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Thread: Nit-Picky Clients

  1. Default Nit-Picky Clients

    Since starting my business in 2010 an ongoing problem is clients being rather nit-picky with the final product. This only applies to brides and wedding videography. The problem is never with any of the technical aspects of the product, but only ever with arbitrary things. One couple will berate me for having filmed too much of the music during the service ("people we don'[t care about!!!"), while another will wonder why I had the audacity to edit out one of the four songs during the service. Where's the shot of me handing the flowers to my grandmother? We want more of the footage from the groom's house in the morning. Where is the shot of our faces when the best man said that funny thing?

    Ad nauseam.

    They have seen my work. They know I don't chuck everything and the kitchen sink onto the DVD but instead edit a cinematic, polished product that captures the essence of the day. I have tried my best to manage expectations, and am very explicit in the terms and conditions - demanding they let me know of any particular shots they want me to capture, letting them know the final product will be between 45 and 90 minutes (though it's often much longer), and that my edit is final, that because of the live nature of event videography they cannot expect everything to be filmed, and that I will not include 10 full uncut minutes of semi-literate groomsmen swearing and farting in their boxer shorts as they get ready, but will instead incorporate that into a cinematic edit.

    It's infuriating, and beginning to get me down. I have thought about offering a rough draft, but the extra time needed for this (double all the burning and rendering) isn't feasible.

    Note, this is not all brides, only around 35% of them. Most are thrilled with the final product.
    Last edited by griffinmill; 02-27-2014 at 07:44 PM.

  2. #2
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    OK here is my two cents:

    - give them the finished product like you already do
    - give them an out-takes reel with the guy farting into his boxer shorts (collect the out-takes in a separate sequence as you come across them during edit and don't bother polishing them or making fancy transitions between them)
    - give them the raw footage in a format they could sensibly use

    Actually "sequence" is PPro terminology so I'm not sure what it would be in your NLE.

    Zam

  3. #3

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    Offer a re-edit kit for an additional fee.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by zamiotana View Post
    - give them the raw footage in a format they could sensibly use
    That would require editing (=more work) as well. You should not give the raw footage in its entirety. It will have the crap (out of focus stuff, badly composed stuff, dreadful this that and the other) on it and you don't want any of THAT getting out with your name on it. Even if by some strange quirk of fate all the shots are absolutey perfect, the associated audio will, in the main, be just the on-camera mic used for syncing with the "proper" audio fee which either went to a recording device or just one of the cameras. It will appear (sound) bad unless it is properly edited by a pro - ie you!

    Having been a regular on this forum for several years, it seems to me we have two kinds of wedding videographers in terms of managing clients' expectations. Those for whom it never seems to be an issue (eg Zero) and those like you who come a cropper some of the time. I know that you've sought advice in the past and I guess you've heeded that advice. Certainly it sounds like it from what you've described above. So either you're somehow giving the impression that you can be taken advantage of (perhaps your not appearing confident enough when delivering the package, or when dealing with the clients' unreasonable requests) or your simply accepting work from the wrong sort of clients.

    I don't know how your rates compare to others in your area providing a similar quality service, but I wonder if you are too cheap. Seriously!

    For many years I played in a covers band. Just a part time pocket money earner. When we played working mens clubs or the like for MU minimum rates, whilst we were never treated badly, we were just treated as part of the furniture - like a temporary barman or something. When we played exactly the same set through exactly the same equipment for a wedding or a masonic do and charged four or five times the rate we were treated like royalty. It was assumed we knew what we were doing and we knew best. And we were invariably tipped.
    Tim

  5. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by TimStannard View Post
    That would require editing (=more work) as well. You should not give the raw footage in its entirety. It will have the crap (out of focus stuff, badly composed stuff, dreadful this that and the other) on it and you don't want any of THAT getting out with your name on it. Even if by some strange quirk of fate all the shots are absolutey perfect, the associated audio will, in the main, be just the on-camera mic used for syncing with the "proper" audio fee which either went to a recording device or just one of the cameras. It will appear (sound) bad unless it is properly edited by a pro - ie you!

    Having been a regular on this forum for several years, it seems to me we have two kinds of wedding videographers in terms of managing clients' expectations. Those for whom it never seems to be an issue (eg Zero) and those like you who come a cropper some of the time. I know that you've sought advice in the past and I guess you've heeded that advice. Certainly it sounds like it from what you've described above. So either you're somehow giving the impression that you can be taken advantage of (perhaps your not appearing confident enough when delivering the package, or when dealing with the clients' unreasonable requests) or your simply accepting work from the wrong sort of clients.

    I don't know how your rates compare to others in your area providing a similar quality service, but I wonder if you are too cheap. Seriously!

    For many years I played in a covers band. Just a part time pocket money earner. When we played working mens clubs or the like for MU minimum rates, whilst we were never treated badly, we were just treated as part of the furniture - like a temporary barman or something. When we played exactly the same set through exactly the same equipment for a wedding or a masonic do and charged four or five times the rate we were treated like royalty. It was assumed we knew what we were doing and we knew best. And we were invariably tipped.
    Thanks to everyone for providing advice. I'm not sure if other videographers experience what I experience, but I am constantly looking to improve in my business, so check out these forums from time to time for help.

    I know a lot of my competitors offer the short-form film as the entirety of their wedding DVD. I do a short form highlights too (around 15 minutes) but also include the service, speeches, etc, on a separate disc. I charge £850 here in Northern Ireland. The top guys in the cities are charging around £1300. But the average price would be around £900. Most videography companies are lingering around the 1k mark. I try and vet my clients, but it's often difficult to gauge a client's difficulty ahead of time. As I said, most are great, but I have too many who send me an email after the first viewing with a laundry list of changes. It's extremely frustrating because, as I have said, the product is always technically perfect (if I were receiving word about bad camerawork or sound, I'd quit the business altogether). The "faults" are always so arbitrary.

    You'd think they hadn't read the T&C which clearly states any re-edits are billed considerably. But still, because this industry is built so much on word of mouth, I tread carefully.

    And yes - I usually shoot to edit. So the best stuff goes on the disc. I'm always hesitant about handing them the shavings from the wood sculpture.
    Last edited by griffinmill; 02-28-2014 at 12:30 AM.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by griffinmill View Post
    As I said, most are great, but I have too many who send me an email after the first viewing with a laundry list of changes.
    Quote Originally Posted by griffinmill View Post
    You'd think they hadn't read the T&C which clearly states any re-edits are billed considerably. But still, because this industry is built so much on word of mouth, I tread carefully.
    Could these two sentences be the root of the misunderstanding?
    I would not expect all people to read the Ts&Cs. Whilst yours might be simpler, I've just ordered a sofa from DFS. Have I read all the Ts&Cs on the back of the invoice? Certainly not! Should I have done? Probably yes! Did the salesman take great pains to ensue that I understood that once I'd signed the contract I could not change anything about the order (eg colour, size) YES!
    My point is if a small but noticeable percentage of clients are coming back to you with requests for changes which your Ts&Cs specifically exclude, you need to draw their attention to this before they sign the contract.

    Could you perhaps make this a positive rather than a negative when discussing it before the contract: "Further editing will take me a lot of time and therefore cost you a lot of money so let's spend some time now working out all the essential shots you'd like in your video". Explain that you need to know this in advance as, unlike a tog, you don't get to pose and re-shoot the bridal party (it sounds like you already do this but it's not getting through).

    You have my sympathies, but as has been said many times, most brides have never considered, let alone tried, putting together a video and so have absolutely no idea of the amount of planning and work that is involved. There's an assumption that "there's a camera there: it will obviously capture everything from a wide angle of the church filled with guests to a close up of everyones individual face simultaneously."
    Tim

  7. #7

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    I sympathise . . . but when they book, you are the King of wedding videos and only you decide what goes into the edit/finished product, that's why they book you.

    I have only had a couple of bridezillas over the 400 or so weddings we've filmed and despite feeling as though they might try to trash our reputation, I held firm to our policy. No re-edits unless they actually sat in and went through the 'original' edit and tweaked it with me. This will cost £45 per hour and they can take as long as they want, then add 3 hours for a DVD burn/print. Only once has someone taken me up on this offer and happily paid up (facial blemish that she took pains to hide with make up needed deleting from the edit + 3.5 hours).
    The other bridezilla client was patently mad and was packed off with the 10 camera tapes to scour every mortal second for scenes that wouldn't entertain a neurotic gerbil for more than a nanosecond. - Condition of the tape release? - our name is never to be attached to any edit they may make, and no scenes at all will ever be considered for adding to our edit.
    I too have terms and I've probably sent them through to you once, but as Tim says, no-one really reads them, but all these questions about coverage are normally covered in a meeting 1 month prior to the wedding.
    Like anyone who cares about customer satisfaction, I agonise over our edits. I torment myself to place the most beautiful shots of the day in continuity order and use their choice of music to enhance the highlight section which consists of 3 tracks at the end of the edit to sum up their day. This is a quick look at the wedding for friends n family who don't want to sit through the whole edit. No other edits are offered - short form/long form etc, etc.
    Offering too may edit options leaves clients thinking you're happy to spend every waking moment re-editing a wedding day into ever decreasing circles.
    KISS!
    My opinions are just that . . . Mine. It's not personal, but is based on my emotional and professional reaction to requested critique. If you choose to ignore constructive comments, I'll just assume you're a vanity poster and not posting to improve your filming and editing skills.

    Ex A.P.V Videomaker of the year - Ex M.M. IOV Come join my EXclusive club

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    Interesting discussion.... Dealing with clients is not easy on any bussiness... Even on products that don´t come saturated with personal "flavours, shades and colours".... Like a canoe! I have n models and x colours available! But there is always the guy that wants something out of the chart..... and guess who will be the %#$%@#%$ that will come to complain about something later???

    So here is another one to make you happy: my wife used to have a chocolate shop.... On a Easter she sold some choc eggs to a woman... She left the shop with the eggs in perfect condition, to return hours later complaining that she left the eggs in the car (tropical summer!!) and that they all melted, so we were supposed to give her new eggs....


    I don´t know what was worse: her stupidity or her intention to turn her problem into my problem.... So, dealing with stupid people is a always a risk, no matter the bussiness you choose.

    BTW, the eggs package says "keep under 20C" ..... but did she really need that information?

  9. #9

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    Tone, an eggcellent eggsample as the phrase "nit-picking" seems to originate from the task of removing the tiny eggs of lice (nits) from someone’s hair and clothing

  10. #10

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    Hi I have the same issue with one of our client.Actually this is the first time we ever had such experience,most of our clients are happy for the same product result we are giving to anybody else.What advice you can give us because we did everything they want and also re-edit the video twice the way they want it.But this people is really hard to please and they don't even listen to us.We do our edit the same way as we do to other clients and most of them are happy and they appreciate what we do for them.They ask for their raw video footages and we gave them all to them.The whole event coverage is perfect nothing wrong with it.My question is if we give them everything they supposed to get including the edit and raw footages and keep bothering us because the bride is wanted to get their money back she said for no reason.How do we approach with this type of clients?Please advice thanks.

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