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Old March 8th, 2010, 12:02 PM  
"CITY OF LAKES" - Udaipur, India wedding trailer
Kevin Shahinian Kevin Shahinian is offline March 8th, 2010, 12:02 PM

Hello everyone,

It's my pleasure to share a trailer from our recent destination wedding shoot with Melissa & Samir in Udaipur, India - a breathtaking place in the region of Rajasthan known as the "City of Lakes."

To preface the piece, I had been eager for some time to combine a fully scripted, produced concept movie with a couples’ live, real wedding - in a way that would blur the lines between a proper film production and a wedding film. The real wedding would inform the plot & secondary characters and add a much deeper layer of meaning & substance through its relevance to the couple, their families and their story. The hope was to create a film far more dramatically engaging and emotionally resonant by telling the story of the wedding from an alternate point of view. The debate was: could an entertaining, dramatic film be created that was also a document of the couples' emotional experience? I continue to wonder which is the most effective way to “document” or capture an emotional state, a scripted production or documentary? What do you think?

Also, do you think a project like this could have a viable future in event filmmaking or is it just a one-of-a-kind project? Do you think more and more clients will begin to ask about these types of projects, thus levying more control into the hands of their event filmmaker?

I can't thank Melissa, Samir and their families enough for the faith & trust they put in us to complete this project. I also can't give enough credit to our cast, and our crew (a complete list is viewable on our blog & vimeo page) - which included Patrick Moreau, Joe Simon & Casey Warren - and of course a special thanks to our supporters, Canon, Tiffen/Steadicam and Cinevate. Dennis Wood & the Cinevate team put together an incredible behind-the-scenes "Prelude" contest so be sure to check it out at Cinevate: DSLR Rigs, Camera Sliders, Follow Focus and More.

Please feel free to post questions (although budgeting will not be addressed since this is an indexed forum. Thanks for understanding). You're also welcome to DM me if you'd like me to answer a question directly.

Thanks & enjoy!

THE PACIFIC PICTURES BLOG: "CITY OF LAKES" on the Pacific Pictures blog

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Old March 18th, 2010, 04:49 AM   #16
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quality and color was fantastic!
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Old March 18th, 2010, 06:07 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Shahinian View Post
Also, do you think a project like this could have a viable future in event filmmaking or is it just a one-of-a-kind project? Do you think more and more clients will begin to ask about these types of projects, thus levying more control into the hands of their event filmmaker?
In my country a production like this would not be possible, let's be honest, this is not a "traditional" wedding film anymore, this is a movie production. The production costs involved would be so high it would never sell here.
Don't get me wrong, this is by far the best I have seen as a wedding trailer and it could easily fill a big screen, I really enjoyed watching it and I"m amazed that it is even possible to make such a production in that quality for a wedding.
I"m even more amazed that still people exist that have the cash to pay for something like this :)
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Old March 21st, 2010, 10:28 AM   #18
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Thanks for the follow-up, Christopher. Hope these answers help:

1. We shot in India for about 8 days. 3 of those days were live wedding events.
2. I was the writer/director/producer. I also edited the film. Here's a partial list of how we contributed:
Written & Directed by Kevin Shahinian
Produced by Kevin Shahinian & Patrick Moreau
Line Producer Pravin Thakur
Director of Photography Patrick Moreau
2nd Unit Director Joe Simon
2nd Unit Steadicam Casey Warren
3. Our "free rentals" were a result of the relationships we have built with our sponsors over the years.
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Old March 21st, 2010, 10:35 AM   #19
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Tom, thank you for the kind words.

Noa, thanks for your input. I'm curious why think this wouldn't be possible in Belgium? Does your local market not value cinematography? Do you see an opportunity to change perceptions and budget allocation?
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Old March 21st, 2010, 11:12 AM   #20
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"Does your local market not value cinematography?"

If we are talking weddings, short answer: no :)

Last week I had a guy who wanted his wedding filmed asking me what I could do for 400 dollars...

Everyone wants it cheap here, it's so worse I also filming other events, not wedding related, to make a living. With cheap I mean that a lot of couples are not willing to pay more then 600 to 800 dollar for their wedding video.

With every wedding I do I always ask if they want a second manned camera and explain the benefits, well they don't care and don't want to pay for it. They see my videosamples and ask; "did you film this alone?" When I tell them "yes I did" it's always "we don"t need a second cameraman" just to save on costs. Even last year a couple did not choose me as their videographer because I charged an additional 50 dollar transportcosts.

This summer I have the luxury to film a American couple's wedding who already got married in the states but are doing it over here because they have relatives here as well (their parents work and live in Belgium)
They insisted on having a second cameraman and for me that again shows the differences in video culture, I sometimes work together with a guy who only does steadicam and I'm glad that I can hire him for this assignment because I know it will lift my production to a higher level and that it will provide me a more professional looking demo for my site.

For this year I'm trying to get a bit more into the corporate market but it's difficult if they only see weddings and other events on your site, most here still see wedding videographers as amateurs. That's also because the general level of offered quality is quite low compared to what I see what's been produced on the other side of the globe.
The wedding market here is also flooded with hobbyist and students who gladly work for very cheap rates and even-though many produce crap (from my point of view) many clients don't seem to mind.

I also don't see this change in the future, in fact, it's getting worse when I compare it over the last year's. But still, I like doing it but like to change focus more to corporate/company events and less weddings in the future.

Last edited by Noa Put; March 21st, 2010 at 12:42 PM.
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Old March 21st, 2010, 04:34 PM   #21
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Noa,
I don't know belgium market that much but I think it is almost possible anywhere in the world to produce something like this. The trick is to simply keep at what you are doing by making sure your quality is good plus the fact that don't be afraid to present ideas to clients.

I find that more and more clients are educated now (long way to go still) but there is a market for sure. I have had situations where 2 clients came to me during an extremely busy week (with family) and I completely overlooked discussing about 1 of our services. And before they were about to leave, they mentioned, so what else you do that can make our wedding memorable. I responded and believe me it landed me 2 huge projects.

There are people willing to spend almost everywhere.....:)
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Old March 21st, 2010, 05:51 PM   #22
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"There are people willing to spend almost everywhere.....:)"

Worldwide, yes, but mainly in countries were video is an important part of their culture. I mean, what are we talking about here, I see on Kevin's site that destination weddings start at 35.000 dollar? (unless I misunderstood that part)
That means you are aiming for a very rich audience. In Belgium that could be the Indian community in Antwerp that are in the diamant business but I never seen or heared about any Belgian videographer that can work for those rates when doing a weddings, not even rates above 10.000 dollar.

I know the rates are not the discussion point here as Kevin asked if projects like his have viable future but you have to agree that because of all the time spend on a project like this and the manpower involved this becomes very expensive and that automatically limits your audience.

You might find some clients interested here in the story telling part but if comes down to it the price will take away the enthusiasm quickly.

Therefore I see projects like this only an option in countries were 1. video is a very important part of their culture and 2. clients live to whom money is no object.
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Old March 21st, 2010, 11:04 PM   #23
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One of the things that make Kevin so special in my eyes (and indeed why we've been supporting his efforts so strongly for two years now) is simply that he works harder than anyone I've every met.

The first two Bollywood theme pieces, Sno, and now this, are not the result of a lot of money. They're the result of incredible passion, crazy hard work, and personal sacrifice by Kevin. This project we hope will promote a new way of thinking in terms of hardware manufacturers and artists. I hope it will provide a working model for other shooters to think about when doing projects like this...where money is a big challenge. How?

You've likely seen the 3 viral trailers with our logo embedded, and the great fun that folks had with that event. Now we're getting blown away by the trailer in preparation for the full course. Following that, aside from the BTS pics we've already posted, you'll see a series of four(ish) behind the scenes clips showing what was going on behind the scenes. This is a huge commitment from Kevin, and for us, makes close participation in the project very rewarding. Money was, is, and will always be a major issue with productions like these. I think what we should take from this project is not discouragement in terms of "unattainable" production quality. The single largest message that you should take away is this: One person with passion for their craft, creativity and hard work can, with a very small equipment bag of kit (let's leave the 24ft jib out of this), blow everyone away with their work. Because the hardware and software is so accessible now, there is no reason not to knock the socks off your clients even on a $1500 wedding. That's what Kevin was doing three years ago with our Brevis MP.2 adapter, and a Canon XH-A1 camera. If you're at NAB 2010 on April 10th, visit our booth and you'll get a chance to quiz Kevin personally on this creation.

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Old March 21st, 2010, 11:21 PM   #24
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Awesome work with a Dream team Kevin. You guys just took it to another level. I guess something like that would sell in Singapore to the uber Rich. Our clients are in the process of getting educated. The market forces currently see photographers paid almost double to videographers. However we are in the process to change that but it will take a few more years.

Without good quality we would never reach there.
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Old March 22nd, 2010, 06:24 AM   #25
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"However we are in the process to change that but it will take a few more years."

Sean, I am very curious how you educate your clients into investing more in video. If you say "we", do you work together with other competitors to reach that goal or is it only you?
I think it must be very difficult to change one clients attitude towards video, let alone change that attitude for a whole country.
Delivering quality is not the most difficult part in such a process, you need to have the right equipment and skilled people to do that, it's to convince your clients in general that you're worth every penny that's the hard part as there are many factors to consider trying to "educate" your clients.
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Old March 22nd, 2010, 08:15 AM   #26
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I think what we are trying to say that eventhough it's not easy it's not impossible. If you look at photography market, people spent a fortune because they are memories and photographs although I think they don't spend much time in post as we do but people don't know that

It's not going to happen with every client overnight. Education means that you keep talking about what's the process of your work to everyone and a time will come when a client will come to you that will have the $$ and it will click with him/her.

In general, I think a lot of people in video industry get content with what they are getting and don't want to move forward.

As far as belgium is concerned, there may not be rich indians but there are rich people there. Every country has them even the the third world countries. You just got to market yourself and find them. And the fact that you haven't seen or heard of a videographer in belgium working on those rates well that's more reason for you to start before someone else does

my two cents :)
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Old March 23rd, 2010, 12:46 AM   #27
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Noa, I have some tips for you.

I went from charging $500 to $2000 a wedding in less than two wedding seasons. How did I do it? I did a few single camera weddings, then when a solid wedding venue came along I paid for a second videographer out of my own pocket. I did that twice and was only out $300. This gave me a reel with two cameras. Then I stepped it up by hiring a second videographer who uses steadicam and sliders on a DSLR Canon 7D. He was X amount of dollars that came out of my pocket again. Then I knew I wanted to offer the highlight reel, but no client wanted to pay for it, so I did it for free cause I loved the couple and the venue was right along the ocean. I put all 4 of those weddings on my website and now I have 27 weddings this year so far and charge from $1200 - $2400 Most clients are willing to do my $1500 package. If they want to meet with me in person I charge a reasonable travel fee of $40.

Stand firm on your prices, unless... this is a venue that will help build your reel.

By the way that video was amazing. I'm gonna get there some day.
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Old March 23rd, 2010, 02:22 AM   #28
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A Lot of dollar talk here :)

Just to show another difference, if I would charge a travel fee to meet my clients I"d have zero appointments, Belgium is not so video minded when it comes to weddings, it's just like that, sure some want it filmed but as cheap as it gets.
You know I offered a free trash the dress video 2 years ago just to see if that could be something to fill my portfolio with, how many reacted? one, and I knew her well because video was her hobby but untill today she still has not found the time to do this.
I'm offering a save the date video now including a website for a very cheap price only for the first one to react, it's been on my site for 2 months, number of reactions: 0. Imagine offering a scripted movie...

I have seen every video Kevin has presented and I love the concept but I don't see it as an option to sell in my country, the general bridescouple here just want you out of their sight and as less disturbing as possible. Everything which seems so normal on your side like these trash the dress, save the date, same date edits and so on is very hard to sell here. It has more to do with how people perceive video here, most don't like to be in the spotlight "that" much.
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Old March 25th, 2010, 11:43 AM   #29
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i still can't believe this is for real people or a real wedding. WOW!!!
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Old March 25th, 2010, 02:51 PM   #30
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Thank you all for the kind words and great discussion. A lot of interesting points here.

On the topic of pricing, I don't see the demand for traditional "observe and record" videography going away anytime soon. I think the highest demand in most markets is for that of a historical record. And most folks value a video recording as simply that. I don't believe artistic editing alone is enough to change perceived value. You may even be using the latest gear & toys, but until you are truly able to establish a unique point of view, receive a considerable level of control from your client, find inspiration in a pre-visualization process and execute that vision on a solid, professional level with near-commercially viable results, proper value will continue to elude you.

Those are my thoughts and I look forward to a continued discussion.
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