Hey all,

I have to do a quote for post sound production for a feature film and i'm not quite sure where to start. I did read Tim's answer to Colin's question (http://socialsounddesign.com/questions/796/indie-feature-production-and-post-production-audio-budgets) and this helped but I don't have hugh amounts of experience in this area.

How long should it take/ should I allow for each post production process - dialogue, adr, sound effects, rerecording, etc. ?

Obviously there are certain things that will need to be done, what else should I consider or more accurately what else should I look out for?

I know this isn't strictly a sound design question, but my google research turned up minimal useful information and having learnt some hard lessons already I thought I should ask around. Any suggestions or advice will be greatly appreciated.

2 Answers 2


I work in Denmark where the scale of productions (due to the fact that there are only 5 million people in the world who speak Danish) is close to or a bit bigger than American indie productions. I have only worked on one American indie feature, so my numbers may not be correct in your situation, but here they are:

Dialogue editing (production sound): 3 weeks

ADR including editing: 2-5 days

Atmospheres and background: 3 weeks

Sound design, music editing and supervising editing: 4 weeks

Foley recording: 3-5 days

Foley editing: 2-5 days

Mixing: 8-10 days

Delivery: 3 days

The amount of foley depends on how much ADR you do, and the amount of ADR depends on how good your production sound is. This plan is for keeping as much of the production sound as possible and only ADR'ing where it is absolutely needed. If you need a lot of ADR you might want to use two weeks on ADR and editing.

You may also want to mix the film for three weeks, but i don't think this is possible in indie films...

  • Awesome. Thanks for you help Morten and Shaun. It is greatly appreciated. Commented Feb 12, 2011 at 4:36

Morten's answer is great, but it may only apply to a certain scale of project. What you'll need to do is get a good idea of the scope of the work. Are they asking you to do everything, soup to nuts? How much work are they asking you to do, and do they truly understand how much work is required for their piece. Their expectations of what needs to be done, and the reality of the situation may be two VERY different things.

Obviously, you don't want to dig your own grave in that situation. Try to get as much information out of them as you can before you make your quote. Once you and the producers/film-makers are in agreement about the scope of work, then you can start talking numbers. You can start THINKING numbers before you get any information out of them though.

Start with something like Morten's sketch/schedule, and figure out how many days you need and what you would charge for each category. That's your starting point. As you have this discussion, you can adjust numbers (and days) up or down as necessary as you get a better idea of the scope and commitment.

And of course, always remember that there are three possible descriptions/ways to approach any project: cheap, fast, good...but it can only be two.

  • If you get paid more do you do a better and faster job?
    – Utopia
    Commented Feb 11, 2011 at 3:52
  • @Utopia - If you want something done well but faster, beyond a certain point it requires more people...hence, more money. If it's a lower budget picture, it may have higher priorities as far as what work needs to be done (i.e. dialogue editing and clean up is probably more important than replacing production door slams with cleaner versions). You and the producer need to budget time for each task, and your fees should reflect the amount of time you spend on the project. Would you spend 40 hours on a project you're getting paid $100 for? These aren't complicated ideas. Commented Feb 11, 2011 at 15:20
  • I try my best on anything I work on. I don't let money become a factor and lessen my quality if someone pays me less than someone else. If I'm hired I do my utmost in the time I'm given and don't let quality slip because of that. I also don't normally get those types of offers like $50 for a week of time - they understand what it takes and pay well for a job well done.
    – Utopia
    Commented Feb 25, 2011 at 18:15
  • @Utopia - I'm not suggesting that you should put less effort into one project or another. All I'm saying is that there are limits to what one person can accomplish in a given amount of time. Spending the appropriate amount of time on the priority issues is not letting "quality slip;" it's understanding the needs of the project and what can be done in the time given. Establishing what that is with the client is key to having a good relationship with them at the back-end of the project...regardless of what your fee is. Commented Feb 26, 2011 at 1:20

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