How much does the Foley cost? Which Foley studio to hire?

May 20 2020
9 min
1033
Author
Yuri Pridachin
Own and Operate at Foley First

The film industry is flourishing and production volumes are growing every year, increasing demand. We often see Foley Studios’ resources exhausted, and they are no longer able to take on all the offers that come from the film industry in their country. Often this leads to an increase in the price of the services provided by the contractor, which does not always fit in the budget of local producers, filmmakers, and mixers.

Then the re-recording mixers or sound effects editors start to look in the direction of other countries to outsource their projects. Fortunately, they can not only get quality comparable to domestic companies, but they are also often surprised that they paid much less but received more attention to the film from the outsourced company.

Now quite a few Foley studios in the world are open to international work. It can take a lot of time for mixers and filmmakers to analyze and collect information about each studio. Time which they do not have.

Here are several important aspects that affect the pricing of a particular studio, and what you should keep in mind when you choose a Foley provider.

So, in order of importance:

COUNTRY WHERE THE STUDIO IS LOCATED

Perhaps this is the most critical pricing criterion. No matter which way you look at it, the domestic economy is the first to influence the cost of an export-oriented product. Things like the subsistence income, the average salary, the situation of the real estate market, and public utility charges are fundamental to the prime cost formation, and therefore the export price of the services provided. Also, an essential factor is how well-developed the film industry is in this country as a whole.

flags

It is difficult to imagine that a Foley studio with attractive offered prices but located in a country with a weak economy and that does not have a sufficiently developed domestic film industry will be able to provide a quality of the product that meets international standards. It is also difficult to imagine that in a country with an average salary of, say, 6,000 EUR, the Foley artist will carry out a large average monthly count of projects with a total income of 5,000 EUR to keep a low, competitive rate in the industry around the world. In a common scenario, this is not effective and may lead to business closure. It’s quite possible, but only through cost reduction, crude product optimization, and weakening of quality, which is unlikely to make you want to return.

As a rule, the budgets of customers from countries with strong economies will always be attractive to contractors from countries with less developed economies, even if these budgets are slightly or significantly reduced relative to the domestic rate in their industry. As a result, contractors may be more motivated to provide a high-quality product for export. This is definitely a win-win for both sides.

You can get more than you are paying for.

CITY WHERE A STUDIO IS LOCATED

Another pricing factor is the location of the studio facilities. In most cases, life in the capital is more expensive than in smaller cities. Accordingly, salaries, the cost of rented real estate, and public utility charges can also be much higher in the capital. There is a possibility that if the studio is located far from the capital, then the prices that they can offer you may be lower than similar studios located in the capital or other large city. This factor doesn’t always influence the price. It can also depend on the owner of the company and the margin of the business.

Someone may notice that most professionals in the audio post-production industry live and work in capitals and large cities. They might think it is unlikely that qualified Foley artists and Foley editors can be found in small towns. Honestly, nowadays that’s not always true. For various reasons, life circumstances, and preferences, some of the professionals prefer to leave large cities with poor ecology and locate their studios where they will be happier and are more comfortable living.

PORTFOLIO

The first thing that interests everyone who wants to apply for Foley services is what projects have these guys already done? It is a reasonable question. It’s a good idea to figure out how many projects have been done by a Foley studio over the last, say, three years.

portfolio imdb

That way, you can observe the growth or decline of projects in the portfolio and see the general trend. If time permits, using IMDb, you can determine directors or sound mixers who return to the studio again and again. Long-term relationships are a good indicator of trust, especially if there are many such clients.

STUDIO WORKLOAD

It seems like it’s great when you can knock on the door and can enter the studio with your project without a long wait. But if your project was put in the pipeline straight away, then this is not always a good sign unless the Foley provider has several Foley stages and editorial rooms, a big team, and constantly expanding facilities. Why?

calendarFoley studios which are in great demand and have trust are almost always packed with orders, and their calendar can be scheduled a couple of months or even a half-year in advance. If you managed to find such a studio with prices that suit you, be prepared to have a buffer in your schedule for the Foley work since most likely, your film will not be able to be put into the workflow immediately. While this can be disappointing, this to a great extent suggests that the quality of work in such a company will be very good.

DELIVERABLE ITEMS AND TURNAROUNDS

You can always request a demo reel or Foley session of the latest projects made by the company to which you want to submit your project. This will give some idea of what you can get as a result. Several other factors can directly predict the quality and volume of deliverable items.

protools session

For instance:

You can ask how many days they will be working on your project

It is impossible for 5 working sessions of 8 hours each to record and edit the same volume of Foley which is done in 10-12 days, particularly for massive and complex feature films. With the shorter time, it is most likely going to be a lower quality of work than you expect. It should also be remembered that one day of recording is one day of editing.

You can ask how many people are involved on your project

The more people involved in the project, the more work they all theoretically can do. And even more voluminous a deliverable Foley session may look. One can imagine that if the company employs only 2 people – Foley artist and Foley editor – and they are ready to record a 90-min feature film in 5 days, then the volume of work and possibly the quality will not be comparable to what you can get from a team of 5 people working on a picture of 12 days. For the same money. Simple math.

Do they do Foley post-processing?

Some studios do Foley post-processing with plug-ins after recording and editing, which increases the quality of the delivered material and reduces the time for the mixer to integrate the Foley. It requires several hours of work for the Foley supervisor or Foley editor and the studio time, which can also directly affect the price.

SIZE OF THE FOLEY STAGE

Does it matter? It depends. Indeed, a large Foley stage is preferable for big movies and blockbusters as it provides more opportunities for the Foley artist to work with giant props and with the distance of the microphone. With a properly formed acoustic environment in such a Foley theater, you can be sure that if we see a refrigerator falling in the shot, then the Foley artist can reproduce this sound authentically on the Foley stage.

But this does not mean that another artist in the smaller Foley room will not be able to do the same. He or she can, but it may take a little longer.

Most television products are recorded in small studios with an area of 30-60 square meters. This space is enough to be in close hand to any props and provide great quality. Big feature films are no exception.

Size does matter. The question is, is it advisable for you to overpay for it? Request demo reels and compare.

COMMUNICATION

Fast communication is very very important! It is crucial to be sure that you can drop a message or call the Foley studio owner at any time (which is working time for both sides in their time zones) to discuss the project and any possible issues like, for example, unexpectedly moving deadlines. Generally, a reply to email within 24 hours is considered acceptable. But what if you need to touch the base with the contractor urgently, but he or she does not answer through messenger or email, or does it when the question is no longer relevant?

When you reach a Foley studio to get an estimate for your project, pay attention to how soon you receive an answer.

TRUST

Trust is the key to a long working relationship for any company. It often happens that the first time you talk with a contractor, you can tell whether you can trust him or if there is something that causes concern. If it seems that this is a team that you would like to try working with, it will not be superfluous to pay attention to their:

Socials

Social media says a lot about the company. Here you can sometimes see the entire production process from the inside. You can see how often people post, what projects they have in their pipeline, and even the whole team and their mood. A lot can be “read” about the company in their social networks. LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram – now almost any small or medium business has profiles on these social media.

Testimonials

If you have never worked with a studio before and know nothing about it, but it was recommended to you by a close friend or colleague, this will increase your trust in this company. It will not be superfluous to check for at least a small number of positive testimonials about a Foley studio on their social networks or other open sources.

SO, HOW MUCH DOES THE FOLEY COST?

Now, as you can see, it depends on many factors.

Rates for one film minute of recorded and edited material can start from $10, depending on all of the above listed in this article. In some countries with a weak economy, the price can be very low, and in a country with a strong economy, such as the USA, the price is very high. The important thing is not how much the services of each Foley studio cost, but what you get for the money. Not only does professionalism matter and affect the price, but many other factors do as well. Once you have gathered a little information about the company, it should be easier for you to make a decision.

By the way, you can easily calculate the quote for your project in the Quote Builder on our website https://foleyfirst.com

For me, when I have to outsource some of the work, this graph displays the highest priority aspects when choosing a contractor:

diagram

I hope this article has been helpful to you.

 

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Thanks for reading!

Text edited by Rebecca Wilson Jones

 

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