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Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

How much do you pay for grading?

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Is this a question related to how much you'd charge to do the work, or how much you'd pay to do the work. 

I've been paid upwards of $1500 for a 4 minute music video color. For a short film, I'd probably charge roughly the same. 

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I was wondering how much filmmakers pay to have it done.

Wow, that is pricey. I thought it would be a few hundred $$. Especially for a short 4 min. I guess more must go into it than I thought.

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Posted (edited)

when grading you are paying for the talent and time needed and the grading suite they have built for you to rent for the time needed. so if you can manage with a less experienced colorist and have easy material which is fast to grade (or you can live with small imperfections to speed up the grading) and you don't need full projector setup for cinema grading but a nice calibrated display would do you could save a lot. easy online will lower the costs as well.  

But it can vary a lot based on what you need and where the end product is meant to be used. here it could be for example between 400 and 2000 euros a day to grade a short film or a commercial depending on who does it and where and how experienced colorist and what gear he uses. If you can do the grade quicker it will lower the cost and a bad colorist is slower than a good one so you need to balance the things to find out the best option for your specific project. 

If your project is going to end up mainly to DCP release I would choose a mid range colorist and ask for a good quote and if you can do something for the project to be able to grade it quicker to lower the cost. If you have shot RAW footage for example it may lower the costs if you debayer it by yourself and render to low enough contrast log prores444 or xq for grading so that the raw adjustments don't need to be figured out and tested by the colorist so less work for him/her. 

 

It may also lower the cost if the grade can be done on their spare time in longer time period so couple of silent hours here and there when they don't have higher paying projects and clients working there. it will take longer to get the final product but the price could be much more reasonable for you 

Edited by aapo lettinen

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Posted (edited)

if you don't need to be there by yourself it would be much cheaper but that is not ideal when doing narratives... though then it would be possible to outsource the grading job anywhere, even to another country. Even I could give you a quote for the work and handle it from here, I have Resolve and some experience and fast interwebs 😎 

Edited by aapo lettinen

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$1500 for a short is not pricey at all. Depends on who you're getting and what results you expect. Prices have come down quite a bit because everyone thinks they're a colorist now but someone with experience and talent will cost you but for good reason.

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As said it also depends on how much extra work like online and mastering the deal involves and how the graphics are delivered or if the client adds the graphics afterwards to clean master etc. 

-not a real quote- ...I quickly estimated for example that I could probably do good basic grade and masters and online for that type of 15 to 30min project for about 3k or 4k if the graphics would be delivered by customer readily made in psd files and the playout correctly made in intra codec, project in xml and the original edit project as a backup. All the needed materials (most raw formats also possible) delivered and final mixed soundtracks delivered by customer in 24bit48khz wav files ready to go for mastering. No changes to picture lock, no vfx, no audio work included nor graphics like end credits and only rec709 output in prores444 or xq. Unencrypted dcp possible but quality or working not quaranteed. Delivery time 2 to 3 months if working on my spare time (thus cheaper and would be nice to try a different kind of project for chance). I'm not a pro colorist but doing dailies grading about 4 hours a day and the rest is other picture post work and mastering so should do ok quality end result.  Over half of that estimated price was online and versioning and mastering btw, that's how much hidden work there tends to be in addition to the actual grading work even if graphics and audio is done by the customer.  Estimated total work time about 1.5 to 2 weeks if 8 hour days not knowing the project at all.  -not a real quote-

I'm sure someone local can work out something similar, there must be some cheaper end guys in NY who can do good deals for you :)

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9 hours ago, Daniel D. Teoli Jr. said:

I was wondering how much filmmakers pay to have it done.

Wow, that is pricey. I thought it would be a few hundred $$. Especially for a short 4 min. I guess more must go into it than I thought.

It could easily be only that. Or even less. Grading is priced by the colourist's time, not the running time of the project. A one hour documentary might get graded in a day while a music video with lots of cuts and fancy grade with lots of masks might take several times longer.

 

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9 hours ago, Daniel D. Teoli Jr. said:

I was wondering how much filmmakers pay to have it done.

Wow, that is pricey. I thought it would be a few hundred $$. Especially for a short 4 min. I guess more must go into it than I thought.

I would do it for a few hundred. Depends on what market you're searching in.

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