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"educating" client

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Greg Ball"educating" client
by on Feb 7, 2012 at 1:05:38 am

I'm having trouble educating a client on why their screen capture from camtasia does not look good. They recorded several web pages containing accounting information. Many small print figures and fine lines. They gave it to me as all wide shots of the entire screens. The size is 1920 X 1080. At the end of the day the file will be
640 X 360 for playback on their intranet site. Of course when you shrink down a full screen wide shot to 640X 360
it's hardly readable. I'm trying to explain that they need to use the pan & zoom function of Camtasia to get close ups of specific areas of their web pages so they will be clearer as we shrink the video down. They still don't understand. How would you explain this to them? Also does anyone here have an example I may be able to use to explain this?

FYI the web pages are just 1 portion of a 10 minute video. Most of the video contains interviews and broll footage.

Thanks for your advice.

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Mark SuszkoRe: "educating" client
by on Feb 7, 2012 at 3:40:25 pm

People are used to watching a computer screen inches from their face. People watching TV tend to watch it from a couch across the room.

Ask your client to move their office chair 12-15 feet from their terminal to get an idea of screen resolution issues.

This is also a big help in teaching some clients why they should limit the amount of material on a single Powerpoint slide, and break the material up over several slides, BTW.

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Greg BallRe: "educating" client
by on Feb 7, 2012 at 3:53:34 pm

Hi Mark,

The issue is that they asked us to shoot an overview shot of their computer screens. We shot them HD, and they look okay on DVD. But we need to give them a smaller version for their website. I'm giving them
a 640 X360 size, as that's the size they requested. Yesterday was thrown under the bus, because they want it clearer, and I tried to explain that we would need to get close-ups of the areas of their screens they wish to emphasize. Being that they are not knowledgeable about video, I just couldn't figure out how best to explain this without SHOWING them. Problem was I was on a conference call. They are creating the screen captures.

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Fernando MolRe: "educating" client
by on Feb 7, 2012 at 3:50:59 pm

Why don't you do the pan/zoom in post?

I know it's more work from your part, but if your project is a good one you can help your client not to worry with technical stuff.

You can always charge an extra for fixing that. If you already gave them an option that they resisted to take, it's completely ethical. Just be nice.

I don't think that is a good idea to overwhelm a client that doesn't understand technical stuff just for making the job simpler for you. You can scare them out and lost them forever.

I hope this helps.

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Greg BallRe: "educating" client
by on Feb 7, 2012 at 3:56:04 pm

Thanks Fernando, You can't really take a wide shot captured in Camtasia and use FCP to zoom in tight enough to see read the words on a web page.

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Fernando MolRe: "educating" client
by on Feb 7, 2012 at 6:39:25 pm

If the page is not dynamically updating itself, you can use a snapshot. Then change the image size in Photoshop, using the Nearest Neighbor method to preserve a clear pixel look.

If it was me, I'll go to the client's office and spend a couple of hours capturing the material with them just to show them how it is. If they need more time or don't want to do it, tell them about the extra bill.

Or, edit 30 seconds with the material they gave you and let them decide if that's what they want.

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Mark SuszkoRe: "educating" client
by on Feb 7, 2012 at 9:25:11 pm

The mistake Greg made here I think was to take the client's initial request at face value. Clients are sometimes... what's the word I'm looking for....


Suffice to say, they don't always understand all the technical implications when they tell you what they want. They may think you have that magic equipment like they see on CSI that can enhance 8-point seriffed type reflected off the killer's eyeball from an ATM security camera across the street, easy as pie....
or they honestly never considered the limitations of the recording at the time, because the idea for a new use for the material didn't come to them until later...

That's okay, that's YOUR job: understanding the ramifications of asking for something a certain way, and anticipating what might be a problem later by doing that.... AND, then asking the client if they understand those consequences and are okay with them.

It's a trick not to sound like you're challenging the client or being mutinous, to ask follow-up questions, but remember, they are hiring you to know these things and ask these questions they would never think to ask. You are responsible for planning the contingencies, not them.

I'm sure the next time a client asks to camtasia screen-record something, you're going to ask a ton of particular questions and make sure you're getting multiple takes and angles on everything that will be needed the first time. Even the things they don't understand they will need later.

Like detailed close-ups.

I have had many sessions shooting these things where the clients get exasperated at the amount of repetition required to get enough good takes for all the right angles. However, they always forget that time when they see the results.

I think you have to eat the bill for re-shooting the re-grabs for this one. It's the only way to do the job really right. I couldn't in good conscience bill for making this kind of mistake. Call it a one-time tuition expense in the school of hard knocks.

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Fernando MolRe: "educating" client
by on Feb 7, 2012 at 10:24:46 pm

[Mark Suszko] - "However, they always forget that time when they see the results."

Toke me some years to learn that lesson. And when you deal with a junior in corporate jobs this is especially true: When THEIR BOSSES see the final result, he will forget the process and call you back next time.

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Greg BallRe: "educating" client
by on Feb 7, 2012 at 10:50:22 pm

Actually Mark, I really tried to do my job here. I have 20+ years in corporate video, so I know how to deal with clients. This video is part of a larger monthly video project I do for this company. This time around, they jammed a "training" video of their new computer application into the video. The guy (CIO) wanted us to record his on camera part then go and shoot the screens. He only had about 10 minutes. I explained that we needed to get close-ups as well as establishing shot since this was going on their intranet and people would n't be able to read the screens. He said he didn't want close-ups, because some of the information was not accurate.
We shot the whole thing and edited it. It was approved. Then my client's boss saw it and wanted it fixed. We're about 2 hours away from this client. I offered to do this for a 1/2 day rate, since I already suggested that shooting this they way they wanted was not the best way. They decided to use Camtasia, and the first file they sent me was STILL all a wide shot. I took about 10 seconds and sent it back to them as a wmv file to show them that it was no different than what they were unhappy about. My issue was I couldn't find the right analogy of why it wasn't clear on the screen when I shrunk their video down to 640 X 360.

At some point, all you can do is suggest and recommend. I did both. So I wouldn't think I need to eat the cost of the re-shoot.

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Fernando MolRe: "educating" client
by on Feb 8, 2012 at 1:28:32 am

I Greg. I understand your frustration, but remember we don't know all the details of your project nor we have seen the footage, so we are guessing based in what you tell us. It sounded like a newbie mistake, but it seems that you are just suffering one of those bad situations that all of us have from time to time.

I still think that if you use your original footage at 100% size in your 640x360 project should do the trick. ┬┐How small can the letters be? But, again, I haven't seen your footage.

If you have After Effects, you can place your footage and scale it and, if you change the quality switch for the layer in the timeline you get a pixel based scale, not the smoothed one that you get from quality zooms.

I haven't used Final Cut in years, so I don't remember if there's an option for that, but Photoshop can do it.

Anyway, I'm sure about now you already meditated enough about the problem to have an idea of what to do. I hope you get out of it soon.

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Greg BallRe: "educating" client
by on Feb 8, 2012 at 4:45:56 am

Fernando, it's worked out. They really want to do their own Camtasia output. Fine with me. You're right, you don't know all the details. Newbie?! Are you kidding me?

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Gav BottRe: "educating" client
by on Feb 8, 2012 at 1:31:04 am

Do the post zooms on their file to show the frames they need to size to and why you can't use what they have sent.

Beam it over with a "can you get these shots with this frame" plea - showing exactly the shots you need and why can't hurt.



The Brit in Brisbane
The Pomme in Production - Brisbane Australia.

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Richard HerdRe: "educating" client
by on Feb 8, 2012 at 6:02:54 pm

Unfortunately, it's impossible to educate anyone unless they are ready to learn :(

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Mark SuszkoRe: "educating" client
by on Feb 8, 2012 at 7:54:50 pm

I find the addition or subtraction of substantial quantities of legal tender can greatly accellerate this process.

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