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Wedding / Event Videography Techniques
Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old July 31st, 2009, 12:15 PM   #1
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Large Wedding Video Production houses

Does anyone have an opinion on this ad?

Wedding VIDEOGRAPHERS

My intuition says "slave" labor...
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Old July 31st, 2009, 12:23 PM   #2
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That price is really low, it's a production line basically, poor Bride & groom, they'll end up with a student shooting their wedding.
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Old July 31st, 2009, 01:05 PM   #3
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Let's see - bring your $10K worth of gear and we'll pay you sub rental rates to toss in your labor, lug your gear around and shoot for free...

Geez, full studio lighting gear included in the deal??? And who the heck uses a "studio" lighting set up at a live event?? Is this supposed to be a "one man" job? I'd guess so for $300...

Their web site is really sluggish and unresponsive, was going to see how much "mark up" they have for their video services, but they've got that cleverly hidden behind a "squeeze page" where you have to give them your "wedding" info... I'm guessing they charge between $2000 and $3500 for their "package" video.


I've looked at a couple of these "shoot for us" deals, and typically they mark up the services A LOT. I'd rather discount 50% from their rates, opening my "service" to more potential clients/budgets, and still make more money...

I have to wonder too, do they put out an ad for "editors" and sub that out too? Given that is usually MORE time intensive, I'd think they would need to.


IMO you're better off to learn to market YOUR services effectively and build your own biz than to try to tie in to a "big outfit" - yes, they have the "marketing" and leads, but they also expect to take the largest chunk of the "profit", and you're just a mule...

I'd also say that sometimes these "ads" seem to be placed "in anticipation" of some huge market expansion that may or may not (more likely!) ever actually happen... I've seen several outfits come and go that had "big ideas", solicited "videographers", made lots of "noise" about how big their "idea" was going to be, then went silently into obscurity.

I even had one outfit that you could tell had "gone comatose", and they sent a letter soliciting everyone on their list to "freshen up" their profiles... right in the letter they admitted they were looking to sell the business... they were just trying to make their site/service look better for a sucker... er, I mean "potential buyer"!

I'm not saying that SOMETIMES one of these "sub-contractors" (they solicit the contract with the actual client, then "sub" contract the job out to someone else) wouldn't give a way to make a few extra $$, but in this case they ask for the moon (gear wise) and offer you a few peanuts... thanks, but no thanks.
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Old July 31st, 2009, 02:14 PM   #4
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I don't know - $350 for a couple hours sounds ok to me. I quit doing weddings simply because I didn't like spending 10 hours on a Saturday plus 40 hours editing. Now I do all corporate work. If someone called and said "go shoot shoot a car dealer grand opening this Saturday for two hours and just give us the tapes" I'd do it for $350.

However, their website says "up to eight hours of coverage". That I would not do for $350.

BTW, their rates range from $795 for raw footage only to $2195 for fully edited Blu-ray. You can always negotiate - just because their Craigslist ad says $350 doesn't mean you can't ask for more.
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Old July 31st, 2009, 02:50 PM   #5
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Wow...talk about a slow site.

This seems like it's nothing more than a referral service, except that the person doing the most work is getting the least amount of money.

FTR, I don't do weddings...the market is saturated with wedding videographers and you can't yell "Cut!" and say "Can we do that again?" either. :)
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Old July 31st, 2009, 07:44 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Dave Blackhurst View Post
I've looked at a couple of these "shoot for us" deals, and typically they mark up the services A LOT. I'd rather discount 50% from their rates, opening my "service" to more potential clients/budgets, and still make more money...
hehe, I'm already 50% of that at my list prices! and I also do multiple cams!
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Old July 31st, 2009, 07:48 PM   #7
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their video samples page doesn't work either, so I can't see what sort of productions they are using to advertise (vs the kind they will get from $300 shooters)
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Old July 31st, 2009, 09:45 PM   #8
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Funny, the site works fine for me and I even watched their samples. I don't know why you guys are getting so uptight about this. It seems like a sound business model and they appear to have many satisfied customers.
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Old July 31st, 2009, 10:17 PM   #9
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I can only speak for my area but the average pay for the big box houses for shooting only is $300 to $500. I'm talking about freelancers who get the work subbed to them from the big house. In a large metro area like Chicago it is hardly unusal for a big house to have 6 or 8 guys -hose but have 20 or 30 subs and when they have 30 locations and do 400+ weddings a year you're bound to have and use subs. Nothing wrong with that. While the pay may not seem like a lot, think about it like this. First you're on the job for say 10 hours. Even at the low of $300, that's $30.00 an hour. Most people in the business for only a couple of years aren't making $30 an hour, at least not around here so it's not a bad deal for them, the house or the couple AS LONG AS (here's the caveat) the house does their due diligence in checking out who they hire to make sure they do quality work.
Not everyone can or will run their own business as many are part-time, so for them it makes sense to do work this way.
Hell, I know a guy thats been doing this for about 10 or 12 years and he keeps turning down their offer of employment - he's gainfully retired now and does his 20 or 30 weddings a year as a sub because he enjoys it and the extra money is his "drinking money" as he puts it. Again, I'm not speaking of the place mentioned in the OP post but one of the largest big box places in the country with about 30 locations here in the Chitown area.
For some, it's a great way to build up experience and make some extra cash to buy all the latest and greatest new toys that constantly come out for us to play with. :-)
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Old August 1st, 2009, 01:58 AM   #10
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I had a client contact me regarding an upcoming shoot who actually went with "The Pro's" instead because they are a 'big-box' type retailer and he's been burned by a previous videographer he hired from Craigslist. Not only did I help him track down the previous videographer (who still had his tape), but I had to forward him this listing with the mention that he is (in essence) hiring yet another videographer off of Craigslist. Ironic, no?
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Old August 1st, 2009, 05:50 PM   #11
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Funny, the site works fine for me and I even watched their samples. I don't know why you guys are getting so uptight about this. It seems like a sound business model and they appear to have many satisfied customers.
So did Bernie Madoff... until recently...

I think one needs to take a look at the "required gear list" - if they are seriously expecting that sort of full rig (w/"studio lighting"), it's a two man job IMO. Even if you collect your gear on the cheap and secondhand, it's still probably a $5k setup they expect you to show up with for that $300-350. Sounds more like a great "free ride" for them - you take all the equipment risks (theft, damage, wear and tear), they get free gear rental.

Sure it's a great deal for someone starting out, getting paid to "learn the ropes", but that $30/hr is going to be significantly less after costs and taxes (you're a sub contractor, so you've got to pay those, at around 15%, I guarantee they send 1099's so you'd have to report the "income").

If the job were local with minimal transit time, and a SHORT shoot, this might make sense, but in the end you have to realize you're just a "mule". If the money helps out, sure, and in these times, money is money, but realize that ultimately you undercut your own self...

The "aggregator" business model (big "umbrella" company buys products or services from other sources who do the actual work or product delivery, as opposed to having their own warehouses/emplyees/overhead) is fairly common now, often when you buy something on the internet, it scomes from a drop shipper, not who you bought it from. That's really what's going on here - ThePros sells "the product", then finds a vendor to provide it at a price cheaper than they are selling it, making a markup in the process. When it works it's good for everyone if you do enough volume... but are you as a sub contracted videographer going to make a livable return working for an outfit like this? You're really not much more than a glorified employee, wrapped in the "sub-contractor" label for cost savings and legal purposes benefitting the larger vendor.

OK, so it's probably good for "drinking money", and if you like to shoot, and have the gear, maybe it's not that bad a deal... but there's NO WAY I'm lugging a full light kit and the rest of that stuff on an 8 hour tour for what they are offering, and I doubt the $300-350 is "negotiable". Besides, I'm tapeless now anyway <wink>!
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Old August 1st, 2009, 06:23 PM   #12
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Shooter Beware!

Another thing to consider. I subbed from a different outfit that operates out of NYC and it took forever for me to get payment. It was a short term booking and they supplied tapes and had me deliver to Photog and I trusted them to pay the following Monday when "their accounting person would be in." Get it in writing on a binding contract and if possible, don't release tapes until you receive the check. I had gotten so used to my corporate work where you often have to do the work upfront and invoice, I forgot that many of these event companies fly-by-night.

I also think the rate is low for this situation. I have done these at a $75/hr minimum + mileage but often negotiate the rate closer to $125/hr and up when they need this much equipment and time. If you are just starting out or a part-time shooter than this isn't a bad deal if they can send you volume but if you need to live on it then you need higher rates than that.
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Old August 1st, 2009, 11:30 PM   #13
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I didn't see the full light kit. Opps, I have to ask WHY?
I've never used a light kit at a wedding. Maybe I'm old fashioned but to me it changes everything at a reception. Of course I am old so that's got to be it. ;-)
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