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Old June 21st, 2016, 10:53 PM   #1
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Workflow for 20 hours worth of interviews?

I have a client who wants a life history done for someone who has passed. She interviewed this person over the years on about 20 tapes an hour each.
What is the best workflow for this? Would it be best to bill for a transcriptionist?
As far as project goals, I know she wants the tapes transferred just to have a digital copy. Not sure if she wants a transcription but surely that's the only way to efficiently find material on these tapes. I'm looking at boiling it down to roughly 15 min to a half hour with pictures, maybe some interviews, etc. Not sure yet. I am also not sure yet who exactly is on the tapes - it's probably all her but there may be other family members as well).

What is the best way to approach a large amount of interview material such as this?

I'm in Premiere CS6 if that matters. So no ability to export marker text. Don't trust the voice transcription - my trials with it have not been very accurate.

I'm also not sure if I should charge her transfer charges for digitizing the tapes -normally it wouldn't be such a big deal but I'm not used to being handed 20 hours worth of material.

Efficiency suggestions much appreciated. Thank you =)
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Old June 21st, 2016, 11:45 PM   #2
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Re: Workflow for 20 hours worth of interviews?

I'd ask the client how they want to handle it. If they want to listen to 20 hours of interviews and take some notes, go ahead. If they want my producer to listen to 20 hours of interviews and take some notes, let's be ready for a few hours of pre-production meetings, 30-40 hours of logging, and go ahead and get out the checkbook.

If they are going to pay for me to log/write/edit a 30 minute documentary (could be $10k+, yes?), I don't charge to digitize 20 hours of tapes (which, while it technically takes 20 hours, it realistically takes 5 minutes at a time over 2-3 days).
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Old June 23rd, 2016, 10:24 AM   #3
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Re: Workflow for 20 hours worth of interviews?

Thank you Mike,
I'll be deciding what to do and calling her today.
In a situation where the tapes are part of a larger documentary, with that much material, I"m curious - what would be your preferred workflow? Do you create a transcript? Log it with markers? Transcribe it with software? Just listen and make notes and then log selected regions?

Last edited by Kell Smith; June 23rd, 2016 at 12:38 PM.
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Old June 23rd, 2016, 07:30 PM   #4
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Re: Workflow for 20 hours worth of interviews?

I'd make sure my producer had a good idea of story flow, I'd give her the whole thing, and she'd log the usable parts, and give us back timecode and a script.
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Old June 25th, 2016, 10:20 AM   #5
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Re: Workflow for 20 hours worth of interviews?

Producer! Ha. Wish I had one of those. (Along with a Roomba and a gardener). Delegate...yes that sounds like a fine idea.... =)
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Old June 25th, 2016, 11:33 AM   #6
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Re: Workflow for 20 hours worth of interviews?

Play the whole lot into Dragon Speaking Naturally and use that for your log.
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Old June 25th, 2016, 11:34 AM   #7
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Re: Workflow for 20 hours worth of interviews?

Ok. So your experience is that it's pretty accurate? Didn't have much luck with the transcription in Premiere cs6.
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Old June 26th, 2016, 12:27 AM   #8
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Re: Workflow for 20 hours worth of interviews?

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Originally Posted by Kell Smith View Post
Producer! Ha. Wish I had one of those. (Along with a Roomba and a gardener). Delegate...yes that sounds like a fine idea.... =)
They don't have producers where you live?

Find a producer. Find their rate. Mark it up and bill for it.
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Old June 26th, 2016, 07:08 PM   #9
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Re: Workflow for 20 hours worth of interviews?

Something to consider. Thank you Mike. I am probably billing too low a rate to do that but maybe I should mark it up and consider a different model. It's harder when your customer is an everyday person trying to memorialize someone, rather than a company with a marketing budget. I"m concerned I would lose the job if I hit this lady with an exorbitant bill.
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Old June 26th, 2016, 09:08 PM   #10
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Re: Workflow for 20 hours worth of interviews?

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Originally Posted by Kell Smith View Post
I"m concerned I would lose the job if I hit this lady with an exorbitant bill.
I would be more concerned with burning yourself rather quickly with that amount of work and little pay.
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Old June 26th, 2016, 10:09 PM   #11
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Re: Workflow for 20 hours worth of interviews?

Yes, I have a tendency to work doubly hard to please the customer - because I really want them to go away happy - and to simultaneously under-bill for time spent, and thatt's not a good thing. I'm getting better about it. What I'm estimating for her is not dirt cheep, it's worth it for me, but it's not enough to bring someone else onto the project. I could mark these packages up and get a team. It would definitely be easier.

It's a very difficult project area to bid because you are dealing with often elderly people who don't really understand much about video, much less what is involved in a project, and yet it's a very expensive proposition in terms of the work involved. I've gotten better at communicating that to them but it's still a challenge. Not everyone has that kind of money to drop. A business might be more able to do it.

It's unusual to get these jobs in, for the reasons detailed above, so there probably won't be too many of them. She had my number set aside for a year before calling.
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Old June 27th, 2016, 01:22 AM   #12
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Re: Workflow for 20 hours worth of interviews?

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Originally Posted by Kell Smith View Post
Something to consider. Thank you Mike. I am probably billing too low a rate to do that but maybe I should mark it up and consider a different model. It's harder when your customer is an everyday person trying to memorialize someone, rather than a company with a marketing budget. I"m concerned I would lose the job if I hit this lady with an exorbitant bill.
It really, really sounds from reading your posts that you're going to kick yourself in the shins so that this client can have a great product. While, in some sense, it's admirable - in another light, you have to realize that you are the one getting bruised shins so that someone who you don't know will have a nice memorial video.

I want to feed 100 people at a memorial. I want to feed them prime rib. But I only have $100. Turns out that if I want to feed them prime rib I need $5000, to feed them pizza, I need $1000, but for the $100 I have I can feed them jellybeans and saltine crackers. There's nothing wrong with prime rib and nothing wrong with jellybeans. They both come at a price. I'm not suggesting you sell them jellybeans for $5000, I'm just suggesting that you not sell them prime rib for $100 and lose your shirt in the process.
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Old June 27th, 2016, 01:30 AM   #13
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Re: Workflow for 20 hours worth of interviews?

If I would be asked to do something like this I would digitize the tapes and charge her for that and then ask her to view those 20 hours of footage herself and take notes which segments matter to her, if she has a small budget she needs to understand she needs to put in most of the work to avoid a 10K+ bill if you would have to charge your actual hours.
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Old June 27th, 2016, 10:26 AM   #14
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Re: Workflow for 20 hours worth of interviews?

Noa is correct and that's what I've done on similar jobs. Capture the tapes and make timecode dubs on DVD for the customer (timecode overlay burned in) so the customer can do all the work of deciding what they want included in the final video.

They can then provide you with the edit decisions -

Tape #1 12:40-14:22

Tape #3 34:58-36:41

And so on...

Thanks
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Old June 27th, 2016, 10:42 AM   #15
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Re: Workflow for 20 hours worth of interviews?

Yes, thank you. That is what I am going to do. She hasn't heard the tapes in about fifteen years so I am sure she will want to listen to them.
On this end, I am planning to start the digitizing just to get a better idea of what's on them - even if they are not laboriously logged - then I can better offer her suggestions about how to proceed. It may be that she digitizes the tapes, only pulls in the section where this lady speaks to her kids - who are apparently grown now. (That might be better done in a separate piece for each kid). I am still deciding whether the best way to proceed is to do narration, interviews and pictures with only a few other quotes, or if we use these tapes as a foundation. Hard to say until I have more information.
So yeah, guess the best way to go is digitize it to have her listen to it and log the areas that are most important to this lady's story, and the audio that goes along with it. We'll be able to map a direction as we gather more information and materials and the story begins to take shape.
Thank you all for your input.
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