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


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Old December 7th, 2009, 03:21 PM   #31
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Thank you. I just try to express what I've learned thru the years and what I see in the business in my area. Glad I can be of help to someone.
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Old December 8th, 2009, 03:18 AM   #32
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This is a fascinating thread. Its a real insight into the different beliefs out there.

Doug, to answer your question first.

I believe the trend in wedding's and wedding videos is the wedding blog. Imagine you were a bride. Why do you want your wedding filmed? For many we have found its because they have something unique in their wedding they want to keep. Typically they draw inspiration from a blog or other online source, this then evolves into an idea and ends up with something at their wedding (a first dance, arriving to the church on a tandem bike, 50's themed wedding).

It is because of this uniqueness many want it captured with a good photographer and a good videographer.

Now onto the trend of price and artsy styling. We still get a lot of brides who say "Nice work, but not what were after" and when we ask who they have gone for its the more traditional video presented all in black and white, slow mo, long scenes of people walking to the church. Sometimes they can pay as much as we charge but its simply what they wanted. We then get the customers who love what we do and want our work.

Ive lost count the number of times myself and Richard from FX Films have talked about how to raise the brides awareness of a high end video and this is a very important discussion.

This year we realised many brides have no idea what is out there OR, more importantly how much they charge. For this reason many budget either 500 or 1000 for their video. Not out of any research, just a figure they pluck out the air. As our prices have gone up its been harder and harder to get the many bookings we enjoyed at our sub 1000 price point. But thats not so bad. The problem is there are still people out there offering their services for 300 and feature wise it looks the same as what we offer. Cake cutting, bride arrival, vows, speeches, first dance etc. The difference is in how we capture and how we present it.

Philip, your right in that many UK couples dont want to be staged by the director. But our clients come to us because they do and it only takes us 5-10 mins to get many of the shots we use and we often team up with the photog to get shots at the same time when they do their 'walkabout'.

Now the subject of highlights/trailers vs full edit. We dont shoot everything like we used to. We used to walk away with 17 hours of footage to work through and thats too much to create anything meaningful.

These days we always have a very detailed discussion with the couple so we know how the day is going to play out. Often its a bog standard wedding as the venue wants everything to fall into their cookie cutter mould. For this reason its the same shots, the same vows, same everything. But by knowing how the day will play out we can plan days in advance what we want to capture and show and come up with a concept. The concept is something we have only done recently and we only have one clip online featuring this but the idea is to not control the day but capture it how you want to show it and more importantly shoot for the edit. By knowing how both the highlights and the main edit will look you can get the shots you need. Less footage to work through and more quality shots rather than the old school scattergun approach of capture it all and deal with the pain later.

It was a very simple talk by Stillmotion back in Reframe Austin which made us change our ways and we have never looked back. A little bit of forward planning, either days or seconds in advance can yield amazing results. This way, the final product is as good if not better than the highlights you see online and were so happy with the results we send out a full movie on our demo disk. How many here are happy enough with their work to do that?

We still get the comments about how they never noticed us, very unobtrusive and all that but we achieve work we are happy with and the client is elated with.

Repeatable vs non-repeatable. We could all fit many of our weddings into a simple template. The vows happen the same, the vows are the same (we've had custom vows here once) but that would mean all our highlights are the same and we dont want that. We want our couples to feel their highlights and edit are unique to them because we put the time in to make it unique. so occasionally we feature the vows, and really only if they are unique in some way.
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Old December 8th, 2009, 04:42 AM   #33
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Danny, that's a very interesting piece, thanks. We're shooting a wedding on 29th with my oldest pal as the photographer. We generally do our interviews when the photographer's doing his walkabout.

I'm thinking I might invest in a third person so that we can do some of the artsy stuff with the photographer. We've both agreed that we're going to use the rare occasion when we can work together to try some different stuff so here goes.

What would be really nice would be a dump of snow the night before. The church's literally next door to the pub so no cars involved and cobblestones everywhere - could be quite Dickensian. We've also got a fourth camera I picked up at a scoop price so lots of material.

Finally, your comment about the full video is right - we've got perhaps 2 in which everything went the way we wanted it. That's not to say we didn't satisfy all the customers but getting it right for us as well is different.
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Old December 8th, 2009, 05:40 AM   #34
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We do the artsy stuff with 2 cams. Both myself and my wife wear radios with those little discreet secret service type ear pieces. During the ceremony one plays it safe while the other gets the cutaways. Then we swap, as we always keep an eye on each other we know when its safe to move the camera rather than just staying fixed in one place and doing slow zooms. We always do fast zooms so we can cut them out.

It makes for a more intense day but it brings us so much more satisfaction in what we do.
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Old December 8th, 2009, 10:27 AM   #35
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Satisfaction is a factor.

How do you guys handle the bride who sends over 20 emails with details about the picture she has in her head? We're getting an increasing number of this kind of bride, and it substantially increases our time and the likelihood that we miss detail #47 in email #23. I want her ideas in order to hit the mark, but sometimes it opens a floodgate.
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Old December 8th, 2009, 04:10 PM   #36
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Dana:

Do you think you are doing something to enable these email diatribes?

My clients are just the opposite, they have no idea what they want, other than for the video to look somewhat like the samples and how I describe my style (documentary). I do get lots of emails to clarify names, dates, places & times, etc.

Don:

Nice post. I looked up the # of videographers for Chicago on Wedj.com and found 84. That's a lot of competition, considering there are lot of other advertising sites too, but your big market does have lot of opportunities also. My (smaller) market only has 22 videographers listed on Wedj. About pricing, I use the Wedj list of videographers to summarize their advertised prices so I can stay competitive and "in the current range". In this area, prices are going up currently, although there were "recession" deals going on last summer that were way too low and we had to recover from.
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Old December 8th, 2009, 04:25 PM   #37
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yeah 84 on the one site. Honestly, in the Chicagoland area (encompesses 6 counties and a population of around 9 million) there are probably 8 or 10 times that number if not more. Lots of competition but lots of work as well. The problem is ther pricing runs from about 3 or 4 hundred to 3 or 4 thousand. Some of them do 5 weddings a year and some do a couple of hundred or more, so it's really hard to center yourself. By that I mean so many couples are looking only at price (and inmany cases when they get the video the regret that) and some look at the quality. They all want the top quality for the nothing price of course just like everyone does but with all the vid companies out there in this area they have a HUGH choice of pricing and styles. I'm happy doing my 50-60 per year, mid price, don't get too artsy but it pays the bills. Honestly, if I could afford to, I'd retire from the wedding business. It's getting to be a bit of a grind, but then I've been saying that for the last 5 years so where am I goin'? :-)
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Old December 8th, 2009, 04:32 PM   #38
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In many areas, I don't think Wedj.com gives a good idea of how many or who's who with videographers. I just took at look at the SF Bay Area cities and found it to be extremely incomplete. I know many of the videographers in the area and almost none of them were listed. This is a paid advertising site although they will give a lesser-billed free listing. I don't think many people are interested in it; at least not around here.
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Old December 8th, 2009, 04:58 PM   #39
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I wish I had the time to read this entire thread .. but the backlog beast is nearby ....

Here are the trends I'm seeing in videography today:

- transition from long-form to short form final products
- increased use of "cinematic tools" (steadicam, slider, vdslr, off-cam lighting)
- increased visibility and importance of the videographer
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Old December 8th, 2009, 07:22 PM   #40
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This is a very interesting thread with some very serious opinion on the trends matter. But to tell you the truth, I am not in the position to say what exactly can be called a trend at present. You see, since cinema gear entered the market, I doubt it entered for a quick stay. Most possible is that all those steadicams, glidetracks and DOF are here to stay, at least I surely hope so. What I also hope though is that when the everybody will have overuse them, their use will become somehow more "selective" and mature.

Regarding the talk about long versions or short versions of final products, well, that's an issue that although analyzed very nicely at previous posts, it requires much more research (that's for me at least). To tell the truth, although the short versions sound much more interesting (and harder to create due to reasons like editing skills or lack of material), I am not sure my market (meaning the Greek market) is ready for it just yet, and I think that counts for many other markets, unless the videographer's target couples are really high-end and understand and require true cinematic qualities (provided of course that the videographer can create something like that). For the time being, couples want a "larger" version for various reasons, but I can recall two right now.

a) People often think, that the longer the final product, the best value for money (euros per minute etc)
b) Certain relatives (especially parents) want to check out everybody that was there, and make some gossip about them.

The above go for the Greek reality, I have no idea why that happens in other countries of this bizarre world.

So, if the above theory is correct, then the risk we've taken for 2010 (and more) will prove to be good. If not, we'll have serious problems! :) The risk was that we decided, that regardless of living in a remote area of Greece (though we work all over the country), we'll raise the prices at the point we think we deserve. That is for two reasons. a)to go for the high-end clients that respect more the "artistic" part of our work than the simple recording of stuff and b)to be free of the many restrictions that budget clients try to enforce us (they fail though). Judging by the 2010 bookings, it seems to work, but it's early yet. But of course, this is how we see things about wedding and it doesn't mean that we've got the right picture on the market, after all we're doing this for just 3 years. We surely don't intend to go to 20 minutes of final product (at least not yet) but the above will help us re-think of the way we present our product. At least that's the idea. :)

This post is becoming really big, sorry about that. I have some other comments on other issues but it's 3am here, so I'd go to sleep now. Probably tomorrow, I'll post some more. :)
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Old December 9th, 2009, 09:20 AM   #41
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It seems to me that it is emerging that there is not really any definitive national style trend other than the video business is maturing and videos are slowly getting better due to better exchange of information about techniques on sites like this and better equipment. Just like real estate, the business is driven by local market forces and expectations, and no two markets are exactly the same.

There will also always be a high end segment and a low end segment in video.

One financial trend I think I see is that the clients are getting more than ever for the cost they pay. Some of us have a $25,000+ USD equipment overhead, yet only get $3,000 (or much less) for a project. I believe in general, videographers ROI and margins are shrinking or stagnant at best, as the industry is suffering the same as the wedding photography industry. That is, the proliferation of digital cameras and lower equipment costs has a dilution effect on the industry by introducing lots more shooters of both Uncle Bob style and startup companies.
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Old December 9th, 2009, 11:29 AM   #42
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Artistic and cinematic pieces that are well done are a pleasure to watch. To me, a key aspect of being well done is to have a cohesive storyline that ties it together and gives it meaning. I don't appreciate some that I have seen that are just an assortment of video "stunts" thrown onto a timeline. When all the pieces are there including a relevant and moving story, they are very powerful.
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Old December 9th, 2009, 12:26 PM   #43
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For us the best way to keep up with the Uncles and the Craigslist players is to show talent and execution. Without the ability to outshine the amazing gear of the average consumer, we have to show why it's worth it to hire a pro.

I feel like our company needs to put together a pithy promo that explains why as quickly and powerfully as possible. Our demos are great, and potential clients are impressed, but if they forget that feeling and feel the pressure of their budget, they need bullets to remember, and video has the power to make that indelible mark.

Does anyone have a informative video spot to share?
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Old December 10th, 2009, 10:46 AM   #44
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One trend that needs to go is adhd shooting. It's so annoying to watch someone talking on TV and the shooter has to get every strange angle possible trying to be cute. when I talk to someone I don't do that. Can you imagine someone doing that while you're talking to them?

I thought it would be short lived, but then I thought reality tv would be short lived.
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Old December 12th, 2009, 12:29 PM   #45
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Talking about trends, one of the strongest trend I perceive is the "cinematic" look derived from DOF's DLSR cameras.

The point is: previously, people looking for a film look was worried about the 24 fps. Film look has many more issues than this, everybody knows (Gamma, aspect ratio, etc.). And now, everything resumes in DOF. Thats the trend, if you have DOF, as swalower as possible, you rocks, you have a cinematic look.

Yes, I'm being generalist. But, what i want to to point is, cinematic does have much more to do with composition and narrative than tech aspects. It's my point of view, of course.

Thats the reason why I study hard camera work, blocking, use of light and, specially, editing. I belive one can make a film despite the media. If we can lay our hands in good tools, thats nice.

What you think, guys?
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