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Diplomatic approach to clients with badly set-up monitors

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Bob Cole
Diplomatic approach to clients with badly set-up monitors
on Mar 20, 2009 at 3:53:23 pm

This is not a technical question, but a matter of client management. (I edit on Final Cut Pro and always do the gamma adjustment on final output, since most videos are still viewed on PCs. So, technically speaking, I think I'm providing the best product I can.)

Most of my work, both the rough cuts and the final output, is evaluated on my clients' own computer monitors.

Problem: clients don't use color bars to set up their computer monitors, which vary by a huge amount in their contrast/brightness/chroma settings.

I was wondering whether anyone else has this issue. I have been thinking of offering my clients a monitor set-up utility, but that seems a little intrusive and obnoxious.

My clients have not actually complained about any issues of brightness, but on my own range of PC monitors, the same video can look too-light, perfect, and muddy. So I'm concerned.

Bob C


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Diplomatic approach to clients with badly set-up monitors
on Mar 20, 2009 at 4:03:32 pm

[Bob Cole] "I was wondering whether anyone else has this issue. I have been thinking of offering my clients a monitor set-up utility, but that seems a little intrusive and obnoxious. "

One of my best clients actually became abusive and started screaming when I suggested that his monitor might need calibrating. So, tread lightly, apparently monitors are tied directly to fragile egos in some people. So, whatever you do, don't tell the client their monitor is too small.

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


A forum host of Creative COW's Apple Final Cut Pro, Business & Marketing, and Indie Film & Documentary forums.


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Terence Curren
Re: Diplomatic approach to clients with badly set-up monitors
on Mar 20, 2009 at 4:49:56 pm

Your clients are used to how things look on their monitors. In other words, if their monitor is washed out, all shows look washed out.

Don't worry unless they say something. Odds are they wouldn't know the difference anyway.

Terence Curren
http://www.alphadogs.tv
http://www.digitalservicestation.com
Burbank,Ca


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Bob Cole
Re: Diplomatic approach to clients with badly set-up monitors
on Mar 20, 2009 at 4:54:19 pm

[Terence Curren] "Your clients are used to how things look on their monitors"

That is quite true, and probably explains why I haven't received complaints.

Probably better to be silent than to tell people like DRW's client that their monitors are bad.

But at the same time, the reason we work to create great images is that they are more effective, and that would be true with our clients as well.

I'm thinking of a nice, relatively subtle link on a sigfile.



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Randy Wheeler
Re: Diplomatic approach to clients with badly set-up monitors
on Mar 21, 2009 at 3:44:59 am

I'm confused. You want to offer your clients a monitor set-up utility so that your videos look consistently good/correct on their PC monitors but you admit that between your own PC monitors the videos can look "too-light, perfect, and muddy."

If you can't adjust your own PC monitors to get a consistent, correct look for your videos how can you expects or complain that your clients PC monitors aren't setup correctly?

I've adjusted a couple of clients video/TV monitors using a pen-size NewTek Calibar test pattern generator and they've never had a problem with it and enjoyed watching me go through/explain the process. I've never adjusted their computer monitors but I have told a couple clients that it won't look like that once it airs on TV or is played on a video monitor. I even told one client that I would adjust the video to make it look good on their specific monitor but would make no guarantees that it would look good on anyone else's. They decided not to have me do that.

For a recent TV commercial I did, the client saw all the revisions during the editing process on their computer monitors via a client web page and they also had a very washed out video projector and projection screen setup in their meeting room that I had to use when I showed them a demo. I knew I didn't want to show them the final commercial on that video projector again so I brought my Sony PVM 13" broadcast video monitor (only two people were going to be watching it) and a nice Pioneer DVD recorder that has the correct 7.5 IRE black output and showed it to them on that. I also had some Klipsch powered speakers for the sound.

After viewing the TV commercial the marketing guy immediately said how much better that looked than on their monitors during the revision process. They were happy and I left with a check in my hands.

Randy


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Diplomatic approach to clients with badly set-up monitors
on Mar 21, 2009 at 6:03:51 am

[Bob Cole] "on my own range of PC monitors, the same video can look too-light, perfect, and muddy."

Bob,

A friend loaded me his Spyder -- a monitor calibration probe with accompanying software. The Spyder only works on computer monitors, and as one might expect, even calibrated computer monitors are not absolutely 100% spot on with broadcast and HD monitors in every single way (as they do display color differently). However, I must say, luminance, contrast and gamma are very close all around, and all of my monitors display quite reliably now.

Best of all BTW, every computer monitor I have is now in agreement, so I'm never confused about which to trust and which to not to. For piece of mind, I highly recommend you get yourself a similar tool.



David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


A forum host of Creative COW's Apple Final Cut Pro, Business & Marketing, and Indie Film & Documentary forums.


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Nick Griffin
Re: Diplomatic approach to clients with badly set-up monitors
on Mar 21, 2009 at 6:38:44 pm

We recently received a new, fully Spectroradiometer-calibrated professional video monitor. When I set it up for playback off one of our NLEs I immediately noticed how much more red was in the Apple Cinema display than the calibrated monitor -- a disturbingly excessive amount. So I got out a Spyder which had been sitting in a drawer and set about creating a calibration profile for the Apple display.

Well it's better, but still has slightly more red than the video monitor. Long and short of this, as far as I'm concerned, is that low end monitor calibration is certainly better than nothing but still nothing which can be relied upon for serious cc work.

This ties in fairly well with a discussion held in this pasture a few weeks ago about whether or not one could "get away" without a real external monitor. It all depends on how critical you need to be. Or perhaps more accurately, how critical your clients are.


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Diplomatic approach to clients with badly set-up monitors
on Mar 21, 2009 at 7:33:56 pm

[Nick Griffin] "This ties in fairly well with a discussion held in this pasture a few weeks ago about whether or not one could "get away" without a real external monitor. It all depends on how critical you need to be. Or perhaps more accurately, how critical your clients are.
"


Absolutely!!! I certainly don't rely on computer monitors for much, but it's sure nice when you know they are in fact very close to your known references and to reality, and when you know that they don't generate any strange surprises.

BTW Nick, you should be able to calibrate that Apple Cinema Display in a way that factors out its excess red. While it may never perfectly match a video monitor, if you take your time with a Spyder, you can really fine tune almost any computer monitor to compensate for most color aberrations. But, it can be time consuming to get it just right.

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


A forum host of Creative COW's Apple Final Cut Pro, Business & Marketing, and Indie Film & Documentary forums.


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Steve Wargo
Re: Diplomatic approach to clients with badly set-up monitors
on Mar 21, 2009 at 8:44:00 am

When you go the their office to watch it, immediately, upon entering the room, say "We're not going to watch my video on THAT, are we?" That should set em straight.



Steve Wargo
Tempe, Arizona
It's a dry heat!

Sony HDCAM F-900 & HDW-2000/1 deck
5 Final Cut (not quite PRO) systems
Sony HVR-M25 HDV deck
2-Sony EX-1 HD .


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Todd Terry
Re: Diplomatic approach to clients with badly set-up monitors
on Mar 21, 2009 at 3:37:29 pm

Well whenever we can we try to gently strongarm clients into coming here to see there projects rather than taking 'em to them. Then it's guaranteed they'll see it right... plus saves time and keeps us from running around all over.

Usually say something like "So you get get out of the office and see it on a nice big monitor," or "So if there are any minor tweaks you can help us do them right on the spot," or "And if it's good to go you can take the dubs with you," or "That'll save you the cost of making an approval copy." I'd say probably 9 times out of 10 they do it, and most of our long-time clients actually prefer coming here... usually say "When can I come over?" rather than wondering when their project will be delivered. Given the option, most clients seem to prefer being able to visit and sit in a comfortable suite to watch their stuff.

When we do go to clients, we always take our own monitor and player. We used to take a Sony CRT, now we take an HD LCD. We have a "traveling setup" that all fits in a briefcase-sized case. If a client ever says "Oh you can just watch it here" pointing to the DVD drive on their computer, we just say "Oh you'll enjoy it more on a real monitor." Works for us.


T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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Arnie Schlissel
Re: Diplomatic approach to clients with badly set-up monitors
on Mar 21, 2009 at 5:39:32 pm

It's funny, but I'm experiencing something of the opposite problem.

I've been working on DI's lately, and we're seeing material that's seriously wacked.

In one case, our client admitted that their on set monitors were probably too bright, and that's why all of their film was shot too dark.

We suspect that many clients are coming to us from color grading sessions where the monitors are set up wrong (and scopes are either not being used or are ignored), and as a result, the material looks like crap when it gets to us & needs to be quickly re-graded.

Arnie

Post production is not an afterthought!
http://www.arniepix.com/


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Bob Zelin
Re: Diplomatic approach to clients with badly set-up monitors
on Mar 21, 2009 at 10:09:06 pm

we unfortunately can never win this battle. You setup a monitor, and then they turn on the florescent overhead lights, and say "gee, that looks terrible". So you adjust, and then they turn the lights off. One minute plasma, one minute LCD, and the next, the downconverted signal on an old Sony CRT in analog. You can't fix the 0IRE digital / 7.5 IRE analog problem - this is the way SMPTE decided on this. (How come the blacks are crushed, how come the blacks are so hi).

My recent favorite was at Brighthouse Networks with a new install and a Sony LMD-2050 LCD monitor. "How come the graphics look so terrible and jagged". Thank God they had a Sony PVM-20L5/1 monitor in the same room. I looped the video into the Sony CRT, and all the "jaggies" were gone. It's tough to tell a client that their new $3000 LCD HD Sony monitor is a piece of crap.

Bob Zelin




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Bob Cole
Re: Diplomatic approach to clients with badly set-up monitors
on Mar 22, 2009 at 2:00:32 am

[Bob Zelin] "It's tough to tell a client that their new $3000 LCD HD Sony monitor is a piece of crap."

But I would LOVE to have been in the room when you did....



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Terence Curren
Re: Diplomatic approach to clients with badly set-up monitors
on Mar 22, 2009 at 5:00:08 pm

[Bob Zelin] "It's tough to tell a client that their new $3000 LCD HD Sony monitor is a piece of crap. "


Now you all know why Bob berates folks on the lists. He can't tell it to his clients, so he vents here. ;-)


Terence Curren
http://www.alphadogs.tv
http://www.digitalservicestation.com
Burbank,Ca


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Ron Lindeboom
Re: Diplomatic approach to clients with badly set-up monitors
on Mar 22, 2009 at 7:26:14 pm

[Terence Curren] "Now you all know why Bob berates folks on the lists. He can't tell it to his clients, so he vents here."

Hey Terry, he said telling 'em was "tough," but anyone who has been around Bob any time at all -- and you have known him for years both here and on the Avid-L -- knows that tough means he takes a thought or two before telling them. (But never more than a couple of thoughts and maybe a breath or two.)

:o)

Ron Lindeboom


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Diplomatic approach to clients with badly set-up monitors
on Mar 22, 2009 at 7:44:16 pm

[Ron Lindeboom] "tough means he takes a thought or two before telling them."

Bob's "diplomatic approach" is a deep bite, but without the full dose of venom.

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


A forum host of Creative COW's Apple Final Cut Pro, Business & Marketing, and Indie Film & Documentary forums.


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Ron Lindeboom
Re: Diplomatic approach to clients with badly set-up monitors
on Mar 22, 2009 at 9:36:38 pm

[David Roth Weiss] "Bob's "diplomatic approach" is a deep bite, but without the full dose of venom."

Yes, stiffened immobilization but not complete removal from the pages of life itself. You can still see life from there, just not feel it much...

Ron Lindeboom



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Terence Curren
Re: Diplomatic approach to clients with badly set-up monitors
on Mar 22, 2009 at 7:54:17 pm

Hey I love Bob! I'm just having a hard time imagining him holding his tongue around his clients... ;-)

Terence Curren
http://www.alphadogs.tv
http://www.digitalservicestation.com
Burbank,Ca


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Ron Lindeboom
Re: Diplomatic approach to clients with badly set-up monitors
on Mar 22, 2009 at 9:38:34 pm

[Terence Curren] "Hey I love Bob! I'm just having a hard time imagining him holding his tongue around his clients..."

Yes, some things are so unlikely that even the imagination fails in its power to go there.

Ron Lindeboom


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Bob Zelin
Re: Diplomatic approach to clients with badly set-up monitors
on Mar 22, 2009 at 10:03:41 pm

One of the first times I realized the power of Creative Cow was at Brighthouse Networks in Pinellas County in Florida. Out of the blue, someone said "hey, we read your article on Creative Cow". I had no idea that they even looked at Creative Cow. (I guess with 80,000 hits a day, everyone looks at Cow). So belive me, I am very nervous about "telling stories" on Creative Cow, and naming names, when "everyone" may in fact be reading it. Terrance is correct- I can't yell at my clients (I want to get paid), and so I take my frustrations out on these forums, but Cow is becomming so wide spread, I may stop naming names - particularly on product specific forums like AJA and Blackmagic, as everyone that owns one of their products is looking at these Cow forums.

Being a "smart ass" may be funny here, but not when it affects the pocket book. When I showed the client the graphics problem with the Sony LMD vs. Sony CRT monitor, I believe I may have smiled and said "you tell me, what's the problem". I would never make comments in real life, like I do on these forums - not to a paying client.

My earliest "antics" before the internet existed was only to protect paying clients, when I would storm into big facility master control room in NY, armed with a calibrated Tektronix waveform monitor and a single BNC cable (and the clients tape), bypassing the receptionist, and saying "ok, you show me where the blanking error is". This was as wild as I used to get.

Bob Zelin




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Vince Becquiot
Re: Diplomatic approach to clients with badly set-up monitors
on Mar 23, 2009 at 3:18:24 am

If you know they will be viewing it on a PC and you are exporting to H.264, use this method to correct prior to handing it out.

"After you create the QuickTime/h.264 file, open it up in QuickTime and select "Show Movie Properties." Highlight the video track then click on the "Visual Settings" tab. Towards the bottom left you should see "Transparency" with a drop-down box next to it. Select "Blend" from the menu then move the "Transparency Level" slider to 100%. Right after that, choose "Straight Alpha" from the same drop-down and close the properties window. AND finally, "Save."



Vince Becquiot

Kaptis Studios
San Francisco - Bay Area


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