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Old February 8th, 2011, 09:50 AM   #1
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'Signing off' the finished DVD

Presumably all here receive payment in full before sending out the master DVD sets, be it having received 100% before filming or in instalment stages between booking, shooting and final edit.

Before the finished master discs are sent out, do you have clients sign a document to confirm they are happy with the finished product they are about to receive? I suppose this concerns mainly those who offer any kind of proof disc before the master copies are manufactured, rather than those who simply supply their work with no (or expensive) options for any content ammendments.

For example, it might make sense to have the client confirm they accept all the content within the video, including any negotiated ammendments that may have taken place after first sight of the work. Also, their confirmation of a clean and working DVD - that is, there are no apparent 'glitches' appearing which we all know can occur when editing complex timelines on long videos.

Having a 'signing off' process before sending the master discs should mean that any comeback after delivery about any issues with the finished product means further editing/replacement discs (if such work is possible after closing the project) and therefore should be chargeable? Even if a glitch or similar is clearly present but has been missed by both producer and client?

What are your procedures/thoughts?
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Old February 8th, 2011, 09:55 AM   #2
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If there is a glitch or problem to the actual DVD or edit, I will take care of it no extra charge. If they have a problem with "showing my aunt too many times" this may be something that could be charged for.
I stand behind my work, so that they will have a good quality product.
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Old February 8th, 2011, 10:04 AM   #3
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Yes - one of my questions though is that if the product has been paid for and signed off as accepted, and then a glitch is only noticed by the client after delivery of the master discs, then do you fix and send replacement discs at your own expense or charge because the film project has already been agreed as finished?
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Old February 8th, 2011, 10:49 AM   #4
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Rob, in the agreement that I asked my clients to sign, there's a 7 day period to report any defects on the delivered DVD, in which case I would send them another copy free of charge. There are some who goes beyond the 7 day period and it is usually under my discretion if I will charge them or not. Most of the time I don't.
Noel Lising
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Old February 8th, 2011, 07:47 PM   #5
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Rob, you raise an interesting and valid point, one which is exercising us a bit as the geographical scope of our business extends. Bookings at the end of last year and into this seem to show that we've established something of a reputation outside our home region, helped perhaps by the fact that we don't charge travel or accommodation. However, it also means we have had to review the way we take approvals on our work.

Until now, we've done the first showing at the client's home on their equipment. Our appointment is open-ended and we always insist we do the first showing uninterrupted. That way they can understand the dynamic, the pace of the programme and is what most viewers will see, once.

We then invite them to review any specific sections to observe any points at which they think we've deviated from the Client Specification document which is the guide to how they want the programme edited.

Any points that need attention are noted on a sheet which they sign. Very clearly on that sheet it states that by signing they are a) confirming that the noted points need the specific attention and b) that the remainder of the programme not noted for change fully meets their satisfaction. We send them a photostat of the sheet with their signature.

To date, that procedure which is more laborious to write than to execute has served us well. However, we can't do that if clients are in Scotland or London. I think we're going to try and combine the same procedure but copy Noel's practice of limiting the time they can take reviewing the programme. That disk will be handwritten with my signature on the face and they will be required to return it to us with their signature added, nominally to identify the disk but also because signing things does remind people that they are making some sort of commitment.

Of course any "remote" system means that people could copy the disk but frankly we've never been precious about that risk. Our view is that whilst the law may give us certain rights (like copyright), our business is making programmes not taking clients to court. Furthermore, there's no profit for us in dupes, it's a service to our clients. We charge only 10 for single layer DVDs and 13 for dual layer, 5 of which is the PPL copyright release licence sticker. If clients want to go to the trouble of buying blanks and empty library cases, copying the disk, copying the face printing and library case insert for a few pounds saving then we turn the proverbial blind eye.

As I said, the topic is apposite and I'd be interested to know how others who get some sort of client approval rather than just sending out the finished programme handle it.

Finally, may I add that we guarantee the DVDs play in the client's player. It's like our attitude to "illegal" dupes; we're not DVD engineers and if the disks just don't play on the client's machine (regardless of why) then the simplest thing is to buy a player from the local supermarket for 20 and give it to them. The guarantee is a huge comfort blanket selling point yet in five years of weddings we've had to buy a player just once.
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Old February 8th, 2011, 09:23 PM   #6
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Same with Noel, except I quote "48 hours from the time the client receives the final DVD's". Technical corrections made free of charge, artistic re-edits charged at studio rates.
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Old February 9th, 2011, 04:35 AM   #7
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I agree, technical issues are changed free of charge, but our terms and conditions state that the film is "our interpretation of the day".
Getting the bride and groom to make editing decisions is a world of hurt.

If the couple gave me a list of changes i'm not sure if I would be either insulted or questioning my place in the industry.

They employ you as a professional and should trust your judgement.
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Old February 9th, 2011, 02:31 PM   #8
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I don't receive payments as I produce the video for free as a volunteer, however even I have a method to ensure the 'client' is happy with the finished product, in this case the Coaching Team for an International Rugby Squad.

I produce a media file and upload it to Snapfish, which is a secure hosting service, and then allow the 'client' to approve all the material that will eventually be on the DVD, if they aren't happy with the edit, they tell me and I make the changes and upload that for approval.

Only then do I burn the finished DVD.

Saves a lot of messing about, particularly as my 'clients' are not all in the same place.

Frankly, I'm surprised at reading that professionals are not using all the available technology out there.
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Old February 9th, 2011, 02:45 PM   #9
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For corporate work I agree that the client will want to be kept in the loop with rough cuts and make their changes accordingly.
I always upload corporate films (in progress) to vimeo with a timecode embedded and ask for their comments, but the wedding market is another game altogether.

Getting couples input into the artistic process will lengthen the editing and at the end of the day make it uneconomically viable as a business.
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