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


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Old May 19th, 2008, 11:10 AM   #1
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Should I pay second shooter? Need help A.S.A.P.!!!

Hello all,

This past May 10th I hired my friend (a ten year vet) to be my second shooter at a huge 250 guest wedding. We agreed he would be paid pro money, $35 an hour for ten hours and would recive half on day of event and the rest a week later. This was our first time working together and his demo reel was good.
Day of the wedding I hand him four tapes and say "Shoot,Shoot,Shoot" everything. End of the night he passes back my tapes and we go on our merry way. A few days later I begin capturing his tapes and find that he shot 2 hours and 10 minutes of footage, in which he missed many shots or had out of focus footage. He missed the bride and groom enterance at the reception!!!
Now mind you I shot almost 4 hours of video and most of that time i would happen to look over at him with his PD-170 up to his eye and headphones on, he must be recording right??? Wrong:(

So to make a long hellish story short. What would you guys do? Pay the $200 bucks that I have'nt payed him or pay him what I think his footage is worth. Because I feel he was not working. The bride wanted a to camera shoot a got 1 1/2..

Whats the professional thing to do??
I hired a pro and got an amateur!!!

Hersch
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Old May 19th, 2008, 11:24 AM   #2
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Well, I would definately have a conversation with him about the problem. Have him come by your place and look at the footage and ask him t oexplain what happened. Then you can come to a settlement with him.
I would tell him the since the footage is out of focus and shots were missing that you can't pay hime the amount you talked about since you didn't get what you had told him to get.
It's a tough position to be in as you don't want to ruin your reputation either but when you bring someone on that you've never worked with before it's always a gamble.
Good luck

Don
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Old May 19th, 2008, 12:02 PM   #3
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If this was your first job together I'd have said you should have done this one at a reduced rate, then sat down and discussed what you did/didn't like about his shots then build on it from there.

You agreed a price before, so I'd say you have to honour that. Did you spend time with him to walk him through your gear?
That said, I would then say in a nice/constructive way to him what you thought could be improved upon for next time.
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Old May 19th, 2008, 12:06 PM   #4
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Sloppy!

I guess it comes down to whether he's more of a friend or more of a hired help. I wouldn't screw a friend, they're more important than a little money, not to mention you agreed on something and it's not good publicity to go back on it. Pay him, but have a little chat about what you expect if he ever works for you again.
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Old May 19th, 2008, 12:20 PM   #5
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Unless your conversation included instructions as to specific shots he was assigned to get, activities he was expected to cover, or the quantity of footage he was to shoot, you are basically obligated to pay him the full, agreed upon amount. It would be argued that absent specific instructions he couldn't be expected to be a mind reader as to what you had in mind for him to do. Your option now is to decide whether or not to use him again. If you do decide to use him again, you need to have a chat as to your performance expectations. But as long as he stayed on the job and you didn't pull the plug on him and send him home halfway, you owe him the full amount. Just because you handed him 4 tapes and said "Shoot" doesn't mean he knew he was expected to fill them up unless you explicitly told him to. With very rare exceptions the stance of "I'm not paying you [all or some] because your work doesn't meet my standards" doesn't fly. A judge would say you should have done a better job of screening him before hiring him as well as more closely supervising him and monitoring his performance throughout the day so you'd have time to take corrective action if needed.
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Old May 19th, 2008, 04:17 PM   #6
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My unprofessional opinion is that your contracted him for X hours of work, not X hours of usable footage. Even if he had ruined 100% of the footage, if you contracted him as a hourly employee, you owe him the salary.
strictly my opinion.
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Old May 19th, 2008, 05:08 PM   #7
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I think

I think you should punch him in the face and then give him his money......hehe

I agree with paying him the rest of the money but that doesn't mean the guy has any excuses for what he did. yes, he was going to be pay by an hour rate but to do a job and the job was to shoot a wedding. If he says he is wedding videographer and is even charging pro rates he should know he has to get the bride and groom and at least be in focus...don't you think?

an option I see is to bringing over, show him the footage and talk to him in a good manner, maybe he'll see his mistakes, be humble and agree with receiving less money. but go thinking that you have to pay the rest jut in case.
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Old May 19th, 2008, 05:18 PM   #8
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2nd camera man

I believe mister house is right,if previous standards of what should be shot
were not disgusted then the set price should be paid. Contracts in writing for
who what were when and how are critical in the wedding business
good luck thats a tuff one.
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Old May 19th, 2008, 05:38 PM   #9
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I hired two camera operators for a three camera shoot and had a similar problem with footage from one camera. Hardly any of it was usable. I paid him and put it down to experience. He had been recommended - I'll be more careful next time.
My bet is that legally you don't have a leg to stand on for reasons stated in other posts and you should pay him the balance.
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Old May 19th, 2008, 07:26 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Allen Plowman View Post
My unprofessional opinion is that your contracted him for X hours of work, not X hours of usable footage. Even if he had ruined 100% of the footage, if you contracted him as a hourly employee, you owe him the salary.
strictly my opinion.
I agree. It may well stink, but you must observe the terms of your original agreement. I had a similar situation a couple of years ago. Camera person convinced me he knew what he was doing. turns out he didn't know what a ND filter was, and had it turned on for interior recording. He ended up boosting gain to +30db. Took me the better part of a week to work around his bad reception footage!

Next time ...
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Old May 21st, 2008, 05:08 PM   #11
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you should pay him because you already made the agreement, just dont hire him next time.
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Old May 22nd, 2008, 01:24 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alastair Brown View Post
If this was your first job together I'd have said you should have done this one at a reduced rate,.....
Not that this is any help or anything, but in my area $35 an hour for 10 hours is unheard of for anyone who is a well accomplished shooter & would be considered a much reduced rate to begin with. That would be considered close to training pay out here. I understand it's always going to be a regional thing but always notice these things in posts.
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Old May 22nd, 2008, 09:28 AM   #13
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First, $35/hr for 10hr is on the very low end of a seasoned shooter WITHOUT gear. Many freelancers actually want 9 hours with a paid 1 hour lunch. You did supply food and breaks for you worker, right? Anyhow, you both agreed on price so let's move on to the issue.

I would sit the shooter down with a cup of coffee and the footage and professionally talk over the issues you have with his work and find what he thinks is fair. You might be able to work something out as gentlemen that is fair for both parties.

Do you have anything in writing? If not, you will have to pay him. Consider it as "Unexpected Business Awareness Training Session" and call it a day.
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Old May 22nd, 2008, 10:23 AM   #14
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Communication is the key, to just about everything. I would bring him in, look at the footage and ask him if there were any problems with the gear (focus issues etc) and have an open and frank discussion with him. He is your friend, right? You two should be able to talk about what was expected and what was received, and if not I would re-evaluate your "friendship."
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Old May 22nd, 2008, 06:55 PM   #15
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I agree with the majority. You hired him at $35/hr regardless of what "quality" his footage was. Think of it this way...if you had looked at the footage and it was PHENOMENAL would you offer to pay him more? Not likely.

BUT...don't hire him again!
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