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Got a call from a potential recording client.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #31
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Lenzo's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas W. Bethe View Post
We worked with the same group for 22 years. Their director was always willing to talk about options and wanted to know how they could continue to get the best quality for the best price. She never intruded on our procedures or ways of doing things. It was a good working relationship. She retired but we continued to do the recordings. The new director thought she knew everything about everything and we started to have some friction. At one point she decided to do a concert with a short projection piece. The venue decided that the only place they could setup the video projector was where we normally setup. So we had to do a completely different setup and the director also turned out all the lights in the auditorium but still wanted us to video the choir. I doubt we had 15 foot candles in the auditorium. The cameras were good but not good for low light situations. The footage turned out very noisy. The director got upset and said we did not know what we were doing. Then she said "I can take excellent videos of my children playing in the back yard and YOU, as a professional, cannot take simple video of a children's choir and have it come out OK. That was the start of the end. She got very unreasonable even though I tried to explain that bright sunlight was much different from 15 foot candles that we had to work with. She said she knew better.

We soon parted company.

Unreasonable clients can be hard to work with. Even if one has the patience of Job they still can get under your skin. The ones that are the hardest to work with are the ones who want cheap rates and commercial TV quality.

Oh well I guess that goes with the territory.

FWIW
For future reference if you don't have Denoiser II or something like it, it can really reduce noise in a video. Unfortunately it is a render hog. But if I get in a situation where the light is very low and I have to gain up, Denoiser will do a great job of getting rid of most or all of the artifacting.
L.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #32
Lives for gear
With regard to video editing, just because 4K cameras are becoming more affordable, that doesn't make the video editing side any easier or less processor intensive for a computer....HD can be bad enough already !

In my experience HD processing/rendering can really tie up a computer for multiples of hours, if not days. More power to those who've entered the top of the tier game, in securing high-powered computers exclusively for this purpose.

I'm sure the processing load for 3 or more iPhone cameras (or GoPros) worth of footage would be orders of magnitude less. There's a market opportunity for online video processing, the video equivalent of LANDR, perhaps designed for direct upload to YouTube in mind !!

Wondering if I'm the only one not welcoming the forward march of 4K cameras onto the concert recording landscape with any great enthusiasm ?
Old 2 weeks ago
  #33
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Thomas W. Bethe's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
Q

Quote:
Originally Posted by KEL View Post
Not knowing what kind of concert this was, and what was discussed for production values makes it difficult to assess how far out of line the potential client was in their reaction to price. Some clients can clearly & instantly know the difference between poor inexpensive promotional materials or an ill prepared show but then have pedestrian tastes about sound, lights or video. The cell phone reality show era has diluted quality to a point where acceptability levels have really fallen.

I also know some providers of video production to have very few options or pricing tiers and cannot do many jobs without their standard MO production. I understand both sides but a provider should have some simpler options with examples of what that might look & sound like. The most basic package should still be something you'd be proud to put your name on but perhaps nothing you'd show off in regards to fancy editing or multi angles. Being the professional, if you cannot imagine a simpler effective way to trim the production and price down then that's the starting tier...for you. And, that's a decision you have to make when quoting. I've done and seen more than a few one-man operations with a couple angles of lock off cameras and doing audio too. Many of the newer generation of lower cost 4K cameras can be operated via wifi, focus, wb, zooming start/stop. I find the option to push in on 4K footage a simple way to give a two camera(or camera op) feel. I'm quite impressed with the $800 Panasonic cameras these days.

I find it pretty easy to explain to people your investment in tools or that if the concert is 1.5 hours, you'll have to spend multiples of that while finishing it.

Still, you'll encounter clueless clients. In my days where I absolutely needed,and took every job so my car wasn't repossessed I had to put up with many. As I matured and rose up the food chain, it was a relief to say "sorry, my services and quality may be out of your budget" . There are still headaches but it's nice to see an extra zero or three on the check
We always try and give clients the best possible service for the best possible price point that they can afford. We can come down in price if we do things in slightly different way but sometimes it is just not possible. The problem is most of our potential clients seem to want the Lincoln Town car production with the Ford Fiesta price. It cannot be done. Recently we were ask bid on videoing a cell tower erection that was 10 hours long. They wanted it filmed from sun up to sun down. I gave them our daily rate for 10 hours and then added on the extra time to drive to the site, put up the camera, take the video and then strike the camera and return to home base. They thought the estimate high. I thought it was good considering a predawn trip and the weather which was 30 degrees and snowing and the shoot was less than 2r4 hours away. I believe they were just shopping for price to know what to charge their client since they would not give us a name or contact phone number when they called. We also got a call from some one who was in Cleveland and needed a fast video done that day. I gave them a quote and they thought it too high. If they had called and scheduled the shoot a week ahead of time I would have been able to give them a better rate.Potential clients seem to assume that everyone is just sitting around waiting for their low ball price call.

We also got asked to bid on some post production of a video that was going onto Blu-Ray. The video was shot over a period of days with different cameras and different lighting and weather conditions. I asked to see all the takes so I could give them an accurate estimate and was told that they could not do that due to the sensitive nature of the video. I told them I could sign a NDA but they said until the contract was awarded they could not show me the films. So all I had to go on was their description of what was going on. They told us from the get-go that they were shopping around fro the best prices. Not being able to see the video and having to guess what we were getting into I decided to pass.

I guess they decided that no one was going to bid on a project without seeing it so they called us back and we eventually got the job even though we did not bid on it. The video was of some restoration work and I have no idea why it was so secretive.

With the advent of cheaper and cheaper cameras and audio equipment I guess there will be more and more people who will try and DIY their own productions with varying levels of success.

FWIW
Old 2 weeks ago
  #34
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Thomas W. Bethe's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lenzo View Post
For future reference if you don't have Denoiser II or something like it, it can really reduce noise in a video. Unfortunately it is a render hog. But if I get in a situation where the light is very low and I have to gain up, Denoiser will do a great job of getting rid of most or all of the artifacting.
L.
We have it and used it on this project. 33 hours to process a 60 minute video. Older IMAC with maxed out memory. We now have a MacPro and I am sure it would be a lot faster. WOW! great plugin but a real hog when it comes to video processing.

Have you seen this announcement? https://qz.com/950009/the-apple-aapl...the-next-year/

Hopefully it will be more designed for professional use and not look like an air purifier.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #35
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
With regard to video editing, just because 4K cameras are becoming more affordable, that doesn't make the video editing side any easier or less processor intensive for a computer....HD can be bad enough already !

In my experience HD processing/rendering can really tie up a computer for multiples of hours, if not days. More power to those who've entered the top of the tier game, in securing high-powered computers exclusively for this purpose.

I'm sure the processing load for 3 or more iPhone cameras (or GoPros) worth of footage would be orders of magnitude less. There's a market opportunity for online video processing, the video equivalent of LANDR, perhaps designed for direct upload to YouTube in mind !!

Wondering if I'm the only one not welcoming the forward march of 4K cameras onto the concert recording landscape with any great enthusiasm ?
I can understand the frustration if you built (or bought) a rig for audio work, which is actually quite undemanding on the hardware, and later waded into video, finding that its demands (especially 4k) outstrip or tax your hardware to the limits. That is like buying a small sedan to haul around a box of books, then wringing your hands when it comes time to tow your 25' pleasure yacht.

I came to concert recording with video and audio in mind, and so I built a screaming fast rig that cuts through 4k DCI material like a hot knife through butter. Hours-long or overnight renders even for me are not unusual, especially for concert-length material, and they are guaranteed if I have to engage video noise removal for low light venue recordings. Really, you can't expect otherwise.

I'm a member of some video-dominant forums, and I'm reading in this thread the same and well-worn complaints about professionally recording events, such as weddings: within certain strata of clientele, it is indeed difficult to combat the tide of dumbed down production quality propagated by every iWhatever-waving patron who can't wait to post their deplorable recording on YT or social media site. For this reason, I enjoyed reading here a number of practical ways to handle discussions with event organizers during negotiations.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #36
Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
<snip>

You could argue that if every cellphone-toting guest shared their individual captures of the event to an uber-editor, the net result could be unprecedented 'coverage' ...exceeding that which a single pro (or even a small crew) could obtain. However, 50% or more of it would be shaky, chat-interrupted, mono, non-matched...so a nightmare to stitch together.

The 2 camps can co-exist, at least at weddings, neither threatens the other...and the end uses of both are served admirably !
Most Local and a lot of national syndicated news is exactly what you are saying. TV shows have no problem peppering their show with uploaded phone video stiched together with professional video. They do this fast.

A lot of shows I am involved in are being livestreamed (via a mackbook) and being watched by people who can either not get out, or are at another venue watching another band while they are streaming my show on their phone.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #37
Quote:
Originally Posted by ionian View Post
So I tell her that's why it costs money to do this and what did she expect? She tells me flat out, "Oh, I thought we'd just do it in a room somewhere and you'd hand the singer a microphone".
Was she attractive?
Old 2 weeks ago
  #38
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ionian's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by dtf View Post
Was she attractive?
Lol actually, yes. She's an actress, and all her little singer friends were all actresses / musical theater people so they were all in great shape and good looking! Great pitch, too. Actually it was an easy session. They all policed themselves well as in as soon as we were done with a take a singer would be like, "I was flat in three places...can we re-do them?" and she'd tell me exactly what words were flat and she would be correct, then we'd punch them and the take was good.

Or when the girl who's session it was would tell one of the singers, "I like what she did for the background. Can you do the same but a 3rd up?" and then that girl would nail it without even a runthrough.

After working with rock and pop singers all the time, where you have to labor over every line and listen to every endless excuse about how the mic, the direction they're standing in, the time, and the weather are all the reasons that not a single take they do is in tune, it's refreshing to work with people that do this 8 shows a week and are obviously very good at their craft.

So outside of her initial gaffe of haggling because she thought the only difference between me and her was that I'd use a microphone, her session actually turned out to be a breeze, a lot of fun, and actually we flew through it.

As a side note, your post cracked me up...As you're based in Berlin (and German, I assume) you might not know that for American youth, "DTF" is text slang for "Down to f**k". So when they're all texting each other looking to hook up for one night stands, they'll text each other and ask, "Hey, are you DTF?" So I when I read your post, I saw your name, "DTF" and then the post, "Was she attractive?" and I busted out laughing. Your user name went perfectly with your post...
Old 2 weeks ago
  #39
Quote:
Originally Posted by ionian View Post
As a side note, your post cracked me up...As you're based in Berlin (and German, I assume) you might not know that for American youth, "DTF" is text slang for "Down to f**k". So when they're all texting each other looking to hook up for one night stands, they'll text each other and ask, "Hey, are you DTF?" So I when I read your post, I saw your name, "DTF" and then the post, "Was she attractive?" and I busted out laughing. Your user name went perfectly with your post...
Haha, I had no idea... but it's genius coincidence!
Old 2 weeks ago
  #40
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Owen L T's Avatar
 

Quote:
Traveling to a city 50 miles away, setting up, doing the concert recording, tearing down, driving back 50 miles to home base and then the loooooong post production process is something I need to get paid for. Clients seem to forget all the extra time and only want to concentrate on the 1.5 hour concert. I guess I could just give them our "daily rate" and say it is just for the concert.
Part of this is making sure, before you name a price, that the client understands the nature of the service you are providing - and the (entirely justifiable) cost that entails.

So, after establishing things like - as you mentioned - whether they've sorted out a PA and lighting, your response is:

"For an event such as this, to capture a professional-sounding live recording, we will be providing [x] in the way of equipment, which typically takes [y] hours to set up; my assistant and I would arrive [at least two hours before the sound-check] in order to set up and properly test the live recording equipment while the band sound checks; having recorded the raw footage, there is typically [half a day] spent on post production, before providing our clients with [whatever] by way of audio files".

And THEN you give them a price.

Depending on distance, I'll often say something along the lines of "within the greater metropolitan area our charge for this is [x]; beyond which we charge an additional [y] per 50 miles, to cover our petrol costs and travel time". But, there, for instance, it's clear that (a) part of it is merely compensating for costs you HAVE to incur to do the job; and (b) frankly, in the grand scheme of things, an hour-ish each way driving is the least of it, so this doesn't give them any room to whine about that side of the cost - unless, that is, you're charging and extra $500 to travel 50 miles - which, I'm sure you're not!

I think, from a sales point of view, this is very much a tried-and-tested approach - making sure the client understands all the super-critical services and value you're providing and then saying how much it costs, rather than hitting them with a price, and then having to play defense when they say "wait, isn't it just a couple hours of your time". You can even play a little offense, depending on the gig, such as by mentioning what the dry hire cost of a PA would be, if they had to do that separately. But mostly, since the client really has little idea of what they're asking for - other than for you to record their concert - it's up to you to educate them, quietly and quickly, about the full extent of the service they're asking for, and then quote them.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #41
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas W. Bethe View Post
I agree with all you have written.

The problem is that it is very distracting to the bride a groom especially if, as in some instances , the cell phone photographer decides to "move in" for a close shot in the middle of the vows. Been there seen that. It is also hard for the pros to get the shots they need when there are 25 people standing around the bride and groom after the wedding all asking them to say "HI" when the pros are trying to get their shots. There has to be a better way.

At one wedding I was at the bride and groom told the "audience" that they would stay around after the pro photographer and videographer had taken their shots and then the "audience' could take their shots. The best man and the groomsmen were stationed around the bride and groom to ward off the people who just could not wait.

Just before we stopped doing the videos for one of our major clients the cell phone/tablet audience really got out of hand. They were taking pictures of the orchestra members from the front row, walking up to the stage, using flash photography and generally making it hard for the youth orchestra members to do their playing. I know every parent wants to get personal videos of their Johnny or Jill playing but it is distracting and wholly unprofessional.

FWIW...
My wife is a marriage celebrant and, 9 times out of 10, the couple ask for her to make an 'unplugged' announcement before the ceremony asking that all cameras and phones be turned off and no photos be taken during the ceremony. (and certainly nothing uploaded to social media). 'We're paying good money for a pro to take images etc....." And they want to be able to decide what photos they want on social media. Not some crappy distant iPhone image taken from the back row with all the Muppet heads in the frame.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #42
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Thomas W. Bethe's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by Owen L T View Post
Part of this is making sure, before you name a price, that the client understands the nature of the service you are providing - and the (entirely justifiable) cost that entails.

So, after establishing things like - as you mentioned - whether they've sorted out a PA and lighting, your response is:

"For an event such as this, to capture a professional-sounding live recording, we will be providing [x] in the way of equipment, which typically takes [y] hours to set up; my assistant and I would arrive [at least two hours before the sound-check] in order to set up and properly test the live recording equipment while the band sound checks; having recorded the raw footage, there is typically [half a day] spent on post production, before providing our clients with [whatever] by way of audio files".

And THEN you give them a price.

Depending on distance, I'll often say something along the lines of "within the greater metropolitan area our charge for this is [x]; beyond which we charge an additional [y] per 50 miles, to cover our petrol costs and travel time". But, there, for instance, it's clear that (a) part of it is merely compensating for costs you HAVE to incur to do the job; and (b) frankly, in the grand scheme of things, an hour-ish each way driving is the least of it, so this doesn't give them any room to whine about that side of the cost - unless, that is, you're charging and extra $500 to travel 50 miles - which, I'm sure you're not!

I think, from a sales point of view, this is very much a tried-and-tested approach - making sure the client understands all the super-critical services and value you're providing and then saying how much it costs, rather than hitting them with a price, and then having to play defense when they say "wait, isn't it just a couple hours of your time". You can even play a little offense, depending on the gig, such as by mentioning what the dry hire cost of a PA would be, if they had to do that separately. But mostly, since the client really has little idea of what they're asking for - other than for you to record their concert - it's up to you to educate them, quietly and quickly, about the full extent of the service they're asking for, and then quote them.
Nicely said and I will take it to heart.

I think one problem today is that people watch YouTube and think that all the content looks "good" to them. They seem to watch something that was obviously a DIY attempt and at the same time watch a slick music video that costs thousands of dollars to produce and they have trouble differentiating between the two. i call it the "dumbing down of media presentation" which seem to account for a lot of things currently on the WWW.

A lot of clients seem to think that everything is super easy, they can just take out their cell phones push record and they have a video or a photograph. If you mention setup and tear down they look at you like you are talking a foreign language. They say "why would you have to get there two hours in advance?" "Don't you just setup your whatever and start filming?" "are you trying to inflate the bill?" Also if I mention renting sound and lights I get the "well wouldn't you have to have that anyways so why should it be an extra charge?" If we have to visit the venue before the event because the client is being somewhat vague and we need to know what we are getting into and you tell the client that you will have to charge them for your time and for the mileage they don't understand.

For instance:

We were going to do a concert recording in a venue we had never been to before and the client was giving us the "well I am sure they have that" and "well I am sure they will be OK with that" and when we get those types of answers it is a red flag that we are going to run into some problems. So we journeyed to the venue after calling them up to arrange a walk though and it was a good thing we did because the clients description of what was there and possible was not anything like what we found. The people at the venue could not have been nicer or more helpful but if we had taken the client's word on what we would have, it would have been a disaster. The place was huge. It was all stone and hard surfaces. To get to shore power (our term for being on the venue's AC power) we would need a lot of extension cords and the venue had a very strict rule against cables on the floor. This also was troubling because of our mic lines. We worked it all out but if we had not gone for a "look-see" it would have been a terrible remote. We told the client that there would be a charge for this but when they saw it on the final invoice they said "they would not pay for the walk through since they had done it all for us." Ya right. After some negotiation we got our money and they got their media.

IMHO,clients always want the ultimate but never seem to want to pay for it.

FWIW
Old 2 weeks ago
  #43
Gear Addict
 

Tom,
Consider using your skills to make a brief video which illustrates the points made in this thread, particularly the posts saying "this should all be itemized in the quote"

You should pay Dan Worrall to narrate!

People are forgetting how to read nowadays, but they will watch a video if it's short enough and interesting. Dan is brilliant at making videos interesting.
Old 1 week ago
  #44
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Plush's Avatar
There are a lot of long posts in this thread.

I suggest:
Figure out what your market is. Charge always close to the top of the market. Don't negotiate too much.

Never work for someone who won't pay your fee.
Walk away.

Then sleep so well at night.
Old 1 week ago
  #45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush View Post
Walk away.

Then sleep so well at night.
Even if it IS in the back of your car

Edit - this is just mild sarcasm - Hudson is right that you rarely lose sleep when you make good decisions.

Last edited by TMetzinger; 1 week ago at 03:54 AM..
Old 1 week ago
  #46
Gear Nut
 
brhoward's Avatar
 

Yes, stand your ground. I do recordings for ensembles as a side-career to teaching—but where pay is concerned I remain firm.

Just yesterday, a client wanted a recording done for a CD release. We agreed to a stereo pair plus spot mics, per section (their request). I agreed to the fee for recording, but when they asked whether that fee included a the mixing and editing, I said no. I kindly, but firmly, let them know that would be extra.

They agreed to paying the extra fees.
Old 1 week ago
  #47
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Thomas W. Bethe's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush View Post
There are a lot of long posts in this thread.

I suggest:
Figure out what your market is. Charge always close to the top of the market. Don't negotiate too much.

Never work for someone who won't pay your fee.
Walk away.

Then sleep so well at night.
I agree. If I was doing all of this by myself then this would be ideal. I do have three interns who need to be paid and so we sometimes take on less than ideal clients just to pay the interns. Not a great reason for doing this but... better than losing some great interns do to lack of pay.

FWIW
Old 1 week ago
  #48
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas W. Bethe View Post
I agree. If I was doing all of this by myself then this would be ideal. I do have three interns who need to be paid and so we sometimes take on less than ideal clients just to pay the interns. Not a great reason for doing this but... better than losing some great interns do to lack of pay.

FWIW
This is one of the best posts I've read in a long time! Thank you for paying your interns! It is the right thing to do and almost nobody in the arts does it. Maybe that is why you have great interns!
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