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Client wants bid on 60-90 minute video seminar

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Client wants bid on 60-90 minute video seminar
on Sep 1, 2006 at 6:34:05 pm

End product will be between 60 & 90 minutes with half of that time being graphics & animation stuff. They want a bid on editing for a 60 and a 90 minute product. I'd like to just give them an hourly rate. Is there a good compromise that will help either one of us from getting the shaft?

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David Roth Weiss
Re: Client wants bid on 60-90 minute video seminar
on Sep 1, 2006 at 7:43:36 pm

Well, you could start off by asking the client if its really 60 or really 90 minutes. If they don't know the answer then it should be quite easy for you to explain to them how difficult it is therefore for you to prepare a budget on something with a 33% variable.

And, there is no way to compromise short of guessing. You could ask them to give you an idea of their budget, or you could simply guesstimate. Fortunately seminar videos are usually not that tough, but you should probably give them a range between x and y, and explain that until you see the material and know the final running time you can't be more precise.


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Re: Client wants bid on 60-90 minute video seminar
on Sep 1, 2006 at 8:49:42 pm

I would echo what the last post said. Whatever you do, don't let yourself get cornered into a certain dollar amount, no matter how simple it seems. I've made that mistake before when people I've worked with in the past have asked me to edit something and on paper everything seemed pretty cut and dry. When I actually saw the material I realized that they weren't completely honest, or maybe just didn't realize how much work it would take. Unfortunately I was stuck and even if you think you can negotiate more money after the initial deal, it will never cover it.

I would say give them an hourly rate and quote them a rather large range of hours with the disclaimer that you can be much more accurate once you see all the material.

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Mark Suszko
Re: Client wants bid on 60-90 minute video seminar
on Sep 4, 2006 at 2:14:11 am

"Half" of it is graphics. Talk about textbook definition of a potential minefield!

What KIND of "graphics" are we talking here, simple single-page CG keys? Grabs of lame powerpoint slides? Or custom motion graphics using extensive compositing tools, animation and layering? 3-d CGI? Synthetic b-roll?

The more specific the documentation of the job, the better an estimate will be, but when it comes to graphics, even "simple" isn't, always.

I had a program edit once with a client from hell. This lady was the person NLE systems were BORN to serve. Except we were editing linear tape A/B-roll. So we had to cover 30 seconds of voiceover with a simple 6- line text build, with the previous five and subsequent eight or so shots all A/B dissolves or wipes. For you kids out there that don't remember when MTV used to play videos, any change in a sequence of dissolves like that on our linear systems meant every edited dissolve/wipe between the change and a hard cut or fade to black had to be re-done or you'd risk a color shift or drop-frame. This client kept making me re-do the build. Over and over.

She wants to change the color from gold on blue to white on blue. OK, let me preview this for you, ma'am. That means I'm going to make it look like we've committed the change, without actually committing it to tape, just to see if this is really what you want me to do, because if you say "ok", it means I have to re-do the previous five edits, dissolve into this graphic, make the builds, then dissolve into and re-do all the shots that come after this, at least the next five of those. That is all going to take some time, so we preview this cut first before we commit to all that work, right? Okay! Watch the preview now... Did you see the change in color? Good! Did that work for you, are you SURE you want to make all the builds in the new colors? Ok then, if you agree, I'm going to hit the button that actually performs the edit now, but like I said, we need to re-do the parts leading into and out of the section because they are all dissolves... and here we GO!

(FX:analog clock on wall in time-lapse speed-up)

OK, pushing onwards, we're going into the next chapter now and...
(client) Wait.

(me) y e s ....?

(client) I think the bullets on each of those building text lines needs to be bigger, and a different style; I want arrows instead of spheres.
(me ((sotto voce)) ) /I want arrows too, and a bow.../

Um, you know how we talked about the fact that we had to make a critical decision back, oh, about 90 minutes ago? About how to make any other changes in the CG builds, I'd have to re-do all the dissolves around that shot? We'd have to do all that again, if you're really serious about this bullet change. I'll do it, if you really want to, but we're going to lose another 90 minutes to do it. Same process as before. Are you sure this is worth it?

(client /ice cold/ ) Oh, definitely, it just wouldn't look professional otherwise.

(One hour, 55 minutes later, finally making some progress on the next section of the show)

(Client) Um... you know what?
(Me)/ That I'm underpaid and you are a complete loon?/ (well, I said this in my head anyway) No, What?

(Client) I've changed my mind about the white... we need to go back to gold for that section.

(Me) The way it was originally, you mean.
(client) But with the Arrows too... except smaller.

(4:45 PM, closing time)
(Client) This is unsatisfactory, I'm just not happy.
(me) With the text section still?
(client) This is just moving too slowly, we need to make more progress. You people (who are doing this job for free BTW) are not competent.

(This client went on to complain to my then-boss about my "gross inefficiency" in not getting more than three minutes of running time edited in just one day. I was the third editor on the job, the previous two had quit, claiming it was her or them. Boss called me in to hear my side of it. Told him a little longer vesion of the above. He called clients' boss. Told them client was no longer welcome in the shop, as she was completely unprofessional and was torpedoing a job his editor could have done "un-assissted" in less than a day. As well as bad-mouthing good workers. They canned her, and told us to put it together ourselves, based on our experience.)

OKAY, so few of us edit linear anymore, but you could still get situations just like this, and while NLE's make it easier to try every possible way to please a client, they don't stop time. Even "simple" things can completely blow the schedule, if you don't keep the specs well in hand.

(To relieve the suspense, I went with the white on blue.)

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Re: Client wants bid on 60-90 minute video seminar
on Sep 4, 2006 at 8:37:58 am

Aah, I remember that job - or was it another several just like it? And NLEs, magic as they are, do nothing to make this kind of client more collaborative, switched on, capable or decisive - they just allow faster iteration through even more vacillations ... happy days!

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Mark Pope
Re: Client wants bid on 60-90 minute video seminar
on Sep 7, 2006 at 2:01:26 pm

I was gonna say that ... maybe not as well ... I wasn't going to use the word iteration or vacillation ... but, yeah!

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Re: Client wants bid on 60-90 minute video seminar
on Sep 8, 2006 at 6:27:31 pm

I once had iteration in my vacillaton and was bed-ridden for weeks!

Thank goodness for modern medicine!


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