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Wedding / Event Videography Techniques
Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old January 9th, 2008, 04:36 PM   #31
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Art, did you find that bride and groom's preferred for this clip to be secure? I've been thinking of adding highlights for each wedding, but giving them an individual link, however other visitors can view the clip as well. This way killing two birds with one stone, using it as a demo to potential clients as well as letting all the family and friends see it.
Quite frankly, I don't think secure/unsecure is an issue for most folks. I promote it that way just in case I get someone who is uncomfortable with the idea of letting anyone in the world view video of what is basically a private affair. One other advantage to keeping secure is that I'm able to better monitor traffic and actually see how many people the B&G shared with.
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Old January 9th, 2008, 08:17 PM   #32
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One other advantage to keeping secure is that I'm able to better monitor traffic and actually see how many people the B&G shared with.
I suppose that would be helpful as to how many people the B&G share the video with. At the same time, I think it would help to have them available as demos for couples looking. Unless you had a generic password for all the highlights and potentials email you for the password. That way you know how many people are looking at your site for your services.
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Old January 9th, 2008, 08:43 PM   #33
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I'm obviously in the minority here...

... but I don't see how anyone can say that a frame grab, even a nicely shot hd frame grab can compare with a well shot still. Think of the differences in the cameras. Our prosumer HD cams don't have anywhere near the latitude of the good DSLR's that the photogs are using and the resolution isn't close either. Almost all of us are shooting highly compressed HDV or DVCProHD (or worse AVCHD) and the photogs are shooting Raw. Their image will be cleaner, bigger, sharper and better all the way around. Plus, they have the advantage of very slow shutters, fast lenses, and don't forget flashes. Video is at a serious technological disadvantage when compared to our still photographer counterparts. I just don't see how we as professionals can seriously sit here and say that we may one day do the job of two different fields at once. I for one don't think this should be a goal. I mean are there professional photographers that have these newer cameras that are capable of shooting decent quality video seriously thinking about flipping their camera into video mode for the ceremony and doing our jobs? I don't see how I'm the only voice saying it's ludicrous to think that one day people would just want frame grabs from their video in place of actual real pictures. Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't see it. And maybe it's just my personal bias. I mean I'm the guy that if a bride came to me and was torn between being able to afford video or photos I'd tell her to get good quality photography. That's what I'd rather have, and I'm a video guy.
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Old January 9th, 2008, 08:53 PM   #34
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I don't see how I'm the only voice saying it's ludicrous to think that one day people would just want frame grabs from their video in place of actual real pictures. Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't see it. And maybe it's just my personal bias. I mean I'm the guy that if a bride came to me and was torn between being able to afford video or photos I'd tell her to get good quality photography. That's what I'd rather have, and I'm a video guy.
I dont think this is where its headed but hear are some things to think about.

What about some frame grabs for the candids. (Many have used cheap disposable cameras for years for this)

How about Video until the formals. then switch over to a Pro DSLR for those, and a mix of video and DSLR for the reception. This is possible I feel

I saw on the Digital Wedding forum a while back an engagement session, my wife and I both thoght the images were nice, not great but nice. Then the shooter dropped the news, it was all taken with a cell phone. Proving its not the camera, its whos behind it.

I have printed some nice 5X7's that I worked up in photoshop, sharpened color corected etc. that were from a 3 year old cell phone. Don't under estimate the power of post processing and a good pro lab.
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Old January 9th, 2008, 09:08 PM   #35
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At the same time, I think it would help to have them available as demos for couples looking. Unless you had a generic password for all the highlights and potentials email you for the password. That way you know how many people are looking at your site for your services.
Yeah - in reality, the clips will ultimately end up on my public gallery page anyway as my contract gives me the right to use any material for promotional purposes. So as I rethink this process, open is better in the long run. Bottom line is that I want as many people as possible to watch that clip.
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Old January 10th, 2008, 12:01 AM   #36
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Mark,
you nailed exactly what I battle with every day. I am one of those that is only charging 1800 for our full day services and I am full time with this. Looking around in the industry, I do feel that I should be charging more for the quality of work i'm producing and amount of time I put into it, but this market won't support it. Trust me, I wish I could make more. I could raise my prices to 3000 but then I would only book a fraction of the weddings and then I have no money :-) we have videographers ranging from 400-2400 here and that is the problem...


...when someone is searching for a videographer and the first 4 they look at suck! they figure it's not worth the price. I've seen a bride not get video and horribly regret it later because she looked around at 4-5 places, but never hit the few quality videographers. She just assumed that what she saw was how all videos were and decided it wasn't worth it. That's just sad but it's a fact.
Hi Matt,

I feel your pain. We have not arrived, but we are making headway in our market. Our packages range from $3000-12000. The Tulsa metro area is about 800,000 and I see that Davenport proper is just under 100,000. Based on that, your market is much smaller than mine, even though mine is not that big. Here are some thoughts.

When we wanted to take our business full time the average price in our market was $800-1000. We realized that we could not let our competition set our prices, so we started pushing the quality and price envelope. We could have just settled for the average price, but I'm so glad we didn't. At those prices we could not spend the time to make a really nice video.

We looked at what the top photographers were charging and we decided to set some goals to hit those prices. What are the top photographers in your market charging?

I can totally relate to your statement about Brides seeing several bad videos and then just assume that all videos look like that, so why bother. We need to get the word out. Bridal shows, web video, Ipods, networking with other high end vendors...whatever it takes. Show great video to as many people as you can.

I have a good friend who lives in a smaller town than you. He does great work, but the reality is, there just isn't enough people that can afford good video in his market. So he started traveling to do video, as you have mentioned. It is working very well for him. If you do travel to larger cities, make sure you are being compensated properly. You could have a set of prices for your local market and another set of prices for traveling.

In both your local market and other markets make sure you have a range of packages that are not just a few hundred dollars apart. I don't know if you have prices on your website, but for instance, if you low package is $1800, your top package should not be $2400. Most people will gravitate towards the middle, but you will occasionally have clients who want the best, so you need to have an over the top package. In addition to that, the over the top package makes your middle package not seem so bad.

Whatever you do, just make sure you are being compensated for your time.
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Old January 10th, 2008, 07:54 AM   #37
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Very good post Mark, great pricing strategy.
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Old January 10th, 2008, 08:05 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by Mark Von Lanken View Post

In both your local market and other markets make sure you have a range of packages that are not just a few hundred dollars apart. I don't know if you have prices on your website, but for instance, if you low package is $1800, your top package should not be $2400. Most people will gravitate towards the middle, but you will occasionally have clients who want the best, so you need to have an over the top package. In addition to that, the over the top package makes your middle package not seem so bad.

Whatever you do, just make sure you are being compensated for your time.
Mark, what would you suggest as far as differences in price and options between packages, from the bottom, middle and up to the top? Would you more think if using the example of bottom package is $1800, that the middle package is around $2400? Then $3000 ish for the top package?
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Old January 10th, 2008, 08:32 AM   #39
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Thanks Mark! That was very helpful information. I think I am already in the process of doing a lot of what you've said. I currently have my prices on the website, but within a week or so I plan to take those off. It's always worked well for us but I don't think we'll be missing anything by not having them up there. Then I can get the correct price for other markets where I would be able to charge more.

As far as what you said about just being the best and providing the best product, I am working towards that goal too. I believe that our product is very strong even though we've been doing this less than three years. I am gradually raising prices and working to get to that top area, but at the same time setting a standard and working to become more recognized in the area. Obviously this just takes time but I do see progress and it appears to be working. We are booking up faster than most and people realize the quality difference.

I would also like to see what you think about pricing as the post above mentioned. If my middle package is 1800, where do you think my top should be ? In this market, there is a complete population of 380,000 with all cities combined so it's good enough to support this work, but I feel it's still a bit behind and people still see video as an extra if they have the money. We are working to change that as we have created a vidoegraphers association and are getting the word out a little more. I myself am using every outlet I can to advertise and get work out there for everyone to see what wedding videos really can be. The photographers here get an average of 3-5k for their weddings but I've yet to see a videographer make more than 2500. Obviously that is because we are all lower as a whole, but I can't do anything about the 50% that are charging under 1000...and the unfortunate part is that some of their work isn't worth more than that.
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Old January 10th, 2008, 09:39 AM   #40
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Originally Posted by Mark Von Lanken View Post
If we are going to spend 20-40 hours editing a wedding, we can't charge $1500 and make a profit.
I know this is an old debate, but if you could do one wedding video a week at $1500 for just 40 weeks per year that's $60K gross, which even after expenses is at least equal with the average U.S. household income. The problem wedding videographers face is getting enough business to keep things going when most couples still don't consider video a priority, plus it's a seasonal business with ~20-30 weeks/year of peak interest. But in spite of all this there are many videographers successfully charging several thousand dollars per event, so the potential is there to make a good living doing something a lot more fun than most "day jobs."

As far as video versus photography goes, neither one can replace the other but if you had to choose only one the sensible option would be video. Today's HD video cameras can generate decent frame grabs and you could make a printed wedding album that way if necessary, but you can't make a proper wedding video from photos. Plus it's a lot easier for a videographer to take a few formal photos to make a printed album than it is for a photographer to add all the complexities of producing a video, so if couples start looking for companies which can do both videographers will have an advantage there. Over time we should see professional videography grow in popularity while photo-only services dwindle somewhat because it doesn't make sense to pay so much for a few frozen images when you can get those plus video for a more sensible price.
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Old January 10th, 2008, 10:55 AM   #41
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I've been absoring all this discussion...

or at least trying to. Also, I don't mean to come off as negative or argumentative. (If I am, then I'm expressing my ideas poorly; apologies for that, but the written word can really be a poor vehicle for communication).

I don't do many weddings; (I don't think I'm good enough yet to rival the existing competition in my area, so I don't compete in that arena), but here are some additional, though maybe impractical, thoughts for marketing:

- for an over-the-top wedding package, would it be entirely impractical to offer a highlights DVD as "favors" for guests? (It would require someone to burn and print x number of DVDs in the course of the reception, but would, IMO, be more memorable - and considerably more expensive - than a book of matches, etc., and could lead to more clients). There would probably be few takers for such a package, but it would certainly be "over-the-top" for a very high-end client. Something like Microboards GX Disc Publisher might be useful for such a job, with a copy of the invitation as a cover and/or case insert.

- for video frames-as-prints, I've read that DVRACK (or whatever Adobe is calling it now) can create a frame grab in the same res as is being captured by the camera, then eventually printed. Example: if shot in HD, directly via DVRACK, supposedly nothing of the video frame is lost thru compression. Assuming the frame(s) captured were composed decently, would/could these result in better-than-acceptable prints, even after cropping? Has anyone tried that yet? I don't have DVRACK, and I know that presently means capturing directly to a laptop, (which is no fun to lug around), but might be doable during the ceremony. (If we ever see something the size of an iPhone with full laptop performance, maybe this, or some semblance of it, is the future convergence tool for video and stills)?

- for those slow periods during the year, have any of you contacted prior clients who may have only a VHS recording of their wedding and attempted to sell a re-edit and/or conversion to DVD package? The market would be as big/small as your prior clientele, minus divorces and deaths, and I suspect there would be few takers, even in light of the looming demise of VHS. But, a freshly burned and/or edited DVD could make a great, romantic, wedding anniversary gift (particularly from a husband to a wife) and might garner some income during the slow periods. Remember, too, that Valentine's Day is fast approaching, and while flowers are nice, they dry up and eventually end up in the trash. This could be a great, different, and emotion-filled gift after many years of marriage. I wonder if this might be an easy sell to husbands, as it would relieve them of much of the "pressure" of finding a gift.

If none of these ideas make sense, please pardon my ramblings. I'm in an "off mood" today, and am doing some "wishful thinking" (as in "wishing I had more work"), and I have a tendency towards ideas that are bigger but maybe impractical. (Something my family has learned to politely suffer through. Thanks for your patience in doing the same).
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Old January 10th, 2008, 11:52 AM   #42
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never be hesitant to throw out a few ideas on this forum Denis,
that is exactly why we are here, to swap ideas and ultimately reinvent the wheel. Particularly in a post like this.

Earlier I mentioned how I felt the video framegrab would/could someday replace the photos.
Just to clarify, I wasn't talking about now, as the technology currently stands. Even though its technically possible nowadays.

Surely its obvious to most of you that there is a merging of both mediums taking place? Thats exactly whats happening with the release of every new model. I personally think its crazy for anyone not to see the eventual 'priority shift' from the stills camera to the videocamera on the day. Or to argue with myself, even if the stills camera always has the edge over the video cam, its only a matter of time before the video cam reaches acceptable levels for wedding production. I don't believe for one second that 1080p is as far as this thing is going to go.
Sure, there will still be a need for an 'organiser', possibly a better paying role than either photog or videog today!
Apologies for the predicting, Im aware of some other more useful strains within this post taking place.
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Old January 10th, 2008, 01:24 PM   #43
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Photographing an event and videotaping and event are 2 totally different disciplines, and not because video cameras have inferior resolutions. Even if they were equal in pixel count, sensors etc, they are still different beasts with different philosophies.

I am not saying that you cannot get wonderful stills from a videocamera, you obviously can. But lets not go overboard. I think we should respect photographers enough, and be modest enough to know that technology is not what separates a photographer from a videographer.

This is coming from a videographer.
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Old January 10th, 2008, 01:40 PM   #44
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Great opinions, and I like anyone like to hear both sides of the story. It is funny how I as a photographer feel different not protecting my background and some of you as video guys not claiming video can do all. Guess this just shows that it is not a ego thing, but how we feel.

I will say I used to be a huge believer in that you need HUGE files. I always upgraded DSLR's to get the most pixels. I am now shooting with 2 1 the 5D and 1D Mk III. The 5D cost around $2500 and has a 12.8 mp image. The 1D Mk III is a pro camera and cost around $4500 and is only 10.1 MP. Now with both using the same lens, I can not tell a difference in print quality up to size 20X30. The 5D has a larger sensor but the 1D is better built, and mush faster but image quality is undetectable.

I once thought I would be safe putting small images on my website, since you couldnt right click on them to "save as" and they were so small. Well boy was I surprised when a buddy showed up with a really nice 8X10 of one of my images, just to show me it could be done.

I realized then technoligy will always humble me.
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Old January 10th, 2008, 04:15 PM   #45
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Mark, what would you suggest as far as differences in price and options between packages, from the bottom, middle and up to the top? Would you more think if using the example of bottom package is $1800, that the middle package is around $2400? Then $3000 ish for the top package?
Hi Matt,

Options are going to depend on the timeline of the wedding days in your market. In some markets, 6 hours of time is not nearly enough and other markets, 6 hours of time is too much, so it really just depends on the local customs and timeline of the day.

$1800-2400-3000 would be a good place to start. You need to make sure that when the client goes from 1800 to 2400 they are getting a good bang for their buck, but more importantly, you must make sure that you are making a good return on your time for the extra $600. I say that because it is more important for you to make a good return on your time. If you are not making a profit, you will go out of business. That is unless of course you have another source of income.

$1800 should give them just enough coverage time to get the bare minimum. In my market, 4 hours of coverage time will cover the bare minimum. It may be different in your market. Then perhaps $2400 gets them another 2-3 hours of coverage. Just don't give them double the hours and throw in the kitchen sink for an extra $600.
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