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


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Old September 1st, 2008, 06:29 PM   #46
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Originally Posted by Steve House View Post
You, Travis, and Josh seem to think I have painted all wedding videographers with the same broad negative brush and I have not ... many give their clients excellent product and excellent service. I just don't feel that those who make their clients wait ... and wait ... and wait .... and wait ... and wait, month after month, until they find it convenient to fit finishing the project into their schedule, all the while sitting on the money the client's have already paid, are treating their clients properly. They're putting their own interests ahead of their clients when the key to any business should be that the customer comes first. A 3-month turnaround during the busy season seems reasonable, perhaps less during the off-season. But I've seen people quote norms of 6, 9, or even 12 months and that's just not treating their customers right.
That's all well and true but why post these comments in here when everyone who posts on this forum provides excellent products and clients have great experience?

We know there are people out there that may not offer great service like in any industry including your own. That's why everyone here can excel in their part of the world because we all care about both the client experience and the products we offer and on this forum we share our successes and how we can improve.
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Old September 1st, 2008, 06:42 PM   #47
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Turn around time is what it takes to get it right, and frankly the amount of edit time can vary quite a bit. I'm hoping to get a sort of "cookie cutter" basic package going to meet the bad economy (yep, call it a "Wal Mart" approach, and it does require speed...). Don't call it "art", but it's a wedding video, and I see another esteemed member of the forum contemplating it too, so I guess I'm not being offensive in suggesting it!

It's the old saying, speed, quality, or price... pick two. Usually the client that wants it cheap also wants it fast, and may not be as concerned with quality (thus why they are thrilled when uncle Bob shows up with his shiny new $200 handycam that cost less than my CAMERA CASES). Fact is probably any regular on this forum could churn out stuff like that with their eyes closed and in their sleep... and stilll make Bob look like a piker...

I think the artistic level of production that you see here is probably because of a strong desire to CREATE and deliver stuff that simply moves the client to tears of joy - that's not as easy as churning out boxes of crackers or taking a box off the shelf and handing it to the client.

ALL of us in business have the challenge of meeting our market (in ALL economic conditions), or meeting a bankruptcy judge... or getting a "real job"... We either do it or we don't - I think there's plenty of full timers here (judging from another thread), and I'll go with THEIR opinions of what it takes to meet their market - sure, I think everyone would like to speed up the creative process, but...



Steve, stick to what you know, to put it bluntly. You don't go to the auto mechanic fixing your neighbors car and tell him he's taking too long to do a job you wouldn't know how to do if your life depended on it... You admit your ignorance of the total "picture", but you act as though you are an expert, please do us all a favor and go shoot a couple weddings, then come back and let us all know how it goes - you must have some friend or family member getting married?? You've got the hardware...

Perhaps even better, since you've declared yourself an "expert" in project management, how about doing a process chart to enlighten us?? Figure 1-3 weddings per week during peak periods, NONE the other 30-50% of the time, with a cyclical demand peaking during the summer months, editing 5-10 hours of video, color correcting, rendering, re-rendering, quality checking, re-rendering <wink>, authoring DVD - full menus and chapters of course, prepping DVD and case artwork, burning, printing, packaging... between promotion, client meetings, and having a life.

Oh yeah, forgot about doing a process chart for the shoot... let's try one for one of the first weddings I shot:
If you're lucky you get a general script - probably should squeeze in a trip to the rehearsal, half the party will be late, so lose an hour or two there... next morning, you arrive at the location to shoot the bride, she's not there, because the hairdresser was late, so you go to the church... and wait... and wait... the pastor warned everyone not to be late and is looking to cancel the wedding (hour mass with another right behind it)... you're set up, but realize that you have to take a "potty break"... in the can, you hear a bell ding, and realize... the bride, who just arrived, is sprinting up the aisle with the bouquet she had to go and find because the florist never showed... and you zip and sprint to start the cameras rolling... Wedding ends a half hour late (Father did a hour mass in a record 42.5 minutes) Pack up while your photog is shooting formals while fighting umpteen family members who are P&S'ing the bride to death with cheapo cameras... 100 degree heat, bride doesn't want to shoot any b-roll or artistic stuff, she's drenched and cranky... see ya at the reception in a few hours... OK, fine... show up at the reception just a tad late, since it's obvious the bride and groom won't be there on time... settle in, get gear ready, eat, since there's nothing else to do... 2 1/2 hours later bride and groom, who for unknown reasons went on a trip to a nearby major city (2-3 hour round trip) and got in a car accident along the way... FINALLY show up. Of course there's no co-ordinator, so the reception goes on FOREVER as the band the brides relative hired plays... and plays... and plays...
You're bored stupid, and although the DJ annonced there was a camera set up for well wishes, not a single person in a huge hall even bothered, SO you quick come up with a new interview style, grab an outgoing member of the wedding party and work the room, half of whom don't speak English... but at least you got something in the can to work with! Finally around 11-ish, you start to pack up, since none of the traditional events seems to be anyhere close to happening... WAAAAAIT! Quick do the cake, bouquet, garter, etc... go home around midnight, wondering why you think this is FUN...

Process THAT, and then let us know what a REASONABLE delivery time is... Wedding videography is not for the academic or faint of heart, nor is it anything approaching a "normal" business... did I mention I still think it's FUN??
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Old September 1st, 2008, 06:51 PM   #48
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Steven,
Yes. He goes on an hourly about $1000 per hour with a 5 hour minimum. Average about $10K 6 to 9 months last I heard.
Oh yeah about 20 to 30 gigs a year for 20 years plus. Father of the short form edit. Do the math. An amonoly? Perhaps.
However I don't feel Travis is making your point. Although I respect your expertise in the audio industry I really don't see your point as valid in the wedding industry. Just because it takes a longer time to finish a product doesn't mean poor customer service. If my client KNOWS it going to take X amount of time because of whatever reasons and they are OK with that does that mean I'm slighting them and do other work in front of them? No, it means I have an edit schedule planned out and they fall into that schedule at the appropriate time and place. Do I do other wirk first. You bet and they know it. When I get a call to do a TV show and am gone for a week they know it why? Because I tell them up front BEFORE they sign up that might happen. I tell them upfront BEFORE they sign that I do other work and that if they want ME then the edit schedule is XX. If they want a 1 week turnaround then they go somewhere else. Bless them and all that.
The point is after 37 years in business and 62 on earth I have never been able to equate fast turn around with good customer service. Not in the wedding video or still industry. Sure, breaking action stuff but that's different. In the wedding industry, there are 2 many variables that can preclude one from turning a quality product in 2 or 3 weeks. Would I like too? Of course but as has been pointerd out I work solo. Always have always will. I shoot edit sweep the floors and clean the toilet. I also have a life outside of video. Not much of one but still. I have never had a single complaint about turnaround time EVER because I tell the client what it is and why it is.
I guess the point is you can not equate turnaround time with customer service in the wedding industry. I know some in the biz that can turn it around in 1 week. Of course the work is BAD.
Plain and simple. Not merely acceptable but BAD. That doesn't mean fast is bad or slow is good but the GOOD ones get booked up quick and take all they can so they can make a living and their clients know it.
I'll back out if this discussiobn now as IMO it's going nowhere. It kind of like trying to explain to someone who's never been in a war what it's like to shoot at someone or be shot it. Til you been there there's no explaining it.
I do however take exception to a few things you've said but I will not hold it personally.It just isn't right to make blanket statements. Never say never, never say always!
Don
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Old September 1st, 2008, 07:04 PM   #49
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It kind of like trying to explain to someone who's never been in a war what it's like to shoot at someone or be shot it. Til you been there there's no explaining it.
Spoken like a true veteran. Thanks for your service.
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Old September 2nd, 2008, 03:08 AM   #50
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Originally Posted by Don Bloom View Post
Steven,
Yes. He goes on an hourly about $1000 per hour with a 5 hour minimum. Average about $10K 6 to 9 months last I heard.
Oh yeah about 20 to 30 gigs a year for 20 years plus. Father of the short form edit. Do the math. An amonoly? Perhaps.
Really? those prizes for wedding videography? That would be wishfull thinking here, around these parts he wouldn't even manage to get 1 booking. Think I have to move to another country. :)
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Old September 2nd, 2008, 04:19 AM   #51
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Originally Posted by Dave Blackhurst View Post
...


Steve, stick to what you know, to put it bluntly. You don't go to the auto mechanic fixing your neighbors car and tell him he's taking too long to do a job you wouldn't know how to do if your life depended on it... You admit your ignorance of the total "picture", but you act as though you are an expert, please do us all a favor and go shoot a couple weddings, then come back and let us all know how it goes - you must have some friend or family member getting married?? You've got the hardware...

...??

I am sticking to what I know. You're acting as if there's something special about the wedding videography business that makes it unique in terms of how one should treat one's clients,that it's different from all other service-oriented retail businesses. The talents and skills to produce the product certainly are unique but the principles of good customer service and the business policies that grow out of them are not. They are universal. Customer service is customer service regardless of the product your business produces.
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Old September 2nd, 2008, 05:20 AM   #52
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Originally Posted by Noa Put View Post
Really? those prizes for wedding videography? That would be wishfull thinking here, around these parts he wouldn't even manage to get 1 booking. Think I have to move to another country. :)
I'm willing to bet that there are very few in the country that are charging like that.
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Old September 2nd, 2008, 07:51 AM   #53
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I'm willing to bet that there are very few in the country that are charging like that.
Do you mean in Belgium? if that's the case and if we are talking about weddings I'm willing to sell my house to you if you can't find one (1) videographer located here that charges 1k per hour. :)
the most expensive wedding videographer I know here charges for his camerawork only around 150 dollar per hour and that's considered a lot. he uses a Sony PDW-F355 XDCAM HD Camcorder.
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Old September 2nd, 2008, 09:18 AM   #54
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Can this thread get put back on topic?

The thread is supposed to be about turn around times not customer service. While everything in business is related, for the purpose of this thread if future posts could be just the time and if there's a reason for the time that would be great.

Personally, I found the initial thread interesting to hear what other professionals in other areas do.

Steve,
Since you're such an expert on customer service, perhaps you could start a separate thread to share your knowledge and tell all us wedding shooters that have been in business for years how we're doing everything wrong.
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Old September 2nd, 2008, 09:44 AM   #55
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The thread is supposed to be about turn around times not customer service. While everything in business is related, for the purpose of this thread if future posts could be just the time and if there's a reason for the time that would be great.

...

Timely delivery is part of customer service. The original poster asked what a reasonable turnabround time would be, what turnaround time he ought to quote. What separates a "reasonable" time from an "unreasonable" time? Some of the posts seems to suggest that anything that doesn't cause the customer to walk out the door would be considered reasonable. I think there's more to it than that. Just because you can get away with something doesn't make it the right way to treat people. If you're the only game in town, you might be able to get away with times that would otherwise cause your client to go somewhere else if there was any competition around - that doesn't mean it's okay to take advantage of the fact he's over a barrel and it's your way or the highway. What is so contentious for you about suggesting that actually caring about your customer needs to be part of the decision process? Why is it so disturbing to you that I suggest it might be better to slightly reduce the numer of clients you book in order to prevent the bottle-necks that lead to prolonged delivery times that approach or exceed 6 months?
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Old September 2nd, 2008, 10:57 AM   #56
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Steve,
What you seem to not understand with all your business wisdom is what type of business wedding videography is. You've been implying that all wedding videograpy is only a service business, that all wedding videography is the same and that the videographer the delivers the quickest turn around delivers the best customer service. This is just incorrect.

There are some wedding videographers that deliver "cookie cutter" products and you might be able to make the stretch that this business type is only about customer service and turn around. This is a Jiffy Lube vs. Pep Boys model where all the work is the same and quick turn around is a selling point.

With wedding videograpers that do custom work, the business model is not at all similar to this. The business model is that of an artist. Every artist needs a certain amount of time to complete their work. This amount of time varies with the artist and just because one artists creation time is shorter than the other doesn't make them better or worse than one who takes longer.

When a customer comes to me they are commissioning a one off piece of my artwork. I tell them how long it will take me to complete their commission. The clients who hire me accept this amount of time. The only part of this that has anything to customer service is me completing the best piece of art I can in the time I originally quoted. If I were to miss the quoted time or cut corners to speed it up that would be bad customer service.

As far as taking on less work to speed up turn around times, we have to make a living. In many areas the majority of weddings and social events tend to happen seasonally; northern areas the shooting season is summer, in the south it's winter. While these areas will have the occasional event in the off-season many times these events may not be ones in which custom videography is done. During season, I may be shooting (photo and/or video) 4 days a week. While I'm shooting, I can't be editing. I shoot approx. 20 weddings a year and take up to 6 months to deliver a completed custom video them. If I only did 10 a year and it would let me deliver them in 3 months, I'd have to double my price to financially be in the same spot. I'm not sure I could get ten people to pay double my price. If I tried and didn't get ten, it would leave a gap in my income.

The reason I and others on this tread are so annoyed with you is that you (who is not a professional wedding videographer) keep telling us what a reasonable turn around time is and that those who are not meeting what you think is proper turn around are delivering poor customer service. This is just downright misinformed and insulting.
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Old September 2nd, 2008, 11:07 AM   #57
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My turn around time for video is 60 days for photography 90 days. We give clients the Digital Negatives, 2 weeks after the shoot, we choose the pictures that goes into the album. If they want a particular picture they can print them from the negatives, saves us the time from fickle minded brides.
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Old September 2nd, 2008, 01:38 PM   #58
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What separates a "reasonable" time from an "unreasonable" time? Some of the posts seems to suggest that anything that doesn't cause the customer to walk out the door would be considered reasonable. I think there's more to it than that.
I haven't seen a single post that said that. If you have, please quote it the next time you decide to make an accusation like this. I've already stated what is "reasonable". What's reasonable is for me to figure out how long it will take me to create the type of product that I want to sell to my client, and then inform my client of that timeline, and then meet that deadline and make my client happy. ONE MORE TIME .. I put this question to you .. if my customers are more than happy to wait 6 months for a personalized and customized product, then how is that poor customer service? Please, just answer the questions for once.


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Originally Posted by Steve House View Post
What is so contentious for you about suggesting that actually caring about your customer needs to be part of the decision process?
Why do you insist on continually insulting us? You keep assuming that we don't care about our customers because we take 6 months to finish their videos. PLEASE go read the reviews on my website and then come back and tell me if you think I don't care about my customers, and tell me if you think they are unhappy that their video took 6 months to complete. You continue to speak from inexperience and you're ruining any reputation you have left.


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Originally Posted by Steve House View Post
Why is it so disturbing to you that I suggest it might be better to slightly reduce the numer of clients you book in order to prevent the bottle-necks that lead to prolonged delivery times that approach or exceed 6 months?
Because you obviously don't understand that 99% of us aren't in a position where we can take less work and charge more. The fact that you don't understand this, or refuse to believe it, is what is really getting some of us upset. You have NO EXPERIENCE in this industry and yet you're trying to tell us all what we should be doing. How do YOU not see how that would be disturbing to US?
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Old September 2nd, 2008, 01:44 PM   #59
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Do you mean in Belgium? if that's the case and if we are talking about weddings I'm willing to sell my house to you if you can't find one (1) videographer located here that charges 1k per hour. :)
the most expensive wedding videographer I know here charges for his camerawork only around 150 dollar per hour and that's considered a lot. he uses a Sony PDW-F355 XDCAM HD Camcorder.
No, he meant in the US. I'd bet the average wedding video sale in the US is around $1,000-$2,000.
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Old September 2nd, 2008, 03:10 PM   #60
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Wow this thread is interesting...anyways my turnaround time is about 60 days but I let clients fully know that it could take as long as 3 months.

On a more important note: I believe (and I think all wedding videographers will agree) that it is our customer service that keeps us in business and helps it grow each and every year. I can't tell you how many referrals I get from people that are so happy to work with a professional that is UP FRONT and honest about his work. In all reality the bride and groom are putting their full trust in you that you will make a work of art out of their wedding day, and if you break that trust or continue to do so you will not be in business very long. So to put us down by saying we are not customer service oriented is just a load of bull and I take offense to it.

Last edited by Kale Fitch; September 2nd, 2008 at 11:23 PM. Reason: inappropriate comment
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