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


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Old July 1st, 2009, 12:43 AM   #1
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Shooting but not editing

So I was asked to shoot a wedding next month and not edit it. I'm not super keen on shooting for a different editor other than myself but it also means money in my pocket without hours of editing time. My question is what do you folks generally charge for something like that? Would you just shoot it at day rate? I mean, it's not just single cam opping...I'm thinking of charging half of what I would normally charge for this if I was editing it.

Anyways, I kinda have an idea of what I want to quote but I'm just curious about the general consensus as to what you would do.
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Old July 1st, 2009, 12:48 AM   #2
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I have done that. I charged the first hour $300 and additional hour $100. Multiple cams. Each tape is sold at $5 per tape. I also offer an option called "Director Cut" package for $500 the first hour and $100 additional hour. That will give them a rough cut output on DVD together with the tape they want to buy at $5 per tape.
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Old July 1st, 2009, 06:42 AM   #3
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I shot a wedding in which the couple only wanted raw footage as well. I knew three things going in...

1. They were looking forward to editing the piece from the position of hobbyists and truly did not want their film completed for them, as they explained it to me.

2. I could not lock up the day without charging them at least my base package rate, as I would not be available to book another wedding on that day.

3. I would only feel comfortable charging them my base package rate if I were able to perform some other work for them that would equal the work I would normally have put into the edit.
____________________

The deal I came up with and that we all agreed to was that I would cover the full day with three cameras for the ceremony, and all in HD. I then did a semi-edit by cutting out all the bad shots and useless footage of my feet, correcting the good shots for color, exposure, and sound, and exporting everything back to tape in HDV format. The couple received all the original HDV tapes, all of the semi-edited HDV tapes, and copies of all the tapes downconverted to standard-definition widescreen (since their editing system was likely to be the weak link in the workflow and may not have been able to handle the HDV footage). In addition, I transferred all the tapes to DVD for them so they could watch their footage in raw or semi-edited form, regardless of how successful their edit turned out.

What I learned though was that I really had to cut the ceremony as a regular edit in order to make sure everything matched up. (It was an outdoor wedding at dusk and the lighting changed pretty dramatically.) Also, I failed to think ahead about needing to hear the audio levels from the different mics versus each other in order to make sure none were overpowered. The end result was that I simply edited their ceremony as I normally would. It was a little unanticipated work, but necessary in order to make good on what I had promised.

In all, I put in the same amount of time as I normally would have on a base package and the couple received everything that they could have hoped for in the way of pre-corrected raw footage. I'm confident that in doing this, I saved them from the horrible pains of looking at truly raw footage in their NLE and wondering, "How can I possibly fix this shot?" or "Where do I begin cutting these useless bits?" Instead, they had nothing but good, clean shots to reorganize any way they like, and I'm sure they had a pleasant first-time editing experience as long as they can get through the rendering/exporting/authoring end. (They had some help on this part from what I understand, so I'm hoping that all went well for them.)

Would I do it again this way? Yes.

Would I do less work for less than my base package price, such as handing over the raw tapes at the end of the shoot for a lesser amount? No. I would not feel right explaining to my other couples that somone received a lesser "package" that I did not make available to everyone. Also, I'm not too crazy about handing out raw footage, given that it hardly resembles the finished work that I sell. Giving out semi-edited footage is a compromise that I'm comfortable with.

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Old July 2nd, 2009, 02:58 PM   #4
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I"ve contemplated the "shoot only" idea a couple times. On one occaision, it was a "low budget" sitiation and the couple were actually involved in cinema/drama productions so they had some edit experience (not "hobbyists"). After talking with me I think they decided to "borrow" a couple cameras and have friends who knew how to run camera do the shooting - I hope it worked out for them, seemed like the best option to me!

I like the idea of being able to shoot and go, sort of like some photogs I've seen offering an unedited CD at the end of the day, and you're on your own after that... but I don't think it is terribly practical for video/audio.

1. If you're shooting HD and/or multicam, the average "hobbyist" won't have either the hardware or the software to do a proper edit, and probably has no idea what it takes.

2. If someone's never edited a wedding before it will take them a LOT longer to create anything meaningful, where someone who does a few event shoots learns what it takes to make the shoot AND the edit "work".

3. I shoot with the edit in mind, and have a set list of shots, plus if there's anything "extra" or unusual, I will add that into the shot list. Even so, sometimes "creative editing" is required because of a missed or poor quality shot (unavoidable backlighting, etc...). I'd rather not trust the final product to someone who might not know all the "tricks" to salvage any marginal footage, or leave myself open to "critique" by an untrained eye...

All those considerations aside, I would consider delivering the "raw" footage (with any totally unusable "shoe shots" etc. cut), but at least a minimal edit. I'm trying to develop a "cookie cutter" template for the "average" wedding, that would represent a fairly fast and easy edit just by dropping the "standard" cuts in the right places, in hopes of saving time in edit/authoring to DVD.

As a practical matter, I think that a custoimer expecting to "get to" their own edit with everything else a new couple has to do is very silly, really. I've got "personal" footage to edit too, and it tends to go way down on the "to do list".

I'd rather offer a "shoot only" price, conditional on them paying the additional for the edit AFTER the wedding, when maybe they will have some cash wedding gifts, etc. That's a possible solution if it's a budgetary question. I've offered that option when my wife was doing the photo shoot, and it seems to work.
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Old July 2nd, 2009, 06:32 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alec Moreno View Post
I shot a wedding in which the couple only wanted raw footage as well. I knew three things going in...

1. They were looking forward to editing the piece from the position of hobbyists and truly did not want their film completed for them, as they explained it to me.

2. I could not lock up the day without charging them at least my base package rate, as I would not be available to book another wedding on that day.

3. I would only feel comfortable charging them my base package rate if I were able to perform some other work for them that would equal the work I would normally have put into the edit.
____________________

The deal I came up with and that we all agreed to was that I would cover the full day with three cameras for the ceremony, and all in HD. I then did a semi-edit by cutting out all the bad shots and useless footage of my feet, correcting the good shots for color, exposure, and sound, and exporting everything back to tape in HDV format. The couple received all the original HDV tapes, all of the semi-edited HDV tapes, and copies of all the tapes downconverted to standard-definition widescreen (since their editing system was likely to be the weak link in the workflow and may not have been able to handle the HDV footage). In addition, I transferred all the tapes to DVD for them so they could watch their footage in raw or semi-edited form, regardless of how successful their edit turned out.

What I learned though was that I really had to cut the ceremony as a regular edit in order to make sure everything matched up. (It was an outdoor wedding at dusk and the lighting changed pretty dramatically.) Also, I failed to think ahead about needing to hear the audio levels from the different mics versus each other in order to make sure none were overpowered. The end result was that I simply edited their ceremony as I normally would. It was a little unanticipated work, but necessary in order to make good on what I had promised.

In all, I put in the same amount of time as I normally would have on a base package and the couple received everything that they could have hoped for in the way of pre-corrected raw footage. I'm confident that in doing this, I saved them from the horrible pains of looking at truly raw footage in their NLE and wondering, "How can I possibly fix this shot?" or "Where do I begin cutting these useless bits?" Instead, they had nothing but good, clean shots to reorganize any way they like, and I'm sure they had a pleasant first-time editing experience as long as they can get through the rendering/exporting/authoring end. (They had some help on this part from what I understand, so I'm hoping that all went well for them.)

Would I do it again this way? Yes.

Would I do less work for less than my base package price, such as handing over the raw tapes at the end of the shoot for a lesser amount? No. I would not feel right explaining to my other couples that somone received a lesser "package" that I did not make available to everyone. Also, I'm not too crazy about handing out raw footage, given that it hardly resembles the finished work that I sell. Giving out semi-edited footage is a compromise that I'm comfortable with.

Alec Moreno
http://www.1Day1ShotProductions.com
Alec, you are doing too much work for them in my opinion. They wanted raw footage, I would charge half the price but with no WB correction, audio leveling or any other corrections because that is part of the editing work. I had a request from a couple that they wanted no editing work but to have it on a DVD. I explained it that I will then only use one camera and a limited sound reocording so I shoot it with that in mind, using slow pans to have useful footage. When I did the DVD I indexed the reception so by pressing NEXT on the remote the next speaker or item would come up. They were happy with the resaults.
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Old July 2nd, 2009, 08:03 PM   #6
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Hmmm, RAW footage. Do they specify the original tapes or the footage rendered to DVD?

Doesn't really matter to me. RAW is RAW. That means (to me) no edit, which means no CC, no audio sweeten, no pulling out the shoes and bellybutton shots, it's RAW. I see it, I shot it, they get it. I may shot a setup 4 or 5 times, they get them all. The good, the bad and the ugly and as we all know some is good, some is bad and some is just downright ugly but they get it all. I've done a number of these thru the years some because of money or lack thereof on their part, some because they want to edit it themselves (not many but a couple) mostly them not having the money. Now assuming I charge 1/2 the amount I charge for a full service package, it's win win win for me. I work the same number of hours to shot the job for which I get paid very well and at the end of the night I hand the tapes over to the B&G. DONE! More time to play golf or be a couch potato or whatever.
Now if they want it on DVD even if I charged the same as I would to hand over the tapes what does take. A fewhours to load tape which I don't have to supervise, I can do other things while loading them up and a couple hours rendering and burning. Now I do charge more for doing that but even if I didn't it isn't labor intensive so I still come out ahead AND I still have time to play golf, walk the dog or be a couch potato.
I see no reason to make a big deal out of the fact they want RAW footage - I do explain that there is a reason for editing but it's their choice.
Please keep im mind it only happens maybe 1 or 2 times a year if that and in the reality of it, is it really any different than shooting for someone else and turning the tapes oveer to them to edit?
Just my opinion.
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Old July 2nd, 2009, 08:15 PM   #7
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Doesn't really matter to me. RAW is RAW. That means (to me) no edit, which means no CC, no audio sweeten, no pulling out the shoes and bellybutton shots, it's RAW. I see it, I shot it, they get it.
I had my first "no-edit" client this past weekend. And they are getting all the footage dumped to external USB powered HDD and that is it.

Though it isa nice gold champaign colored FreeAgent drive. :-)
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Old July 2nd, 2009, 10:43 PM   #8
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Thanks for the comments so far guys,

I think the only thing that bothers me about it is the audio, I record with Olympus WD-311 recorders and I have to timestretch the audio, which they are aware of, but I usually do it and test it out to make sure it's right...I won't have the chance to do that on this wedding.
Which brings up another question I have, and it's totally off the original topic....but anyone know how to time stretch audio in soundtrack pro based on a percentage? like to speed it up or slow it down by 2%?

thanks.
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Old July 2nd, 2009, 10:45 PM   #9
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I used an olympus voice recorder too. I have to adjust the speed in Premiere pro to 100.06% then it will sync with the video from the camera.
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Old July 3rd, 2009, 02:16 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Asvaldur Kristjansson View Post
Alec, you are doing too much work for them in my opinion. They wanted raw footage, I would charge half the price but with no WB correction, audio leveling or any other corrections because that is part of the editing work. I had a request from a couple that they wanted no editing work but to have it on a DVD. I explained it that I will then only use one camera and a limited sound reocording so I shoot it with that in mind, using slow pans to have useful footage. When I did the DVD I indexed the reception so by pressing NEXT on the remote the next speaker or item would come up. They were happy with the resaults.
You're missing the point Asvaldur.

The couple wanted my specific shooting style and they wanted to edit their own film. Note that this does not necessarily mean they wanted raw footage. Rather, they wanted to be able to play with the clips and some music selections and actually produce something decent. If I had handed over the purely raw footage, we all know how the final film would have turned out given their lack of editing experience. Instead, I gave them was exactly what they were looking for...clean clips, shot in my style for the purpose of rearrangement on a timeline.

You said that "you are doing too much work for them..."

That would be true if I had charged them my shooting rate for other videographers, but I did not. On my open dates, and only on short notice, I take these shoot-only jobs for other videographers, but I cannot possibly lock myself in for a small job like that months in advance...which is what a couple needs in order to assure that their wedding will be covered well. As I explained, I require at least my package minimum to lock a date in advance, but I'm not going to take the extra money and run. Instead, I found a way to satisfy them and justify my rate.

You said that you wouldn't add any "corrections because that is part of the editing work."

Just because we as professionals start with raw footage on every job does not mean that a hobbyist should be subjected to the same conditions. "Raw" is simply a label for footage in one of the many steps of the editing process. There is no reason to force them to accept my raw footage at many times the cost of a "shoot-only" job. I gave the couple a head start in the process, not out of charity, but by means of paid work.

You said that "They wanted raw footage, I would charge half the price..."

My rate is my rate. If I were willing to offer less work for less pay, I may still be making a similar hourly wage, but accepting a Saturday gig mostly wipes out my chances of booking another wedding that week, and the end result is of course less pay overall. I'm not willing to sacrifice half of my weekly paycheck. I choose to work a full week and get paid justly for it. On top of that, many couples have no idea what raw footage looks like and do not understand the work we put into a finished film. I was able to explain to this particular couple what a full edit would entail and once they understood the idea of correcting/sweetening/adjusting clips, they realized that they would be in over their head with tapes straight out of the camera...and that was the moment that I booked the full job.

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Old July 3rd, 2009, 05:32 AM   #11
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Alec, I see your point. It all depends on what people want and expect to get. As you explained you found a way to satisfy them and justify your rate package, and you put in the same amount of time as you normally would have on a base package and the couple received everything that they could have hoped for in the way of pre-corrected raw footage. Editing work is so timeconsuming that I dont think people are aware of it unless it is explained to them what it involes. I see you have done that and I am glad they liked it.
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Old July 3rd, 2009, 08:03 AM   #12
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All of the above information is great. I just had another angle to throw at this. I have a friend who was asked to shoot, edit and deliver the raw footage to the couple. After receiving their video and complementing him on it, they loaded up the footage and did some editing of their own. The only issue he had was that they put it on Facebook and compared their work to his. The sad part is that their version wasn't that bad ;)
He asked them to remove it and not compare work and they did. Just something else to think about.
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