I hired Jon Abeyta to shoot and edit a music video. He said his partner R.J. would edit. I booked about 2 weeks in advance and sent in my 50% deposit.
After the shoot I sent in the balance, $750 total, which I was told was a discount rate. (Jon and RJ assured me they had gotten wonderful video footage, and that I'd be pleased when I saw the edited video.)
Jon and RJ showed up an hour late for the shoot, which was a problem because we were shooting in natural light in the afternoon and the location was an hour away. Thus, I had maybe an hour to shoot my video which was not enough time when Jon and RJ stand at the top of the cliff for l0 minutes while I wait on the beach wondering why they are not there when we all started walking down together, this resulted in a loss of more time.
I'd later see that RJ was instructing Jon as to how to use the camera while I waited below, not knowing that Jon had taken my money without even knowing how to operate the video camera. He did not bring a tripod or reflector either. And although I emailed my mp3 in advance, the video was shot without smpte time code, meaning any editor would subsequently have to edit manually.
When we got to the location, Jon didn't know how to work the video camera, he didn't even know whether the power was on or if it was filming because he had never tried to use it before the shoot.
5 weeks later I got a horrible rough cut from R.J. which contained no lip sync to the words of the song although that is what I spent the majority of the shoot doing, lip syncing the song.
When I showed what was supposed to be my music video to a professional photographer he said it was the worst editing job he had ever seen. Others concurred.
I was originally told by Jon that editing would take about a week. 5 weeks later, with unusable product, my release deadline was blown.
When I asked for a refund for editing money, R.J. told emailed me"that wasn't going to happen."
RJ's horrible editing job ended my relationship with Jon Abeyta Photography.
Jon avoided talking to me about the project for 5 days after RJ sent me the rough cut, only after numerous calls and ALL DAY emailing did Jon take my call (which is really odd because I used to be Jon's attorney, and we had been friends for nearly 20 years). I got my footage but there is barely a second here and there that is acceptable. The footage is frequently out of focus, the camera shakes often, the majority of footage is poorly framed with bad lighting and bad angles. The camera swings away from the subject numerous times unexplicably to rocks, sand, etc. Lots of errors I would not expect from Jon. I'd had about 4 shoots with Jon before he met R.J. (about l5 years ago), and all of them turned out great. But Tony was running his studio then, and Tony was great with clients, so there was never a problem years ago.
Jon should have never taken money to shoot a video if he had never used R.J.'s amateur camera before. I am sure of this because the first clip pf overexposed beach shots contain audio, and Jon is asking RJ how to use the camera: "How do I know if it's filming?" "How do I know if it's on?"
When R.J. wanted to drop low resolution, grainy Iphone photos into the video, I said no. RJ insisted and said he would do his own reel with it. I said he had no permission to use my footage.
To make matters worse, this video was supposed to be a surprise for someone. The day after the shoot, RJ posted photos of me in a bikini on the beach all over his facebook page without asking me. He announced that he had just shot a music video in Malibu to all his friends at the top of the photo. That showed up on my feed. My surprise was ruined because all my facebook friends saw the announcement that I had shot a video and yet there was no video. RJ never asked me if he could use excerpts from the shoot on his facebook page. Basically he used my shoot to promote Jon's services without ever asking me or getting a release from me.
What's sad is Jon knew that I had saved for l0 months to do the shoot, and how important it was to me.
RJ offered a free reshoot but I would have had to drive 5 hours at my own expense to get it.
When he offered to do a green screen with my hair blowing with 2 fans, I knew he was a total amateur because RJ had never used a green screen before and didn't know that without masking my hair edges would turn to fuzz by the blowing fans.
RJ did not have Final Cut Pro or Power Director, or any editing software, he wanted me to buy him editing software plus a green screen for the reshoot as well.
I felt I had been duped. I received nothing usable from the shoot and have not heard a word from either of them since Jon mailed me the footage (on the thumb drive I purchased and gave them).
When I heard Jon asking RJ in the first footage how to use the camera - I felt like he didn't care at all about my project. If Jon had cared about my project he would have taken 5 minutes to learn when the camera was "ON" and "FILMING" before he got to the top of the beach with the sun nearly setting (my shoot started at 5:00 pm).
Jon had plenty of time to learn how to use RJ's video camera before my shoot. If they can't show up on time, and if Jon doesn't know how to use a video camera, and if RJ can't deliver a rough cut sooner than 5 weeks, something is terribly wrong and neither of these two should take people's hard earned money.