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


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Old January 26th, 2009, 11:36 AM   #1
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HD Delivery this year

Guys,

I'm thinking about offering HD delivery this year as an upgrade on my standard wedding packages, but instead of Blu-Ray, I'm thinking about including either an Apple iTV or one of those Western Digital HD media players - basically give my customer the hardware as part of the package.

Anyone doing this or thinking about doing this? I already am shooting everything in HD, so the only real cost is the player, and those two are fairly comparable. I know the Apple TV doesn't do 1080i, but it does have the wireless connection and seems like it might be a more flexible way to go.

Any thoughts?
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Old January 26th, 2009, 12:48 PM   #2
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I am going to offer an Apple TV for HD delivery, though I am just heading out on my own after working freelance for a while, so my experience on the business and booking end of things is limiting. So I have the same train of thought.

Call me crazy, but I think it's a nice way of adding value to your service. Granted, you want clients to pay because they value your work, but I believe there is appeal to combining the feeling you get when you fire up a brand new home theatre component, and the feeling of watching your HD wedding video for the first time.

The only thing I would stay away from is including the cheapy hardware. I would either go for the attractive, trendy and brand name Apple TV or nothing at all.
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Old January 26th, 2009, 12:56 PM   #3
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I thought I was a HDTV fanatic but I have never heard of either of those delivery methods before.

Last year, I gave away HD-DVD players to some of my clients who I knew had interest in HD. So I agree with helping HD adoption along. I think I would stick with Blu-Ray though, unless the client has a certain request.

This year I am just putting the projects on Blu-Ray if the client requests it. It's easy and little to no additional cost. You are right, everything is shot in HD, so it's already a widescreen project setup, just an additional render to HD. You can get cases of the blue Blu-Ray DVD cases for about a $1.50 each case cost.

I would stick with Blu-Ray for now. Im sure next year it will be something different, probably SDXC.
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Old January 26th, 2009, 01:08 PM   #4
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I picked up 5 weddings in the last two sundays doing wedding fairs and offering blu-ray as part of the standard package. To offr WDMP or a popcorn hour etc is not the way to go. Offer blu-ray dvd. Many people have PS3's and even if they don't have a way to play a blu-ray disk, they like the idea of having thir wedding in HD to future proof it. This ploy made me 5 weddings. There were two other videographers at both fairs and they did nothing on the day. And neither of them did blu-ray.

Get ahead of your rivals by staying up to date with HD, but don't make it hard for yourself by offering hardware.
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Old January 26th, 2009, 01:58 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Steve Shovlar View Post
Get ahead of your rivals by staying up to date with HD, but don't make it hard for yourself by offering hardware.
I'm no wedding videographer, but to me this sounds like marketing...

Why not give them the choice?

Wedding on Blu-Ray disk or for those without current Blu-Ray capability, wedding on WD Media player for $100 which allows you to connect it to any TV in the house and play.

You could even tell them they could hook the thing to their own recorder later when the technology gets cheaper, and make their own Blu-Ray.

Frankly, if I had a wedding business, I'd be offering both. That WD thing is CHEAP and easy. I am probably going to get one for the heck of it.
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Old January 26th, 2009, 02:18 PM   #6
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Part of what's behind my thinking on this is that I don't think Blu-Ray is going to last. With a wireless HD player and online HD movie downloads, why get a disc player? Plus it makes my investment in HD delivery almost zero - no burner, no new software - I already have what I need to make files for both units.

I realize Blu-Ray is somewhat of a standard right now, but I'm just wondering if it's really worth the investment when there's an easier delivery path already available for less than the cost of a Blu-Ray player.

I like the Apple TV idea. It's probably a little easier for someone to justify that, since it'll continue to be useful to them as more than just a player for their wedding video files.
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Old January 26th, 2009, 03:22 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Philip Gioja View Post
Part of what's behind my thinking on this is that I don't think Blu-Ray is going to last. With a wireless HD player and online HD movie downloads, why get a disc player? Plus it makes my investment in HD delivery almost zero - no burner, no new software - I already have what I need to make files for both units.
What do you mean "last"? Like VHS? Like DVD? Like cassette tapes? Online movie downloads are CRAP compared to Blu-Ray. Blu-Ray video is compressed at 40 Mbps, online at how many Kbps? It's not even in the same league.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Philip Gioja View Post
I realize Blu-Ray is somewhat of a standard right now, but I'm just wondering if it's really worth the investment when there's an easier delivery path already available for less than the cost of a Blu-Ray player.
Somewhat of a standard? You do realize that every major Hollywood studio has invested GOBS of money into this transition. People want to OWN movies. They want to take them off the shelf, and put them in. Or people want to RENT movies. They want the tangible. If we consider that the average high quality Blu-Ray movie takes up about 30GB with mp4, how long do you think it would take to download something of similar quality over the average person's internet connection? And I mean DSL or cable modem.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Philip Gioja View Post
I like the Apple TV idea. It's probably a little easier for someone to justify that, since it'll continue to be useful to them as more than just a player for their wedding video files.
Great, if you want AppleTV.

Let's look at the family movie scenario: Dick and Jane get home from school on a Friday afternoon. Text their mom that they want a movie and pizza. Mom says ok, and informs dad he needs to buy a pizza on the way home from work. Mom get's home, asks the kids what they decided they want to see. They say they want to see movie XXX. So mom selects movie XXX from the download center. Dad shows up with the pizza 10 minutes later. So now we have 4 people, with pizza, and a 40" plasma waiting on a movie. How long do you think they are willing to wait for their HD movie experience to start before the kids get bored, and dad get's mad? And if the experience is "instant start", what is the quality going to be on that 40" plasma? It certainly won't be as good as an upresed DVD. And we know what standard DVDs look like on nice HDTVs...

Nope, families want to pull a movie off the shelf, or stop at the video store on the way home, and have an instant experience. That's why netflix, blockbuster, redbox, etc. are all doing business the way they do.
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Old January 26th, 2009, 05:03 PM   #8
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Perrone -- you have some good points, and that's why I started the discussion. I'm trying to decide which way to go.

As a data point, I have had only one video customer ask me about HD, and they had an HD-DVD player which is basically now obsolete.

I'm shooting everything in HD, but have no delivery method as of right now that makes sense. I could offer Blu-Ray but I honestly do not know anyone that I can think of right now with a Blu-Ray player.

Also - if you think about blockbuster, Netflix, etc, there's still planning time involved. Netflix you have to plan out far in advance because they mail it to you. Blockbuster you have to physically go in the store and select what you want. If you have fast internet service, it makes a lot of sense to just download or stream it.

30GB is not as large a file size as it used to be. I could deliver their wedding video on a hard drive or already loaded on the Apple TV and it'd be ready to go.

I understand what you're talking about when you mention ownership, but how does ownership feel when your disc gets scratched, like half of the discs in my collection (kids...) We usually get two or three plays out of them and then they are toast. So we usually watch TV or pay-per-view, and I bet Apple TV would be cheaper than pay-per-view. And... you still have to wait for pay-per-view most of the time.

So I don't know. In my little world it seems to make sense. But maybe I'm crazy.

How many of us still buy music on CDs?
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Old January 26th, 2009, 05:22 PM   #9
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For those who offers Apple TV for HD delivery - It's an interesting idea, I didn't realize it was only $229 for the 40GB version. How does Apple TV integrate with PCs? Not every client is a mac freak...

Also for people who edits on a PC, is Apple TV is still a reasonable delivery method? Will it play HD videos rendered from PCs?
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Old January 26th, 2009, 05:24 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Philip Gioja View Post
As a data point, I have had only one video customer ask me about HD, and they had an HD-DVD player which is basically now obsolete.
According to my info, you live in a town of about 1,000 people. Do you think your experience can be extrapolated to most of the US? How do you think the market for HD is in Chicago, Peoria, etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Philip Gioja View Post
I'm shooting everything in HD, but have no delivery method as of right now that makes sense. I could offer Blu-Ray but I honestly do not know anyone that I can think of right now with a Blu-Ray player.
That's fine. I know dozens of people who own PS3s or other Blu-Ray players. And I'm in a small city in Florida. Three years from now, when the market for HDTV is well saturated, and most of the DVD players people own now are out of warranty and they've had to replace them, what do you think they'll be buying? I have yet to deliver an HD product. I am just beginning to master for HD. But everything I shoot now is 1080i or 1080p. Might as well future proof as best I can.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Philip Gioja View Post
Also - if you think about blockbuster, Netflix, etc, there's still planning time involved. Netflix you have to plan out far in advance because they mail it to you. Blockbuster you have to physically go in the store and select what you want. If you have fast internet service, it makes a lot of sense to just download or stream it.
Takes me exactly 1 day to get my Netflix movies. I get a movie on Friday, watch on the weekend, ship Monday, get a new one Wednesday, watch, ship Thursday, get a new one Saturday. Blockbuster (or similar) is on the way home, or near home for most people. Takes very little effort to get movies that way.

I suggest you try downloading 30GB or even 10GB sometime. In the middle of the day. Tell me how long it takes. I'm sitting on multiple T1s at my office, and I still wouldn't try it with the expectation of doing it for streaming purposes. Look at the lag off Youtube or Vimeo. And those videos are 1/100 or smaller in size.

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Originally Posted by Philip Gioja View Post
30GB is not as large a file size as it used to be. I could deliver their wedding video on a hard drive or already loaded on the Apple TV and it'd be ready to go.
Oh yea? Render a 30GB file and tell me how long it takes. 30GB is still a darn big file. 6 DVDs worth. Delivering the wedding video on a player is a solid idea. I support that. But many people are not the biggest fans of Apple. They do some cool things, but if you handed me my wedding on an Apple TV, I'd hand it back and ask for something different.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Philip Gioja View Post
I understand what you're talking about when you mention ownership, but how does ownership feel when your disc gets scratched, like half of the discs in my collection (kids...) We usually get two or three plays out of them and then they are toast. So we usually watch TV or pay-per-view, and I bet Apple TV would be cheaper than pay-per-view. And... you still have to wait for pay-per-view most of the time.
You ever see people's faces when they turn in a lease car? That's how non-ownership feels. When DVDs that you own get scratched by the kids, do you get mad at the technology, or the kids? The idea of the play-a-few-times-and-discard discs were tried, but was an environmental marketing nightmare. Great idea, and speaks exactly to the problem you speak of, but it got slaughtered. Still, many people have movie (and CD, and Album, and photo) collections they are proud of. People like to own things that give them enjoyable emotional responses. Pay-Per-View is a great paradigm. Nothing to buy, easy to do.

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Originally Posted by Philip Gioja View Post
How many of us still buy music on CDs?
I can't remember the last time I bought one or burned one.
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Old January 27th, 2009, 12:06 AM   #11
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Yang - there is Windows compatibility info on the Apple TV site.

Apple - Apple TV - Tech Specs

I think it easily integrates with iTunes, which runs on both Windows and Mac. I know a lot of people already using iTunes to catalog their music.

I don't have one, but I think I might get one just to see how hard the work flow would be. I bet it would take a similar amount of time to make a file for the Apple TV as it would to render out the file needed for a Blu-Ray disc. The refurbished ones are another $30 less.
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Old January 27th, 2009, 10:40 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Philip Gioja View Post
As a data point, I have had only one video customer ask me about HD, and they had an HD-DVD player which is basically now obsolete.

I'm shooting everything in HD, but have no delivery method as of right now that makes sense. I could offer Blu-Ray but I honestly do not know anyone that I can think of right now with a Blu-Ray player.
1. Sounds like you missed a sale because you can't provide HD-DVD. HD-DVD may be no longer produced, but it's certainly not obsolete.

2. It also sounds like you will miss a sale if anyone asks for Blu-Ray.

You need to have a flexible broad plan for your HD delivery rather than a limited hardware based plan. I have been delivering HD-DVD projects for years and Blu-Ray projects for about a year. They are both extremely easy and inexpensive to do after just a little practice and a $100 software investment.

I suggest you start burning the disc based options along with your hardware delivery idea. It's just not a big deal to burn the HD optical discs. Of course, longer projects would have to be Blu-Ray only as they won't fit on DL-DVDs at an acceptable HD quality.
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Old January 27th, 2009, 12:31 PM   #13
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I'm thinking about including either an Apple iTV or one of those Western Digital HD media players - basically give my customer the hardware as part of the package.
I think the idea is sound, but the Western Digital player has no internal hard drive. Makes your delivery option a bit more complicated, as the client has to bring you an external hard drive so you can copy their movie to it, or you have to give them a hard drive as well.
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Old January 27th, 2009, 01:05 PM   #14
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So obviously you guys have to give your clients a back up of the video files on DVDs as well? Surely you can't hand over your multi-thousands $ product over on an unreliable hard drive? Then are you really reducing the amount of work you're doing?

If you charge more for an Apple TV package, how do you up-sell it from your normal package as any client can purchase an Apple TV with ease... Do you then also become a tech support person if they can't figure out how to work the Apple TV?
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Old January 27th, 2009, 02:22 PM   #15
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I have been looking at that with the Western Digital device - not having a hard drive. My first thought was to deliver the wedding files on a thumb drive, although I haven't done a lot of research on that.

I have an awesome-looking thumb drive that I picked up one time shooting for Bacardi that is stainless steel, and came in a great-looking printed box. It's really a brick - not like some of the flimsy plastic ones.

I have not missed a sale yet because of HD. I've only had it mentioned to me in passing. They liked my work, and we decided to go ahead and deliver in widescreen SD. I'm just trying to get a plan together to be ready for it. Maybe it does make sense to have both options available, although it looks to me like Blu-Ray on a Mac isn't the most fun way to go.
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