How Do You Succeed Running A Color Grading Business?

May 7, 2022

The team is joined by our newest Contributor, Zeb Chadfield, answering business-related questions on being a colorist and getting paid.


Office Hours Conference Call: April 26, 2022

Mixing Light Contributors Katie Hinsen, and Josh Bowdach join host Patrick Inhofer in welcoming our newest Contributor, Zeb Chadfield in this live conference call format. We took a series of questions from Mixing Light member Tony Salgado about how to run to color grading business our our ‘best practices’.

But first, we started the conversation by sharing things we’ve learned recently with DaVinci Resolve 18 being at the top of everyone’s mind. Today, the questions we answered included:

  • What one thing did our Contributors find interesting about NAB 2022 or Resolve 18 Public Beta?
  • Do our Contributors have specific requirements for clients when delivering a color grading job?
  • What are our terms of payment? Do we ask for up-front payments?
  • How do we determine our hourly rates? (Hint: There’s an Insight on that)
  • Do we budget for our hardware investments?

Table of Contents

(timestamps in bold are member questions)

00:00 – Introduction

01:05 – Katie: Current supply chain shortages for displays and its impact on purchasing decisions

02:30 – Baylor University is showing a new color space demonstration and how it might be used

5:19 – Cullen: The one new Resolve 18 feature that grabbed his attention

6:28 – Jason: His one new Resolve 18 feature that has him very excited

09:24 – Mixing Light’s newest Contributor, Zeb Chadfield, makes his first appearance and talks about Resolve 18’s new database structure

11:25 – Patrick: The one new feature in Resolve 18 that caught his attention

13:07 – Do you specify your deliverables to your clients? If so, what happens if they don’t deliver it that way?

14:30 – Zeb introduces himself and his company, The Finish Line, to Mixing Light – and balancing work with life

15:55 – Getting involved with the client as early as possible and how Zeb specifies jobs should be handed over for finishing

17:22 – Katie: Be specific on your turnover needs and make sure the costs for not following your workflow are well defined

20:00 – Zeb: The advantages of billing by the hour

20:25 – Cullen: Deliverable discussions are part of overall client discussions, negotiations, and collaboration

22:50 – Jason: The essential need for small businesses to put your deliverables in writing, under a contract, as a way of properly guiding clients

25:00 – Patrick: Getting an actual signature from the client and the details to include on the contract

27:00 – Katie: Client reluctance to sign a proposal is a red flag

27:30 – Tony S: His solution as a DIT for eliminating confusion after he hands off hard drives to smooth post-production and finishing

30:25 – Katie: Why onboarding forms for new clients never work and direct discussions are essentials

33:18 – Terms of payment: How much do you ask for up front and at the end of the job?

42:30 – Tony S: Your clients are often still learning and you need to educate them

44:15 – Zeb: Understanding that our investment in a project is minuscule compared to our client’s investment

45:22 – How do you determine your hourly rate?

45:40 – Katie: Overview of the Insight she wrote on determining your hourly rate

47:23 – The two big mistakes that creatives make when it comes to setting their rate and running their business

50:30 – What about taking ‘passion projects’ or ‘free’ jobs?

52:10 – Katie: Integrating low-budget projects into your marketing plan and how to quote it

52:58 – How do you budget for investment in physical gear?

55:14 – Zeb: Low budget clients as an opportunity for a facility to give experience to trainees

55:46 – Conclusion and final thoughts

Mentioned in this Insight

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