(Source: effectscorner.blogspot.com) I covered some of the basics of this in the post/podcast Bidding and Preproduction I’ll be going into more detail in this posting.

As previously discussed budgeting visual effects can be very difficult. You have the possible issues of developing new looks and techniques. How long will this take and how many people? Add to this mix the director’s creative changes that happen on any film project. Should you calculate 2 takes? 5 takes?

I’ll be discussing feature films here. Budgeting is somewhat the same for television or commercials with a few key differences. Television shows may have a small permanent staff (or at least an assigned vfx company) if they’re vfx heavy. They also tend to have very little time or budget. There’s usually no time for storyboards in television. In many cases they’re told what has been budgeted for the effects and have to work within that. On a commercial much of the final work may be done on a Flame™ or similar system. These are expensive high-end systems where the client sits in the room and guides the artists to achieve the effect they want. Note that feature films use Flames and other equipment as needed where the vfx supervisor is the client. For high-end 3D work it may go through a similar pipeline as a feature film but with a smaller team. The budget and post time for visual effects on a commercial can be much higher on a per second basis than a feature film since a commercial is only 30-60 seconds in length. Commercials have detailed storyboards and may have previs because they use it as a selling tool to the final client. Both commercials and television used to be primarily done at standard television resolution (which made it a bit faster and easier than feature films) but with the advent of High Definition they’re now done at resolution at or close to film resolution.

The average Hollywood feature film is now approximately $100 million. A VFX film can run even higher. For a ‘visual effects’ feature film the vfx budget can be 1/5 to ½ of the total film budget so it’s critical to get the budget done correctly.

Why are visual effects so expensive? VFX are very time and labor intensive. A large project may take 200 people to work on over the course of several months or a year.

The first step in the process is someone at the studio plugs in a guestimate for the VFX. Years ago a producer with minimal vfx experience might pencil in a budget that was an order of magnitude off. These days most of the large studios have a VFX head in charge of budgeting and assigning the work.

More: http://effectscorner.blogspot.com/2007/10/budgeting-vfx.html

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