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Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old September 13th, 2007, 04:37 AM   #1
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DV to HDV Upgrade Pricing for Weddings

Hey Guy's

I will be purchasing my first HD camera the Sony EX1 when it becomes available and i was thinking the best way to pay for it is to contact brides which have already booked there wedding with me and offer them HD but i don't know what i would charge them if they were interested in the upgrade

I was thinking around $1000 to upgrade i would like peoples views is this to steep to charge that much i guess i dont know how much longer it would take to edit in HD i'm using FCP so i figured $1000 sounds far.

I am talking Aussie Dollars so converted US$840.10

regards

robert
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Old September 13th, 2007, 09:23 AM   #2
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I am talking Aussie Dollars so converted US$840.10
Some would say that's a reasonable price, but unless you already have high-end clients it could be a tough upsell for most couples. Where I live we're thinking more like $500 US for an HD upgrade, and that's even too much for many customers. Another approach would be to only offer HD for your higher-end packages and increase the price of those packages accordingly, but don't list HD as a separate upgrade cost. Also think about how you're going to deliver your HD output using the variety of options now available, and whether you might need different pricing for various options depending on the delivery format used.
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Old September 13th, 2007, 09:46 AM   #3
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I have yet to have a single client interested in HD. I'm planning to wait until I really need to to upgrade my cameras. I figure the longer I wait, the better cameras I can get for the money and I don't really need them now. Plus for the money you can get much higher quality SD cameras.
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Old September 13th, 2007, 10:08 AM   #4
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Regarding costs and charges, keep in mind how your expenses increase with HD. You'll need a device that can pass through HD to the HD monitor you'll need to both QC and color correct (you do color correct don't your?). You also need to get enough SxS cards to cover the event or some ability to offload the cards during the event.

There are some nifty marketing ideas to build in marketing hooks and enticement. Think of including the cost of an AppleTV (and deliver a 720p H.264 file) or HD DVD or Blu-Ray player (but that's more expensive than AppleTV and requires you to purchase the burner).

Including an AppleTV adds $299 plus whatever your markup for workinging and delivering HD.

Keep in mind there's an additional time expense in working with HD too. You'll likely have to downconvert to SD.

The clients who want HD likely have HD TV sets already so adding an HD package at $1000 (or whatever markup you need to justify your additional time and equipment expenses plus including AppleTV) might be viable option. Some folks just won't be able to resist getting a "neat toy" with their wedding video.

BTW what I can't understand is how some/many wedding videographers are "giving away" HDV. Unless they're downcoverting on capture, they're added a major time cost and possibly an equipment cost if they're color correcting.

BTW I think a good way to market the HD upgrade is show the difference between it and SD. Invite them to your office for screening of an example of the same wedding video shown in SD vs HD on your HD TV set (played through your AppleTV). One might want to shoot a "test" scene with both a miniDV and the EX side by side since the DV may well look even worse than downconverted HD.

One could do this with a web demo if you've encoded both SD and HD clips at the same data rate but you're allowing their broadband connection speed and computer decoding ability to influence the choice.
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Old September 13th, 2007, 10:13 AM   #5
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Plus for the money you can get much higher quality SD cameras.
Adam: out of curiosity, what SD camera would you recommend for under $8K which offers native widescreen recording and has better/larger sensors than those in the EX1? I can't think of anything which offers better widescreen capabilities for a similar price, and it would be silly to pay good money for a non-widescreen camera as we move into the HD era.

As far as customers asking for HD is concerned, it's not hard to get their interest if you make a point of offering it to them - the real problem is convincing them to pay more for it.
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Old September 13th, 2007, 10:31 AM   #6
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Sony DSR-450 with 2/3" chips is about $12,000 at B&H. Obviously more money than the EX. Everything else I know of is 1/3" so nothing matches the EX price vs 16:9 and chips size.

The EX, even with the cost of the XDCAM recorder for archival, is competitve with the DSR-450.

There's also the ROI issue. How fast can you make back the cost of DSR-450 given what may eventually be the declining value of staying SD? My own guess is that within 2 years SD 16:9 even with 2/3" chips might look lower quality than 1/2" HD when played on HD sets. Part of this depends on the market penetration of HD sets AND wide spread affordable media storage (HD-DVD, Blu-Ray, some AppleTV like devices).
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Old September 13th, 2007, 11:34 AM   #7
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Adam: out of curiosity, what SD camera would you recommend for under $8K which offers native widescreen recording and has better/larger sensors than those in the EX1? I can't think of anything which offers better widescreen capabilities for a similar price, and it would be silly to pay good money for a non-widescreen camera as we move into the HD era.
I wasn't specifically referring to that camera or price range. I agree that if your budget for a camera is $8000 then go for HD of course. I would have a hard (impossible) time justifying spending that much on a camera right now. If you're making enough doing weddings that you can spend that much for each camera, them bravo for you. In the more common price range for cameras ($2000-$3000) your money is better spent on a good SD cam. Don't you agree?

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As far as customers asking for HD is concerned, it's not hard to get their interest if you make a point of offering it to them - the real problem is convincing them to pay more for it.
I offer HD to all my clients. I have yet to have a single client even interested in looking into it. That's just where my market is at right now.
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Old September 13th, 2007, 12:11 PM   #8
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In the more common price range for cameras ($2000-$3000) your money is better spent on a good SD cam. Don't you agree?
No, that hasn't been true since the Sony FX1 shipped almost three years ago. What I recommend is that the only reason to buy a non-HD camera today is if your budget for the camera is below $1000, and even that's getting debatable with some of the new small HD cameras.

We could debate whether today's $3K HD cameras are as useful in poor lighting as a good $3K DV camera like the PD170, but other than that there's no good reason to buy a DV-only camera today for professional purposes. And since cameras like the PD170 lack a native widescreen recording mode they're poor choices in an era when many customers watch their wedding videos on widescreen HDTVs, for which shooting 4:3 video is a bad idea. The usefulness of 4:3 video cameras is coming to an end and that will start to become painfully apparent now that proper HD delivery is finally becoming a reality. If you already have DV-only cameras by all means keep using them as long as you can, but buying one today would be a questionable investment.
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Old September 13th, 2007, 05:55 PM   #9
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We could debate whether today's $3K HD cameras are as useful in poor lighting as a good $3K DV camera like the PD170,
I don't think there is a debate. There isn't an HD camera in the PD170s price range (or the VX2100's) that can come close to their low light capabilities.

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but other than that there's no good reason to buy a DV-only camera today for professional purposes.
I would say low light ability is one HUGE reason to stay with SD, for a wedding videographer. I am not willing to sacrifice that quality for a camera that can't do as well just because it says HD on the side.

When HD becomes a selling point, or something that I need to have to keep up, then I will consider ditching my VX2100s and PD170.
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Old September 13th, 2007, 06:21 PM   #10
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I don't think there is a debate. There isn't an HD camera in the PD170s price range (or the VX2100's) that can come close to their low light capabilities.
Close but not equal. Many wedding videographers are successfully shooting in HD with just a little extra light at the reception; if you're one of those who likes to shoot without a light then it's hard to beat the cameras you mentioned for the price. Coming from a Canon GL1/GL2 I didn't see a big difference with HDV, so it works for me.

If there was a widescreen version of the VX2100 that would be a great wedding camera, but it doesn't exist.
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Old September 13th, 2007, 06:48 PM   #11
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That's true. I had Gl2s at one point and they're great but can't match the low light performance of the PD170. But yeah, I hate to use light at all. Not only do I feel intrusive doing so but I don't like how the video looks with on camera lighting (and setting up other lighting is just not practical). I don't have a problem with folks shooting HD. But I would never need to use it (for now anyway) and would rather go for the best SD I can until the day comes when I do need to go Hi Def.
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Old September 13th, 2007, 07:51 PM   #12
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I have seen the Z1 in low light conditions and performs well but with the release of sonys EX camera it will perform very well under low light i think i red someone on this forum 0.14lux which is very close to the PD170 if i am correct.

With offering HD to clients i would offer to record in HD edit in HD supply them with a DVD and when they are ready for HD i will then produce them Blu-ray disc's that could be a year or two down the track for the couple

they will get there DVD's to begin with and with plasma's and LCD being so cheap within another year or two they will drop even more in price meaning more people will buy and with the release of PS3 i have had people asking me about Blu-ray just waiting for apple to introduce it within DVDSpro.
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Old September 13th, 2007, 08:16 PM   #13
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There must be a lot of people using FX1 / Z1 / GL2 and such today that would like to know the low light capabilities of the new Sony EX1 compared to PD170 / VX2100.

I for one would like to get my hands on a couple of EX1's instead of our FX1 if not only just for the improved DOF the bigger chips will provide.

If the low light is comparable to the PD170 it would just add up to the list of pros. The TCO would keep its place at the 'cons' side for some time, at least on my list :-)

Maybe the real discussion should not be if a videographer should invest in HD / HDV equip. but which markets will adopt Blu-ray/HD DVD first.
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Old September 13th, 2007, 10:05 PM   #14
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Maybe the real discussion should not be if a videographer should invest in HD / HDV equip. but which markets will adopt Blu-ray/HD DVD first.
The latest statistics I can find indicate at least 1.5 million Sony Playstation 3s sold in North America to date, plus several hundred thousand HD-DVD players and an unkonwn number of Apple TVs. There's also a WEVA member who says he's convinced most of his recent customers to get a copy of their video in WMV-HD format, in addition to a standard DVD.

Where I live the PS3 seems to be an early favorite for HD delivery, and Blu-ray is currently the most developed HD delivery option with the greatest capacity. I also see a lot of HD-DVD players disappearing off the shelf at my local Costco, but so far no one's asked me about that format for delivery of finished projects. Other videographers have reported many of their customers have an Xbox 360 with the HD-DVD attachment.
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Old September 13th, 2007, 10:36 PM   #15
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Exactly Kevin.

These are my thoughts regarding markets, timing and technology...

A wedding film, would provide many years of usage and should not be made in a format that we know is going to die. I guess this is more important for the wedding industry, and not so important for company events and its like...

There must be a higher price, since it obviously demands more power and resources to make a HD product compared to a SD product. But this movie is probably beeing watched by their family 50 years from now. Upconverted to the standard that will be vastly superior to nowdays HD.

The problem is to make the B&G understand these facts, and the one that should be responsible to tell them this are the professionals, the videographers.

I think it is more a question of beeing the professional 'consultant' other than just beeing a videographer.

Any other thoughts about this?
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