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Taking Care of Business
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Old October 24th, 2008, 10:10 AM   #1
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Getting material from clients

I had a situation recently where we did some testimonial interviews for use on a client's web site and in presentations. One of the subjects was trying to read from a script and kept looking down at his prompt sheet throughout the interview. No problem, I thought, I can just ask for some photos/charts/etc to 'Ken Burns' overtop of the places where the subject looks down. The problem was I would have to either shoot this material myself (requiring an hour's drive to the client's main facility, not in the contract) or ask for it from their PR department (we shot the interviews at a country club, off-site). I chose the latter, explaining that the video needed some filler imagery to mask the subject looking down.

After weeks going by with reminders that we needed the filler material, I wasn't getting anywhere, so I went ahead and sent a draft version of the video to the client. The video was, to my dismay, forwarded to the CEO whos immediate response was that it looked bad with the subject looking down! I felt like I had egg on my face right off the bat as it seemed the higher ups thought that was my final product.

I could have avoided this by just making the drive and shooting the b-roll myself early on, but I am wary of spending an extra day and gas money for free to do something that in theory should be as easy as someone emailing me a few photos. If you wait for that to happen though, it looks like you're dragging your feet on the production to the client when they don't see results, even when it hinges on their cooperation in providing content. A Catch-22.

So what would you have done differently?
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Old October 24th, 2008, 10:25 AM   #2
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I would have labeled the video "Draft" at the beginning and the end. At the time in which you plan to put the filler shots, I would have put a black and white filter on it with text "Filler graph, or photo here" So they would get the idea of why you needed the filler graphs and would have seen that you were at least working on the project. It also prevents anybody from thinking your work is the final project and reflecting bad upon yourself.
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Old October 24th, 2008, 12:59 PM   #3
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I guess most of us had a similar situation; very few clients understand the video editing process. It looks extremely bad on us editors to show unfinished work.

Now I carefully select the few people I share my "work in progress" with, only those involved in making decisions (the producer) or those involved with the shooting (director, cameramen). That's it!
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Old October 24th, 2008, 02:41 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Robinson View Post
One of the subjects was trying to read from a script and kept looking down at his prompt sheet throughout the interview.
This is the reason the teleprompter was invented. I recently had a similar issue to yours. We eventually reshot with a teleprompter and a formal script, as I requested initially.
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Old October 24th, 2008, 02:42 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Ervin Farkas View Post
Ivery few clients understand the video editing process.
And even fewer listen whilst we try to EXPLAIN the process...
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Old November 5th, 2008, 08:44 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Louis Maddalena View Post
I would have labeled the video "Draft" at the beginning and the end. At the time in which you plan to put the filler shots, I would have put a black and white filter on it with text "Filler graph, or photo here" So they would get the idea of why you needed the filler graphs and would have seen that you were at least working on the project. It also prevents anybody from thinking your work is the final project and reflecting bad upon yourself.
I would perhaps even go further and kept the word 'draft' on screen the whole time and in the places where you were waiting for filler material from the client I would put a text banner that says "Awaiting stills from Mike Smith, 10/09/08". Covers your back and puts a little pressure on the client to get that filler material to you (and if the CEO ever does get to see it they will know where the hold up is!). You would probably also want to mention that you were doing this in your covering letter/email, so as not to upset Mike. Tell him it's normal practice to put a placeholder in so you don't lose track of who's doing what etc.
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Old November 5th, 2008, 02:36 PM   #7
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I try to never show anything to a client until it is polished. If I have to show them something that isn't finished, I insert text over solid black with my notes, or what is missing, such as "INSERT CHART PHOTO" or "INSERT REACTION SHOT", over whatever still needs to be fixed. Just telling them it is a rough cut doesn't explain much.
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Old November 5th, 2008, 03:11 PM   #8
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These are all good learnings and suggestions. Thanks for sharing.

The other thing we tried recently with good results was putting a fairly large digital time code counter on the draft video which certainly makes it very clear that it's not "finished". It also allows the client to comment on specific things they may dislike in the draft, e.g. "at the 2.34.06 I don't want product X in the background as we are about to discontinue it, can we use an alternate shot?...." etc. type stuff rather than the vague descriptions you might otherwise get over the phone.
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