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

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Old September 18th, 2009, 03:56 AM   #16
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On other hand, you could always make him a "walk away" offer: he gives the tapes back to you and "walk away" for good nwith no further exchange of money.

It may cost you more in the end by the time you get the finished video done, but at least you do get to retrieve your valuable tapes and find an alternate editor.

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Old September 18th, 2009, 10:11 AM   #17
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I agree with all the posters that you need to be nice and work out a deal to get your material back as a first priority.

The comment that Tom had that there may be a problem with the material is a valid point. I would hope/think that at a minimum, there would always be something salvagable.

Important point - Above I said get the "material" back. It is most likely this was a miniDV cam of some type and the media is on miniDV tape. I know from hard learned experience that miniDV tapes are not always cross compatable with other brands of cameras using the same capture format. Sometimes using an incompatable camera to capture the material will destroy the video (although not mechanically). It is always best to capture the footage off the original recording camera except with known compatability of the capture unit.

Since it is unlikely this guy is going to capture hours of footage and provide it to you on optical or SSD media, you have to find out exactly what type of camera he used so you can be positive you will be able to capture the tapes.
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Old September 18th, 2009, 01:29 PM   #18
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Hi Guys,

Thank you for your suggestions and advice so far, I would have replied earlier but reading most of your comments have helped me calm down a bit, but still very very bitter about everything.

I have decided that I am going to talk to him very politely and ask him if he still wants to edit the video but would like to have the raw tapes back so I can give them to someone else to edit for me. I would do it myself but I just dont have much expeirence in it nor do I have the time myself as I am no expert. I am willing to pay someone who is willing to take on this project for us but I am just hoping that when we look at the video we actually feel good about it. I dont think my videographer will even do a good job anymore.

To respond back to Dave regarding providing the songs to him, well I had been trying to get a hold of the videographer since last october 2008 but he would never respond nor would he answer his calls and I left many messages for him and then in December we bought a business which required me to move 4 hours away from city and I then fogot about the video for the next couple of months until my parents started asking and I then did the same called and called and sent emails. I finally met him at a friends wedding and was shocked he had hired him and told him very politely if he can get my video done and he confirmed in front of my wife and other friends that it will be done by early to mid June. I then emailed him June 5th to follow up and once again called and called and he finally emailed back on July 6th saying he was unable to even start and because this is a busy season he will just notify me once he starts????? I figured fine hopefully by August I should get it then so I emailed July 25th to follow up again and he never responded and I then got a little upset and left a message but a polite firm message saying its been 1.5 years and my family is concerned and would like to know when the video will be finished and I also mentioned if he could return my calls or at least email me with some sort of correspondence and this message I left exactly on August 13 because that was my b-day and he still never answered me back to anything.

Now I was furious so I sent an email saying he is very unprofessional and the rest was mentioned in the first post so wont say it again....but he responded back saying he hasnt called me back because he thinks I blamed him over the phone for the delay and that was not the case as I had said on the message that it has been 1.5 years and I need a timeframe but he took it differently. Anyways, he is now saying that once he gets back he will let me know in October as to when he will even start. I just hate the fact that I am in this position and still have to be nice to this prick after what he has done. I feel even worse for giving him a $200.00 tip.

At this point if I can get my raw tapes which trust me I will, but i am hoping he will just edit it properly as I plan on talking to him face to face by going to his place when he returns and hopefully put everything behind us. But I will still get the raw tapes back just in case.

Peter, Thank you so much for your generous offer and do not be surprised if I take you up on your offer. Obviously I will pay you for your time and what you would charge as that is the only fair thing to do I would be just glad if things fall apart with the current videographer then whoever I might get to edit the video will be paid fairly for their time. I am not worried about the money I just want to make sure when my kids watch the wedding tapes that they enjoy the moments and my wife and myself along with our families just want to enjoy the memories from our wedding day.

Anyways, I will email him today and will report back what he has to say and will update you guys as to what the outcome is once I have the finished product.

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Old September 18th, 2009, 02:39 PM   #19
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If your event was 3 days long, I'm guessing he has between 15-30 shot tapes. My guess is that his hard drive is already full of current shorter projects, and can't handle all your footage at once. Sad to say, but I don't think he'll ever finish your event. Get your raw tapes from him ASAP.
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Old September 18th, 2009, 02:59 PM   #20
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Karim get "your" tapes back, if you had a verbal or written contract it is now broken. Some videographers don't like giving out raw footage however in your case you have every right to demand your tapes back. There are various reason why a videographer can take up to one year to complete an edit, he's probably never done a three day wedding and the amount of footage probably overwhelmed him so he put it off until he was swamped with other edits, this happens to guys that are new in the market. I can't say for sure what the reasons however it's unethical. I would not advise you give him more time, I'm sure he has family back home ask him to organize that someone get the tapes to you. I echo what the rest have said, be polite, keep it casual with a firm undertone, let him know you are serious. If you do decide to give him another chance understand that you will probably only get your edit after another 8 months.
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Old September 18th, 2009, 03:11 PM   #21
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Did you check his references? The reason I ask is that might help your understanding of the situation. If others have had similar problems, that's one thing. If your problem with him is more unique, that's another. I agree with other; a direct confrontation will probably just make matters worse. I'm sure your highest priority is to preserve the video of your wedding. In that vein, getting the tapes in hand protects that interest although you may lose the money that you have paid. If you are able to retrieve them, you will cherish the memories they memorialize much longer than your feelings about this guy.
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Old September 18th, 2009, 03:24 PM   #22
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All he shoots are Indian weddings so all his footage is usually 12-15 tapes. Before I signed the contract with him I had seen his work and it was descent not the best but for the price it was descent better then other Indian videographers, nothing as close to Ram from I wish if I knew this site before hiring him but didnt know until late last year. Anyways, he has been doing the same to my friend it has been 6 months and he replied to him just recently so he does have a reputation for ignoring. To be honest he is not busy or anything I spoke with some other people and found out he wasnt getting that many clients. He only shoots with one camera and its pretty much just point and shoot nothing too fancy like a glidecam or anything just a tripod and one Sony HDV camera. No matter what I will definitely get my tapes back from him for sure and get someone else to edit them again and pay the extra cost.

I will be extremely polite when speaking with him next instead of loosing my cool, hopefully I will be able to control my temper as few days ago when he had replied to me I was very steamed.

I just hope I can find someone else who has had experienced shooting indian weddings so it would be easier for them to know about the various ceremonies.

Let's see what happens.
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Old September 18th, 2009, 03:42 PM   #23
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When we did our first Indian wedding, it wasn't much of a learning curve, even though it's substantially different from traditional American weddings. I would instead find talent and consider how to brief him and what he would need to know.
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Old September 18th, 2009, 03:49 PM   #24
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Hi Karim, maybe Ram can you help you out with the edit. I agree that the guy may not have enough space in his hard drive, but he can edit 1 day (5 tapes) at a time if he really wants to.

I wish I could help you I am up to my neck, 2 Weddings and an 18th Birthday to finish and time is running out...... (sigh)
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Old September 18th, 2009, 04:48 PM   #25
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I remember seeing an episode of People's Court where the couple was in exactly the same situation as you! After almost 2 years, the couple didn't get their video. The videographer had some excuses, but in the end the judge awarded the couple a full refund I think...does anyone remember seeing this episode? It was 7 or 8 years ago.

Small claims court may be the way to go if you can't get your tapes back immediately. Ask around the Indian community and see if anyone else is in the same boat. In the meantime, call your friend and file a complaint together if there is no response from the videographer.

Just out of curiosity, exactly what was stated in his contract?
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Old September 18th, 2009, 07:57 PM   #26
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OK, I still am confused as to when the music arrived, but I see "what we have here is a failure to communicate"... and it appears your videographer is not good at communicating.

Understandably, you are peeved, I know how easy it is to get ticked when you are ignored, plus your friend is experiencing the same trouble, and it's quite possible that others are experiencing the same thing... not good signs.

Send a certified letter, start keeping a paper trail, just in case. Your friend should do the same. If it comes to small claims (or any legal dispute), the guy who has the documentation in order usually wins. I'd also suggest you sit down and get the timeline as clear and accurate as possible - I'm having a tough time following your descriptions, though I get the general timeline.

If he says he still wants to edit, I'd set a reasonable deadline - say the end of this year, and have him sign something agreeing to that. If he won't, just get the tapes back, ASAP.

I did a bit of math, and 15 tapes x around 12Gb each is only 180Gb... 1TB drives are under $100, so unless the guy doesn't know how to stuff a spare drive into the computer (it's possible... not everyone is a techie) or hook up a external USB device (a no-brainer), it shouldn't be a problem to dump the tapes. Perhaps that's an option - ask him to capture the raw footage from the tapes onto a portable drive? At least that way you would have your raw material. Then you can copy to another drive or send it out broadband to someone to quote you for the edit.

If he won't dump the tapes, get the originals, don't say anything about refunds UNTIL YOU HAVE THE TAPES IN HAND!!! You can always take him to Court, but you want those tapes or a clean copy. Then you can have them edited with any luck (I agree you may want to find out the camera type, but I think you're fairly compatible if it was a Sony HDV cam - that SHOULD play back from almost any HDV camera).

There are plenty of guys around here who can edit an Indian wedding, I'd love to try my hand at it sometime! Hopefully your raw footage is good and usable, and you can get it back. Even if it's rough or poorly shot, you'd be surprised what creativity in post can achieve, but you need those tapes or the captured files.

I don't think you'd have any problems prevailing in Court if it comes to that (collecting may be another matter), but I'd feel a lot better if you can come on here and say "I've got my tapes!" before it goes any further... keep that in perfect focus... Money you can make or lose, the footage of a one time event you either have or you don't.

Once you've got the tapes, I'm sure someone here can step up and help you out. Aside from geographic considerations, I'd capture the tapes for you if you had 'em, just because I'd like to see the event!
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Old September 18th, 2009, 08:40 PM   #27
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Dave, the amount of space footage requires depends on a number of factors. I shoot Canon HDV and capture in FCP with the ProRes option .. and 1 tape takes about 30-40GB. So for me, 15 tapes would require 450-600GB of space. Just an FYI for you.
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Old September 18th, 2009, 09:09 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by Noel Lising View Post
Hi Karim, maybe Ram can you help you out with the edit. I agree that the guy may not have enough space in his hard drive, but he can edit 1 day (5 tapes) at a time if he really wants to.

I wish I could help you I am up to my neck, 2 Weddings and an 18th Birthday to finish and time is running out...... (sigh)
Karim did email me regarding the editing. As I mentioned to him, I'm up to my neck deep with editing of the weddings we shot over the summer; I simply don't have anymore time to take on extra editing jobs.

I suggested him to get the raw footage from the videographer and try to do the editing himself (if he has the hardware/software to do it). Knowing him personally, as he shadowed me at a wedding shoot last year; he has a great amount of passion to learn wedding film making. What is a better way to learn editing than trying to edit his own wedding. If he come across any technical hurdles, he can always seek help at great forums such as this one, as there are plenty of experienced wedding film makers who are willing to help out new comers.
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Old September 18th, 2009, 09:11 PM   #29
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Travis -
I was going from standard compressed HDV - sounds like your import transcodes for easier editing. I transcoded HDV footage ONCE, and the extra HDD space and time were too much for me... If I were to transcode my AVCHD, it'd be brutal on HDD space... I'd rather just build a faster machine to edit on that can decompress on the fly... generally HDV is around 4Gb for 20 minutes plus or minus, but various capture/transcode/compression schemes can vary widely.
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Old September 23rd, 2009, 11:32 AM   #30
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The videographer is completely taking the P. Court for damages would be my reckoning. That would concentrate his mind. he would lose and have to pay court fees. Chances are he would come up with the footage pretty danm quick.

I have shoot over 40 weddings this year. How long do my brides wait? Longest has had to wait 5 weeks this year, when I did 4 weddings in one week.

The videographer should sit there, from dawn till dusk if he has to, to make sure he/she doesn't get too far behind. There's no excuse to be a year or so behind. It's called bone idle laziness and if I was like that my repution would rightly be in tatters.

And another point Never do your weddings out of sequence, no matter how desperate the client is to have their footage. Do it chronologically. Clients have to wait their turn. They can shout as loud as they want but have to wait their turn. I tell them 4-6 weeks, but get it to them faster to make a nice suprise. But some still phone after 2 weeks!

You would think they would have other, more interesting things on their minds.;)
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