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Kell Smith August 7th, 2014 12:19 PM

Best way to handle film transfer/preview for customer
A potential customer has 16mm films he took abroad many years ago. He wants me to edit it for him. I don't have the capability to transfer it, but a local company does, so I am going to have them do it.

This is the first time I have bid a job of this sort and am not sure exactly how to approach it. I am planning to pick up the box and bring it to the local transfer guy (or maybe email him a picture since he's 20 minutes away and see what he estimates/suggests.

The customer's call took me by surprise, so I was winging it and suggested he transfer it all to DVD, so that he could have it to review. I did not charge him up front for me to pick it up to take to the transfer guy, but realized later on that I should have, because if he changes his mind about editing, well... I've wasted my time and gas.

How should I approach this (or future similar jobs)? Should I:

1) Have all his films transferred to DVDs(the shop would probably give them a watchable DVD), (provided there are only a few)? Then have the customer go through them and choose what portions they want edited? Then give them an estimate for the time involved?

2) Have it transferred to an editing format, put on a drive, or have them make a timecode burn for them? (This customer does not have a computer)?

3) Charge a pickup and delivery and time charge for taking it over if they don't book a job?

4) As for the editing job, I guess I should estimate it hourly? Not even sure how long it would take without specifics.

I don't want to simply refer him to the shop and lose the business but I don't want to waste my time either. And if he has a copy, he may not want to bother editing something more polished - but right now he has no way to review it.
Suggestions welcome, as well as any suggestions on how to explain this process to people who might be elderly and not very technically inclined.

Many thx =)

Jeff Pulera August 7th, 2014 12:50 PM

Re: Best way to handle film transfer/preview for customer
I would NOT have the transfers done direct to DVD - that format is very highly compressed for delivery, not editing or other repurposing (encoding to other formats, etc.). Unless of course no editing is planned and the customer will be happy with raw DVDs of the footage (make copies though for goodness sake!).

If you can get the footage saved in a higher quality editing format and delivered to you via hard drive, that would be preferable. Some transfer places online will even offer 720p or 1080p captures for an extra fee. Depends how valuable the footage is to the customer.

Once you have that raw footage, you could drop it into a timeline and add a timecode overlay to basically create a "window dub" to use for providing preview DVDs to the client. Yes, this is extra labor, have to charge accordingly.


Kell Smith August 7th, 2014 02:06 PM

Re: Best way to handle film transfer/preview for customer
EDITED: Yes, I was worried about quality as well. So I will have them dump it to an editing format for me and I can do the DVD but will give him a timecode burn to review? And then, at least this time, burn it (minus timecode) to DVD for him. I might lose a little on transcoding time but it shouldn't be that bad.

So I talked to his wife and briefly mentioned that at this point I was going to come over, get the box and get prices for them.
I haven't gotten any kind of order form yet. Hard to estimate at this point because I don't know the details yet of what he wants to do until he reviews the footage.

s sort of a mess, but what' s the best way to proceed, in the future?

Thx y'all for your patience with the confusion as I work this process out.

Kell Smith August 7th, 2014 02:11 PM

Re: Best way to handle film transfer/preview for customer
Oh, just for clarification - the reason I told him I would come pick up the box is that he is about half a mile from my house, and I am very unfamiliar with film formats and so I wanted to physically see what he had.

Mike Watson August 28th, 2014 11:27 PM

Re: Best way to handle film transfer/preview for customer
What does he want done with the footage? Something edited? If so, what? I would want a handle on where we were going with this before I got too deep.

Don't get tied up worried about "time and gas". That's CODB. Shuttle the stuff to the dub house if that's what needs to happen. My workflow would be to have the dubhouse crank out QT .mov's of all of it and give them to me, then I'd transcode to h.264 and provide viewable links to the client. I'd keep the HQ stuff. I get the original film out of my hands as fast as possible. You are asking for a flood/earthquake/swarm of locusts attack.

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