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Question re: corporate video/photomontage

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Bill_KQuestion re: corporate video/photomontage
by on Jul 29, 2006 at 6:07:22 pm

I received a call from a national corporation inquiring about creating a photomontage on DVD to be shown at their upcoming anniversary dinner. The company's rep I spoke with said they wanted to use about 50 digital photos; they wanted "more than a Powerpoint presentation", with animated photos and music backgrounds. I mentioned I could correct imperfections in the images using Photoshop & animate photos (Ken Burns style) using After Effects for a "PBS documentary" type look (I explained briefly what AE was). I asked if they were interested in using their logo, stating I could also do something 3D with it in Lightwave. I quoted a rough estimate price range based on 50 photos.

When I asked how the company got my name, the woman mentioned the company's vice president's wife - for whom I did a church photomontage presentation using a LOT of photoshop restoration (some images were 100 year old photos), a LOT of AE animation/Ken Burns + a professional voiceover - the narrator gave the church a reduced price - as I also did. I thought it might be good for business, and that churches don't have a lot of $$$.

I met with the original company rep and the company's vice president a few days ago in my home studio. They brought a couple of cd's with photos + their company logo with them, and said they now wanted to use "about 150 photos", and have a 20 minute presentation. The woman with the vice president pushed for me to do something with their logo in 3D - until I mentioned my hourly rate - saying, "Don't spend more than 20 minutes on the logo." By the time they left (2 hours of viewing examples of my work, showing what I could do with their stuff in Photoshop, AE, and Lightwave, + royalty-free music programs like Smartsound), the vice president said he felt like taking out some of the 150 images, adding more images, and making the presentation anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes long - (my suggestion) - short & well done vs. long & boring.

I really pushed for the vice pres to e-mail an outline of exactly what he wanted, specifying what areas/images he wanted me to concentrate on using AE, plus a list of titles to go with the images. I informed him if I got that info, I could give them a price for the work. The vice president said he would "do it that night".

I never got the outline/titles. I e-mailed a few examples of their company logo in different LW scenes - just in case they were also checking out my competition. After a couple of days I did receive an e-mail with the company's special anniversary logo, no outline, the e-mail said they liked the LW stuff & whatever I wanted to do was fine.

I have the feeling these guys expect the "church price" for their stuff - which I just can't do. During the meeting, they kept saying things like "we don't need the photos fixed" anytime I pointed out that would be in their company's best interest. Any suggestions on how to follow up with this deal would be appreciated. For any job I normally write up a production agreement with a deposit of half down, the other half payable when I provide a "preview DVD."

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Nick GriffinRe: Question re: corporate video/photomontage
by on Jul 29, 2006 at 6:48:35 pm

So, Bill... Is there a question here or are you simply telling us that you skipped a few of the early-on financial points and are now regretting it?

Sounds like they want what you're proposing and since it's so closely tied to their corporate pride, you should be able to make good money IF you start managing the process. It is ESPECIALLY important to manage their expectations and let them know how closely related time and quality are.

Sounds like a fun job. More so if they leave you alone and have limited input after the initial meeting.

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Bill_KRe: Question re: corporate video/photomontage
by on Jul 29, 2006 at 7:36:36 pm

Thanks for your reply, Nick. The question I am asking is do these guys seem to be avoiding the money issue, - and how to get them to understand there is a big difference between 50 photos lasting a few minutes as opposed to 150+ photos and 10-15 minutes? I initally gave a telephone quote based on 50 photos. During the meeting I gave my hourly rate, stating time is money, the more time I spend on their work, the more it will cost. Right after saying that, they did not want me to edit any images in Photoshop or "...spend more than 20 minutes" in Lightwave working on their logo, nor enlarge any images that weren't quite big enough to "fill the screen" using GF printpro in Photoshop. Then they turned around again, showing me more images, wanting me to do something with autocad drawings of their creations and photos of the finished projects in AE.

I wanted the vice president to send me an outline so HE could see the amount of work involved, then give a price quote based on that outline, knowing how many images were involved and how many they wanted animated in AE, thinking that would force the vice pres to have some idea of the amount of time involved. I have a feeling since I gave the vice pres's wife too good a deal on her church's video, that may be working against me.

This company does work on nationally known projects, why they wouldn't go for the best possible image projected of themselves on a viewing screen (spending more time on fixing things like holes in the asphalt in their parking lot, etc., in Photoshop) is something that doesn't make sense to me. They keep making it sound like they have no money for this, despite it being a big company anniversary and their working on what appear to be multi-million dollar projects in the photos. If they don't want me to edit, enlarge, or animate the images, they don' t need me, just their PC & Powerpoint.

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Ron LindeboomRe: Question re: corporate video/photomontage
by on Jul 29, 2006 at 7:58:11 pm

There are two ways to botch a deal and one is not setting up the right terms and agreement in the first place, the other is talking past the point of the sale.

They have demonstrated on more than a few occasions that they want you to do the work. What they haven't done is tell you what they expect to pay. Ask them directly. When they give you that figure, then you are in the position to either agree to it or not agree to it.

But if it's done correctly, and if I read Nick's implications correctly, you can almost always "bump" up a good client for more if you give them a good product within their original budget. Then you can point to the "bump" item(s) and what you *could* do if the budget allowed. If they agree, get them to sign a change order addendum to the original agreement price. This way, you have a record of what the original agreement was and what the additional items are. This will avoid confusion.

But don't be afraid to ask: "Just so we can avoid confusion, what is the budget that we need to work within?" When they give it to you, lock down the agreement based on that and clearly define the terms and items of the agreement. Don't leave it open-ended or you will find that they will be learning to be editors on your nickel.

Best regards,

Ron Lindeboom

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Nick GriffinRe: Question re: corporate video/photomontage
by on Jul 29, 2006 at 8:57:05 pm

Bill -
Both of you seem to be avoiding the money issue. Do what Ron said and just ask them. Then you may have to go into sales mode. You may also want to tell (or better still show) them just how little time it takes in Photoshop to make dramatic fixes.

They're being cheap beacuse this is new to them and they're afraid of spending a fortune for something that they probably don't even have as a budget line item. Nurture them. Help them "get the best possible results for what they have to spend." Ask THEM to do time consuming tasks like scanning the photos. Get them to narrow the scope to save money. Make them think, but do it gently so you're HELPING them think. THEN you're in a position to make subtle bumps -- but always from the standpoint of "You know... this small change would really help with..." (You get the idea, right?)

And man can I relate to broken executive promises! If I had a dime for everything a Vice President (usually of Sales) promised and then never delivered... I be rich enough that wouldn't have to spend so much time waiting for things from Vice Presidents!

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Bill_KRe: Question re: corporate video/photomontage
by on Jul 29, 2006 at 10:06:07 pm

Nick, you are correct, we are both avoiding the money issue. Thanks for the insight where this company is coming from - i.e., this project is probably not a budget line item. I did show them how I could edit out image blemishes in their photos during the meeting - the vice president's reaction was immediate: "what did you do" - (healing brush & cloning tools). He seemed amazed at the multiple steps in creating any sort of animation - rendering out a sequence in Lightwave, or creating a movie render in AE, then moving those items into Final Cut or Premiere Pro.

Thanks Nick & Ron, for your advice/input. I'll let you know how things turn out.

Bill K

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