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


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Old July 25th, 2004, 09:45 PM   #1
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Am I about to rip myself off?

I'm the proud owner of a DVX100a and with my partner we have begun shooting various things, holy communions, baby showers, music videos etc, and have now been invited to shoot a wedding.

Here's the scope of the project, basically a DVD containing:

- 'Love Story' (you know the deal, a look at the couples history, interviews, cute shots of them in the park) around 30-40 mins

- Filming the Wedding from start to finish: pre-ceremony, ceremony, and reception

- A few slide shows of the photos they've taken over the years, maybe 5 mins each.

Believe me I'm no stranger to the amount of shooting and editing this will be, my main question however is how much we should be charging. The wedding is a year away, and We've volunteered to shoot their love story over the course of the next 12 months, so this will take a lot of our time also.

We were thinking of charging $3500 for everything, which includes a couple of copies on DVD. What do you guys think, is that a fair price?
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Old July 26th, 2004, 07:39 AM   #2
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I'm not sure what market demographic your working with but that price is pretty substancial. Over 3k is considered very high end usually only charged by wedding videographers that are well known and quite established.

So are you "ripping yourself off"?...No, I feel quite the contrary.
It's important to never undersell yourself- if you can propose this price and they bite- GO FOR IT!
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Old July 26th, 2004, 08:20 AM   #3
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This is a great documentary that will show a step(s) in time for the couple over the next year as the big day approaches. This additional time capsule with the various locations and stories that will distill out of it is certainly with merit, but has little to do with a wedding video. If you can get your hourly rate for something like this, then a job well done, so long as your production values are commuinicated to the client and their expectations are reasonably met.

Wedding videos on the other hand are typically priced to include 1 or 2 days of video work in the field followed by post production etc. You know the steps. These packages can be readily compared on the web and run from 500 bucks up to 3 grand for multi camera shoots using the better production techniques.

Although the "rising action" of your documentary will ultimately "climax" with the wedding day material, this is not typically the case for production length (timeframe) when clients are shopping the web or yellow pages for a wedding videographer.
For the additional work you are doing with one cam, your pricing seems close.
P.S. You need 2 cams for the ceremony. And top notch audio.
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Old July 26th, 2004, 08:54 AM   #4
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Given your experience, I think your pricing sounds pretty good.

On a side note, I'm not exactly sure how much shooting you plan on doing for the love story video, but I can tell you from my experience that we generally shoot no more than 2 days, and usually it is all shot in 1 day.

You don't want to wind up with 20 hours of footage to edit down.
At least, I know I wouldn't.

Your pricing sounds fair, as long as you don't put in more hours for the Love Story than you would for the actual wedding.

My 2 cents anyhow.

-Luis
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Old July 26th, 2004, 05:59 PM   #5
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thanks

Thanks sincerely for the replies. For the record, this would be a New York City wedding and filming. I dare say that NY would have higher video prices than most areas.

Thanks for the tips on ensuring we shoot less for the Love Story footage than the ceremony, I think we were about to fall into that trap.

Perhaps we'll suggest that the love story will involve a total of 5 hours of shooting over 5-10 days in the next 12 months.

I'll post back with the response we get.
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Old July 26th, 2004, 06:06 PM   #6
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"Perhaps we'll suggest that the love story will involve a total of 5 hours of shooting over 5-10 days in the next 12 months"

Five hours may be pushing it, but you should definitely be able
to shoot everything you need in under ten hours.

But, as a friend of mine always says:
"underpromise and overdeliver"

I'm curious to hear how it comes out.

Oh, and by the way, I know a guy shooting wedding up in New York, and I can tell you that the rates are higher than what we're getting in Austin at least.

Good luck,

-Luis
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Old July 26th, 2004, 06:06 PM   #7
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Old July 26th, 2004, 08:16 PM   #8
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pricing

By the way, we're thinking of charging them 25% downpayment, then another 50% in 6 months time, then the remainder once we deliver the DVD.

Anyone got a better pricing flow? What's normal in the biz?
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Old July 26th, 2004, 08:54 PM   #9
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Everyone does it different but that's pretty typical. I myself do 50% deposit/retainer, then the balance 2 weeks prior to the event. Some do 50% down, 25% two weeks prior and the remaining 25% at delivery of finished video.
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Old July 26th, 2004, 11:14 PM   #10
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I"m with Glen, I don't like leaving any balance hanging out there
after the day of shooting. Ideally you've been paid in full before
the day of the event.

But, if you can't get away with that, I would say you should get
75% prior to the day of the event at a minimum.

You don't want to leave yourself with anymore than 25% to lose
after having already completed all the work.

-Luis
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Old July 27th, 2004, 11:29 PM   #11
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Another way to gage the market in your neighborhood would be to surf over to WEVA.com and use the Member Links button to find some websites of videographers near you. Some people post pricing, other don't. I do on mine.

$3500 is a solid price, and it presumes a level of expertise required to deliver an excellent product. As was said, if you can look yourself and your client in the eye and ask for that price, then definitely do it.

John Goolsby is famous for always recommending to the videographers that attend his seminars that they go home and double their rates. It seems to be a trend that wedding videographers under? believe in themselves and what their skills are worth. When I started my business last year, I just took a big gulp and went for the pricing where I wanted to be. This year weddings are down due to our airport being closed for two months. This lead me to create an alternate brand which provided ceremony only coverage delivered on DVD for $295 (in-camera editing, on camera mic). John Goolsby did it first, and we're both selling these packages well, ...of course he's selling more than I... (I just did my first one last Saturday using the Optura Xi; the footage looked great.)

You might consider detailing the quote so the couple can pick and choose what they want. If everything is priced on an hourly basis, at least under the hood, then whether they buy the entire enchilada or just chips and salsa, you'll be making a profit.

have fun in any case,
Scott
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