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Sound Reinforcement - Forums for Live Sound Professionals - Your Displayed Name Must Be Your Real Full Name To Post In The Live Sound Forums => SR Forum Archives => The Basement FUD Forum Archive => Topic started by: Craig Leerman on June 25, 2004, 11:38:58 am

Title: Will need help with Bail Money
Post by: Craig Leerman on June 25, 2004, 11:38:58 am
I may need some help with the Bail Money, as I am about to kill a Video guy!  Shocked

The video guy pissed me off on a corporate gig a few weeks ago. It was a typical regional meeting for an insurance company in a large hotel ballroom.  I provided a  stick PA with delays and had my FOH console BACKSTAGE because the gig was 1 podium mic, 1 pod backup, 1 wireless lav for a presenter, 1 wireless backup,  and CD for playback.  I also provided a few small light trees to cover the podium.

During the planning stage I was informed that a videographer would be recording the meeting. I got this guys number and spoke to him on the phone. I asked him if he needed an audio feed, and he replied that he did not. He said he prefered to place a wireless mic near on the the FOH speakers. I assured him that a board  feed would be better than a wireless mic, but he refused one. He also stated that he was "self contained" and would arive with anything he needed on the load in day.  We also discussed the lighting, and he was very happy that there would be good lights on the podium. He kept bragging about how great his gear was, and how pro his operation was.  

Load in was scheduled the day before the gig. We loaded in and set up.  The Video guy never showed up the day before. The Event Planner tried to contact him but got only messages.   I gave up waiting for him and left about 6PM. (I had to be there so we could get him an audio level, as well as a lighting check for his camera)  I assured the Event Planner that I would return early the next day so we could get a levels before the doors were opened.

I show up at 6 AM (looking worse than usual as I got little sleep because of a damn cricket!) and the doors are supposed to open at 8:30 AM. Show starts at 9 and runs through the day with a large break for lunch.  The Video guy is nowhere to be found still. The Event Planner is running ragged, and mentions that they are required to record the meeting. I tell her not to worry, as I will record the meeting on a cassette and CDR if the video guy does not show up.  She thanks me and then runs off. Not 5 minutes after she disapears, a scruffy looking guy wearing a dirty T shirt and jeans walks into the room carrying video gear. He is followed by an even scruffier looking dude pulling a cheap luggage style hand truck loaded with assorted  old luggage bags and a milk crate!  

I walk over and introduce myself to them, and tell the chief Vidiot that the Event Planner is worried sick and he should tell her he is onsite. Its now exactly 20 minutes before the doors are set to open.  He asks me where his riser is, and I tell him thats not my department. He than also tells me he needs to get a video feed after all because his wireless mic broke at a wedding the week before!  I tell him I will gladly give him a feed, all he has to do is run a cable over to my FOH area backstage (about 150' straight through the chairs, or about 300' of cable if you run it around walls)  He tells me he doesn't have that much cable (He had exactly 1 cable I believe) and storms off to complain about the lack of a camera riser.

I go backstage to a trunk and start fishing out mic cable and a roll of gaff knowing I will have to run my own cable to this moron. I'm down on my knees (in my only suit pants) taping this vidiots feed down along the walls when he shows back up with the Event Planner in tow.  "Craig" she says, "Bob (the Vidiot) says you were supposed to provide him with a camera riser." She then goes on to say "I really need you to help get this up and running, the doors are supposed to open at any minute."

"WHAT?" is my reply. I explained to her that I never talked to Bob about a camera riser, nor did I invoice anybody for one. If he needs a riser, he needs to talk to the hotel staff. As for "helping out" I was already on my knees in a good suit running an audio feed for the guy, even though he was supposed to supply a wireless for himself. She seemed satisfied I was not at fault for the riser, and got the hotel staff to bring in a piece of wobbly stage for a riser. I also had to lend the vidiot an AC Quad box so he could plug all of his crap in.

I ran the audio feed to the riser, and left about 20' of slack at the riser end. By now, the doors had opened, and I ran backstage to play a walkin CD and see if he had any audio. I walk over to the riser and say to the Vidiot "Do you want line level or mic level?"  He has his own question "What am I supposed to do with this plug? (meaning the XLR on the end of the feed) My camera does not take that kind of connector"  I look over his "pro gear" and realize that it is prosumer grade at best, and that he has only a 1/8" TRS for a mic input, and RCA jacks for line input. I grab an adapter and plug him into the RCA input. I send him a feed and walk back over to see if he has any audio.  The audio level is fine he states, "My camera has an automatic audio level feature"  

I also asked him if he wanted to get a lighting level and white balance (show the camera what the color white is supposed to look like under the actual lighting conditions so it can record colors and skin tones normaly) and he replied that since he was running late, he was gonna set the camera on automatic for that also.

The meeting started and I settle in for a few hours of reading and babysitting a POD mic during boring insurance speeches.  After what seemed like the most boring presentation I have witness in years, it was lunch break.  I turn on a CD for walkout music and get ready to go to lunch.  Just as I am leaving backstage, the Vidiot shows up with the Event Planner. "Craig", she says, "Bob says you are not sending him any audio."  I grab my Whirlwind Q Box and we head out to the camera riser. I plug the Q Box into the feed line and the walkout CD starts playing through its speaker. "I'm sending audio, your Vidiot just doesn't know how to operate his own crappy camera." was my reply. "But don't worry, I was recording the meeting on cassette and CDR like I told you I would."  She gives me a big hug and then invites me to have lunch with her and the "suits". Not one to turn down a free meal, I join her and some of her coworkers for lunch.

The rest of the gig I never heard another peep out of the Vidiot. The Event Planner spent a few minutes with me discussing a future gig for the same client next month. At the end of the gig, she and all the bigwigs came over to thank me and mentioned again how they want me for future work.  Smile  BTW, this was my first gig with this Event Planner. She is an independent contractor who mainly does smaller events but was breaking into the larger corporate market.

So yesterday, I get a call from the Event Planner telling me that the Vidiot's tape came out looking like shit. First there was no audio for the entire first part of the meeting on the tape. (which we already knew) He blames the lack of audio on me saying I turned his feed off after he tested it. (he never tested it)   Then after lunch on his tape you hear the walkin CD sounding good for a few minutes until the meeting resumes and the  the podium mic is used. That mic, being way hotter than the walkin music now sounds distorted on his tape. This he again blames on me, stating that I sabotaged the feed just as the meeting started. Next problem with the tape is that the picture is wobbly. The shitty hotel riser that he was standing on was not sturdy enough for a video camer. Add to that the fact that instead of sitting still in a chair next to the camera while filming, he was standing, and shifting his weight around every few minutes. Every time he moved, so did the picture. He blames this on me also, stating that on the phone I prommised him that I would supply him with a solid camera riser, and that I'm the one who volunteered to bring it on my own!

The last problem with the tape is that he never adjusted the cameras white balance and gain settings for the lighting. I'm pretty sure he never set the camera to automatic, but instead left it in manual mode, without rebalancing the camera to our show's lighting. All the prersenters looked washed out because his iris was wide open and his gain seemed cranked up. He blames this also on my "non professional lighting".  

So now I find out the real reason why she has called me. It turns out that she refused to pay the vidiot for his finished product because it looked so bad and had no audio. He was so pissed off that he actually got a hold of one of the bigwigs and complained, blaming it all on me. (Now I admit to planting the bloody glove at OJ's house,  but that was the last time I ever set anybody up! hehehe)

The bigwig was pissed that he was getting a phone call from the vidiot, and pissed that there was no video of the event, just audio, so he chewed out the Event Planner, and then he fired her. So now, I won't be doing the future gigs for them because my work was to be through the Event Planner!  

So I called the Vidiot right after I got off the phone with the Event Planner, and got his answering machine. I told his machine that I heard how he was badmouthing me to the company, and that I was going to call my lawyer if I heard another peep out of him.

But I think a better solution is just to kill him, so I may need some bail money help.  Shocked

Title: Re: Will need help with Bail Money
Post by: John Roberts {JR} on June 25, 2004, 12:34:20 pm
If the event planner gets her sierra together you may get more work but if her judgment doesn't improve that may be of dubious value.

If you have the name of the suit the vidiot complained to you might try to patch over your reputation but that will be an uphill battle and could backfire. Sometimes it's better to remain anonymous. The company bought a package that included a usable video. They didn't get what they bought. You had the bad fortune of being a good player on a bad team.

The game is over so your only decision at this point is whether the fault was the other bad player or the coach who picked the players. Your call.

If I was the event planner I would have tried laying up the good audio to the shaky video and trying to fix the video with post production. If they can stabilize images in small handhelds there may be ways to do it in post. Then subtract the cost for that from the vidiot's payday, or send him a bill for the balance.


PS: Oh yeah, rethink that killing him stuff... a bad idea especially after talking about doing it.
Title: Re: Will need help with Bail Money
Post by: Dave Bigelow on June 25, 2004, 02:44:43 pm
And I thought I'd met some "vidiots" (I like that term). Hope it works out man.
Title: Re: Will need help with Bail Money
Post by: Tim McCulloch on June 25, 2004, 04:15:15 pm

I'll *fax* you the bullets and the first $10k of the bail...

I've got one of those "oh, by the way we'll be having video playback _and_ shoot" on my 4th of July Lewis & Clark Bicentennial gig that has been planned for a couple of weeks.  It now includes press box, multiple audio sources from god only know where, and some live presentations on a day we weren't contracted to be operating.  Change orders are supposed to be profitable, right?  I'm going to 'make it so....' Wink

I think you should have had a 'come to Jesus' meeting with the planner as soon as the guy didn't show on time and reviewed your vidiot's phone calls with her.  Sadly I spend too much of my time covering our ass from jerks like this, and is one of the reasons I don't like to work with video folks I've never met before.  WHY, WHY, WHY are so many video people self-righteous pricks?

Oh well... let us know if you need that fax....

Tim Mc
Title: Re: Will need help with Bail Money
Post by: Neil McGann on June 27, 2004, 06:33:14 am
Hi Craig,

That really is a classic story.

An opportunity to suggest to your event planner that you handle the video in future and you bring in a competent camera op to do it?

Title: Re: Will need help with Bail Money
Post by: John Horvath on July 14, 2004, 05:04:34 am
Man Craig, thanks for sharing that nightmare with us!

I'd like to say I'll store your story in memory to further protect myself from something like this happening.  But unfortunately, it only takes one dumbass to completely ruin somebody elses hard work.  We've all been caught in those situations, and knowing this industry, I'm quite sure we'll all get caught again.