Post Production

NLEs Are Still Too Expensive?

There has been a lot of noise lately from some folks that even the new Avid hardware pricing is too high. As someone who is in this game for the long haul, this really rankles my feathers. Avid has lowered their pricing by around 50 percent, while delivering a product that greatly increases speed and performance over the existing Adrenaline line. When I try to explain that time is money and the time you save with this gear equals money in the bank, I just get “but FCP is cheaper” as the standard response. So I thought I would follow this new group of editors to their future world…

Currently the average editor in LA makes $2,000 to $2,500 per week. That is just their wage, not gear. The average edit room rental in LA is $1,000 per week, moving towards $800. lately.

If you paid 20K for your edit system, it would take you 25 weeks at $800.00 per week to recoup your cost. This is an oversimplified statement that doesn’t take into account all the business aspects, but it I’m using it for the sake of argument.

Unfortunately, the new breed of entry level editors out there believe they should just get the NLE and hardware for next to nothing! Why should they have to invest? Come on, buy it for nothing, then charge $800. a week to rent it?!?!

It’s more like buy it for nothing and not be able to rent it! That’s the problem with their concept. Why do these folks want to drag the existing businesses into the ground? Just so they can edit for free?

Here’s the end result. They will be lucky to get $100 a day for their edit room. Of course they still have the expense of the rent, electricity, maintenance, support, furniture, monitors, decks, etc. (I mention decks because these folks seem to want an I/O box for next to nothing also, so they must need it to output to a deck). So they will probably lose money on their systems, but what the heck, it gets them a job…

…But… Every kid in town who has a cracked version of FCP on his computer is their competition. Those kids can work for peanuts just to get the work. Those kids live with their parents who pay for everything, so all they are investing is time which they have an excess of. So our hapless editors who got their NLEs inexpensively are going to have to work for nothing also…

…Unless, they can convince clients they are more valuable. They can’t use the edit system to do that anymore because it has no value. So they have to do it on talent. There goes more overhead as they struggle to get the word out to convince folks that they have more talent than the kid down the street.

And they better not expect any new improvements in their edit system to help them gain an advantage. Avid has been out of the picture for a while since the company couldn’t survive selling gear for less than it cost them to make. That leaves FCP or Premiere Pro to use. Apple stopped heavy R&D in Pro Apps once it saw Avid die as it now had a captive market and those dollars would be better spent on coming up with the next iGadget. And Adobe? They have a system that makes Flash for the web… what else do they need?

Oh, what a wonderful world…

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Terence Curren has had a passion for filmed entertainment since the age of 12, when he began creating home movies with an old eight-millimeter camera. He began his career in the early 1980s by directing,…

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