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


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Old August 29th, 2008, 10:37 PM   #1
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Turnaround Time?

What is your turn around time for Video. With photography I can have the wedding images ready in a week but tell the customer 3-4 weeks, and before you say its easy, just burn to Disk, its not that easy.
I shoot raw so I have to color correct, convert touch up, crop, vingette every image (700-900) However I have been doing it so long I am really fast.

Video is much longer, partially because I am so busy during the summer, but also because the edit time is so long. I have fixed the capture problems so my video and audio are synced up and knock on wood, only taking one capture attempt per tape. Was a nightmare when that part didnt go smooth.

I am around 60 days to finished product for video, is this reasonable or do I need to get quicker?
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Old August 30th, 2008, 12:17 AM   #2
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I would say 2 months is reasonable. I know some that have 6 month turn around.
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Old August 30th, 2008, 12:22 AM   #3
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I would say 2 months is reasonable. I know some that have 6 month turn around.
Thanks Tim, I have learned to give myself some room, its easy to say its done early, and nothing good comes when its late.
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Old August 30th, 2008, 07:35 AM   #4
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I agree. 60 day turnaround is not at all unreasonable. I generally try to turnaround in 60 days, not always possible, but I try even though I tell the client much longer. I do more than weddings so I need to CYA besides, its better to under-promise and over deliver than the other way around.

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Old August 30th, 2008, 07:39 AM   #5
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I've been using a 30-90 time frame. But for 09' I will probably bump it up to 120 day's since I also do other work like, Bday's, Commercials, Sports etc..
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Old August 30th, 2008, 08:34 AM   #6
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I've been using a 30-90 time frame. But for 09' I will probably bump it up to 120 day's since I also do other work like, Bday's, Commercials, Sports etc..
I have to offer a contrarian opinion. I don't do weddings but I spent a lot of years in customer service oriented industries. 6 months delivery time is far, far too long. Why should weddings be back-burnered to your other shoots or for that matter your "day-job" if you're not in it full-time? Is Bob & Mary's wedding less important than Fred's birthday or an ad for a local business or a high school football game? I don't think so. Once you shoot the day, that product has to become priority one over any new business that comes through your door. Until it's delivered to the client, that project needs to be the only project on your plate (allowing, of course, for the fact that it's reasonable to que it at the end of the line following any other jobs shot earlier that are still in-house). My gut feeling as to a reasonable time? How many hours/days of steady work does it take you to have the product ready for delivery to the client after you first sit down at the editing bench with the camera raw footage? Add a 30% contingency. Add to that the waiting time before the edit cames up in the que while previously shot work is being completed. The result should be your promised delivery time. Under no circumstances should any new shoots coming into the edit after the date of the wedding in question jump the que to be worked before it's done. Just from the viewpoint of a reasonable customer expectation, I would say that in no circumstances should that be allowed to stretch beyond 90 days following the wedding, 30 to 60 days would be even better if you can pull it off. Much beyond 90 days and the excitement of the day is fading as the routine of everyday life takes hold - from a customer satisfaction standpoint you want to deliver while they're still riding that wave of emotions. If you can't handle the volume of business that you're generating while preserving timely turnaround times you really only have two options; a. expand your staff and facilities so you can handle more jobs at once, or b. turn down the business that would overload your capacity. 120 days and you're starting to get into territory where some of your couples will be getting divorced before you finish the video <grin>.
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Old August 30th, 2008, 09:12 AM   #7
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I shoot weddings (full time), both photo and video. Like Denny, I get proofs to the client both online and printed within 3 weeks. I offer two video options one delivery is 6 weeks + or - the other is 4-6 months. On the photo side, a good album takes 4 months. Call me slow but, this is how long it takes me (us) to deliver a product that meets my standards.

Steve, one thing to note is that in many areas, weddings are a seasonal business. Because of this photographers/videographers spend the season shooting and have a limited time at that point to edit. Then in the off season it's full-time editing. I know a lot of guys who work this way.

Also, one of the most important thing to keep in mind on this subject is to be honest, keep your customers informed and stick to your promised time no matter what it is.

-JL
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Old August 30th, 2008, 10:52 AM   #8
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I do 50 to 60 weddings a year as well as other work and it's not a matter of priorities (well it is too a point-a 2 day seminar might need to be turned in a week or less) but in some cases you might have to wait for materials from the B&G although I make it very clear that they need to have any materials I need from them BEFORE the wedding or at least by the day of. I have found that when they forget and tell you they'll get it to you "right after they get back from the honeymoon" it never or rarely happens. IF it get's to that point the edit is still done as far as I can and then it's put on the back burner until I receive the materials. Fortunately it doesn't happen often to me and after a short time I simply tell them I will not include the materials in the finished product unless they have it to me by...(put in date). I've never had a couple get mad about that-they know they've 'slacked off' and 99.9% of those that I have this problem with understand and are fine with the results.
I really don't think 4 to 6 months for photo albums is unreasonable. Every photog I know that produces albums is in about the same timeframe.

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Old August 30th, 2008, 12:15 PM   #9
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I shoot weddings (full time), both photo and video. Like Denny, I get proofs to the client both online and printed within 3 weeks. I offer two video options one delivery is 6 weeks + or - the other is 4-6 months. On the photo side, a good album takes 4 months. Call me slow but, this is how long it takes me (us) to deliver a product that meets my standards.

Steve, one thing to note is that in many areas, weddings are a seasonal business. Because of this photographers/videographers spend the season shooting and have a limited time at that point to edit. Then in the off season it's full-time editing. I know a lot of guys who work this way.

Also, one of the most important thing to keep in mind on this subject is to be honest, keep your customers informed and stick to your promised time no matter what it is.

-JL
The point I'm trying to make is that with any service oriented retail business it is not up to the customer to adjust their expectations to fit around our business needs, it is up to us to organize our businesses so that we can best fulfill their desires and meet their expectations. When push comes to shove, the customer is in charge and the only reason our business exists is to meet their desires. I forget who it was that said it, but a retailing pioneer has been quoted as saying that successful businesses are built on the idea that "The customer is not an interruption to our business, the customer IS our business." Of course the wedding business is seasonal, but as far as the customer is concerned there's only one wedding that season - theirs. Think about how long after the wedding your clients are going to be itching to relive the day. Put yourself into their minds and try to get in touch with what reasonable delivery time THEY would feel constitutes outstanding customer service and then only accept the amount of work that allows you to deliver within that time frame. If there are so many weddings going on that there's no time to edit as you go, rather than deferring the edits until after the shooting season I'd suggest thinking of partnering with someone and hiring staff so you have one or more people doing editing full time while the other does shooting full time, hiring staff assistants to do the tape logging and ingest, that sort of thing. Don't accept work that would extend those times until you have been able to expand your staffing and/or improve your operational efficiency so that you can handle the increased workload without lengthing the turn-around time required for each job. 6 month delivery times? Heck, some full-length theatrical feature films are shot and edited in less time than that.
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Old August 30th, 2008, 12:23 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Josh Laronge View Post
I shoot weddings (full time), both photo and video. Like Denny, I get proofs to the client both online and printed within 3 weeks. I offer two video options one delivery is 6 weeks + or - the other is 4-6 months. On the photo side, a good album takes 4 months. Call me slow but, this is how long it takes me (us) to deliver a product that meets my standards.

Steve, one thing to note is that in many areas, weddings are a seasonal business. Because of this photographers/videographers spend the season shooting and have a limited time at that point to edit. Then in the off season it's full-time editing. I know a lot of guys who work this way.

Also, one of the most important thing to keep in mind on this subject is to be honest, keep your customers informed and stick to your promised time no matter what it is.

-JL
i don't believe 4-6 months for video. 4 months for album. We are just too lazy or don't have the time me included.

How many hours does 1 album take? i'm guessing about over 5 hours = 1 day max. (just guessing, sorry if i'm wrong).
How many hours does video editing take? over 20 or 30 hours = a few days.
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Old August 30th, 2008, 02:12 PM   #11
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i don't believe 4-6 months for video. 4 months for album. We are just too lazy or don't have the time me included.

How many hours does 1 album take? i'm guessing about over 5 hours = 1 day max. (just guessing, sorry if i'm wrong).
How many hours does video editing take? over 20 or 30 hours = a few days.
while I can't speak for photogs 4 or 5 months is from proofs posting until the people get the choice back to the photog to design the album. In my area it seems to be pretty much the norm.
As for only taking 20 to 30 hours to edit, while that might be right (not counting load inor digitizing time or possibly authoring or burning/printing the finished product) take in to account that many of do more than 1 or 2 events a month plus other work. For example, between the 3rd week of August and the end of September I have on the books 14 weddings, numerous days of AV work and 3 1 day seminars of camera work. Also take into account I sleep ;-) (at least some). Point is I edit in the order that things were shot but do 2 weddings on a weekend and dothat every weekend for a month. 8 weddings. Let's say 1 week to load,edit, author, burn and print. Now you've got 8 weeks of edit work hence an 8 week delivery IF you do nothing or very little else.
Hey I'm not complaining nor am I defending the 6 month turn. Way too much IMO but to each his/her own.
I've always believed that if you infom the client ahead of time that the turnaround time is 8 weeks and stick to it, clients understand and are OK with it.Just make sure you do what you say you're going to do.
Anyway I gotta go do another wedding-#2 of the weekend and a late one at that. Tomorrow, I'll edit!
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Old August 30th, 2008, 02:23 PM   #12
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Really glad I found this thread. I asked one of my competitors about turn around time, he said he could do it in 8 - 10 hours using a xl1 for playback. Being fairly new to the industry I thought I was either doing something wrong or wasting a lot of time polishing the clips. As of now I use FCP-6, log & capture, color correct then burn on DVD Studio Pro. Our Sept. 08 weddings wont be finished until Jan. 09.

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Old August 30th, 2008, 03:21 PM   #13
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I have to say fellas that I am also in the boat of "why does it have to take so long" My company does Video/Photo & We typically have video albums and everything turned in 6 weeks max. The problem with anyone taking 6 months to deliver a project simple. They take on more work than they can handle, and don't know when to say no. At the point that projects are even approaching 6 months you should have help because it has outgrown you. I am not faced with that choice as of yet, but I can hope that by the time I am, I will have the wherewithall to turn down those things that I can't handle. Now, granted, I prioritize my projects by time, but if I have to work on this from 8 in the morning until midnight I do it. My wife in the photo side used to wait for bride picks on albums and we had some that were a year beofre they chose their album. We have started to design their albums for them and then let them make adjustments as needed. As of this year we are delivering everything well within 6 weeks, and thus are flush with happy brides... Anyway, this is a great discussion and I hope it continues as it has without heat.
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Old August 30th, 2008, 03:22 PM   #14
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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.

You say, "The point I'm trying to make is that with any service oriented retail business it is not up to the customer to adjust their expectations to fit around our business needs, it is up to us to organize our businesses so that we can best fulfill their desires and meet their expectations."

My customers are made fully aware of my production times of all my offerings before they ever see a contract, it's in my sales literature. The production times I tell my customers become their expectations. I strive to always meet or exceed all my customer expectations of all types.

Then you say, "If there are so many weddings going on that there's no time to edit as you go, rather than deferring the edits until after the shooting season I'd suggest thinking of partnering with someone and hiring staff so you have one or more people doing editing full time while the other does shooting full time, hiring staff assistants to do the tape logging and ingest, that sort of thing. Don't accept work that would extend those times until you have been able to expand your staffing and/or improve your operational efficiency so that you can handle the increased workload without lengthing the turn-around time required for each job. 6 month delivery times? Heck, some full-length theatrical feature films are shot and edited in less time than that." Again, you're quick to make suggestions and criticism about something in which you do not know the whole story. Sure I could hire 5 more people and turn weddings around in a week or two but at what cost? Beyond salaries, equipment, software and extra rent of a larger space, there's a quality control factor, a management factor and more. Additionally, how much more would I have to charge to cover the expenses. And, full-length features that are shot and edited in less than 6 months have a much larger budget then what my customers pay for the product I provide. If I add on the additional expenses to reduce turn-around times and then double my prices to cover those expenses how many customers will I lose on price?

I run a small boutique photography and video business with a small staff. This is what I'm comfortable doing and I seem to be successful at doing it. I don't want to be a large production. I meet with all my customers personally at all steps of the process. I put my touch on all the products I deliver. Others do it differently and one way isn't necessarily better than the other.

Anthony, it has nothing to do with laziness and it's over simplifying things to just through out hours. That assumes that only one project and only one project gets worked on at a time. An album can range from 1-2hours for a simple one pic per page album to 50+ for a large complicated storybook. I'm working on one now that is 16"x20" in size and has 180 pages over two volumes. Each page is designed by hand (no templates) and has lots of fades, etc. How many hours should it take? And, then there are customer changes too. If the customer takes a week or more to respond (not uncommon) that adds time to the total. Additionally, the album binding houses typically take 4-6 weeks to print and bind the physical book.

It takes me 40-60 hours to deliver an edited video I'm proud to deliver. While I'm sure there are people who are faster and better, for me, it is what it is. I've been at this full-time for a long time. I usually get an email or letter from every customer praising my work. I must me doing something right. Perhaps things in Ontario or Australia are different than in Palm Beach.

--JL
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Old August 31st, 2008, 07:34 AM   #15
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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.

You say, "The point I'm trying to make is that with any service oriented retail business it is not up to the customer to adjust their expectations to fit around our business needs, it is up to us to organize our businesses so that we can best fulfill their desires and meet their expectations."

My customers are made fully aware of my production times of all my offerings before they ever see a contract, it's in my sales literature. The production times I tell my customers become their expectations. I strive to always meet or exceed all my customer expectations of all types.

..
You make my point, putting the cart before the horse. You have set up the way you'll do business for your benefit and convenience and then expect your customers to adjust their expectations accordingly. I suggest that any retail business, especially a business selling a service, does a better job by reversing that process. Your customers already have needs and expectations before they ever come to you - the most effective marketing principles suggest that it is up to you to first understand what will best serve the customer - their interests, not yours - and then to organize your business so that you are best able to meet those needs. Your profit is your reward for being able to do that successfully.

It's not meant as a criticism of people who shoot weddings, per se. But the last few decades have seen a tremendous decline in the number of businesses large and small who actually have a clue about what "customer service" actually means and it is a criticism of the general business trend that says the customer needs to adjust their expectations to the needs of our profitability.
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