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December 16, 2009 at 8:42 PM #40544
Hello production experts!
I am a current customer of a production company and I have a few questions that I’m hoping you all can answer. I’m not trying to disparage anyone, I honestly don’t know what to expect or how to react to my producer. Here are a few of my issues:
I hired a production company to film/edit a few workout videos and create a website that went along with this endeavor (a place to sell the DVDs).
They shot the two workouts and seemed very professional but during the editing process, I noticed a lot of breathing noise from the mic (working out while filming causes this obviously). It was VERY distracting while watching but they indicated that it would be impossible and too labor intensive to get rid of the wind noise. I asked if they could turn up the background music at points to cover that up and they obliged but it is so loud that at points, you cannot hear my voice.
After waiting a days and weeks for them to respond to my questions, they did not change anything. I indicated up front during the initial meeting that hearing my instructions was very important but I guess that was lost on them. It was a long process getting the workouts edited (about a year) and I eventually accepted the problems and am waiting to sell them. They worked very diligently on the editing process because I wanted the music to match the workout (footwork). This ended up causing lots of editing sessions but they did a great job with that. I think they ended up being sick of my editing demands (music matching footing) that the wind noise problem was out of the question for them. I didn’t want to push them or overstep my bounds and so I ended up accepting a product that I really wasn’t happy with in the end. My question? Would you all consider this good customer service? I payed about $15,000 for that process and that seemed fair to me, but I guess I expected a better product. Any thoughts on this?
My second issue: I also hired them to created a website to accompany the DVD production. They also added 3 audio workouts available for download on the site which I created myself which was fairly easy for them to add – but they agreed to do this after the fact (I did the workouts after the initial agreement). It was very nice of them to add them even though it wasn’t part of the contract. I definitely give them credit for that! So the website is up and running (which took a LONG time) and I noticed that I have no way to reduce the cost of the products (run sales) or offer free shipping. When I asked the producer (who set up the site – which is very nice), he indicated that would cost me more. I also asked him (repeatably now) if he could suggest a site or any resource on running the website. He has not once addressed these questions. Again, I payed $15,000 for the website creation – which seemed fair to me. So my question, is it unreasonable for me to ask him about resources on running my own website? Is that a rude question or something? I totally understand that I’m asking him to alter the site – I guess I just didn’t realize that was such a big deal. I do keep asking him questions because honestly, he is the expert on the subject and I don’t know where else to go. But I have asked him over and over about how to run the site on my own with no response.
Overall, it can take weeks for him to respond to me which is beginning to get to me. 🙁
Anyway, I ask you all if you have any thoughts or advice for me. I honestly don’t want to take advantage of anyone or act in an unprofessional manner. I don’t want to take advantage of anyone here but I’m starting to feel taken advantage now. I realize that I’m giving you my side of the story and you must take that into account. But from what I’ve told you, does this sound fair? Am I expecting too much from my producer here? Is it normal to wait weeks for someone to respond to you? I honestly don’t know and am finding myself completely baffled.
Thank you for your honest responses!
December 17, 2009 at 3:22 AM #173969AnonymousInactive
I really can’t help you with all your question… I am just a 14 years old guy… =D
But one thing i know for sure is that if you wanted the music to be louder /lower at points, that is totally possible. You don’t need to make the ENTIRE music loud. I mean, if a 14 years old guy can do it, i would think a group of editors would know how to do it.
and IMHO, if you are paying 30K, just go to him and ask what you want to ask. I mean, if he gets “offended”, that is going to be just sad and pathetic.
I hope this somewhat helped you… =D
December 17, 2009 at 3:56 AM #173970Grinner HesterParticipant
He obviously doesn’t want your business. He’d at least respond to your emails or answer your calls if he did. While he should not have recorded wind noise, he really should spend the time fixing it (because he should not have recorded that to begin with) At this point, I think you should cut your loses and hire a different company to redo it.
December 17, 2009 at 4:33 AM #173971Luis Maymi LopezParticipant
You are the client, you can ask anything you want for your video. You are paying for a service and you expect the best of results for the money you invest. “…they indicated that it would be impossible and too labor intensive to get rid of the wind noise” To me this is a lame excuse for not doing a good job. I’m starting my video editing company and I pride myself with all my works and I give my clients anything they want for their projects. My last client gave me an horribly recorded footage and when a told her it was bad she wanted to cancel everything and go. I told her that I will fix the footage and continue editing her work (even when she wanted to go) because I knew that the finish product will be something she never expected to be so good. And so it was, a happy costumer (I didn’t get any money from it, but that the last project I ever edit for free) Is important to have constant communication with the client so they know that their projects is being work on. You mention that he takes weeks to respond to you, to me this is a sign of bad customer service. You see the client usually don’t know anything at all about editing so is the responsibility of the production company (video editor) to maintain constant communication with the client, change anything the client want and respond to the client messages at least from one to two business days.
“So my question, is it unreasonable for me to ask him about resources on
running my own website? Is that a rude question or something?”
As for the website (similar to the video) you can ask anything you want. If you want to change upside down your website the production company must change the website to the way you want, that why you pay them. So be more aggressive with this production company, expect the best for your product and do not accept anything you don’t like.
December 17, 2009 at 3:59 PM #173972MORUGYParticipant
Its always hard to comment on someones work without seing it.
Noise polution is something that must be antisipated in preproduction.
The correct selection of mic types and positioning helps (not one stuck on camera)
I like to do a sound test on location before filming if problems are anticipated.
Noise polution can often be cleaned up in post production but it takes time and effort and knowhow.
As regards to the time it took to edit, as a freelancer I can be expected to edit upto 5mins
of finished product a day (not complex multicam)
I dont know how long your training videos are but a year in post production sounds unbelievable.
I also design websites and advise clients to beware that they have control of domain name registration
and site logon details.
A rogue website designer can take over your site and hold you to ransome.
I feel from what you say you have been hard done by and hope you have some formal agreement
so that you can seek readdress.
December 17, 2009 at 8:06 PM #173973
Thank you all for your responses. I kinda figured that I was venturing in ‘bad customer service territory’ with him and it helps to get some professional agreement with that. Unfortunately, I signed a contract with him and I did end up accepting the product because frankly, I couldn’t afford to pay anyone else to do the job. I knew the videos were as good as they were going to get with this team and I left it at that. Live and learn.
As far as the website goes, I’m looking to find another web-master to run the thing according to my standards. Basically I fired the guy last night but I don’t think I’m totally done with him. Not being web-site savvy, I’m not sure he gave me all of the information or ‘keys’ necessary to run the site without him. Hopefully when i find someone else, they can help with the transition. 🙂
Overall, I think I’ve learned a lot from this experience. And I’ve learned from talking to you all, that when my next video project rolls around (hopefully soon) I should expect and demand a higher-quality product. I guess you don’t always get what you pay for, huh?
Thanks all! And please keep your comments coming if you like. The more I learn, the better off I am! 🙂
December 17, 2009 at 8:31 PM #173974composite1Member
When you commission a film or video because you are ‘financing’ the project, you have effectively become an ‘Executive Producer’. That said, you have the final say on initiation of changes and acception or denial of acception of the final product. When you asked the producer to fix the audio, unless it was a specifically unreasonable request (like you wanted them to make you sound like Jane Fonda) then they were supposed to fix it. Any requests beyond the reasonable would be made long as you were aware of the added cost to do so. Otherwise your request fell well within what was reasonable and expected and was not ‘impossible’ to remedy to your satisfaction.
I’m also not surprised they won’t respond to your requests to have access to the site. If you can make changes on your own, they figure they can’t keep charging you. When you are able to extricate your site out of their control, make sure there are stipulations in your contract with your next webmaster allowing you access to your site.
Unfortunately, production companies are also in ‘business’ and many lose sight of basic customer service when doing business.
December 17, 2009 at 8:41 PM #173975
Agreed completely, Composite1! I knew that I had final say on the videos. But I also knew that the more I asked of this team, the longer they took to actually accomplish it or even get back to me on it. They were pretty up-front about the wind-noise issue from the start. They had me believing that asking them to ‘fix’ it was an unreasonable request. I believed them then, I know better now.
I felt like I was in a situation where I had to take what they were willing to give me, or I would end up waiting months and months (perhaps years?) for them to get it done. The wait wasn’t worth it to me quite frankly. Next time, I will have a time-line in place before filming even begins.
And yes, ‘basic customer service’ was not an issue for them. They were professional and attentive up-front, but after editing started, that completely fell apart. I can’t believe how alone I felt on a $30,000 project! I would think that from a good-business standpoint, they would want to create an excellent product because it ultimately reflects on them. As a side note, I noticed that on their website, our ‘project’ is not included as a sample of their work. Funny. But not really.
December 18, 2009 at 12:11 AM #173976
I forgot to mention something else. When I asked them if they could use footage from the workout to create other smaller ‘workouts’ (common practice for many exercise videos), and include them as extra options on the disc menu, they told me I could only do 2 that were 30-40 mins in length. I own MANY workouts that have up to 20 of these – on one disc. During the last phases of the editing process, i brought in a video and showed them how many ‘mini’ workout options there were and they seemed shocked at this. They concluded that these mini workouts were not burned onto the disc, but rather parts were ‘taken’ from the original workout and showed in a specific order. They offered no other explanation and basically showed no interest in pursuing the issue any further. I guess if I were them and I didn’t know how to give the customer what they wanted, I would find out how to do it, right?
My question: would it have been unreasonable for me to press the issue with them? Should they have known that this is a possibility? I’m asking this because I didn’t realize it was well within my rights as a customer to ask them to correct the wind noise and I’m wondering if this is basically the same thing here.
Thank you all for sharing your expertise. I just want to be as knowledgeable as possible when I venture into my next project.
December 18, 2009 at 4:17 AM #173977MORUGYParticipant
I think that we can conclude that the company has not given you what you want and expected.
Also they don’t seem to want to try and make things better.
Communications between company and custmer are of upmost importance, if these are good from the start it helps avoid a breakdown in the relationship.
Some times customers asks for the impossible, not knowing what can and can’t be done.
Companies may say things can’t be done because they know it will be hard work or they dont have the required skills to do it.
It might be best to move on but if you do you must secure as much of the original material (footage, this might include original tapes,media files, still pictures, documentation and music etc).
Then corrective work might be possible with another editor at a later date.
In my opinion this material belongs to you as you have paid for it but check out your agreement.
As regards to your website I am not always keen to have customers doing alterations unless they understand the possible consequences, but the site always belongs to the customer.
I am not in the market for wesite creation but if you wish send me your site url I will check out your site and its contents and give you a what can be done and a must have list for moving on.
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