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I currently am the Video guy for our company. We do video training for installs for automotive parts. I do the planning for the videos. I do the shooting of the videos. I do the editing of the videos. I do the final release of the videos.

My boss wants a report about the amount of time it should be taking me to do this. Its a fair question and I'm all about self improvement and figuring out where I can do my job more effectively, especially if it will help me get a raise or move up in the company. My question comes from the amount of time I should be allotting for the start to completion for a video. Its not my only job, but it is about 30-35 hours a week, so a huge portion.

So how much time should I be allotting for start to finish of a video. I have put together several of the parameters bellow.

SO lets assume I was going to release a 10 minute video on YouTube.

  1. I do my planning for the different shots I'm going to need.
  2. I work with our other guy who is the "Host" or "Talent" on screen to get together what he needs to cover.
  3. We start shooting, We do about 3 hours of shooting/installing, giving me what I need to work from.
  4. I start editing the video, I join the audio, I sort through the footage, Pick all the different pieces I'm going to use, Cut in each scene (Which is rather easy because we shoot in consecutive order of the build), Lay in the intro & outro graphics, Lay the sound effects/background music (Which is typically most of the video and the same), Export the video, Make any suggestions/changes from the installers, Build the video thumbnails.
  5. I upload the completed video to YouTube, add to other website locations, send an email its been release, write any type of descriptions/keywords.

Now I know how long I'm spending on each video roughly, its about 2-3 weeks time per video, and sometimes even more than that. I have about 4 years of experience doing this. I also know that it varies from person to person based on skill. I do have plenty of room for improvement, I know that. How long SHOULD it take me to complete a project like this? Am I in the ball park? Am I running really slow? Or am I doing good for my time frame?

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This is a tough question because there are a ton of different factors involved here, from complexity of the video to the equipment you're working with to the NLE you use. However, the default formula we use to give time estimates to clients breaks down like this (I've run a small video production company for a few years working for a large variety and diversity of clients):

Pre-Production

2 hours per minute of final product: This is a number that can swing wildly in each direction, mostly depending on how much pre-production we have to do. For instance, if a client already has a script prepared, we typically don't have to do much besides potentially locking down a location, prepping a shot list, and lining up a crew. However, if a client comes to us and just says "I want a video to express such and such" (without a concept), we'll spend a large amount of time brainstorming, writing, etc. Typically we'll even send the client 3 fairly well-developed concepts to see which one they like best.

Production

1 hour per minute of final product: This is the number that stays the most consistent across all our projects, and really boils down to only a few factors. The biggest factor is who we're working with - if we get to use our own (experienced) actors in the video, everything goes smoothly. If a company or organization wants to put their own people into the video, it takes longer because (most of the time) these people don't have acting experience and thus haven't memorized the script, aren't strong in staying consistent between takes, etc.

The other main factor in production time is the equipment you're using and how complex the shoot is. More cameras cuts down on production time because you can grab multiple angles at once (we typically shoot with 2 cameras at a time). A complicated shoot involving a lot of equipment set-up/breakdown will take much longer than a shoot with just a camera on a tripod. Set-up and breakdown of equipment (especially large equipment like a jib or dolly) can take a ton of time.

Post-Production

1.5 hours per minute of final product: Like pre-production, this one can swing pretty wildly in either direction, but I almost never give an estimate of less than 1.5 hours/minute of final product. This one really depends on what exactly you're doing in your post-production workflow - are you just throwing clips together on a timeline and then exporting it? Or are you going through all the extra steps, like color correcting/grading, audio cleaning/mixing, adding titles, VFX, etc.? Typically, if we're on a deadline, we'll cut unnecessary steps from that workflow to get a video out on time (most clients may not care if you don't color grade a project simply because most people won't notice it if it's not horrible).

Total

This works out to around 4.5 hours of work per minute of "final product" (a 10-minute video would take 45 hours, for instance). Like I said, there's a ton of volatility to that number - we've knocked out a 4-minute video in 10 hours, but we've also spent 20 hours on a 1 minute video. The biggest thing I've learned while in this industry is that people who are unfamiliar with the process of video production always underestimate how long a video will take from start to finish. To do it right, it takes time.

In your specific case, it looks like your video has a decent number of angles, cuts, etc., and your production value is fairly high. Your videos are long, too, so I'd say 2-3 weeks of working 30-35 hours/week is definitely within the acceptable range.

  • I really appreciate your feedback. Thank you for taking the time to write such a knowledgeable response. – John Ayers Aug 1 '16 at 15:58

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