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


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Old August 31st, 2008, 07:39 AM   #16
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i do both as well, and one must factor in the time you HAVE to spend with your family.
If you have kids, by the time they go to bed, you may not have the energy to work more at night if you have been busting it all day. I can manage 3-4 weeks per video, and 4-5 days on images. But it is hard to NOT get distracted.
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Old August 31st, 2008, 11:27 AM   #17
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Steve,
Not to start a board war but, you're way off base. The only relation between turn around times and customer service is whether or not the business meets the promised time. To stereotype and imply that people who shoot weddings have no clue about customer service is not only insulting, it's flat out wrong. There are many wedding videographers (a lot here on this forum) that deliver a great product and great customer service. Because you, who doesn't shoot weddings, doesn't like someone's (mine) turn around time doesn't mean they (I) givebad customer service.

How long did people have to wait to get their RED cameras from the time they put deposits down? I suppose in your world, RED should have hired on twice as many employees so there was no wait time. Perhaps they should have done this and charged 35k instead of 17k to cover the costs of the extra labor. How many cameras would they have sold at 35k? Does RED give bad customer service because the have a deposit and wait business model?

Some Ferarris take 18 months from order to delivery, private jets have a very similar delivery time. These are products that are custom built for discerning clients. According to your business concepts, these companies give bad customer service.

Based on your comments, it seems that only wedding videographers who offer same-day edits are giving good customer service.

If I (or any other wedding videographer) were to take my salary and/or profits and use it to expand my staff to shorten turn around times where would it leave me? This is not a charity business, I (as do other wedding videographers) rely on the income from the business to pay mortgages, support families, pay bills, etc.. If wedding videographers aren't allowed support themselves because you (who doesn't shoot weddings) don't agree with their business policies they in effect become slaves.

What I have said and others on this thread have said is it's important to inform customers of turn around times and always meet them - this is good customer service. And, this is the only place where customer service and turn around times are intertwined.

I suggest you go shoot some weddings. I'm sure once you see what's involved and what's reality in runnign a business you'll see things differently.

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Old August 31st, 2008, 02:31 PM   #18
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I'm sorry if you interpretted my comments as insulting, certainly no personal attack was intended. Sorry if you took it that way.

I still maintain that somewhere between 45 and 90 days would be a reasonable turnaround but when you start getting into the neighborhood of 6 months or more - I've even heard some shooters quote as much as a year - you're just not treating the customer very well, not giving enough consideration to their satidfaction. Making sure they're fully informed ahead of time is certainly important but it's just one piece of the big picture.

As for running a business, I spent 20 years in customer service and management in the travel industry and then last 20 years primarily self-employed in the training industry. One doesn't need to shoot weddings to understand what is involved in delivering good customer service in a public contact industry.
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Old August 31st, 2008, 03:27 PM   #19
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Steve,
With all due respect, for a guy who doesn't shoot weddings, you're quick to criticize the way those who do shoot weddings do business.
I have to agree with this. Steve, your opinions are generally appreciated, but I think you should be more careful with forming your opinions before you share them on here. I don't necessarily think you mean any ill will, but I've been a member for a while here and I've noticed that you tend to butt heads a lot with wedding videographers.

Steve, I also agree that you are WAY off base in the assertions you are making against wedding videographers in this thread. Comparing my wedding video timeline to a feature film timeline is just plain ignorant.

My budget for a wedding video might be $2-3k, and I'm basically a 1-man show trying to film and edit an unscripted live event. A feature film can have a budget in the millions or tens of millions, and a working staff of hundreds, and works with a scripted shooting schedule. Attempting to compare the two of these is completely unfair to the wedding videographer.

Your solution to simply hire additional staff to get everything done faster is a great suggestion for the fantasy world that YOU live in. I would love to hire someone to answer my phones, do my accounting, design my promotional materials, meet with potential clients, log and capture tapes, rough cut footage, edit final cuts, shoot quality footage, and so on. But did you even stop for one second to consider the fact that maybe we can't afford to hire people for these positions? My market (and most markets I imagine) don't support much more than $2-3k for a wedding video. Now factor in that each of these markets has a slew of new "flash in the pan" competitors that set up shop every year and completely undercut our prices by 50% or more. This is not an easy business to make a living in, and yes it irks me that you're willing to state that we should all just hire on a full staff, when you yourself have ZERO experience in the field.

I like how you also state that 45-90 days is "reasonable" for a turnaround time. What qualifies you to determine this? You have no experience in the wedding videography industry, so you can't possibly be speaking as a professional. So you must be speaking as a consumer. As a consumer, you don't understand the requirements of the field, so while you may think that 45-90 days is "reasonable", you are incorrect. That is, unless you are willing to pay 2 or 3 times more for your wedding video .. but then, if you're a consumer you won't be willing to do that just to get it faster.


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As for running a business, I spent 20 years in customer service and management in the travel industry and then last 20 years primarily self-employed in the training industry. One doesn't need to shoot weddings to understand what is involved in delivering good customer service in a public contact industry.
Good for you. Just because I have experience with running my wedding videography business doesn't mean I'm prepared to step into a forum for software developers and proceed to tell them how they are running their businesses wrong. I think you DO need to shoot weddings to understand what is involved in delivering good customer service to wedding clients. I work 60-90 hours a week (6-7 days a week) and it can take me anywhere from 2 weeks to 8 months (or more) to complete a client's wedding video. It's utterly insulting to me that you feel I'm providing poor customer service.

To make you happy I would need to hire more people, and thus not make a living and put myself out of business. Or I would need to work 24 hours a day to make sure you got your video within a "reasonable" time.

I'm trying to keep a level head here, but I work my ass off to provide good customer service. Just this week I averaged 10-12 hours a day, and then worked like a dog at a wedding for 12.5 hours yesterday. I can hardly move today I'm so sore, yet here I sit at my computer finishing up a wedding video from June .. and I'll probably be working for another 6-8 hours today. Tomorrow brings a new week and the fun starts all over again. Meanwhile my friends spent yesterday boating or camping or BBQ'ing or whatever, and they're just sitting around chilling and relaxing today. So for you to come on here and say that guys like me aren't doing enough .. well, it pretty much makes me livid.

Before you share your "opinions" with other videographers perhaps you should take a walk in their shoes first.
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Old August 31st, 2008, 05:05 PM   #20
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Typical turnaround time is different depending on the project I'm working on. I can produce Tv commercials in as little as 4 or 5 hours if I'm not required to shoot, but I've also spent upwards of 2 solid weeks working on a single spot. For larger events, it varies just as much. There's a Mixed Martial Arts event that happens once a month in which I'm budgeted for 4 hours. That's 4 billable hours to cover ingestion, editing, rendering, and DVD menus, and authoring. We're obligated to deliver 30 copies on DVD in full-fledged packaging. A third party provides the footage to me. If I'm covering some other type of event by myself, I usually give each client a more customized quote. The longest time frame I've given is something along the lines of 4 or 5 weeks from the date of the shoot.

As far as a 6 month turnaround goes, I would most likely get laughed right out of business, as would my current employer at my day job. The only time I would take things this far would be if I was doing something for an extremely low rate or for charity. Of course, this is all explained to the client before anything happens. If they don't like it, they can cough up for regular rates or find someone else. Most clients are very penny-conscious, and part of the whole game is meeting their deadlines. Sure, I've had my fair share of talking clients down from the more ridiculous requests like "Why can't you just do it all in 3D animation and have it ready for me by tomorrow morning?" But after explaining a little bit about the process and the work that's involved, we can usually reach a halfway decent middle ground. The thing is that clients want to see value come from their spending. Most people simply can't or won't comprehend all the work that goes into a 30-second TV commercial or a 4-hour long formal event. After all, most people see me standing with a camera on a tripod or up on my shoulder. In most cases, I'm stationary while recording, so I'm sure most people think I just kind of stand around. They don't see how I'm framing the shot, adjusting exposure and focus, keeping track of audio levels, and thinking about how to set up the next shot coming up in a minute or so. And they don't care. They just want their DVD, and if I come through, they refer me to their colleagues and business partners. Whoopee for me. If I don't pull it off, well, maybe they'll call those other guys down the road.

However, I'm more inclined to agree with Steve here. Customer service is one of those crucial aspects that seems to be put off to the wayside. Don't get me wrong, I'd love for all of our clients out there to have deeper pockets and a more laid-back and educated opinion of video production, but that's probably not going to happen anytime soon. the analogy using the RED camera doesn't really fit in here. Talking about product development is a whole different ball of wax. Instead, think of something more service oriented. Say you want new cabinets installed in your kitchen. If you called up a carpenter and he told you it would take 6 months to install new cabinets in your kitchen, I bet you'd tell him to be on his way and get on the phone with another carpenter who says he'll have them installed and ready to use within 3 weeks. You can also imagine how difficult it will become for the first carpenter who works on such a drawn out time schedule. I don't believe in the philosophy that "The customer is always right", but they're the ones paying the bills- so we're kind of obligated to meet THEIR needs- not the other way around. Any business that's tried it that way has run into trouble. Look to our own General Motors and Ford for more details.

Everyone's business is a little bit different, and that's a good thing. It gives clients options, and creates a diverse market. A 6-month turnaround time might be a great option if you're charging less than the competition, and it could be a good niche for you. Your market and general area may also have a lot to do with it. I need to be mindful of my turnaround times because I know there are other businesses here in town that can do it just as fast if not faster. Why should someone pay me $3k to record an event and produce a DVD in 6 months when they can go to the other guys, spend the same $3k and get the same end result in 6 weeks?
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Old August 31st, 2008, 05:42 PM   #21
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I have to agree with this. Steve, your opinions are generally appreciated, but I think you should be more careful with forming your opinions before you share them on here. I don't necessarily think you mean any ill will, but I've been a member for a while here and I've noticed that you tend to butt heads a lot with wedding videographers.

Steve, I also agree that you are WAY off base in the assertions you are making against wedding videographers in this thread. Comparing my wedding video timeline to a feature film timeline is just plain ignorant.

My budget for a wedding video might be $2-3k, and I'm basically a 1-man show trying to film and edit an unscripted live event. A feature film can have a budget in the millions or tens of millions, and a working staff of hundreds, and works with a scripted shooting schedule. Attempting to compare the two of these is completely unfair to the wedding videographer.

Your solution to simply hire additional staff to get everything done faster is a great suggestion for the fantasy world that YOU live in. I would love to hire someone to answer my phones, do my accounting, design my promotional materials, meet with potential clients, log and capture tapes, rough cut footage, edit final cuts, shoot quality footage, and so on. But did you even stop for one second to consider the fact that maybe we can't afford to hire people for these positions? My market (and most markets I imagine) don't support much more than $2-3k for a wedding video. Now factor in that each of these markets has a slew of new "flash in the pan" competitors that set up shop every year and completely undercut our prices by 50% or more. This is not an easy business to make a living in, and yes it irks me that you're willing to state that we should all just hire on a full staff, when you yourself have ZERO experience in the field.

I like how you also state that 45-90 days is "reasonable" for a turnaround time. What qualifies you to determine this? You have no experience in the wedding videography industry, so you can't possibly be speaking as a professional. So you must be speaking as a consumer. As a consumer, you don't understand the requirements of the field, so while you may think that 45-90 days is "reasonable", you are incorrect. That is, unless you are willing to pay 2 or 3 times more for your wedding video .. but then, if you're a consumer you won't be willing to do that just to get it faster.




Good for you. Just because I have experience with running my wedding videography business doesn't mean I'm prepared to step into a forum for software developers and proceed to tell them how they are running their businesses wrong. I think you DO need to shoot weddings to understand what is involved in delivering good customer service to wedding clients. I work 60-90 hours a week (6-7 days a week) and it can take me anywhere from 2 weeks to 8 months (or more) to complete a client's wedding video. It's utterly insulting to me that you feel I'm providing poor customer service.

To make you happy I would need to hire more people, and thus not make a living and put myself out of business. Or I would need to work 24 hours a day to make sure you got your video within a "reasonable" time.

I'm trying to keep a level head here, but I work my ass off to provide good customer service. Just this week I averaged 10-12 hours a day, and then worked like a dog at a wedding for 12.5 hours yesterday. I can hardly move today I'm so sore, yet here I sit at my computer finishing up a wedding video from June .. and I'll probably be working for another 6-8 hours today. Tomorrow brings a new week and the fun starts all over again. Meanwhile my friends spent yesterday boating or camping or BBQ'ing or whatever, and they're just sitting around chilling and relaxing today. So for you to come on here and say that guys like me aren't doing enough .. well, it pretty much makes me livid.

Before you share your "opinions" with other videographers perhaps you should take a walk in their shoes first.
Welcome to the world of self-employment - it ain't unique to wedding shooters. My grandaddy used to say that the difference between a career and just another job was 4 hours a day plus a day a week. Whether you're giving good service or not depends on how much longer it will be that the wedding from June will stay in the edit until you deliver it (and I'm assuming here that you are in control of the timing and it's not languishing on the bench because the client is still dawdling about music etc). Late August is certainly not unreasonable for a wedding that shot in June. But if you were just now getting to the edit of one you shot last Fall then I'd say you've taken on too much of a workload to give your customers the personalized and timely attention they deserve, maximum value for the money they're giving you. And I have seen delivery times quoted that are that long. You *could* shoot every day and never deliver the final cut - I think we'd agree that that certainly wouldn't be doing a proper job. So what distinguishes an acceptable delivery time from one that is too long? Your personal workload can't be the sole deciding factor, nor can it be simply the maximum that your customers will tolerate before they stop hiring you. Regardless of the nature of their business, one of the hardest things for freelancers to learn is pace themselves, to decline new work at the point when accepting it would mean we can't do the previously existing work properly. Oh, and leave some time to smell the roses along the way. You don't have to do it all - share the workload with other shooters and raise your rates to compensate <grin>.

Of course I am speaking from the viewpoint of a consumer, as you rightly point out. That's precisely the point and I've made no bones about it. I do understand the difference and I've intentionally chosen to advocate that viewpoint for the purposes of this discussion. That's because for any retail business, the customer's perspective is what must be the prime consideration, the primary focus. Serving their interests, satisfying their desires, is the only reason any consumer business exists. As such, the customer's perspective is the only perspective that matters. They don't adjust their needs to the needs of your business operations. The principles underlying good customer service says you adjust your business to satisfy their pre-existing needs.

I don't mean to tar all wedding shooters with the same brush, just those that approach it half-a***d. IMHO, delivery within 3 months is quite acceptable, 6 months has crossed a line into the realm of less than reasonable customer service, and 1 year is going far beyond the pale. Contrary to the examples in a previous post, wedding video is not the same thing as special ordering a 1-off custom Ferrari, a private jet, or a highly specialized technical product like a RED camera. It's a bread and butter product in a retail consumer industry and the timeliness of delivery, the relative immediacy of the gratification with high quality product, needs to be part of the product and part of the sale.

Part of my "day job" is teaching and consulting on project management - efficient scheduling is a vital skill that can be very difficult to learn and yet is crucial to the success of any project oriented business, such as virtually all media production businesses. Often deciding what not to do is just as important as deciding what you need to do. Oh, and in the past I have also taught customer service soft-skills, FWIW.
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Old August 31st, 2008, 06:09 PM   #22
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I think you will find that many of the videographers here do produce a customer made, one of a kind wedding video for their customers. There are plenty of "point-and-shoot" style videographers out there that meet the quick turn around time if thats what the customer wants.

If you watch the work on may of the people on this forum you will see that the kind of artistry that is required to make these high quality wedding videos takes longer, and customers who appreciate this level of creativity and quality are more than happy to wait a month or two longer for something magic that can last them a lifetime.
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Old August 31st, 2008, 06:38 PM   #23
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The analogy using the RED camera doesn't really fit in here. Talking about product development is a whole different ball of wax. Instead, think of something more service oriented. Say you want new cabinets installed in your kitchen. If you called up a carpenter and he told you it would take 6 months to install new cabinets in your kitchen, I bet you'd tell him to be on his way and get on the phone with another carpenter who says he'll have them installed and ready to use within 3 weeks.
I'm sorry but wedding videography is very much like product development. You don't know exactly how or what you're going to shoot beforehand or how you're going to edit it afterwards. It's a creative process, not just a matter of putting square pegs into square holes. I offer a very personalized product, and that requires a substantial amount of my time. This is what my customers are paying for. They WANT a personalized product, not some run-of-mill video. So in your example with the cabinet maker, no, MY clients would not just run to the next video guy in line who can do it faster, because he won't bring the same level of quality and personalization. You're assuming that those of us that take longer to create a wedding video are doing the same work as the guy that takes 3 weeks. Simply not true.


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Why should someone pay me $3k to record an event and produce a DVD in 6 months when they can go to the other guys, spend the same $3k and get the same end result in 6 weeks?
Because they won't get the same result. That seems to be what some of you are missing here. The REASON it takes us longer to deliver the final product is because we invest so much more time in what we do.

Something else to consider is that the wedding videography business is quite seasonal in many markets. I have generally 3-4 months out of the year where I'm slammed every weekend. I have no choice but to cram all of my shooting into those months because THOSE are the months that brides have mostly chosen to get married in. So you get a ton of worked dumped on you in a very short time, and the rest of the year is fairly dead in terms of shooting. This is when you edit. I also edit during the summer months, but it's much harder to fit in with everything else going on.
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Old August 31st, 2008, 07:18 PM   #24
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I don't mean to tar all wedding shooters with the same brush,
Yet you seem to have no problem repeatedly doing it in multiple ways.


Shawn,
Your analogy of the carpenter and kitchen cabinets is close but not quite complete. In most kitchens, the cabinets are built in a factory and installed by a carpenter on site. However, in some kitchens, specifically in very high end homes, the cabinets are completely custom built build by hand. In these two cases, it would not be unlikely for two carpenters to both offer outstanding customer service and yet work on radically different time schedules.

I was in a house recently that in the entry hall there is a staircase that took over two years to build as part of a 3 year total build. Every rung of the banister is made out of hand-sanded birch limbs. Every step has an ornate pattern of inlaid wood and in the floor of the landing are four portraits of the home owners kids made out of inlaid wood. There are plenty of carpenters who can build a staircase in a day, so using the logic that's being tossed around in this thread, the carpenter that took 2+ years doesn't serve his customers well.

In wedding videography it is uninformed (especially by non-wedding shooters) to make a blanket statement about how long a turn around time should be. As the turn around time has to do with the complexity of the finished product and the market. My market is different than yours or Travis' or anyone else who is not in my area. And, within my area there are different markets too. I see adds on Craig's List for people shooting weddings for $300. and I know others who charge 10k+. The $300 dollar guy can tell his customers, "why wait when you can have your video quick." While the 10k guy's work may look slightly better and take longer to achieve. Their customers are willing to wait for the quality.

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Old August 31st, 2008, 07:25 PM   #25
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Welcome to the world of self-employment - it ain't unique to wedding shooters.
What is it with you and this ostentatious attitude toward wedding videographers?


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So what distinguishes an acceptable delivery time from one that is too long?
It's quite simple actually. Any time period that is within what you specified verbally and in your contract to your client.

If someone finds that unacceptable, they won't sign a contract and won't become a client. Problem solved. If they accept the terms and sign the contract, and then later become unhappy with the timeline, then that is their own fault.

What's funny is probably around 50% of my videos take longer than 3 months to complete, due to the cyclic nature of the wedding season. You say that's not acceptable, but my clients disagree with you. In fact, I have many clients who encourage me to take "as long as I need" because they want the very best. This happened just this past Friday, for the wedding I'm working on right now. The bride called to thank us because we had chocolate-covered strawberries delivered to their room on their honeymoon cruise. Then she said (and repeated) that her and her husband were excited to see the photographs and the video, but were in no hurry, and wanted us to take however long we needed.

So again, YOU may think that 6 months for delivery is too long, but MY clients don't feel that way. You obviously would never be one of my clients .. and I'm okay with that.

Picking some arbitrary date out of your head is not the answer. If I tell my clients that I produce very personalized and customized videos, and I show them my work and it's vastly different from what "One Week Turnaround Productions" offers, and my clients are fine with waiting 6 months for a better product, then that is "acceptable". I don't get why you feel the need to argue on their behalf if they are already happy with me.


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Regardless of the nature of their business, one of the hardest things for freelancers to learn is pace themselves, to decline new work at the point when accepting it would mean we can't do the previously existing work properly.
The more you post the more you show your lack of experience and knowledge of the wedding industry. My "season" is about 3 months long in terms of shooting. I book 90% of my weddings during the summer and fall months (June, July, August). The rest of the year is fairly dead for me. So telling me that I need to learn to pace myself is like telling an eskimo he needs to learn to grow a lawn.

What a wonderful world it would be if I could book 2 weddings every month and pace myself. Sorry, but it just doesn't work that way. Again, you seem to know very little about this business but you're quite eager to give advice on running a successful business in it.


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You don't have to do it all - share the workload with other shooters and raise your rates to compensate <grin>.
What an awesome fantasy world you live in. I already explained that my market (and many markets) will only support $2-3k for a wedding video. I already have to work REALLY hard just to get people sold on the idea of spending that much for a wedding video .. heck, most of them aren't even interested in a video when they start planning.

It's so easy for you to say "Oh, just raise your rates." And when I raise my rates to $5k and go out of business because I only book 5 weddings, are you going to give me some more good advice then?



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Contrary to the examples in a previous post, wedding video is not the same thing as special ordering a 1-off custom Ferrari, a private jet, or a highly specialized technical product like a RED camera. It's a bread and butter product in a retail consumer industry and the timeliness of delivery, the relative immediacy of the gratification with high quality product, needs to be part of the product and part of the sale.
A consumer cannot expect immediate gratification with a high quality product if they aren't willing to pay for it. You really remind me of some of the clients I've turned down in the past. People who wanted the world, wanted it now, and weren't willing to pay for that kind of service. I might as well just respond with, "Sorry, high quality wedding videos don't grow on trees."


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Part of my "day job" is teaching and consulting on project management - efficient scheduling is a vital skill that can be very difficult to learn and yet is crucial to the success of any project oriented business, such as virtually all media production businesses. Often deciding what not to do is just as important as deciding what you need to do. Oh, and in the past I have also taught customer service soft-skills, FWIW.
Well, you know the old saying "Those that teach, teach because they cannot do."

Like I said before, step into the world of wedding videography and open your own business before you start telling videographers that they aren't doing things right.
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Old August 31st, 2008, 10:13 PM   #26
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I think 6 months is realistic as long as the client has agreed with it and your work reflects that its a required time frame.
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Old August 31st, 2008, 10:44 PM   #27
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i'm a videographer and i'm not going to take sides with the debate above.

I believe in customer service and MOST customers are very nice and reasonable.

Speaking for myself, i find editing VERY boring and repeatative. Thats why it takes soooooooo long. (i'm embarressed to admit it but its true. I prefer filming, its quite fun and the day goes quite quickly.

I know a few skilled videographer got burnt out because:

1/ long hours from morning to 12 midnight
2/ and have to spend so many more hours looking at the same footage again you already saw live on the day. (editing)
3/ the pay is not great but i can't complain.
4/ i think the main problem is boredom with editing.

About my previous comment. Lazy is not the right word. Boredom is a more accurate word.

Last edited by Anthony Smith; August 31st, 2008 at 11:35 PM. Reason: add more words
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Old August 31st, 2008, 10:47 PM   #28
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I have read this whole thread and I think the best way to solve it is this:

Steve,
I have to extend a challenge for you. Go find a wedding client. Shoot, Edit, and Deliver that video, and then post that video on vimeo and post a link. Tell us how long it took you, how much money you charged, and how many people worked for you. Tell us weather you paid them a fair wage or if you cheated them out of cash, and tell us how much of a profit you made from that video. Now, here is where the challenge continues.. for how ever long you are working on that wedding video pretend you dont' have a day job. Don't touch that money you make from that other job... can you survive on that amount of money? Don't forget we're going to critique the video to the same detail we critique our friends, and the way you critique our business plans. Will it stand up?

I take 3-4 months to turn around a wedding video. That week of the wedding I turn out a quick 3-5 minute edit just to hold them over until the video is done. I have never had a single person complain, infact the average client appreciates that I don't rush the job, and they understand that I have to work on the videos that I shot before their event before I can work on their video.

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Old September 1st, 2008, 01:45 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by Travis Cossel View Post
I'm sorry but wedding videography is very much like product development. You don't know exactly how or what you're going to shoot beforehand or how you're going to edit it afterwards. It's a creative process, not just a matter of putting square pegs into square holes. I offer a very personalized product, and that requires a substantial amount of my time. This is what my customers are paying for. They WANT a personalized product, not some run-of-mill video. So in your example with the cabinet maker, no, MY clients would not just run to the next video guy in line who can do it faster, because he won't bring the same level of quality and personalization. You're assuming that those of us that take longer to create a wedding video are doing the same work as the guy that takes 3 weeks. Simply not true.

Because they won't get the same result. That seems to be what some of you are missing here. The REASON it takes us longer to deliver the final product is because we invest so much more time in what we do.

Something else to consider is that the wedding videography business is quite seasonal in many markets. I have generally 3-4 months out of the year where I'm slammed every weekend. I have no choice but to cram all of my shooting into those months because THOSE are the months that brides have mostly chosen to get married in. So you get a ton of worked dumped on you in a very short time, and the rest of the year is fairly dead in terms of shooting. This is when you edit. I also edit during the summer months, but it's much harder to fit in with everything else going on.
Sorry, but I think you're trying to compare apples to oranges here. While each wedding is different to a point, I've been to enough to know they share a rather high amount of similarities. The guys that developed the RED camera weren't approached by a couple of people asking if they could create a custom camera specifically for them. They're catering to an industry that has all different kinds of needs from a piece of equipment like that. I would think that product development has a different kind of creative process all together. I have a friend who helps to design cell phones for Motorola, and the amount of creativity involved seems minuscule compared to the amount of engineering involved. But, I'm getting off the topic here.

I can see how my carpenter comparison is a little off, but I think there's a valid point in there to a degree. Of course your clients that you work for didn't go running down the road to the next guy! If they did, they wouldn't be your clients then. But how many people DIDN'T choose you for that reason? That's something you'll never know or be able to measure. I only mention this because it's something that concerns me in my neck of the woods. I do research on the competition in my town and do my best to keep tabs on what they're doing. I know of a few places that will charge the same as I would, only they have more people and equipment. I know other places that consist of just a single person like myself. Our skill levels, in my opinion, are relatively equal. My skills aren't as strong with a camera as the next guy, but I can do things with 3ds Max that the next guy can't. I can edit and color-correct fairly quickly, but maybe not quite as fast as someone else. It all balances out, but the point is that I know that these guys can put something together that looks just as good as something I can put together. Because of that, I don't necessarily have the edge in that category. So I have to put some emphasis on things like customer service and not be blinded by the arrogance in thinking that clients will flock to me because I'm the greatest video producer in all the land.

I'm not trying to put you down or be rude in any way here. The original poster asked what a reasonable turnaround time is, and I gave mine. I'm not making any blanket statements or anything like that. Depending on your clients, their attitudes and their willingness to learn about how we do our jobs for them, its up to us as professionals to be flexible enough to accommodate them. Because if we don't, someone else will, and that's not good for any of us here. How you choose to run your business is up to you, and it seems like you're doing well enough. However, the OP might not be in the same type of situation you're in, and in my opinion, its always good to have multiple viewpoints!
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Old September 1st, 2008, 03:13 AM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shawn McCalip View Post
Sorry, but I think you're trying to compare apples to oranges here. While each wedding is different to a point, I've been to enough to know they share a rather high amount of similarities.
Yes, they have a lot of the same traditional items... and yes that helps us know where to be at the right time. When we talk about creative process here, it pretty much has nothing to do with the fact that a lot of weddings are similar. It has to do with how we present our product. If all we are talking about is simply documenting a wedding and throwing it on a DVD, then I could see how 'creative process' would not matter.

However, we are not 'action news.' Instead we use creative process to give our clients a reason to refer their family and friends back to us.
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