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


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Old March 18th, 2009, 01:35 PM   #1
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Unfortunate wedding situation

A while back, a friend approached me about capturing his wedding. I was hesitant at first, however he assured me a quality video was his top priority, and they were interested in shooting HD. I have been wanting to shoot a wedding in HD for awhile now (I have shot some short films/tv in HD) and figured this would be a great opportunity. This is sort of a favor, and I quoted him a fair price based on the amount of hours (this also included wired and wireless mics, and small lighting kit) he said the wedding was going to be. However, no contract was signed.

Fast forward to the present, the wedding is a week an 1/2 away and the video was clearly left as an after thought:

#1: I am informed they spent money on everything else, they can't afford HD, and want to shoot SD.

#2: They did not include their arrival and getting dressed in the original time allotment. I informed them that it would be a small increase for the extra time. He says he would like it covered but can't afford it, so just start an the original slotted time.

As other couples have told me, they will regret not having the entire day covered. I am trying not to be too pushy but at the same time explain the importance of it. Furthermore, I feel the same way about covering it in HD, the difference between SD is immense- the quality, detail, composition, also future proofs it. I must admit I am being little selfish but I have shot plenty of weddings in SD (have another shoot that same weekend) and I am just not as compelled to shoot it anymore.

Any ideas on how to handle this delicate situation? I am willing to bend a little, maybe a payment plan? Perhaps more compelling reasons to shoot HD and capture them getting dressed not just the ceremony/reception? I know myself, and most importantly they will enjoy the final product much more.
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Old March 18th, 2009, 01:38 PM   #2
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I feel your pain...and will be interested to hear what others have to say...sorry I have no advice...but I empathize with your position...its hard to know how to deal with video being marginalized when you are doing it as somewhat of a favor....
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Old March 18th, 2009, 01:43 PM   #3
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Here is my take. The operative word is "friend". You said yourself you were doing it as a friend. As a friend, you do the best job possible... and do it in HD because he is your friend.

Then when the next "friend" asks the same question, you can say, "Well I actually run a business in which I work on weekend, and would have to give up $2,500 ( or whatever the number is) to do this for you. In this tough day and age, I just can't afford to do that. I would love to work for you, but you know how bad things are..." At that point you will see how good a friend you have...
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Old March 18th, 2009, 01:50 PM   #4
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My opinion, if it is a friend I would shoot the wedding for free, he just pays for the tapes, gas, etc. Since he is willing to pay, I'd still shoot in HD even with an SD budget.
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Old March 18th, 2009, 02:04 PM   #5
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Joe, if you're really wanting to shoot in HD, then I would just do it. It will be a great learning experience for you and you aren't under any pressure to actually deliver it in HD (as in, you don't have to tell your friend you're shooting it in HD). Also, if you want an HD sample, then just go ahead and shoot the preps at no charge and make your friend even happier.

What I'm hearing is you "want" to do all of this, but would "like" to get paid, but your friend can't pay you. So if you really "want" to do it, just do it I say.
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Old March 18th, 2009, 02:19 PM   #6
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1) Do you already have HD cams?
2) Is it going to cost you anything additional to shoot in HD?

if the answers are
1) yes
2) no
then what is the big deal? if it's a friend include the extra shooting time, and when you show up early pat the guy on the back and say, "my gift to you".
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Old March 18th, 2009, 02:25 PM   #7
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wedding

Rule number 1 no matter who it is always get a deposit to hold the day then have them sign a contract. If they dont want to sign a contract or decide what package they want
its a red flag for me always. ive had to many incidents like this in the past were this happened Just my 2 cents.

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Old March 18th, 2009, 02:50 PM   #8
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Agree with Travis. If he is your true friend, and you will "get stuck" with him after the wedding, then just do it for the true cost (tapes, gas, dvds). But still get the contract signed, so both of you know what's the deal and it's all on paper - this way you'll protect yourself from him asking for more then you both agreed on (and this happened already). Make also sure that he knows the real value of your services, so next time he refers someone to you, there won't be misunderstanding.
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Old March 18th, 2009, 03:02 PM   #9
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Shoot ot HDV

If you have decided to charge your friend full price, then this is what i would do in your case.
I would go to the original plane and shoot it HD all day.
Then you edit it HD just as you wanted.
When you done you invite your friend to watch the movie and tell him this is for the full price I am sure when he see the the full HD edited movie he will find the resource to pay it.
You can also show him how sd will look like and how much less of coverage he is getting if he pay less.
If he says no to the HD then you have a beautiful movie to show to your next customer.
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Old March 18th, 2009, 03:06 PM   #10
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If you've not shot a wedding in HD, do it in HD anyway, you can downconvert to SD or ? later. I'm presuming you don't have to rent equipment - if you've got up front costs, be honest with your friend about it, I would think they should be able to find a way to cover up front costs.

Shoot everything. You can't get what isn't recorded in a one time event. Again if it's a matter of a couple tapes or whatever, give it as a wedding present.

I'd say get payment to cover up front out of pocket costs, that's a reasonable request even for a friend.

You don't mention EDITING... and we all know that can be a big time investment. My thought would be to shoot it, and leave it sit (or a "spare time" project) until they can come up with a "post wedding" budget, and make payments or whatever you agree to that is fair to both.

I've done quite a few "friends and family" shoots (my first HD shot was a last minute freebie to test the new toys), and since these are people who are close to you, you have to be thoughtful - as already noted, let them know what you'd "normally" charge, let them know you're giving them an inside deal, and talk it through 'til you're both satisfied.

YOU are right to be concerned that you won't feel you've done the best by your friend with the changes, be up front about it, and see if there's a way to make it happen with some budget changes and maybe time deferred payments?
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Old March 18th, 2009, 03:08 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Cooper View Post
1) Do you already have HD cams?
2) Is it going to cost you anything additional to shoot in HD?

if the answers are
1) yes
2) no
then what is the big deal? if it's a friend include the extra shooting time, and when you show up early pat the guy on the back and say, "my gift to you".
Exactly. You can raid the bar to get even.
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Old March 18th, 2009, 03:32 PM   #12
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I'm with others who say shoot HD. If you already have HD cameras then it costs absolutely nothing to shoot in HD.

As for the extra time, why not head out a bit early and capture the preps? I'm not a fan of giving your time away, but it's a hour or two of time for a friend and it will make the final product that much better. It's not worth getting picky over a couple of hours for a friend. A complete stranger, I wouldn't blame you, but not for a friend. Even if you don't want to edit it for the rate you agreed upon you can put it away incase they decide they want it later.
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Old March 18th, 2009, 08:45 PM   #13
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All excellent points, I am renting one cam but he is a good friend, I'll shoot on HD as originally planned.

Anyone know a place to rent a glidecam in San Diego-Inland Empire area?
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Old March 19th, 2009, 03:07 AM   #14
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I really don't understand why a HD shoot should be more expensive than a SD shoot. I take it you already have a HD camera ofcourse.
And for a friend you should cover his wedding without charging any profit. Only covering your costs should do it. Unless .... you realy could do a full payed wedding on the same day. Then you have to consider how good a friend he is and how much you need the money of the full payed wedding.

My 2 cents.
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Old March 19th, 2009, 04:41 AM   #15
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Joe if they are "good" friends you will regret not helping them out with HD and a full days shoot, right now you might need the money however in a year or two you'll have enough money and that's when regret will settle in, this has been my experience.
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