SAGE rate card 2017

SAGE has published an annual rate card of recommended salaries for editors for the last 16 years. Though focussed on freelance editors, this rate card can also be used as a starting point for full-time employment negotiations.

The tables below represent a broad spread of possible rates. If the rates seem extraordinarily low or high, consider that these are intended to cover a wide range of job types, genres, durations, locations, funding models, labour conditions, and budgets.

Rates do not include the rental of equipment or software.

Rates should be considered negotiable. We encourage editors and producers alike to read and consider our publications around employment:

You can also download the rate card as a PDF.

Please also remember that both producers and editors can help make the rate card more accurate by providing SAGE with real job data:

Weekly rates, ZAR

The weekly rates merely represent a 5-day standard week, and are identical to the daily rates below.

Basic Classification Junior Mid-level Highly experienced
and/or international
Story editor "offline" 8,600 to 12,900 12,900 to 21,000 21,000 to 32,800
Finishing editor "online" 10,500 to 15,900 15,900 to 25,600 25,600 to 40,000
Colourist 12,000 to 17,500 17,500 to 28,000 28,000 to 43,700
1st Assistant editor 5,700 to 8,700 8,700 to 14,000 14,000 to 21,900
2nd assistant, logger/digitiser, subtitler 3,000 to 4,600 4,600 to 6,700 6,700 to 10,500
Sound editor or designer 6,600 to 9,800 9,800 to 15,900 15,900 to 24,700

Daily rates, ZAR

Basic Classification Junior Mid-level Highly experienced
and/or international
Story editor "offline" 1,720 to 2,580 2,580 to 4,200 4,200 to 6,560
Finishing editor "online" 2,100 to 3,180 3,180 to 5,120 5,150 to 8,000
Colourist 2,400 to 3,500
3,500 to 5,600
5,600 to 8,740
1st Assistant editor 1,140 to 1,740 1,740 to 2,800 2,800 to 4,380
2nd assistant, logger/digitiser, subtitler 600 to 920 920 to 1,340 1,340 to 2,100
Sound editor or designer 1,320 to 1,960 1,960 to 3,180 3,180 to 4,940

Conditions

  • Hours to be negotiated between editor and producer

Overtime

  • All time after 10 hours per day charged at 1.5x.
  • All time after 14 hours per day charged at 2x.
  • 6th day and public holidays charged at 1.5x daily rate, minimum call 10 hours.
  • 7th day charged at 2x daily rate, minimum call 10 hours.

About the rate card

SAGE has published an annual rate card of recommended salaries for editors for the last 16 years. Though focussed on freelance editors, this rate card can also be used as a starting point for full-time employment negotiations.

This year we have are featuring colourist rates for the first time, as a result of a small survey that was run in 2016.

Our rate card is calculated using four main principles:

1. Inflation matching

For many years SAGE has increased rates below CPI, attempting to maintain a rate card that better represents what editors are actually paid. This dangerously deflates editors’ income over time, threatening to make a career in editing unfeasible. Thus, for the last 3 years we have added CPI to all our rates.

This year we’ve added the average CPI for 2016, at 6.4%.

We urge all post-production professionals to consider job sustainability when negotiating rates.

2. Skills growth

On top of inflation, we consider a 15-year career growth, which works out to an average additional increase of 3.6% per year. Not everyone will improve their skills at the same rate, which is why we maintain a spread across all levels of experience.

Beyond 15 years of skills growth, highly experienced editors are considered to be in a strong individual negotiating position.

3. A spread of rates

We’ve created three experience groups: junior, mid-level, and highly experienced.

Note that experience does not necessarily equate to number of years spent working in the post-production industry, but rather the specific years of experience at a specific task. Further, we have chosen to not provide a years of experience criteria for each group, as we feel that different editors progress at different rates.

We urge editors to consider job offerings below their minimum rate very carefully.

4. Rates and conditions comparable to the camera department

SAGE’s policy is that the post-production rates should match those of the camera department, as both departments contribute similar technical and creative effort. When negotiating, we encourage editors to ask what the other heads of departments are earning.

We also recommend that editors negotiate for duration-pay rather than lump-sum pay, as this requires the producer to take some of the risk of post-production scheduling—which should never be exclusively the editors’ risk.

Lastly, we strongly disagree with the trend of balancing the camera and post-production costs as they appear in the budget: duration of work is the only reasonable comparison. When discussing rates, we encourage editors and producers to compare total hours with hours.