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Production speed

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Hiya! I've just started doing motion-graphics freelance and picked up a couple of strong clients. Their initial requirements were creatively brain-dead, and very easy to do (hey, it's paying the bills). Recently I've been slowly pushing some new, more contemporary (and more complicated) ideas their direction and they've been freaking out, their clients love the new looks.

 

Problem is, I just moved to freelance from a VERY cush mograph job of nearly 10-dam-years where I did the same thing day-in and day-out. I knew _exactly_ how long everything took to produce and met all of my deadlines in spades. This new stuff I'm doing has spun me for a loop. It seems like I'm spending WAYYY too much time on projects, and comps should be coming together faster. I'm not sure if I'm still getting my "sea-legs" or if this stuff really takes that much longer to produce.

 

So I guess I'm looking for a "plumb-line" from the pro's here as to how long different types of projects generally take you to complete. Here is an unfinished sample of the type of work I'm doing (no music, audio-rough, not all titles in etc).

 

http://bigmucho.com/HOL006.mov

 

I've got roughly 4-5 hours of work invested in this so far. And this seems to be on-par with other similar commercials I've done recently.

 

Am I spending too much time on these? Some of the stuff I see on this board blows my mind, and I couldn't imagine how much time/work is involved...

 

Thanks in advance from a mograph new-guy!

 

-Ethan

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Hey there Mograph new guy! (it feels kinda weird calling someone with 10 years experience a "new guy") :D

 

this is everything BUT a plumb line, and i'm everything BUT a "pro" -

 

I think you've done some great work in 4 - 5 hours, obviously, "standards" in this industry are extremely flexible - you'd have to put in parameters such as:

did you design it as well in this time-frame? what hardware did you use? what was the brief exactly? etc...

 

in 10 years you know better than most of us probably that your CPU, RAM, and the time intervals of After effects Crashing in between saves contribute/decrease a significant amount of time to the overall project.

 

And thats before we mention client revisions, how many people were there breathing on your neck, how many coffees and cigarettes in between, etc, etc etc ....

 

personally, I think you're quite quick actually if you spent 4 - 5 hours on that, but hey, I'm on your side - producers are a whole different story :D and most peeps in this industry would probably agree

that they're a lot harder to please.

 

regarding cool spots you see on this board / motionographer / boardsmag etc are USUALLY (I repeat, USUALLY since there are ALWAYS exceptions) were done by more than 1 person, and obviously WAY longer than 4 - 5 hours, I've seen spots that took 4 months to complete and they could've been done much better if there were more (or different) minds, fingers, and buttons involved, and then again you see spots that people completed in 3 - 4 days and they look like they've taken years.

also, sometimes people like to say a project took them X days from concept to finish and yet they leave out other people who took care of sound, color correctors, compositors, etc.

 

keep your head up, and keep on the good work :D

ciao

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Producers love to save money left right and centre yet they expect a project to be on time. Sigh... I am a producer so I know first hand.

 

Actually that's why I animate myself. Working for a community station like I do, I rarely am given a budget to hire an animator.

 

Hmm... So I think your 4-5 hours seems reasonable for what you showed in your example. I dont think you're slow.

 

I wouldn't pitch a concept to a producer/client if you are not sure if you're going to make the deadline. For me, deadline is very important. If I need an asset for that day, it needs to be in my hand ready for that day period.

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I think that is a good amount of time spent on the animation part.

 

Did that 4-5 hours include the shooting time/editing and design prep?

 

Or did you just bust out everything sitting down in AE?

 

I'm limited to about 4-7 days for 2+ minutes of animation...Sometimes I think I'm too slow for what it is.

 

It would be interesting to make a poll to get opinions.

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dunno if this helps at all, but one time a sound designer friend was telling me about how they do the sound effects editing for big studio feature films (i assume he knew what he was talking about and that this info is accurate)...

 

they get the final(ish) cut of the film. they sit down with the director/post supervisor/etc and go through the whole film and make a detailed list of what sounds are needed where. then as quickly as possible, they fill in all the items on that list with stock sound effects etc... just to get something in there that comes close to what is needed. then the director/post sup/etc watch that quick/dirty mix and approve or give notes and amend the list.

 

then the next step is to go through and start replacing all those stock placeholder sounds with foley/rerecorded/designed/etc sounds... until they run out of time. and according to my friend, they always do run out of time. there is always some stock/untweaked sounds in there somewhere. but they have to make prioritized decisions on what sounds need to be improved and which will be acceptable as stock. like he mentioned how there are recognizeable tire squealch sounds from a library while a military vehicle spins out on a dirt road (it wouldn't make that kind of sound) in a very big studio film, but they must've run out of time and were more concerned with other sounds in it. but it was passable or even unnoticeable for the average moviegoer.

 

so anyways, i feel like the most effective approach (at least based on my experience) is to just get all your shit into the project, and fill out the timeline as quickly as possible. then use the bulk of the time going in and polishing/properly treating the elements in a prioritized fashion... like just get all your typography & illustrative elements/etc made and place it in, composed properly. then go back and do the swanky animate in's of the type, and then the organic transitional bkgd elements, etc.

 

so if something goes terribly wrong and you have to deliver after just 60% the amount of time you thought you'd have, you at least have the entire duration filled and at least nice-looking, even if it doesn't all move like a sandsnake ballerina. but like the sound effects metaphor, i think virtually 99% of all mography projects are never considered "done" by those working on them-- they just run out of time. it's like a contest with yourself to see how good you can get it before the deadline. i know that's how i always feel.

Edited by jaan

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Guest dumbo
Whomever directed the HD video part should be shot and dragged from a horse.

 

yep. pretty ugly.

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jaan that's great advice... I do find myself fixating on one small element then realizing that I've just blown an hour on it... getting the entire thing together and then adding the polish and sizzle later make sense..

 

yoni thanks for the encouragement... Ya 10 years does seem like I should have all of the xp I need ... but it was all the same ,middle-of-the-road, green-screen composite training videos... day in and out.

 

No, I didn't shoot the video. This is AE work only for me. As for the video/audio quality... no comment. I'm not entirely sure my client doesn't read these boards ;)

 

Just as another point of example, here was my progress on this same video yesterday. I spent about 4 more hours on it...

 

HOL006_JDB _b2_recomp.mov

 

thanks again for everyone's feedback!!

 

-Ethan

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yep. pretty ugly.

 

Not so much that it's ugly (which it is). But the actors have been directed to act as annoying, fake, and stereotypical as possible. Like the chick in blue is obviously trying to act as dumbshit as possible. There's no way people are that stupid. (well possibly).

 

So EITHER the director made the massive mistake of picking the worst possible actress for the role in casting OR she's a decent actor and his direction managed to make her unwatchable.

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getting the style, pacing, technique of the animation, the first moves, etc. always takes longer. Once that is done, you can re-use a lot of stuff and go a lot faster. For instance, if I have 3 days on a project, I tell the producers it'll take 2 days for the first half, 1 day for the second half. You're doing just fine...

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