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Client asking for after effects files?

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Matthew Sonberg
Client asking for after effects files?
on Nov 21, 2012 at 1:32:52 pm

I was just wondering what everyone thought about this and maybe some suggestions on how to handle it.

I just completed a promo video for my client and they're asking for my after effects project files. I don't really feel comfortable about this for what I feel like are obvious reasons. But I was curious to see if some other folks had experienced this in the past. How'd you go about it? Is this normal and I'm being too protective?


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Walter Soyka
Re: Client asking for after effects files?
on Nov 21, 2012 at 1:46:07 pm

Asking for AEPs is perfectly normal if you're working for an agency or a production company who has hired you to work on the promo for their end client. They need those project files in order to serve their client if you get hit by a bus or move to Mallorca.

If, on the other hand, you've produced the promo yourself directly for a non-production client, then it is a bit out of the ordinary. Assuming there was no mention of the project files in your original contract or agreement, I'd consider it additional scope of work and deliver them for a fee.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Jason Brown
Re: Client asking for after effects files?
on Nov 21, 2012 at 2:44:11 pm

I live on the other side of this. I'm a producer inside of a corporation and I have vendors creating content for us routinely. The expectation that we have agreed in advance is that we get project files so we can replace text - change brand colors - update timing if needed.

One thing that one of our vendors has done is to "bake" any "proprietary" design or structure things with pre-renders that they would rather not give us blueprints as to how to recreate. (although this creates extra work that I don't think they end up billing for)

I think this style of delivery is fine...it protects some of the things that you bring as a value add, but also allows basic editing of a project if needed.

-Jason


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Kevin Reiner
Re: Client asking for after effects files?
on Nov 21, 2012 at 3:03:58 pm

Being on the other side from Jason (and agreeing with him), it is always good to know that project files are needed prior to working. That way you can work with the forethought that you need to bake these animations. This forces you to organize well and not spend a bunch of clean-up time after you're done with main animations.

For the non-production clients, I usually don't do it. Or at least that was my philosophy in the past. But lately I've just been saying "sure, here you go". Quite often they don't have After Effects, or working knowledge, or needed plugins, or that certain font. They quickly discover that it isn't so easy. 100% of the time I've done this, I've gotten a call about a week later that starts with, "Um yeah, we might need you to..."

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Walter Soyka
Re: Client asking for after effects files?
on Nov 21, 2012 at 3:22:36 pm

[Jason Brown] "One thing that one of our vendors has done is to "bake" any "proprietary" design or structure things with pre-renders that they would rather not give us blueprints as to how to recreate. (although this creates extra work that I don't think they end up billing for)"

I do a bit of baking from time to time, but I don't do it in self-defense -- I do it to make projects that rely on thousands of dollars of plugins workable on stock systems.

When I deliver a project file, I try to find out ahead of time what elements are most important to be able to change easily, and I'll build (and bill) the project accordingly. I think of these as templates or tools for design as I do finished pieces in and of themselves.

Some clients are happy to pay a bit more upfront for a flexible, fully procedural design where they can change text, colors, or elements themselves very quickly, all in one master comp, without stepping through dozens of precomps, all to make a "simple" change. Win-win!

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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