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We've already talked about picture lock from a process perspective. Briefly I want to talk about picture lock from a management, budgeting, and communication perspective, how you present the picture lock to the client and get feedback. First off, picture lock is a great way to manage the budget. If you have milestones in your project and your client knows to expect certain things along the way, getting their approval of the picture lock is a way to move forward and know that your client has confirmed all your work up until that point.
The idea is to get any changes in now and not need to go back later and make them which will probably cost you more time and money, because it's going to be out of the rhythm of the way you work. When you present the cut, make sure your client knows that this is about their content. We use picture lock internally to talk about the process. Sometimes when I'm talking to the client, I slide in the term content lock to mean basically the same thing, but to telegraph to them what it is that they are approving.
You never know your client's priorities for certain. Typical at this stage is to get a comment like, we need to see more of our star, or more of our CEO, or you're presenting too much of a certain type of feeling. Now these might have been good editorial decisions from your point of view as an editor, but your client is telling you that the way they see their organization and message is different. And you really need to listen to them, because their priorities are important. It's a good idea to try to educate the client at this stage.
If you can get them to understand the idea of picture lock that we are really looking at content and cuts, editorial decisions, not the detailed polished work like graphics and audio, they can really come along for the ride and help you. So try to educate your client, but be aware that it doesn't always work and they're often distracted by things that aren't really the point of the cut. One of those things is typically audio, because it is very distracting. Although we haven't mixed in the project yet, if you're going to present a picture lock cut I suggest that you do some light mixing just so you don't get a lot of feedback about what you can't here.
Now we know that's not the point, but your client may not. The bottom line is picture lock is your friend. To make the most out of it try to find a good way to share it with your client and get their approval before you move into the finishing stages.
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