How would you bid this project?

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by MikeS, Jun 8, 2005.

  1. MikeS

    MikeS Member

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    There's a large company here in my town that needs approximately 8000 2 second wav files recorded. I'm guessing it's for an automated phone system of some kind, but I don't have all the details yet. They just need simple voice waves, nothing fancy.

    They approached me to see if I was interested and are going to get back to me with the details, so I want to be a little more prepared.

    How would you bid a gig like that? :confused:
     
  2. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    This is complicated... but interesting! It reminds me more of the commercial printing jobs I used to do than music production.

    You need to know what's in these 2 second files. Is it just voice? Electronic tones? Musical dweedlies with voiceover? Would you have to compose 8,000 of these things, or a few hundred, or what?

    Once you get a picture of what it's about, estimate how many you could do in one day. Then add to your daily rate any extra costs (e.g. voiceover talent) and mark it up.

    I'd quote it as "8000 WAV files @ $X per file" plus "$Y per hour for changes or edits." If voiceover is only a sometimes thing, maybe bill separately for that and other "extras."

    After they accept the bid, get it in the contract that you'll be billing them weekly, and your payment terms. You don't want to present them with one whopper of a bill at the end. Small bills don't get caught up in authorization bottlenecks. Big bills do. This isn't show business; no one will see your name in the credits. Me, I'd like to be paid as I go.
     
  3. MikeS

    MikeS Member

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    Thanks Michael. That's pretty much how I was looking at it.

    For what they're wanting it will be one word per wav file. No background music, nothing else. It should go pretty fast.

    The kicker is this: Each file...

    Bit Rate: 64kbps
    Audio sample size: 8 bit
    Audio Sample Rate: 8 kHz

    They're still wanting good quality, no noise, clear tone... At those rates I can't figure out a way to do it as clean as what they're expecting. Whether recording it at 8, or 16 or 32 and converting down it's still pretty bad quality. I'm sure I could edit each wav to clean it up some, but doing 8000 wavs would be very time consuming, so much so that they can't/won't afford it.
     
  4. Daddy Elmis

    Daddy Elmis Member

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    then you'll also want in the contract a provision that indicates the quality they give dictates the quality they get -- they may not/probably don't understand this, and you don't want a squabble over quality at the end.
     
  5. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    IMO, rather than dithering down in the box, call in a favor from a mastering engineer. See if he can help you out after hours off the books.

    Do all your recording at 24 bits. Output at 24 bits via the best D/A converter you can get hold of, do your EQing in the best analog EQ you can get, and re-sample with the best A/D converter you can find that will go down that low.

    You'd only need it for one day (or night). Once you set it up you shouldn't need to change it.
     
  6. loudboy

    loudboy Member

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    We've been doing groups of 500 such messages, in 19 diferent languages, for a few months now.

    We record them at 16-bit, no quality issues whatsoever. No reason for overkill here - it's phone messages.

    Internal processing is fine, as it's consistent and repeatable. This is key, as you ill most likely be asked to redo something in 6 months to a year and it had better match...

    I've also done thousands of pages of VO for online training programs.

    As far as your quote, you can use this as a pretty good way to estimate your time:

    We spend about the same amount of time editing, as we do recording them. Each session of 500 short words and phrases takes approximately 3 hours to record, then at least that long editing and another hour of QC'ing. That's using a system that's been developed over several years to be as efficient and high throughput as possible, being done by people who are VERY experienced at it. It's a whole different thing than music recording.

    Here's a few helpful hints:

    NEVER work on your master, when editing. Do a "Save As" and work on that.

    Keep meticulous notes and backup copies of everything. You WILL need them, eventually.

    Good Luck,

    MG
     
  7. MikeS

    MikeS Member

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    Thanks guys!!! I sure appreciate it! :dude
     
  8. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    Seems that loudboy has a handle on this kind of thing, definitely more than I.

    Good luck!
     
  9. mitch

    mitch Guest

    I love this place...
     

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