIG turn off for someone who might help you. It means that either you have no idea what goes into a decent post or you don't care. Either way it's going to be a lot of work for your post person.

    You WANT a detailed sound post. It will bring the film to a completely different level.

    So go from the top and figure how far from that yo are willing to go.

    The top being a fully budgeted Hollywood style sound post. You can do that level with a LOT less money IF you can get someone to put in the time. And they do have to know what they are doing.

    That level will take an experienced editor 10 -15 manhours per finished screen minute. So a 90 min feature will take about 90 to 135 hours for one person to do the post. More people less calendar time. In truth I have found I can probably (on most features) get that down to the 7ish hour range (per screen minute) but less than that and you are cutting "quality" for budget. But I am very experienced, have a large personal library and can do my own Foley. BTW be leary of anyone spelling Foley as foley. That is a big no no in the professional post world so it may imply something about the editor. Mostly that they have not worked in the feature world professionally, not nec. a killer but keep it in mind.

    Some genres can skate on the rough side. "Reality" type shows are one where you could skimp a lot and probably get by.

    As to the amount of work. The reason "professionally" made studio films sound the way they do is that a crew takes the time to make them that way. If your goal is to be the "bad boy" and make a very non smooth sounding film you can get away with murder. But if your aiming at the "well made" feature you need to keep the bar (set by studio films) in mind because it will be in the mind f everyone watching your film.

    Actually that is not true. Folks who worked on it and relatives will be thrilled no mater what you throw on the screen. But un related public, festival screeners, etc are going to compare your film with the standard 100 mill Hollywood film. If yor sound sucks you loose.

    What that all costs you depends on a lot of things. Do you have a fantastic script? One that others who don't know you think is fantastic? If one of them is a sound post professional...

    Does your film look fantastic? If a pro can use it for their reel...

    Are you having an affair with a post professional.... OK I know the answer to that because you wouldn't be posting.

    The bottom line is you want someone who has say $50,000 invested in gear and has a bunch of experience to work for your budget. They would make $50K to $100K on a full union show so why are they going to do yours?

    It's basically the same as getting locations etc. You need to sell your film. And you want to because it is worth every moment you spent to get a really good sound post person to do your tracks.

    And FYI music is NOT considered part of sound post. It comes in at mix time but it is a completely different department.

    You do NOT want a composer for your sound post person. They know music but not post sound. Hire them as your composer and have them work with your sound post person.
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    Senior Member David W. Jones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew McCarrick View Post
    I was hoping that I provided enough details, that I wouldn't get a response like this. Alas, never fails.
    Enough details?

    What do you need to have done, as Post production Audio could cover a few bases?

    Do you need...
    Music score & Rights for use
    Dolby License
    Stereo Mix
    5.1 mix
    Stem Mix
    ADR
    Foley
    FX Layback
    Editing
    Noise Reduction & cleaning
    ???


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    #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew McCarrick View Post
    I was hoping that I provided enough details, that I wouldn't get a response like this. Alas, never fails.

    I'll echo others that have stated that you really haven't provided any details other than you your project has a lot of dialogue and you don't think there will be a lot of sound effects used. Right away that tells me, without even seeing a rough cut, that there will be a fair amount of dialogue editing to be done and Foley work..not to mention a good backgrounds editor. If you want it done right, it will cost you. If you just want it done, you can take a chance on someone that doesn't have a lot of experience but is willing to work on the cheap. Depends on your audience really, and what your goals for the film are.
    David Fisk
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