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The DV Post Complexity Scale

Many customers ask for a fixed price estimate.  When it comes to estimating a complete production, this involves numerous elements such as scripting, shooting, travel, location fees, talent, crew, special equipment, etc.  Therefore it's impossible to quote a flat price for a production until lots of detailed information is gathered and expectations are clearly decided.

As far as the post production process is concerned, it's a little easier to make a flat rate estimate.  DV Post will look at a number of factors, such as the estimated program length, the amount of raw footage, the number of graphics and titles, and the two biggest factors - how well the producer is prepared, and how many people are involved in the final decision making process.   A number is determined, usually between 1 and 5 (representing the relative complexity of the project) which is the expected number of hours it will take to edit each minute of finished video. That number is multiplied by the estimated program running time in minutes which results in the approximate number of hours it will take to edit. That number is then multiplied by the current hourly editing rate to provide a project estimate.

For example, to post a fairly simple one minute TV commercial with a complexity level of  5:
Level 5 x 1 minute = 5
5 x $75/hour = $375.00

For a very simple 10 minute talking head training video with a complexity level of 1:    
Level 1 x 10 minutes = 10                                                                                                       10 x $75/hour = $750.00

Please note that there are many exceptions and special circumstances, which could drive the cost much higher or much lower.  It is quite possible to spend a whole week ($2,400) editing one 30 second commercial. That would be a level 80!  It is also possible to edit a one hour talking head video in only one day ($480) which would be a level 0.13.  The information provided below is for sample purposes only. This estimate is for the labor - it does not include materials.

Sample Post Production Complexity Levels


Simply assembling footage without much editing or graphics. 1 or <
Talking heads or very simple training videos with a few graphics.  1
More complex training videos with cutaways, transitions, titles and music. 2
Simple documentaries with multiple reels of raw footage, narration and music. 3
Fast paced corporate image videos with layering, transitions and effects throughout. 4
TV commercials, PSA's, etc., with lots of transitions, graphics and music throughout. 5 or >