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

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Old December 23rd, 2009, 12:07 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by Blake Cavett View Post
Basically if you give yourself 4-6 months to return a video, chances are best that you'll use every bit of that time.
6 months x 4.3 weeks/month x 40 hours per week = 1,032 hours on a single wedding?

I don't think so. When I shot weddings, I'd spend about 20-30 hours editing. When you spend 6 months on a wedding video you're working on it in fits and starts, spending long periods of time (weeks, if not months) not even thinking about it.
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Old December 23rd, 2009, 01:17 PM   #32
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There are many reasons it can take 3 months or more to turn around a wedding edit. I'd be happy to list some of those for you guys.

First and foremost, this idea that the day after the wedding you can jump on the computer and edit for 8 hours straight each day for 7 days in a row ... well, it's bogus. No job is like that (unless you work on a factory assembly line, lol). You have phone calls to make and return, emails to compose and reply to, meetings and consults to attend, business errands to run .. and all sorts of other random things that come up. Much of the past two weeks for us has been spent developing a new layout and design for our wedding show booth, researching new blog software, designing a new brochure and exploring a new branding image .. and that's just what I can remember off the top of my head.

Second, and nearly as important, most of our weddings are booked between June and August. So while we're spending 2-3 weeks editing the first one, we've already shot 2-3 more. So do the math. Next thing you know you're working on wedding #3 and you've already got a backlog of 4-6 weddings, and it just snowballs quickly from there. And no, the answer is not necessarily hiring additional editors because that just increases the cost for the couples.

Third, our editing style demands a huge chunk of time. Our short-form features alone can take a full week to create the final edit. Just picking out all the music we want to use and creating the 'score' can take a full day. We also usually come away from a wedding with 8-12 hours of footage, and that takes several days to rough cut. Heck, it takes a full day or more just to capture it all. Tack on full real-time edits of the major events (ceremony, dances, toasts, etc.) with cutting from 2-3 cameras, and you've got another several days of editing. Oh, and did I mention we color grade it all? Not every studio invests the time we do into the final product. This is often why you'll see a studio bragging about their X-day turnaround. They aren't delivering the product we are.

Fourth, our edits are all pretty customized. We don't have a cookie-cutter approach that we use for every couple. So it takes time to experiment with new ideas and new editing techniques or styles. Even our DVD cases and faces and menus are completely custom designed, and that alone can easily take a full day.

Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post
If I was getting married and the videographer started talking about thousands of dollars up front and I STILL had to wait 3 months for the DVD...would he (or she) get the business??? Absolutely not!!!
You might change your mind if you saw our product. You might not, and that's fine too, but just because you don't want to wait 3 months for a better product doesn't mean other people aren't fine with that. Our couples routinely wait 2-4 months for their DVD's, and we never get any complaints. Heck, go to our website and check out the rave reviews our couples send us. Our business model is working just fine, even if it's not for you.

Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post
Buy yourself a brand new RV and lay the cash on the table for the dealer...seriously, what would you say to them if they said "We will deliver your purchase in 3 months, we are a bit busy at the moment, so you have to wait " ????
This example just doesn't work, sorry. When you go to buy a brand new RV, the RV is already built. It's done. So of course it doesn't make sense to pay for it and wait 3 months to pick it up. When someone comes in to book us for the wedding cinematography, it's not already done and sitting there waiting for them. When the wedding day is done, it's still not sitting there ready and waiting for them.
Black Label Films
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Old December 23rd, 2009, 01:27 PM   #33
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One more thing we're not comparing when talking about turnaround times, guys - the size of the project.

Every single one of us has different packages to offer and different workflow to match it. When we are comparing editing time we should also mention how long is the final video, does it include slideshows, etc.

Ie. in my market I'm forced to offer 3-4hrs videos. Couple wants a nice edit of everything. I know it's crazy but that's what customer wants and that's what they'll pay for. I offer "short" pkg with an option for raw footage - almost no interest. They rather pay more and get everything edited.

Now if you offer 90 min video with slideshow and highlights, and rest nicely edited together - then a week or two of editing is easy to achieve (even with footage from 2 cams, and even for part-time videogs). Try doing the same with 3 hrs project - it won't be that quick.
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Old December 23rd, 2009, 02:35 PM   #34
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But what we're saying is that the project doesn't take 6 months, it perhaps takes 1 or 2 weeks - depending on the style and length. The point I'm making is that 6 months means 12 projects are in the works, so if you could finish just a few early, then you'd claw back amazing amounts of time. I like the idea of the cashflow situation, 12 projects all 50% paid for (or whatever is your norm) - that's a lot of cash in the bank, and buying new kit must be easy. If the customers stand it, who am I to say it's wrong? I just can't conceive of this kind of workstyle. My customers want it yesterday, and want to pay in three months time, with no up fronts at all. I'm just at a loss to understand how you all get away with it in this economic climate? It's a brilliant way to work.
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Old December 23rd, 2009, 02:59 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by Blake Cavett View Post
Abraham Lincoln was once quoted as saying, 'Give a man 6 hours to cut down a tree and he'll spend the first 4 sharpening his axe.'

Reading the Manuel on the new camera
Upgrading the computer one more time
Trying to find an encoder board that works to make dvds faster
Trying to figure out how to buy a $4,000 camera that woks like a $28,000 one cause the one you got sucks
Checking out new lenses because the last one screwed you at an important time
Repairing wires and mics
Finding a $500 bulb that lasts only 50-100 hours , and is now obsolete
Going to the Gym to get rid of Edit Butt syndrome
reworking that camera profile because the Brides dress was topaz not teal
Checking out cool Black friday sales for equiptment you cant afford.
Finding replacments for stuff that doesnt exist anymore that broke
Re-charging battereis and wondering why they didnt work for the time stated
Setting up the equiptment in the Truck for the next shoot, in time for it
Repairing some cheap plastic stuff on the gear before the next show
Trying to find out why your Lesser Wireless mic quit mid show
Spending 4 hours trying to get your camera to service and back and loosing it for weeks
Testing the next thing your going to be using on the next job, without testing it on that job
Writing and reading cool forums on video stuff , i am just purchacing agent this week luckliy
Getting the work van down for a smog test, oil change, tune up, gas, tires, battery etc, so it gets you to the job reliably
Power goes out in the middle of editing . . .
Buy more gear, another UPS device
Researching Music that you can legally use, that you would actually use :-)
Getting supplies for all the machines, toner print carts, dvds, more batteries again
Dealing with that jerk who sold you used equiptment on e-bay you could afford, who sent you the equivelent of a box of rocks
Babysitting some POS electronics that needs its dipers changed because everytime you walk away it fails.
Finding more audio gear to try and cover it better next time
Reinstalling crappy software , and updates
Buying Flash Chips , and figuring out how to not pay 2 weeks sallery for them
Checking out the next location on your GPS so you get there reliably
Do some Insane stuff to your computer for because it is suppose to fix the crappy software
Figure out how to recover files from your cheap memory
Update that old monitor with one that works good
Spend days listing the equiptment you bought last year on e-bay because it is obsolete again
and the list goes on and on and on, and that doesnt include sleeping, having a life or a wife or even starting on any real "work" yet.
the Number one Axe sharpening, Getting a Real job to pay for it all :-)
Re-learning everything all over again, one more time.

Last edited by Marty Welk; December 23rd, 2009 at 03:31 PM.
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Old December 23rd, 2009, 03:01 PM   #36
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Well, Paul, I guess we get away with it because there's just no other way to do it. d;-)

I could hire on additional editors, but then I'm going to have to charge couples even more and it's already enough of a struggle to sell wedding cinematography in my market. So we choose to just do the editing ourselves and have a longer turnaround.

For corporate work, our turnaround is MUCH different, but that's out of necessity. Oftentimes businesses come to us and need the final product delivered in a matter of days or weeks. So in those cases we do the work right away because if we don't we won't get the project.

Oh, and Lukas made a very good point. Some studios talk about short turnarounds but they are only shooting 2-3 hours of footage and providing a basic edit. We have a budget package that we can turn around in less than a week too. It's just not the package that our couples usually choose.
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Old December 23rd, 2009, 06:10 PM   #37
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Coming from a production background (think EFP), I wonder if this little anecdote might be at ALL interesting...

I started my career doing corporate pieces and short form docs with the occasional commercial. I got used to a "relaxed" timeline for getting stuff done. I really WAS spending a lot of time on my lighting, my shooting and especially my edits. Then I got a freelance gig shooting news one day. I was used to having time to set things up, test things, think things out... Well, my first press conference, I missed the ONLY soundbites worth catching because I was worried about the "little" things.

What I learned from this was what I've spent the last 8 years working on - ask yourself the question "what IF I had to turn this around faster?". Work to find the efficiencies that don't present themselves IF you have a long period of time to get things done. I use my learned knowledge from shooting news (what my media instructor called "cheeseburger, cheeseburger, cheeseburger!" shooting) and adapted it to making the most out of my available time when editing pieces where I DID have the time.

EVERY ONE of us has inefficiencies in our workflow. Find creative ways to make yourself more productive. As an example, I used to offload screening window burns and media capture to an assistant and/or writer. NOW, on longform documentary stuff, I capture tapes in their entirety and WATCH every minute of footage. I make notes (on paper and using metadata) to streamline the process of remembering what it was I shot in the FIRST place over 30 hours of tape. My edit times started to drop BECAUSE I remembered all that B-roll that I shot without thinking about it and was able to integrate better visuals into my "stories" because my memory was refreshed.

ALL I'm saying is EVERY workflow has areas that can be improved. If there is ANY downside to faster-than-real-time transfers of media from cards to NLE, it is that the opportunity to "relearn" what you shot has been taken away.

Again, this is just one example of reclaiming efficiency. This may or may not have ANY bearing on Weddings BUT if you identify stuff that NEEDS to make the final edit during media ingestion, you're one step further ahead than you were BEFORE you reviewed a single frame of video in the edit.

Hope this helps.
Shaun C. Roemich Road Dog Media - Vancouver, BC - Videographer - Webcaster Blog:
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Old December 23rd, 2009, 06:31 PM   #38
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to get rid of Edit Butt syndrome
ROFLMAO ... oh wait
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Old December 24th, 2009, 01:08 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post
...seriously, what would you say to them if they said "We will deliver your purchase in 3 months, we are a bit busy at the moment, so you have to wait " ????
The same thing hundreds of others are saying: "But you promised the RED Scarlet would be put two years ago."
"It can only be attributable to human error... This sort of thing has cropped up before, and it has always been due to human error."
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Old January 12th, 2010, 12:22 AM   #40
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I feel your pain and I think I might have found a solution...

I just had this happen to me. I took on too much work last year and now I am finishing a ton of weddings and other jobs from 2009.

This year I vowed to raise my prices, not take every job, not be up till 4am every night editing till my eyes are completely shot, and to actually live life as well as work my own business.

Also...I tell my clients when they ask about anything that I only give out top quality stuff and it takes time. I also tell them that I get postive feedback almost every week (which is true by the way) from brides and clients and that its totally worth the wait. My turn around time is 1-4 months AFTER I receive the couple's music, photos, etc.

I also crank out the smaller projects first so that I have an overall less amount of work.

Hope this helps!
Silas Barker
Wedding & Corporate Video, Sacramento, Roseville, Folsom, Auburn
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Old January 12th, 2010, 12:29 AM   #41
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Well done.

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