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Old January 8th, 2015, 01:36 PM   #1
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How do you politely tell customers 'no preview copy'

Despite stressing at meetings with my couples that I don't provide previews (plus it's covered in my terms and conditions) I have yet again had an email asking for a sample for them to approve!!!!!

How often does this happen to you folks and how do you respond? - I don't want to appear mean or arrogant but I need to say 'I know how to edit films and you don't' in a nice way ;)

Pete
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Old January 8th, 2015, 02:37 PM   #2
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Re: How do you politely tell customers 'no preview copy'

I have had one client asking for a preview so they could see it and maybe ask for re-edits, because that's what a preview usually leads to and I said that I don't do this at my office but would supply them with a online file and a timecode so they could tell me where to make changes. I told them this was not for free and then gave them a high price for placing the file online and a equal high re-edit hour rate.
They told me then it was ok to just leave it. :)
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Old January 8th, 2015, 04:29 PM   #3
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Re: How do you politely tell customers 'no preview copy'

I have rarely been asked, but on the odd occasion that I have, I have explained that they have chosen me presumably because they like my work, which is based on years of experience in crafting the finished product. I also explain that it is not a matter of picking shots that they like, but knowing how long to make a shot and how to create a visual flow to the work, which is the reason they employed me.

If they push me further, I relate it to choosing an artist to paint their portrait, then expecting to decide what colours and brushes he should use. I would even go as far as to suggest that I would feel insulted, but that has never happened.

They always back off once they fully understand what I do and I have never had a problem in over 30 years.

Roger
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Old January 8th, 2015, 06:11 PM   #4
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Re: How do you politely tell customers 'no preview copy'

Hi Pete

Noa is getting close to the correct method of doing it. I have had one request for a "proof disk so we can see what we need to change" I simply tell them that all I supply is the final disks so if they really want to look at a preview with a mind to re-editing then you have satisfied the terms of the contract by delivering the end product. They will undoubtably come back to you wanting a dozen changes or more and you can then charge them a decent re-edit fee for any changes. Hopefully they have paid you in full already so deliver the final disks and see what happens.

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Old January 8th, 2015, 07:46 PM   #5
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Re: How do you politely tell customers 'no preview copy'

I'm not sure what the polite way to approach this is. but think of it from another perspective: If you're at an ice-cream store and they don't offer samples, you probably won't return. Sure, the sample costs a bit, but it almost always leads to a sale and you're giving the customer what they want. If you're not providing a preview, how do you know that the final won't have something that you missed, or objectionable content (to the viewer, not to you).
My solution is to create a low-resolution preview (SD, low bitrate), put it up on Vimeo with a password and give the client 1 week to review it. Sure, there have been changes, but most are minor, and it's much better than delivering a final product and having to redo it for something silly. The customer will look at this project for years, you only have to see it a few times. Why not make it a part of your marketing? I tell the client that this is their movie, not mine...so it doesn't go out until they approve. If you're worried about endless revisions, specify in your contract that edit revisions are limited to 'x' hours for free and then 'y' dollars per hour afterwards. I promise that will keep the nitpicking to a minimum.
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Old January 8th, 2015, 08:37 PM   #6
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Re: How do you politely tell customers 'no preview copy'

Your ice cream analogy doesn't quite match up Oren, because the free sample is of course your body of prior works that the client is looking at to decide if they want your skills to create their video.

Re-edits i simply feel are an extra charge, along with a max number of hours labor.

All my invoices include a max hours of labor for both shooting and editing.

To map out a hypothetical:
You can specify that edit requests are not part of the package, but if they would like re-edits, they can purchase additional editing, set a minimum starting point for any re-edits, let's say an arbitrary $100, which is the fee for preparing a timecode stamped video low resolution copy on youtube/vimeo/etc... They can view it, make out a list of changes they would like, and you would then provide them the quote to make those changes. If you want to be extra nice, let them know which changes will be the most costly/etc...
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Old January 8th, 2015, 09:25 PM   #7
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Re: How do you politely tell customers 'no preview copy'

My feelings here are if you give the bride a preview copy she almost feels obliged to at least request some changes otherwise she feels she hasn't done her job. These of course, can spiral wildly out of control and become a nightmare very quickly. I might get one bride at most who wants stuff changed once she has seen the supplied final copy and yes, that is chargeable ..end of story! If you say " Just tell me what you want to change and I'll do it, no charge" then you are in for a really hard life!!

The bride should have taken the trouble to view your samples and see your style so in theory she shouldn't have any reason to request multiple changes ... I do ask if she needs anything special covered and to let me know during the day if she needs any special coverage.

If they ask for a preview copy I tell them the final DVD is what you watch. In rare cases where they do state up front that they want a preview and expect you to edit changes for free then the solution is really simple ..don't book them ..there are plenty more fish out there!! Your terms and conditions should stand..no exceptions.
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Old January 8th, 2015, 10:31 PM   #8
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Re: How do you politely tell customers 'no preview copy'

In my contract that I send to brides, I include the following statement which has worked out very well:

"Client shall be given the option to review the First Cut and request changes within 21 days of delivery. SSM will spend up to (1) hour on additional changes. If changes require additional editing beyond (1) hour Client will be charged an overtime fee of $50 per hour."

I've found that the brides are often very appreciative that they have the option of requesting revisions but many of them don't request any at all. I've only had two brides request more than one hour of revisions but that extra time is subject to the $50 per hour rate. I make sure to give them a heads up if I'm nearing the end of the free revision editing time so that they have to give me approval to go past the free hour. I've found that most of them don't want to pay for any extra editing so they'll have me stop at one hour and seem very pleased that they were able to request a few minor changes.

While this may seem time consuming, I would rather spend some extra time adding in a shot of their brother walking down the aisle than have them email me after getting the final DVDs and ask why he wasn't in the video. I definitely don't think that it's unwise to not offer revisions, but I've had lots of success with this policy so I think it's a good option to consider. This way they don't get the chance to request 10 hours of revisions unless they want to pay for it, but they still feel like they were able to have a little input into the final edit.
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Old January 9th, 2015, 03:11 AM   #9
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Re: How do you politely tell customers 'no preview copy'

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oren Arieli View Post
My solution is to create a low-resolution preview (SD, low bitrate), put it up on Vimeo with a password and give the client 1 week to review it.
I would be careful placing a low quality file online for reviewing purposes, there is a very high chance they will share the link and password with family and closest friends during the review period just because they are so exited and if your film looks bad, because it's sd and low bitrate, you might be judged by other, maybe potential clients, by that sample.
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Old January 9th, 2015, 03:25 AM   #10
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Re: How do you politely tell customers 'no preview copy'

I agree that the first time your client views their film it should be hopefully a Blu-ray copy on a decent full HD TV. The first time they see it is when their emotional response to it will be at its highest. You want to blow them away and enjoy it in all its detailed glory.

On meeting clients I explain (and put it on the contract as well) that after delivery they have 7 days to report any technical faults which I will resolve quickly and of course free. If they want editorial changes they also have 7 days to request them and I will send them a quote to make the changes.

Now and again I have clients come back and try to argue the toss of what counts as a 'technical' error or not.
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Old January 9th, 2015, 04:36 AM   #11
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Re: How do you politely tell customers 'no preview copy'

Thanks for your input guys, always a hot topic this one! What I really wanted though was a way of reminding them politely- i was going to go with something like this...

"Please rest assured that the style and content of the edit will be comparable to samples shown at our original meeting and samples made available on my websites"

I think that will do the job.

Regrading you folks that do provide an option for them to request changes - how can they do that without the benefit of viewing all your raw footage? Do you provide a sample edit and let them ask for changes to that? Not sure how that would work unless they are going from memory as in "Can we include a shot when the magician performed that trick for all the kids" but then most of us surely pride ourselves on capturing the moments the B&G miss!

Pete
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Old January 9th, 2015, 05:18 AM   #12
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Re: How do you politely tell customers 'no preview copy'

Hey Pete

For me providing a preview disk is the same as bending down and sticking a "kick me" sign on your backside ... Been there and done that and have sleepless nights trying to re-edit tiny little items that the bride, in her wisdom has decided to ask to change.

Seriously I would simply clamp down hard to any request and tell any bride requesting a preview copy .."Attached are my terms and conditions you read and signed against and you can clearly see that we do not provide preview copies of the wedding for scrutiny and all edit decisions are made by our team" "I will be sending you the final DVD set in a few days however, hope you enjoy the content"

I stopped offering previews back in 2007 or 2008 and I think I have had just one bride in all that time who actually asked me to change her wedding content and supplied a list of changes. I have sent her a hefty quotation and hopefully she will have second thoughts!!

Chris
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Old January 9th, 2015, 05:41 AM   #13
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Re: How do you politely tell customers 'no preview copy'

I'm with you on that Chris and have not provided preview copies since the early days for reason's we all agree on - It's just sometimes people forget what's been discussed and not read my terms/conditions so I just need a polite way to remind them ;)
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Old January 9th, 2015, 05:42 AM   #14
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Re: How do you politely tell customers 'no preview copy'

There are a couple of things I have picked up from comments here that suggest that some requests for previews and re-edits are down to style of selling and type of end product.

The ice cream analogy was interesting, as my ice cream preview is showing them my previous work in a comprehensive visit, so that they know exactly what they will be getting. My booking contract also includes a line similar to that which Peter suggested, that any video supplied by me will be consistent in quality and content with examples shown previously to the client, within the limits of location, lighting and access on the day of filming.

A mention was made of an example of adding the bride's brother walking down the aisle. That would suggest that a comparatively short form of video was offered that meant deciding what footage to include. My doc style uses all the footage that I take apart from backup cams/angle of the same shot, so I basically only shoot on the main cam what I intend to use.There wouldn't be shots that I have missed out of the edit.

As I said previously, a wedding video is put together using creative, artistic and technical skills and if you have sold it properly, they would have chosen you for your professional and creative abilities. To allow the client to then reshape your creation, is to devalue your own abilities and interpretation. You cannot possibly capture every aspect and every expression of every person at a wedding and they need to be aware of that before contracts are signed.

Roger
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Old January 9th, 2015, 07:06 AM   #15
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Re: How do you politely tell customers 'no preview copy'

I must say this, you do get a broad and conflicting message on this forum when it comes to delivering a video. Mention shortform, depth of field, sliders and the like and it's a message of how important it is to give the bride what she wants and not let our status as creative individuals get in the way, Mention on the other hand re-edits and suddenly it less what the bride wants and more 'we're being hired as creative individuals, so she gets what's given to her'. Am I missing something here?

Confession, I'm guilty of shooting more than I need. Gives me more scope in the edit, but yes it does add to the time. So there's always some leeway in what I'm delivering. I allow the couple one free request for change. It never hurts to have another pair of eyes over the video. I could ask a friend or family member, but the couple's opinion carries more weight.

Not all ask for change, and the requests vary from a minor nitpick to extending or removing an entire scene, or even a change of song if they feel their previous choice was wrong. Yes I'm a creative individual and they're not, but if World famous Directors can be humble enough to get critique via test screenings, then so can I. We all can get too close to what we're doing, and there's another thread running here on Titles that shows how we can get locked down into one way of editing.

Most couples don't fully appreciate what a video can offer until they've seen their own. I'd like to think my clients chose me in a thorough consideration of different options and styles, but mostly it's recommendation, price and a quick browse of my samples. It's only after the Wedding they take Video seriously. Before it's dresses, cars, cakes, venue and choosing a good Photographer.
If I met all my clients before the day, maybe that would change things.... However we all work differently and re-edits don't take up too much time; never spent more than an hour on any of them and it makes the Bride feel her opinion counts for something. It's always important to give women the final word on anything, they'll have it anyway, so might as well make it part of the plan. Mind you, if they go over the top, the charges come into play. I'm not that bleeding generous.
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