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


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Old December 17th, 2008, 02:12 AM   #1
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Unlimited Hourly Wedding Day Coverage

I've only done weddings by the hour. I feel that I should be paid for the time that I am there. Those of you that have a package that is "Unlimited Hourly Wedding Day Coverage", how does this workout for you? When do you leave? Do you get stuck doing a 15 hour day? And if you do get a really long day, like 15+, how much of it are you actually recording?
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Old December 17th, 2008, 07:40 AM   #2
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I feel that I should be paid for the time that I am there.
I wholeheartedly agree. I think the key to not getting sucked into an endless day is preparation and communication with the client and making sure that their expectations are correct. If you know the anticipated start and end time of the event, you can generate a good price based upon your hourly rate. You can confirm to the B&G that your proposal includes X hours of shooting and that anything more than that will have to be specifically requested by them and will result in "extras" on the bill. I'm being blunt here and of course you want to smooth out how this is presented.

Again, the key is to properly set expectations for the client and also set limits on the amount of time you're available to shoot. This should help you and keep you from feeling like your the DP on Taylor Hackford airline commercial shoot. (Long story behind that one.)
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Old December 17th, 2008, 08:20 AM   #3
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I offer a level of service that includes unlimited "day of" coverage. I go back-and-forth about this as its my most popular offering. My gigs usually end up being about 10 hours. I had one that went 14 hours but I've had a couple that were 8-9 too. I price this package about $400 over an 8 hour package. I've found that clients like the idea of not worrying about overtime or something being missed. After the formal events (cake, bouquet, etc.) we wind down how much we shoot but, if the subject is good we shoot it.

I really take a win some, lose some approach to this (most accountants and business people will thrash me for this) but, in 3+ years of video and 15+ years of doing stills this way, it seems to be working for me and my market.
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Old December 17th, 2008, 08:43 AM   #4
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I always say unlimited in my shoot, the market I work with seems uncomfortable paying on a per/hour basis. I just look at it this way the $ 1000 I earn in one day, beats what I earn in one week from my regular job.
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Old December 17th, 2008, 08:54 AM   #5
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I have a fixed price for a 10 hour package and everything extra is charged per hour, in that way they don't let me stay longer then needed.
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Old December 17th, 2008, 11:33 AM   #6
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I just got a call requesting 12 hour coverage with 2 cameras plus all the trimmings. I don't know about you, but this is not a wedding I want to shoot and edit. I know my limits (having done this for 20 years). In the past, it was the limitation of heavy equipment and the physical toll it takes on my body. Now its also a matter of the creativity drain of putting together a story that should be more of a mini-series.

I've already been suckered into a full-day (and then some) shoot in Hawaii when I was asked to stay until 4am to get the B&G leaving the dance floor (and their increasingly drunken friends). Let me tell you that the last 3 hours was worth 5 minutes of quality footage.

To each their own. But in this market with the sheer number of 'ethnic' weddings (most of which are full-day plus affairs), I can easily see myself stuck in a 8am-midnight event (but I'm sure they'll be nice and provide dinner). Your mileage may vary.
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Old December 17th, 2008, 04:41 PM   #7
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I was asked to stay until 4am
I never stay later then 01:00, I make that very clear to them, if they don't like that they can find someone else. In the past I had a one price full day coverage but when it's 01:00 they often asked if I could stay a bit longer because someone was planning a surprise, only they did not know when, and since they knew i wasn't charging extra for it...

then I changed my packages and since they have pay for every extra hour above 10 I almost never have to stay longer then 30 minutes after the first dance. :)
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Old December 17th, 2008, 05:01 PM   #8
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There is a guy in this area who markets himself as having no time limits. I find that absurd (but whatever works for him, I guess). What I have a hard time comprehending is how someone will work 5 hours or 13 for the same amount.

WHAT?

I charge by the hour. Four, six or eight hours. Time starts 45 minutes before the ceremony begins. This way I'm not anchored at the place all night.
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Old December 17th, 2008, 05:50 PM   #9
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I only have set packages but as long as you cover yourself it's great clients are happy they don't have to worry about how long your there for they already know and stated in your contract if you go over that time it's X amount
I personally don't think there is any difference if you have to stay an extra 15m to 20min would you charge them for it i know i wouldn't because making an extra $50 to $100 could upset the clients which in return NO referrals

On average it's 12hours i am on the road i also know how many tapes i am going to use on the day and i also know how long it will take for editing so i put my price together and we are all happy

99% of jobs are quoted from corporate to events what ever. People like to know up front what there up for

Rob.
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Old December 17th, 2008, 08:18 PM   #10
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I never stay later then 01:00, I make that very clear to them, if they don't like that they can find someone else.
My policy is pretty much the same, but when you've been flown out to Hawaii to shoot a hugely expensive wedding (2 day Indian wedding) and the coordinator begs you to stay....and you need to make a good impression on her, well, I sucked up my pride, downed 2 more coffees and enjoyed some sweets while 'pretending' to shoot the 3rd hour of repetitive dancing.

It wasn't an issue of money at that point...I was the walking dead with a 15 pound camera on my shoulder and a frown on my face. For that reason alone, I wouldn't consider any 'unlimited hours'...ever!
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Old December 17th, 2008, 10:35 PM   #11
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We have one package that is Unlimited* coverage and we are careful to explain that to us that means 15 hours, as that is the most we can do and still keep the quality up. We do a good percentage of weddings every year for our upper packages that are 15 hours and some even go a 16th. Be careful to say unlimited in any package, no matter the over price, without saying somewhere what that means. We shot a Greek wedding this year that ended up going a total of 19 hours straight - we filmed until 4 am - but from 15 hours onward it was overtime for all 4 of us. What a long day.

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Old December 18th, 2008, 01:28 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Tim Harjo View Post
I've only done weddings by the hour. I feel that I should be paid for the time that I am there. Those of you that have a package that is "Unlimited Hourly Wedding Day Coverage", how does this workout for you? When do you leave? Do you get stuck doing a 15 hour day? And if you do get a really long day, like 15+, how much of it are you actually recording?
Our market is a bit different than other markets. Very depressed. Video is still a novelty. I decided that having an hourly rate scares people away and prohibits me from getting the shots I want to get. If I want to do the neat prep shots, then I cannot tack on hourly rates beyond the usual 8 hours.

I think, and I may be wrong, that it is worth the long day of shootign if that means I have more good footage to choose from. Now I may eventually be flooded with more clients than I can possibly take (not any time soon) and when that happens I'll add an hourly or increase prices to match the level of deliverable I produce.

But until then, the phrase "overtime" or "hourly rate" sounds like a photographer (though I suppose they are the lucky people working 4 days max for their $2K and I'm the one working +90hrs in post production).
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Old December 19th, 2008, 01:14 PM   #13
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I do 2 packages, on is "up to 6hrs" and the other is unlimited starting 2 hrs before the ceremony. I have never worked more than an 8 hr wedding, most are 6-7 hrs. i have had some that are 5. The unlimited works for me the vast majority of the time. I don't have anything to worry about and I don't have to squabble with the family over "buying" more time. It works for me.
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Old December 19th, 2008, 02:07 PM   #14
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Be careful to say unlimited in any package, no matter the over price, without saying somewhere what that means. We shot a Greek wedding this year that ended up going a total of 19 hours straight - we filmed until 4 am - but from 15 hours onward it was overtime for all 4 of us. What a long day.

P.
That beats me! My longest was 16 hours. I agree that once you get past around 10 hours it becomes exponentially more difficult to keep up the quality. We no longer advertise unlimited hours, partly because 16 hour days are too long (especially with a steadicam device now) and partly because we had clients asking us to stay longer simply because they felt they had paid for the time (even if there was nothing really worth filming anymore).
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Old December 19th, 2008, 02:15 PM   #15
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That beats me! My longest was 16 hours. I agree that once you get past around 10 hours it becomes exponentially more difficult to keep up the quality. We no longer advertise unlimited hours, partly because 16 hour days are too long (especially with a steadicam device now) and partly because we had clients asking us to stay longer simply because they felt they had paid for the time (even if there was nothing really worth filming anymore).
My longest were one from June (9am - 11pm) and from April (10am till past midnight). The midnight one had a reception that just kept going, but there wasn't anything new to film. More dancing. Granted it was dancing to a live 14 piece big band, so it was incredibly fun to film, but not of any real additional value (unless someone would have given me a great blooper).

I don't want to be that vendor that sours the reception mood by saying "um excuse me, but my time is almost up, the bride & groom need to do their official send off now or it will mean over time." Talk about a party killer. The FoB will only remember that conversation for the rest of the night, and I don't want that to be my lasting impression.

To handle this eventuality, I get firm times from my clients before I book them about what times X happens, and when to expect the grand exit (if at all). I also mention that my unlimited hours only counts for my main camera. The other cams are NOT unlimited because sometimes I have to hire out for those cams and I cannot afford to eat the cost any more.
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