Good day everyone,
I needed to blow off a little steam about clients. I work at a post house and we have clients that have their own systems to work on and cut their pieces for air. Most times when they send over their finished master, there is something wrong, usually the levels are way to hot (not a little, a lot) or chroma in over saturated and 99% of the time bars and tone do not match picture. So as any good post house would do, we contact the client and ask them what would they like us to do. Do you want us to adujst the levels to match? Would you like to send us a master that has the correct levels? I could go on and on, but the response that we get from them is very demeaning or irate. Escuse me it is our job to let you know when it is not correct. I'm not talking about nit picking, something a couple of units over, but video that may be rejected from a station because of levels. We use telesteam to send things alot and they are pretty strict on their levels and rightfully so.
My problem is that some of these clients are not trained editors or technicians. Nor do most of these places have outboard scopes to monitor their levels. So you would think that these clients would be a little more responsive when we call to let them know that something are not correct and also at some point you would think that they would correct the problem. But that maybe for another day.
Then turn this into an opportunity to construct a helpful info sheet for your clients, that would explain broadcast guidelines, and how to check levels and such.
Put it into pdf form and send it as something like "Joe's Post House .... Tech Update"
I agree with you somewhat, but the reason myself and the post house makes money is because we are a professionals. But at what point do you go from being helpful to teaching clients what you know so that your services are not needed. Don't get me wrong, I'm not that insecure, but truth be told, I have been in the business for a long time and I have aquired this knowledge that a few compaines take advantage of. If a client wants to be a post house that is fine, but in the end they are responsable for doing it correctly, not ours.
One other thing, sometimes when you do extend that hand, the clients arrogance gets in the way and you get the good ole response of "I/we know what we're doing". Which I love, because if you did, we wouldn't be having the same conversation over and over.
since they don't know what the f#$k they're doing, tell them you cannot make a 'for air' dub until it is up to broadcast spec. end of story. otherwise, if you make it and there are problems, guess who's fault it is? jeeze this type of crap bugs me.
It's irritating when some guy calls you up to cuss you out because you didn't know his facility takes their dubs with the audio only on channel two and blank space on audio one. This was not on the spec sheet for the job. I ask the guy why he needs it that way. Says it's for his automation system, which inserts a tone on the unused channel.
But then it comes out that he's not using our dub directly anyhow: he's dubbing to another format from our dub. I quietly point out that if that's the case, isn't it simply a case of him flipping one switch on the deck to assign the channel, or move one patch on his router/patchbay to put the audio wherever he darn well needs it.
Long pause on other end of phone line.
"I'll get back to you. (CLICK)".
We are in a service business, and your clients should expect that you will catch their little mistakes and fix them as a matter of course. How and if you reveal the extent of your help is up to you, but if it's really driving you nuts, put a notation on the billing statement along the lines of: "levels on client supplied element were out of spec, corrected at n/c." This makes you the hero, and leaves a subtle paper trail you can point to over time , that you are giving value-added service. If you like, you can figure how much extra time the fixes cost you, and increment your bill a little to cover it. Call it a "stupid tax".
Or, you can diplomatically ask to come over to their facility on a courtesy call to look over their system and see if you can't help re-calibrate their audio metering or their scopes so their output comes out better. This way you are turning a negative into a strong positive and really selling your service over a competitor's.
...reminds me of a few chapters in Ralph Rosenblum's book "When the Shooting Stops, the Cutting Begins: A Film Editor's Story". (A great book, by the way.) It looks at the editors that stood in the shadows of great directors such as Wells and Keaton, and questions where the director's genious stopped and the editor's began. Very interesting, because the director was the only one publicly writing the history.
Btveditor - you'll like this one...
Right now I'm editing a doc with old (1927) 35mm film footage in it. We sent the film footage to a post house to be dubbed to video. It came back on four tapes. The fourth for some reason was screwed up. The film footage had soft verticle lines on it and looked like it was shot off a TV. No way film shot almost 30 years before TV could have this. I called the post house and asked them to redo it. He said he didn't need to and explained very politely that it was on the original. So of course I ripped him a new one - both over the phone and in person.
Then he very politely handed me his eyepiece magnifier and a strip of the original film. Needless to say, sometimes when I least expect it, I find my ego has ballooned into a Macy's float, and for no apparent reason.
Also needless to say, because of the guy's consistently calm pleasantries, I'm still a dedicated client of his.