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


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Old September 29th, 2009, 12:51 PM   #1
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Work for the competition?

How many of you have been 'hired' by a competitor in your town to work for them for a day? Like to run a camera for a wedding or stage show...

I need a 2nd shooter and was thinking about calling another company in the city but wasn't sure if that was frowned upon or not. Or is it in good taste? I was thinking that if I was called if I would do it. Would I help promote someone else's company?

What's the general rule of thought on this?
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Old September 29th, 2009, 12:59 PM   #2
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I have worked for other people, and have had other people work for me so I generally believe that its ok. It might depend on your area, how much work you get vs how much work you get and what their rate is. There will clearly be some people who are operating on a certain level and would decline working for another company due to being too busy, or some other conflict they may have.
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Old September 29th, 2009, 01:22 PM   #3
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I freelance for another studio in the past, that was before we started offering photography as well. There was just too many projects wherein we are quoting against each other and one time the client told me that he will go with my competitor since I am shooting the video for them anyway. I don't know why they told them that

In short it's conflict of interest. I freelance for a Photographer, I shoot edit videos for him and I freelance for a Videographer if he is double book, but experience taught me that it's not a good thing to freelance for a "competitor" who offers the same business as we do.

My 2 cents
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Old September 29th, 2009, 01:25 PM   #4
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It really all depends. I have done it before, and it worked out fine. I have also been
called by a couple wanting a wedding, who then called a competitor to compare
prices. He told them he could do it, and then called me to ask me to shoot it
(he has a full time job and does video work 'on the side') Of course, I knew it
was the same wedding, since it was the same day, time, and location. He asked me
how much for me to shoot it, and I gave him my price (which I don't think was too
high, but it WAS high enough that it was going to be hard for him to beat my price
for shooting and editing the wedding....) He kind of made some noise about me
charging $400 for 'only a two hour shoot' but I told him that his two hour shoot
effectively kept me from taking any other jobs for the day, so that was the price.
They ended up hiring me instead of him. Basically, I'm not in business to make
my competition look good. If I know for a fact, that people are shopping me and
my competition. I am NOT going to go out of my way to help the competition. If
they want to hire me to just shoot, I will do that, but I am going to make sure
that I make enough to make it worth my while......so it usually doesn't happen
but there have been several times that it did, and everyone was happy.
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Old September 29th, 2009, 01:29 PM   #5
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I live in a relatively small town and a few of us are pretty tight. We'll borrow each other's equipment, help out on shoots, pass along referrals, etc. I wouldn't want to have it any other way.
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Old September 29th, 2009, 05:26 PM   #6
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I'm in the same boat as Chris. I DO think however that I'd rather KNOW who I was bringing in rather than "hi Mr. Competitor, can you send me someone?" and have them send a rookie OR send someone who will then talk up your client and say "you know, WE could have done this ALL for you... here's MY card..."
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Old September 29th, 2009, 07:41 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blake Cavett View Post
How many of you have been 'hired' by a competitor in your town to work for them for a day? Like to run a camera for a wedding or stage show...

I need a 2nd shooter and was thinking about calling another company in the city but wasn't sure if that was frowned upon or not. Or is it in good taste? I was thinking that if I was called if I would do it. Would I help promote someone else's company?

What's the general rule of thought on this?
Very interesting situation. It would depend on the competition. For example, I hired Travis C. (from here on DVInfo.net) a few years ago simply because I needed more cameras and a cam op an he was the only one I trusted to work well. Now he is in a different market than me (since he now shoots HD) and he is obviously aiming for a higher end production and higher end clients. But in that case I think it worked out well because I knew him here in DVinfo, and we both have a similar professional philosophy about how we run our business.

Now there are several others in town that I would in NO way hire to shoot an event with me, partially because they are my direct competition (the lower budget / mass market kind of outfits). Also, I just don't know what their camera skills are because they took down all their samples after I put my samples up! :-)

If you questions is more of a "shoot in place of you" then there is no way I would trust anyone to shoot for me (probably even Travis). And I'm sure he feels the same way. We are all such control freaks in this business that the best way to go is to simply hand the job over to the other business entirely. Because what if the other company has a mix up and screws something up (it happens to everyone). Then that is still YOUR name on the line for the mix up.

Better it be a different company's name OR you shooting with the hired assistance.
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Old September 29th, 2009, 09:34 PM   #8
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Here is a true story a bride told me:

When she was shopping for a videographer, she saw Company A's work and hated it. Then she saw company B's work and loved it. So she hired Company B to shoot her wedding. On the day of her wedding, it turned out Company B was double booked so he had subcontracted Company A to cover him, not knowing the bride had seen Company A's work. Can you imagine how furious the bride was she saw people from Company A at her wedding?
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Old September 30th, 2009, 01:25 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Warren Kawamoto View Post
Here is a true story a bride told me:

When she was shopping for a videographer, she saw Company A's work and hated it. Then she saw company B's work and loved it. So she hired Company B to shoot her wedding. On the day of her wedding, it turned out Company B was double booked so he had subcontracted Company A to cover him, not knowing the bride had seen Company A's work. Can you imagine how furious the bride was she saw people from Company A at her wedding?
Wow! That's a good one.
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Old September 30th, 2009, 02:15 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Davis View Post
I live in a relatively small town and a few of us are pretty tight. We'll borrow each other's equipment, help out on shoots, pass along referrals, etc. I wouldn't want to have it any other way.
Exact same here and I live in a fairly big town. You have to make friends and establish relationships in this business IMO. What happens when you get the flu before a shoot if you dont have friends?
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Old October 2nd, 2009, 10:23 AM   #11
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Like Chris and Jeff. I have periodically called on "competitors" (who are also friends) when I need extra hands.

I've shot with Mayad and Bob among others.

Borrowing equipment amongst ourselves is also pretty routine.

Because of the catastrophic floods last weekend, Raphael and one of my shooters (Cecile) pinch hit for Bob because they were stuck in traffic for 5+ hours. Thankfully they made it to the ceremony in time.

Yes we are still competitors but it's nice to know you can depend on somebody when the occasion arises.
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Old October 2nd, 2009, 10:33 AM   #12
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Okay, a little big of a set up first... I have my own company - but right now it's a "side business". Because my company is still new and I don't have enough bookings to fill my calendar, I shoot for for 3 other companies, one of which I was working for before setting out on my own.

All three companies do fifty to one hundred wedding a year and use several videographers. None of the videographers have any kind of contractual arrangement with their company - they're freelancers and can take gigs anywhere they want. No one really had a problem with overlap. In fact, sometimes I get a call to shoot for Company A and I say I can't, I'm already booked for Company B. Then they'll ask me, if one of Company B's other videographers is available. I guess no one wants to pass on a potential client.

Bottom line, is while everyone is competitive, everyone works like and adult, because you never know when one of your competitors can help you out with gear or personnel.

Once, before we booked our first Bridal Shows, I found out that one of the companies I shoot for was going to be there. I called him and let him know I was going to be there with my own business and he was cool about it. He said to me, there's plenty of brides getting married, other video companies aren't really the competition, the real competition are the couples not wanting any video.
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Last edited by William Smyth; October 2nd, 2009 at 12:58 PM.
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Old October 2nd, 2009, 11:53 AM   #13
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I've worked for others.

I run my own business and have contracted out myself before to competition in the same city.

There are about 60,000 people in the town I live in... lots of weddings, plenty of work to go around.

Likewise, we refer clients to each other if we are booked etc.
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Old October 11th, 2009, 10:18 PM   #14
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Hi Blake,

I run my own Business and regularly work with other Videographers. We hold meetings once every few months and swap ideas, if anything my craft has improved as a result, you get great tips and also support if/when you need it. Why dont you try calling the other videographers in your area introduce yourself, you may benefit more than you realise.

It's always good to have an network around you.

Cheers,

David
Drumroll Productions.
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Old October 12th, 2009, 03:31 PM   #15
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Well, I'm convinced. My competitors are actually the brides who don't want video... not the guy across the street who is trying to do great work and raise the bar like I am. If anything, we're BOTH trying to make the wedding video world a better place.

SOLD.
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