Rate Card

SAGE has published an annual rate card of recommended salaries for editors for the last 18 years. Though focussed on freelancers, 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 exceptionally 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. Also keep in mind the realistic growth rate of a career over a period of 40 years.

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

Basic Classification Junior Mid-level Highly experienced
and/or international
       
Story editor "offline" 9 000 to 13 500 13 500 to 22 500 22 500 to 32 800
       
Finishing editor "online" 11 000 to 16 000 16 600 to 25 600 25 600 to 40 000
       
Colourist 12 500 to 18 300 18 300 to 28 000 28 000 to 43 700
       
1st Assistant editor 6 000 to 9 100 9 100 to 14 000 14 000 to 21 900
       
2nd assistant, logger/digitiser, subtitler 3 100 to 4 800 4 800 to 6 700 6 700 to 10 500
       
Sound editor or designer 6 900 to 12 500 12 500 to 22 500 22 500 to 40 000
       

 

Daily rates, ZAR

Basic Classification Junior Mid-level Highly experienced
and/or international
       
Story editor "offline" 1 800 to 2 700 2 700 to 4 500 4 500 to 6 560
       
Finishing editor "online" 2 200 to 3 320 3 320 to 5 120 5 150 to 8 000
       
Colourist 2 500 to 3 660 3 660 to 5 600 5 600 to 8 740
       
1st Assistant editor 1 200 to 1 820 1 820 to 2 800 2 800 to 4 380
       
2nd assistant, logger/digitiser, subtitler 620 to 960 960 to 1 340 1 340 to 2 100
       
Sound editor or designer 1 380 to 2 500 2 500 to 4 500 4 500 to 8 000

 

Conditions

  • Hours to be negotiated between editor and producer
  • Excluding equipment and software license

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 18 years. Though focussed on freelance editors, this rate card can also be used as a starting point for full-time employment negotiations.

We regularly do surveys about rates, as well as monitor our anonymous rate reporter and job submissions by producers.

Our rate card is calculated using four main principles:

 

1. Inflation matching

We look at the average CPI since the previous rate card release in order to calculate the rates. 

This year we’ve added the average CPI at 4.7%. This is in accordance to StatsSA.

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. 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. We have chosen to not provide a years of experience criteria for each group, as we feel that different editors progress at different rates. When deciding on which category to place yourself in, keep in mind that the average career lasts 40 years, and that your skills will continuously develop over that period.

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.

SAGE is a non-profit company
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