Hi!I would like to know how do you calculate times for a sound design project? How much time (in human hours) does it take to make the sound design for a feature film (1:30hrs)? If you could specify by the different processess it would help a lot:

  • Cleaning/Editing Production Sound
  • ADR
  • Designing (recording/editing from libraries/etc) Backgrounds
  • Designing (recording/editing from libraries/etc) Effects
  • Recording/editing Foley
  • Editing Music or
  • Composing Music
  • Mixing in 5.1

Am I missing something? I know times may vary depending on the films necesities, but to be a little more specific you could tell me these times for a thriller/suspense movie? With 3 or 4 action scenes (including gun fighting)? In my specific case, I'm working in a 2hr movie...

Thank you very much!

  • 2
    Cronograms? Amazing.
    – g.a.harry
    Oct 12, 2011 at 22:00
  • Haha sorry! I meant schedules? Or how is it said? Oct 13, 2011 at 21:45

3 Answers 3


Reasonable times that pop off the top of my head are about 1 reel per week for cutting DX or FX, but sometimes 2 reels per week for cutting FX on a tight time budget (did that on a recent feature - not ideal turn around time, but still doable). Figure about 8-12 hours per day of work, and you'll be able to figure out how many human hours.

A good rule of thumb I learned for cutting dialogue is to meet a minimum benchmark of 1 hour per 1 minute of dialogue. I average around 1 hour per 2 minutes of dialogue, but it has taken some time to ramp up to this speed while still maintaining quality of work.

As for the other categories, it I can't provide a definite answer because it's not something I've "timed out" really or done enough of to accurately gauge a time.

  • Thank you very much for your the answer Stavrosound! I'm currently working in an action movie (2hrs long)that has a lot of effects, and sequences that were cut very similar to "Requiem for a Dream" (the fast sequences when the characters take drugs, or sell drugs in the streets, etc...) which require many SFX. Actually we are 3 people working on the sound design (except for the foley recording which is being done by another teem) and we were given 2 months for editing dialogues, backgrounds design and SFX. I feel we should be given at least 1 month extra, but that's why I am asking. Thank you! Oct 14, 2011 at 14:44

It entirely depends on the total budget of the film, the creative and practical requirements etc.... films scale by huge amounts

  • Hi Tim! In this case there is no problem with the budget (It's negotiable). The film is 2 hours long, and has about 6 or 7 hard action scenes including gun fighting, and fast sequences that have been cut like "Requiem for a Dream" or "Snatch" (if you know what I mean). Could you tell me a little bit from your past experiences? Thank you very much! Oct 14, 2011 at 14:48
  • total budget? some films get made for US$100k, some for us$1mill, some for us$10mill, some for us$100mill
    – user49
    Oct 22, 2011 at 18:52

I haven't fully worked on a feature other than just foley recording/editing or ADR, but from my experience on just doing a 20min short film to the best of my ability it has taken almost 3weeks-4weeks. This was working on my own, cleaning dialogue, editing, foley, design etc... If there is three of you and you assign tasks to eachother and they're all being done at the same time, I see no problem in it being done in a month and a half maybe?

I would stress though that I'm sure once the director watches it he'll be coming back to you for changes, which you should take into consideration. Goodluck!

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