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


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Old July 16th, 2008, 09:41 PM   #1
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Do you ever Sell/Give the Raw footage to a client?

I've had people ask if they can have the raw footage. Just wondering what the industry standard is? If you sell it...what do you charge?

Just curious
Thanks!
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Old July 16th, 2008, 09:44 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Kelsey Emuss View Post
I've had people ask if they can have the raw footage. Just wondering what the industry standard is? If you sell it...what do you charge?

Just curious
Thanks!
I've recently begun charging $10 a tape to put raw stuff of Dvd for them but I think I'll be going back to not offering it at all. I really don't like the pressure of knowing that they can possibly see every second of tape. Makes me paranoid about leaving the camera on at the wrong moment or catching a conversation on tape or something.
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Old July 16th, 2008, 09:55 PM   #3
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I didn't used to offer it. Then I started offering the original MiniDV tapes for a flat $50 fee. This coming year I'm adding the option to put all raw footage onto DVD, with a flat fee of around $800-900 (I typically have 8-12 tapes per wedding). The idea is to keep the option available, but make it cost-prohibitive so that most couples don't want it. For those that do, I'm getting compensated for the time.

Nathan, at $10 a tape I think you're REALLY shortchanging yourself. Even if you don't mind making only $10/hr as a skilled professional, it's going to take more than an hour of your time to put a tape onto DVD. Raise your prices and get paid for your skill, my man.
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Old July 16th, 2008, 10:12 PM   #4
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We charge $30NZD/hr footage on DVD, but no one really wants it. In my area, some videographer provide raw footage as part of the package.

Personally, I think only editor would be interested into look at raw footage. For normal customer, when they look at raw footage, they would think "what is that?". One of my friend who received a 3 hr raw footage, she played for 2mins on her DVD player and decided never watch it again.
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Old July 16th, 2008, 10:45 PM   #5
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In a word, no.

Under NO circumstances whatsoever will I sell nor will I give the raw footage to any of my clients. I will never offer it as part of any of my packages, nor do will I ever offer it separately. This is for many reasons, up to and including (but not limited to) copyright, liability, and privacy issues.

I try to make all of my clients fully aware of this; however it's not always easy to do so. I try to explain to all of my clients that when they hire me, they are paying for what I offer. In other words, they are paying me to:

1) be their wedding videographer, and
2) for an edited and completely customized wedding DVD package.

They are NOT paying me for the raw footage which makes up said package, nor will they ever be entitled to it. Period.

I realize that there are other wedding videographers out there who might do things differently than me, but that's okay. That is their decision. However, personally I am very strict about this rule. Written contracts exist for a reason, and this is one of them. By offering raw footage, you are taking a huge risk to your business (for reasons listed above).

Just my two cents.

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Old July 16th, 2008, 10:59 PM   #6
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By offering raw footage, you are taking a huge risk to your business (for reasons listed above).
Just curious what those reasons actually are. I know you listed copyright, liability and privacy ... but in what ways do those become risks to my business? I'd like to hear some specifics.
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Old July 16th, 2008, 11:48 PM   #7
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I didn't used to offer it. Then I started offering the original MiniDV tapes for a flat $50 fee. This coming year I'm adding the option to put all raw footage onto DVD, with a flat fee of around $800-900 (I typically have 8-12 tapes per wedding). The idea is to keep the option available, but make it cost-prohibitive so that most couples don't want it. For those that do, I'm getting compensated for the time.

Nathan, at $10 a tape I think you're REALLY shortchanging yourself. Even if you don't mind making only $10/hr as a skilled professional, it's going to take more than an hour of your time to put a tape onto DVD. Raise your prices and get paid for your skill, my man.
I agree. $10 is just devaluing your time & effort. I have a "no edit" package where I will hand over the footage (burned to DVD-Rs of course... I ALWAYS keep the tape) for $600 (single cam). I am asking $300 for the raw footage if someone wants it AND a actual edit. I figure I want to make it high enough so that .... and i hate to say it..... so that they are reminded of the price gouging some photographers charge for prints later (like my roommates photographer wanted $300 for a single picture 1yr after the wedding....crazy).

And by "reminded" I don't want it to be that negative. But I do want them to have second thoughts, realizing that there is incredible value just in the footage itself.

I have not had any takers yet. My most recent bride's dad is an amateur editor and did inquire about it, but he decided not to purchase it.
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Old July 16th, 2008, 11:51 PM   #8
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Just curious what those reasons actually are. I know you listed copyright, liability and privacy ... but in what ways do those become risks to my business? I'd like to hear some specifics.
I don't actually have any real problems with selling it. Heck... more money for me if they want to try their hand at the edit desk. There are some seconds thoughts because they will see all the other footage and may think less of me..... but honestly, if they are an editor, they will already know what that is like.

I don't think I have too many of those "oops I screwed up and said something bad" moments, and if I do, I would sure as heck cut that scene from the "raw" footage DVDs.
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Old July 17th, 2008, 12:15 AM   #9
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I don't actually have any real problems with selling it. Heck... more money for me if they want to try their hand at the edit desk. There are some seconds thoughts because they will see all the other footage and may think less of me..... but honestly, if they are an editor, they will already know what that is like.

I don't think I have too many of those "oops I screwed up and said something bad" moments, and if I do, I would sure as heck cut that scene from the "raw" footage DVDs.
That was my thought originally. I was storing the original tapes, but had no contract with the client to actually keep them. So I started thinking if a client wants to pay for the tapes that I'm just going to throw away someday, why not? Like someone else said already, the chances of a client actually watching it all or doing anything with it is fairly slim anyways, so unless you've done something illegal or in breech of your contract, I don't see the risk really.
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Old July 17th, 2008, 12:26 AM   #10
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I don't provide my clients with the raw footage - and I don't have it as an option to purchase.

At one stage I did consider it ... after watching through the raw footage from a shoot with some friends. I was amazed at how much they enjoyed watching it - I guess because it was them in the footage and they could giggle at every quirky expression etc ....

Still ... that wasn't enough to convince me to offer it. Less is more in my opinion.

It's similar to a photographer handing over 800 raw images on a CD vs giving the client the absolute best 50 photoshopped images. Some clients will want the images on a disc but I feel you can command a higher price for the latter. Quality vs Quantity.

There something about the 'magic' of the final edit, or a photoshopped image vs raw footage/images. There's a mystery to it - and it's that mystery that should set us apart as professionals. These days, almost anyone with a digital still/video camera can record 8 hours of footage or snap 800 photos and burn it to a disc.

Especially with wedding videography, where the constant question of "Why can't Uncle Harry film my wedding?" is often the bane of our industry, we need to do everything possible to set ourselves apart and demonstrate why Uncle Harry can't do what we do.

Travis - your method of 'keeping the option available, but making it cost-prohibitive so that most couples don't want it' is a good compromise.

One last thought though ... If raw footage wasn't an option on a price-list, how many people would ask for it? By having it as an option on the price-list are people just being encouraged to ask for it? Surely the people who want the raw footage are going to ask for it anyway? If the deciding factor for a bride choosing another videographer over me was because he offers the raw footage and I don't ... I would be questioning whether they were my ideal client in the first place.
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Old July 17th, 2008, 12:41 AM   #11
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I would say basically the same percentage of people express interest in the raw footage whether it was on my price list or not. I think the advantages of having it on there for a substantial fee are these:

- the client feels good that they have the "option" to buy, even if they don't want it
- the substantial fee attaches a higher perceived value to the footage
- in that rare case where someone does want the footage, you get paid well for it

I know there are arguments that giving away the footage is giving away the copyright, and that the client can then do what they want with it. But really, how many of our clients are going to load up 10 hours of footage and edit? I'd say basically zero percent. That will change possibly in the future, as iMovie and similar programs gain popularity, but that's still a ways off.

My wife is a photographer, and she doesn't release the originals because people will then take them to low-quality places to get reprints, and her image suffers as a result. Also, half of her art is in what she does with an image after she has it on her cpu, so she doesn't want to give out all of the original files and have people printing those. She wants to work her magic on anything they want printed.

People are generally quite familiar with photographs and cheap photo-editing applications, or even basic Photoshop skills. The same is not true in the video world. The average person has played with an image on their computer at some point, but they probably haven't done anything with video.

Also, there's very little chance that a video client is going to come back and have to do different edits with the original footage. So there's no return business to lose by selling off the original footage.

All of this is what led me to offering it, but for a decent price.
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Old July 17th, 2008, 01:20 AM   #12
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This is the miracle and the bane of the democratization/commoditization of technology.

When you needed a printing press to create a book, you got fewer books, presumably with better quality because of the threshold they had to cross. When everyone with a computer is a "publisher" you get lots and lots of drivel and maybe a few gems...

When you needed tens of thousands of dolars in equipment in a studio to record and produce an album, you got supergroups and massive sales of albums... Now any teenage dreamer can record his idea of "music"... we all know how that's worked out. Today's "superstar" is some geek on U-Toob (using nauseatingly low quality video no less)who manages to illustrate exactly how talentless he truly is... 15 vaguely "deserved" seconds of fame... makes you wish for the "one hit wonder"...

When a camera was something fairly large and complex to operate, you got fewer images, but better quality... now every Joe, Jane and Harry has a phone with a camera in it... so you get coverage of everything happening everywhere anytime, and mostly looks like poop.

Video is the last bastion to fall... and fall it will. When I can get a higher quality video out of an SR11 than most "pro" cameras could possibly produce 10 years ago...

The one saving grace in all of this is that technology does not replace skill or talent, at least not entirely, but it sure makes it harder to stand out in the crowd...

What does this have to do with providing raw footage? Well, I'd suspect demand for "shoot only" service may become more prevalent, and of course it's going to be important to differentiate the services you offer from "uncle Bob"...
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Old July 17th, 2008, 01:30 AM   #13
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I sell it to them for $1000. They are no use to me cuz i don't like to reuse tapes. I don't worry about liability cuz i am hired to document the wedding so what ever happens there, it ain't my fault. The only think i say before giving it to them is that i shoot to edit. (*___*)
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Old July 17th, 2008, 01:33 AM   #14
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I sell it to them for $1000. They are no use to me cuz i don't like to reuse tapes. I don't worry about liability cuz i am hired to document the wedding so what ever happens there, it ain't my fault. The only think i say before giving it to them is that i shoot to edit. (*___*)
Do you actually get many takers on that, for $1,000? I've been selling my original tapes for $50 flat fee for 2 years, and I've had just one taker so far.
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Old July 17th, 2008, 01:36 AM   #15
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The one saving grace in all of this is that technology does not replace skill or talent, at least not entirely, but it sure makes it harder to stand out in the crowd...
This is where I think the commonplace of video is helping the industry. Because the bride's brother can show up with a videocamera and film the wedding, the "professional" must now offer something better than that. I'm glad I was fortunate to get into the industry after the years of straight-up, non-creative shooting and editing. I don't fault those that did that back in the day, but I sure am glad I'm not stuck doing things that way.
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