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Old October 9th, 2006, 07:02 AM   #1
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Client Review

Hi, I'm interest to know how many of you ask your clients to review a proof DVD before you present them with the finished article?

Surely if a proof is presented it gives the clients free range to request changes here, changes there, less of Aunt Maud and more of cousin John etc. Could be a never-ending cycle that increases work time greatly?
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Old October 9th, 2006, 07:26 AM   #2
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Hey Dan,
I use to give clients a review disc but it only consisted of the ceremony and only the major parts of the reception. When I did this it delayed production by a whole week. I would go over their house and the whole family would watch. It did save me headaches at times. I would try a new idea or choose a song that wasn't on their list and they would then comment pretty much on those things. I film quinceaneras so the whole family would be there. It was good for that, and it helped polish up the video. Then I just realized I could finish these videos completely in 4 days. So I give them a choice in the contract, if you want to review your disc it will take 3 weeks for completition if you prefer to skip that step you can have your video in 2 weeks or less. Since doing that I have not had a request for reviews as they just want their product asap. So it's in the contract as a option but they prefer to have it earlier

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Old October 9th, 2006, 07:29 AM   #3
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you'll have varying answers here but I stopped doing that ,HMMMM... come to think of it, I never did and for weddings ETC, I never will. First my service agreement states very clearly that I have complete control over editing. Thats one reason they hired me. I'm the profressional not them. Second, the time factor involved in letting them make edit decisions-they can't, so they let it drag on and on and I know drive space is cheap today but still it's not infinite. Thirdly, in my belief once you START you'll never finish the edit for them. "Oh BTW, can you just change 1 more little thing" and on and on and on.
Generalizations? Yes, but in my eyes very real challenges (among others) I have seen friends of mine get into by offering a "preview" copy. Hey if I misspell a name or some other stupid thing like that it's on me. Once again, my felling is they hired me for any number of reasons one of which is my editing ability because they saw my work, either a sample or a job I did for someone else and they know what they're getting before they signed up.

BUT HEY!!!! Thats just me ;-)

Don
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Old October 9th, 2006, 09:37 AM   #4
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I send a preview disk with a big timecode bar across the bottom of the video. If they see a problem or have a question, then all they have to do is refer to the timecode and I can go quickly to the exact scene to see what they're talking about and discuss it immediately. Also, the timecode makes for an unattractive dup if they have the means to make their own copies.

Haven't had a bridezilla yet nitpicking as Don describes above. Lucky, I guess. On occasion, there are a few questions or minor changes -- like that a scene (mostly at the reception) be shortened or deleted -- which are easy to do. More usual is being told the video good to go as is.

After I send off the preview disk, I wait a few days for my brain to clear, then look at the whole thing with a fresh pair of eyes, and almost always catch some additional tweeking needed on either the video or the audio tracks that probably no one in the whole world would notice or care about except me. So, as long as I'm doing that, making a few more fixes to make the B&G happy isn't a big deal, and -- so far -- hasn't added to my production time.

Included with the preview disk is a short set of instructions and the deadline for a response. No response by the deadline means approval. I send the disk via USPS with Delivery Confirmation. After it's delivered, I always follow up with a phone call to ask if there are any questions, and to restate the deadline.

This is what works for me.
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Old October 9th, 2006, 10:19 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Bloom
you'll have varying answers here but I stopped doing that ,HMMMM... come to think of it, I never did and for weddings ETC, I never will. First my service agreement states very clearly that I have complete control over editing. Thats one reason they hired me. I'm the profressional not them. Second, the time factor involved in letting them make edit decisions-they can't, so they let it drag on and on and I know drive space is cheap today but still it's not infinite. Thirdly, in my belief once you START you'll never finish the edit for them. "Oh BTW, can you just change 1 more little thing" and on and on and on.
Generalizations? Yes, but in my eyes very real challenges (among others) I have seen friends of mine get into by offering a "preview" copy. Hey if I misspell a name or some other stupid thing like that it's on me. Once again, my felling is they hired me for any number of reasons one of which is my editing ability because they saw my work, either a sample or a job I did for someone else and they know what they're getting before they signed up.

BUT HEY!!!! Thats just me ;-)

Don

Im very similar. Only recently have i offered preliminaries but only to VERY picky clients.

I DO NOT give them a copy. not anymore.. hell i had one client who didnt even read the contract..
I used to offer 5 day viewing period for TECHNICAL fixes.. not asthetics..
unitl one client had the presentation for 7 weeks, copied it, sent it to all their relatives, then decided to write a 3 page essay on what they wanted changed.

Be precise with your contract, and you wont have this issue.

Now, for my high end clients, i take a laptop to their house, or i invite them here, I remotely connect to this finishing workstation and run a full admin system control from the laptop to this box. I see what THIS machine sees, and i can control it even if im in another city.. Ive even edited projects from other citys, teh only difference is my framerate is a little slower while i preview, but the workstation responds as if i was there.
It freaks my wife out to no end.. lol

They view the work online as its on the timeline. its a bit slow depnding on teh cnnection speed, its ugly (not full colour) but it works and it saves me a day or so on rendering and processing to DVD.

If things need changing, i insert a marker ON THE PROJECT and leave notes as to what needs changing.
When i get back to the office, my notes are there and i make changes before the final render
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Old October 9th, 2006, 07:38 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Jefferson
Im very similar. Only recently have i offered preliminaries but only to VERY picky clients.

I DO NOT give them a copy. not anymore.. hell i had one client who didnt even read the contract..
I used to offer 5 day viewing period for TECHNICAL fixes.. not asthetics..
unitl one client had the presentation for 7 weeks, copied it, sent it to all their relatives, then decided to write a 3 page essay on what they wanted changed.

Be precise with your contract, and you wont have this issue.

Now, for my high end clients, i take a laptop to their house, or i invite them here, I remotely connect to this finishing workstation and run a full admin system control from the laptop to this box. I see what THIS machine sees, and i can control it even if im in another city.. Ive even edited projects from other citys, teh only difference is my framerate is a little slower while i preview, but the workstation responds as if i was there.
It freaks my wife out to no end.. lol

They view the work online as its on the timeline. its a bit slow depnding on teh cnnection speed, its ugly (not full colour) but it works and it saves me a day or so on rendering and processing to DVD.

If things need changing, i insert a marker ON THE PROJECT and leave notes as to what needs changing.
When i get back to the office, my notes are there and i make changes before the final render
Peter, you had mentioned in some previous post somewhere that your preference was technical, and now I believe it! Perhaps, in time, I will be able to do what you describe as well.

My personal opinion is, that if you average $5000.00US per event, holding onto the project files and making changes is most appropriate. If, howver you are averaging less than $5000.00 per event...no. Think about the online purchases you make. You give. You receive. If somethng is not right, what do you do? In some cases, you encounter a wall. In others, you encounter a very friendly person who wants everything to be right with you. In all cases, it is they, not you, who have your money.

If your market warrents, provide the service or repair. If not, don't.
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Old October 9th, 2006, 08:32 PM   #7
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Hey Waldemar,
Technical, yes.. in the past i used to offer preliminaries to all my clients until the numbers grew to a point where i literally couldnt keep up.
So i changed it and offered "technical" checks on the work prior to finals, such as spelling (as i do many Slavic and Russian weddings spelling is ALWAYS an issue.. lol) overlay, multicam work etc etc

As i work with Vegas, rendering can become a nightmare with time so i render the parts in chunks. then i overlay those onto the actual edit and if anything needs changing, i just split and redo ONLY that part... at least this way i do not have to render and rerender.
When previewing, the response is also much faster, especially when doing it remotely.

Ive had many issues with preliminaries with clients changing tehir minds and overanalysing the work, to a point where major changes are requested and being pedantic as i am, i usually lose track of time while i spend copious amounts of time on ONE client, while the others wait...
I now only do prelims for clients who specifically request it (its an option in the contract) or for the clients whove paid enough moola to earn the right to request a chang.That doesnt sound teh best, but tis the best way i can explain it.. basically the way i see it, is taht theyve paid enough money to have this priviledge.

In the end however, its a contractual agreement that i use my discretion in all aspecs of the production. The clients know this
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Old October 9th, 2006, 10:28 PM   #8
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We always give an approval copy. But as Peter mentions, make sure it's clear in the contract that the intent is to catch glitches, spelling mistakes, etc. Not for artistic criticism and endless tweaking. Repeat this verbally when the approval copy is handed over.

Perhaps because we have been clear about this, approval copies have saved me time. We started it because of the hassle of redoing all final copies because of a spelling mistake, or because of some small change that would really make the client happy and would take no time at all. I mean, if the client says, "could you remove the shot of my neighbour's dog, I hate that dog." Are you really going to tell him to eat it because it says on the contract that you have artistic control? Good bye referral...

The timecode burn-in is a great idea, but I usually don't do it because I don't want to render the entire timeline.

Generally, about 50% of the videos are approved with no changes, another 40% have very minor changes that take a few minutes. Sometimes I may spend almost an hour making more extensive changes. So far, there have really been almost no 'bridezilla' types going crazy. Maybe one that I remember. Also, clients have been really good about giving a list of desired changes, but realizing they might not get them all. I mean, a bride and groom have no idea that removing a speech takes seconds, but changing a song under dance footage takes a long time if you want to retweak the footage to match the beat.

We also have the couples fill out a sheet with a list of songs that they want for each section of the day -- groom's house, bride's house, photo shoot, highlights, etc. Makes it hard for them to complain about the music later...
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Old October 10th, 2006, 07:11 PM   #9
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I couldn't agree with this more.....and even while my contract states NO creative changes, ONLY typos/technial errors......I still get clients who try to "push" the issue on making changes. I rarely bend on this....and it would only slow down the process for other clients and that is not right to delay their projects.

If you do however allow changes and re-edits....you are really setting yourself up for a client who you will not be able to make happy no matter what changes you make. Like Don stated.....they are NOT the pros...WE all are, and if they want to "back-seat" edit as I call it, then they should just buy iMovie and do it themsleves.

WHen clients ask about this....I tell them that is like asking a chef at a restuarant if they can cook the meal...or when they get their car fixed by a mechanic.....if they can watch and give input on whats being done.

A BIG NO NO IMHO.

I do want their creative ideas if any prior to shoot day and prior to post production....BUT NEVER after the fact.




Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Bloom
you'll have varying answers here but I stopped doing that ,HMMMM... come to think of it, I never did and for weddings ETC, I never will. First my service agreement states very clearly that I have complete control over editing. Thats one reason they hired me. I'm the profressional not them. Second, the time factor involved in letting them make edit decisions-they can't, so they let it drag on and on and I know drive space is cheap today but still it's not infinite. Thirdly, in my belief once you START you'll never finish the edit for them. "Oh BTW, can you just change 1 more little thing" and on and on and on.
Generalizations? Yes, but in my eyes very real challenges (among others) I have seen friends of mine get into by offering a "preview" copy. Hey if I misspell a name or some other stupid thing like that it's on me. Once again, my felling is they hired me for any number of reasons one of which is my editing ability because they saw my work, either a sample or a job I did for someone else and they know what they're getting before they signed up.

BUT HEY!!!! Thats just me ;-)

Don
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Old October 10th, 2006, 07:31 PM   #10
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Hey Joe Allen, I can't really disagree if that system is working fine for you. If clients are putting up with having their changes refused, and they're still referring you, then who am I to say you are wrong...

I can only give an opinion from my market here in Montreal. Perhaps clients here are less open to the idea that changes are not allowed. All I know is that for us the process of allowing changes has worked out very well, takes minimal effort, and has been a positive addition to the workflow.

Cheers, and greetings from the frozen (well, not quite yet) north.
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Old October 10th, 2006, 09:01 PM   #11
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Hey Vito...a lot of the LA based wedding vid companies do...or not do the same as myself....and yes, I get lots of referrals.

I simply do not even entertain the thoughts of allowing clients to makes such changes as....creative ones.

Im sure markets are very different all over the world....and if I were somewhere else in the world....and making changes based on clients creative input, I would not produce wedding vids....but thats me.

Peter Jef often describes how his clients are in Australia.....and many times....very different than here in Southern California.

By the way....my clients do "put up" with me not making changes....the fact is, I explain this during 1st meeting....and contract states this....so, why would I bend over for someone and do it anyway....and go against what I offer.....that would be foolish.....and putting more work hours in for free.

My contrcat does state that I will make "creative" changes....but at an hourly rate since it is considered "additional" editing.

If you say the changes you make are "minimal"......then that is good for you, but...what will you do when your client wants some major re-edits and it will take a lot more than minimal effort.....based on what you stated.....this sounds like you would do it based on your clients wishes......that is where you can get shafted.


Works great for me...and I am 80% booked for next year already....and zero advertising, Im not concerened at what other videographers think about my ways of doing biz.....Im simply responding to the original posters thread regarding client reviews. Stay on topic.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Vito DeFilippo
Hey Joe Allen, I can't really disagree if that system is working fine for you. If clients are putting up with having their changes refused, and they're still referring you, then who am I to say you are wrong...

I can only give an opinion from my market here in Montreal. Perhaps clients here are less open to the idea that changes are not allowed. All I know is that for us the process of allowing changes has worked out very well, takes minimal effort, and has been a positive addition to the workflow.

Cheers, and greetings from the frozen (well, not quite yet) north.
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Old October 10th, 2006, 09:32 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Allen Rosenberger

By the way....my clients do "put up" with me not making changes....the fact is, I explain this during 1st meeting....and contract states this....so, why would I bend over for someone and do it anyway....and go against what I offer.....that would be foolish.....and putting more work hours in for free.
Sounds like you've got it well stated at the outset that no changes are allowed, so the client knows ahead of time that that's the way it is, and accepts it later. Didn't mean to hit a nerve with the "put up with" comment. We don't use the same clauses as you in the contract, so our clients do not "put up" with no changes. With your contract, it's not an issue.

Quote:

My contrcat does state that I will make "creative" changes....but at an hourly rate since it is considered "additional" editing.
That brings up an interesting point. What's a "creative" change anyway. I made a joke about removing a shot of the neighbour's dog. Is that a creative change? For sure, a request like, "could you make more use of the crescendo in the song" or "I would like it to look more 'classic'" is a creative change. That kind of request we just refuse, and have never had a problem.

We offer the same hourly rate for extensive changes. Funny how no one has ever taken us up on it...hehehe

Quote:

If you say the changes you make are "minimal"......you problably havent been doing this very long I will assume....because eventually, it will take a lot more than minimal effort......in due time.
Well, it's my fourth season, I've shot about 60 weddings, and edited about 200, so I don't consider myself a beginner. Giving approval copies and making small changes has worked very well for us. Much better than at the beginning when we were making people unhappy with our refusal to change anything. Though of course, we were always willing to fix spelling mistakes and technical glitches.

The point has been made by Peter and yourself (and me, actually) that so much depends on being clear in your contract and in your communication with the client.

Quote:

Works great for me...and I am 80% booked for next year already....and zero advertising.
Then it sounds like you are doing exactly the right thing for your clientelle and your business. No need to change because of someone else's workflow in a completely different market, that's for sure.

It's just a survey anyway, brought on by Dan Burnap's original post. And looking back at it, I remember being nervous that we would be opening the door to grinding bridezillas who would hassle us for weeks with more and more changes. No one was more surprised than I that it never happened. I was actually against the idea of giving approval copies, but I'm happy to be proven wrong.

Thanks for the reply. Always a pleasure to learn something from another opinion.
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Old October 10th, 2006, 10:33 PM   #13
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I've said this before and I'll keep saying it until the day I retire or die whichever comes first. IF THE CLIENT KNOWS WHAT THEY'RE BUYING BEFORE THEY BUY IT THEN THEY HAVE NOTHING TO SAY AFTERWARDS!!!
Meaning if you take the time to explain things to them --they see a sample wedding, not just a 10 minute demo but an actual wedding so they can see the work you do and the style you do it in AND your Service Agreement states the policy and pricing of re-edit work, there should be no need to go back and re-edit anything. NOW having said that, have I been asked anyways. YES! I've even on rare occassion and rare generous mood done it BUT since it's my business I can make that decision. One was for the daughter of one of my biggest corporate clients at the time so of course it was well worth the time to do a small amount of re-edit work.
POINT...It's what YOUR comfortable with in YOUR market for YOUR pricing and YOUR time. All of these are variables but in 60 years on this good eath there is one thing I have learned with absolute certainty. Never say NEVER and Never say ALWAYS! Things change -roll with the flow. BTW like Joe, I too am about 80% booked for 07 and 80% of that is referrals. So I guess that policys and rules don't always matter to the client-the work, the workmanship, how you click with them and of course the evil money issue.
Nuff said.

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Old October 11th, 2006, 09:51 AM   #14
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Hi Dan,

I've always offered a preview copy as well as let a balance due hang out there until that preview copy is approved. Its a selling point that shows confidence in your work, its a way to be sure that the client is satisfied and its helped me improve my work by showing me what is important to couples. The feedback is invaluable and lets me know how to cut similar sequences in the future so my programs are completely unobjectionable. I simply send a completed DVD without menus or chapters (auto-play) and tell the couple to let me know within two weeks if they'd like anything changed or adjusted. The footage stays on a drive until its approved and paid for. Rarely do I have any changes that take more than a hour to complete, and most of the time they are extremely simple adjustments requiring only a few minutes. There has never been a need to re-edit creative sections. As Waldemar does I also have a questionnaire that gets filled out after the wedding which tells me what I need to know about the length, style and music they prefer.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Burnap
Hi, I'm interest to know how many of you ask your clients to review a proof DVD before you present them with the finished article?

Surely if a proof is presented it gives the clients free range to request changes here, changes there, less of Aunt Maud and more of cousin John etc. Could be a never-ending cycle that increases work time greatly?
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Old October 11th, 2006, 10:05 AM   #15
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Hey Joel,

Just tried to get to your website, but get an error. Is your provider down?

Glad to see I'm not the only crazy guy giving preview copies...
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