Information on How to Estimate Your Potential Project Costs:



This page will give you a fairly comprehensive breakdown on how we analyze potential projects to give you a firm, guaranteed quote. First, we will outline the steps involved in the process of providing a free estimate to a potential client:

  • You contact us and give us an idea of what kind of project you are interested in. We try to answer the general kind of questions that you might have, so you have a better idea of what is involved with the technical aspects of commissioning your project. At this point, if you are interested, we can arrange for a face to face meeting to get more firm details down on paper, and start the initial planning process. For example, here are a few of the types of projects that we specialize in:

    1. Montage Video from Still Photos: This type of work generally involves creating a digitial video, using a musical or voice-over soundtrack, with pictures changing every five to ten seconds. As a general rule, editing (not including pre-production tech work) of this type of project requires about one hour for every two minutes of finished product.

    2. Montage Video from Video Clips: This type of work generally involves creating a digital video, using a musical, voice-over or combination soundtrack, with pictures changing every ten to twenty seconds. As a general rule, editing (not including pre-production tech work) of this type of project requires about one hour for every minute of finished product. Faster and greater numbers of changes between clips require more intensive editing time.

    3. Normal "Cut and Paste" Video: This type of work generally involves creating projects that are used more for corporate public relations, or archival footage. Audio background varies widely in these projects. Two examples would be appraisal evidence (contents filming), or perhaps basic municipality/corporate promotional videos, etc., where pictures would change every thirty seconds to couple of minutes. As a general rule, editing (not including pre-production tech work) of this type of project requires about one hour for every four minutes of finished product.

    4. These are just a couple sample types of projects. We can also create broadcast-ready television commercials, and we can do tie-ins with CD-ROMs, website development, physical presentations/training/safety sessions, etc. Naturally, the exact amount of editing time estimated for your particular project (especially for video work) will depend on the exact nature of the content desired.

  • Based on what we have learned from this first face-to-face meeting with the potential client (and follow-up sessions, often necessary on more complex projects) we start planning out what will be required of Thirteen Towers. A typical video-based project can involve up to the following eight components:

    1. Plenary Sessions. These meetings are used to determine the desired general content of the project. A project plan will be set down on paper, much like the outline of a book. These meetings involve both the senior editorial team at Thirteen Towers, and the client.

    2. Test Footage/Filming Preparation. Once the content outline is ready, times are arranged for filming, and the client outlines any special considerations that the film crew might need to be aware of in advance (ie. on an industrial site, certain types of protective clothing might be mandatory). If necessary, the editorial team may request a preliminary visit to the film site to take a small amount of test footage before the bulk of filming takes place.

    3. Filming Takes Place. Multiple cameras are sometimes used for redundancy in critical/time-sensitive situations (ie. sporting events, which cannot be re-enacted).

    4. Tech Work. Footage is dumped into the editing stations. This is a simple but sometimes time-consuming process.

    5. Editing Time. Footage is edited to adhere to the desired content outline.

    6. Preview. The "finished" product is given to the client for approval.

    7. Rework. On certain types of projects, a budgeted time frame is allowed for additional editing/rework under the client's direction, with no additional charges incurred. Depending on advance arrangements for the specific project, if significant changes are requested which differ from the original requested content, additional charges will be applicable.

    8. Project Wrapup. The client receives the completed project on the appropriate media required, in the proper number of copies.

  • Once the senior editorial team feels comfortable with the intended scope of the project, they sit down and prepare a time requirements budget, and a project completion timeline. For each of the eight steps outlined above, the team will estimate how many hours will be required for the project.

  • Once the number of hours for each step have been estimated, the hourly rate for the various tasks is applied. At present, the charge-out rates are as follows:

    1. Planning/Editing Labour: $32.40 per hour. This would involve members of the senior editing team. This is the category of labour used in steps 1, 2, 4 (depending on project type), 5, 6, 7, and 8.

    2. Film Labour: $26.80 per hour. This could involve members of the senior editing team, or trained technicians. This is the charge-out rate for step 3, and includes the time from arrival upon the site to departure, regardless of whether or not the cameras are rolling.

    3. Technical Labour: $26.80 per hour. This could involve members of the senior editing team, or trained technicians. This is sometimes used as the charge-out rate for step 4, depending on the project type. For instance, when footage dumped into the editing stations needs to be segmented and parsed, it would be allocated as "editorial" labour, whereas straight dumps and conversions of uninterrupted footage can be performed by assistants, and would be charged as "technical" labour.

    4. Prep Work: $16.25 per hour. This would include time involved in projects such as scanning still photos or images for photo montages, going through archives, straight research, etc.

    5. Travel Time: $12.60 per hour. In addition, travel expenses are charged out at $0.42/km for travel to any film sites or project meetings over 20km from the head office in Sackville.

    6. Lodging/Boarding: For all projects which require staff to be on a remote site for a period of greater than 18 hours or overnight, lodging will be billed out at cost, and meals will be billed out at $35.00 per diem.

    7. Materials: Media (blank tapes, CD-ROMs, etc.) used in final client copies will be billed at the lowest possible cost to cover expenses. Media and supplies used in the project process are included in the above charge-out rates, and are not billed to the client.

  • At this point, Thirteen Towers will provide the potential client with a "guaranteed" estimate. This estimate will list approximately how many hours we believe will be required for each step in the entire project, along with the cost breakdown for each process. We will then guarantee that should you accept our offer to complete your project, our billings will not exceed this total cost (plus applicable HST), even if the actual time required for the project exceeds the time estimated. Please note, however, that changes to the final product necessitated as a result of client-initiated post-production changes in content that deviate from initial agreed-upon content will incur additional charges for the extra editing and production required.

  • With the estimate that we give you, we will include a planned time frame for the project. We will also clarify whether or not this is a flexible time frame (some periods of the year are busier than others, and thus projects cannot always be rescheduled easily at the last minute).

  • You will be given a thirty day guarantee with your estimate. You therefore have thirty days within which to accept our offer to perform the work for you at the guaranteed price. After the thirty days have expired, we cannot guarantee that the total dollar amount of the estimate shall remain valid.

  • Once we have met with you to discuss the details of your proposed project, our goal is to provide you with your guaranteed estimate within 7 calendar days. Your work is important to you, and it is important to us. While properly planned jobs should certainly result in the highest quality of finished products, we are also able to do 'rush jobs' in certain circumstances - contact us for further details.



Thank you for your interest in our proposal process. I would like to invite you to meet with us to further discuss any needs that you anticipate, or to request an estimate on a project!

(Please remember that Thirteen Towers is not carrying out business operations at the current time, since selling our studio space in April of 2010. We anticipate purchasing or building a new studio space in 2013, and at that time, will begin accepting work from clients again).

Jonathan Clark
Thirteen Towers