Sending out complete weddings as demos at

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

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Old February 24th, 2005, 03:04 PM   #1
Inner Circle
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Brooklyn, NY, USA
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Sending out complete weddings as demos

More and more often I'm getting people asking me to send out complete weddings as demos.

I can understand why they'd want to see a complete wedding. Far too many wedding demos look like wedding music videos and really don't give an honest sense of how a videographer shoots and/or edits. How many of you have seen great trailers only to be disappointed the movie?

I have an ethical problem allowing someone to have in their possession a stranger's wedding though. I'd much rather screen a complete wedding with them and retain the video than allow someone to take possession of it.

How do you folks handle these requests?
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Old February 24th, 2005, 03:53 PM   #2
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Location: colorado
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I invite them to come to my studio and review several sample weddings.. This has never been a problem. Now fortunately I have a commercial space that I can meet with people at so it might be a little different for someone who works out of their home. In that case I would meet them somewhere fun like Starbucks and bring my powerbook to display the dvd's...


matt rickman
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Old February 24th, 2005, 10:17 PM   #3
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Location: Albany, NY
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We don't send full weddings if they are local. But if they are out-of-town and won't be back to the area for quite some time, and if they express a continued interest (if they call back after receiving the "teaser" demo," then we may send them a full wedding but with the understanding that they will come in to meet with us at least once before the wedding.

I really prefer to meet with couples in person more than anything prior to booking. I want to be able to explain things - esp. that every wedding is different and though this was edited this way for this couple, it may be different for you. Sending out fulls demos doesn't allow us the luxury to explain our decisions.

Also, I don't want our work falling into the hands of some competitors.

It's so weird when you get your first call from someone posing as a bride/groom, looking to get their hands on your complete work... There are telltale signs and you just know... I much prefer them be honest and say who they really are.
Jenn M
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Old February 25th, 2005, 09:14 AM   #4
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Location: Manitowoc Wisconsin
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I have actually begun making my demos just a highlight reel of weddings. I have booked quite a few people on the fact that most of my competition has 10 minute demos that show 30 seconds of actual wedding coverage and audio. They look great, (mostly) donít get me wrong, but potential clients have no idea how you shoot what matters, the wedding.

I agree with the original poster, these wedding music videos are dishonest, because thatís often not what you will receive.

I firmly believe demo means a demonstration of my finished product as I would give it to a client, not an advertisement showcasing a years worth of tinkering and editing far above and beyond what any client would receive. (Unless of course you offer that sort of quality, but these people donít)
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Old February 25th, 2005, 10:41 AM   #5
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Location: Perth, Australia
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I run a wedding video business here in Perth, Australia and I send out a completed wedding as my demo with all the features that a couple should expect to see in their own wedding video. As part of my terms and conditions when a couple initially signs my wedding video agreement they agree that I can use their DVD for promotional purposes. I do give the couple the added courtesy of asking their permission. I generally get 1 - 2 enquires per day and I send out a DVD to the couple.

Whether or not the competition has get copies of my work I don't really care because if they really wanted to they could easily pose as a couple and get copies of you work that way. I find that this is what couples want to see in my region and I get a good deal of bookings from this. I also have the clips on my website that people can download.


Chris Day
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Old February 25th, 2005, 03:03 PM   #6
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Chris Nailed it on the Head.. Have your contract give you permission to show the finished DVD as a sample of your work.

Chris - So you send out 30-60 "Samples" per month?

matt rickman
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Old February 25th, 2005, 03:26 PM   #7
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Showing a completed wedding is one thing. It's handing over posession that I have a problem with. Your contract is with your client NOT the potential client.

When you make a demo (an excerpt) you have control over this content even if you distribute it far and wide. You've controlled the content of that demo by editing it and finding it acceptible to hand out. By allowing you to use material in a demo they're trusting your judgement as to the content.

You have no contract with the person you are sending the completed wedding to. You have no direct control over whether or what parts may be distributed and for what purposes. Sure you could sue but damage may be done by then. If there's something in that completed wedding that the couple or family don't want distributed (or maybe YOU don't want distributed) then your reputation is toast.

Like maybe the baby pictures that aren't in the demo but in wedding video, posted to a web page. I don't do baby pictures but I think you see the problem that can happen.

I have things IN completed wedding videos that include family "inside" jokes and "off color" comments and actions. I don't mind showing them in a completed wedding because I walk out the door with the material after the meeting.

Just because a contract says I have the right to use any and all material as a demo doesn't mean handing over certain material NOT in your demo reel, to potential clients is a smart business practice.

Demos are for distribution. Completed weddings I can be screen with a potential client but aren't at risk for distribution.
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