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


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Old December 23rd, 2009, 02:09 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by Philip Howells View Post
Travis, I've never understood the economic logic in waiting to upgrade, with the single, occasional situation when first is worst.

Otherwise, the early adopters get best prices for their "old" equipment and a head start in the new marketplace.

Although we all know the quality isn't the same, most consumers are buying cameras which claim to be "full HD". In my view it's simply Luddite to argue that because adequate DVDs can be shot with SD, there's no sense in upgrading.

Michael, I do agree with not buying the latest upgrade or software package or gizmo which is why I still edit with Liquid but anyone who runs their business as a hobby must have a very benign bank manager.
Well, there are a number of reasons why upgrading right away can be a disadvantage:

First, there can be unknown issues with the equipment that make it problematic .. or issues with workflows that are involved. The people that jumped on HDV right away had all sorts of headaches working with the footage in their NLE's. Same for those that jumped on BluRay authoring right away.

Second, when you buy a piece of equipment it's like buying a car. The second you open the box it loses value, and there is a certain timing for getting the most value out of that piece of equipment before you sell it. If you're constantly buying the next best thing that comes out, you're likely losing out on some of that 'use value'.

Third, upgrading to the next best thing won't always mean an increase in profit for your business. This is a big issue for videographers and photographers alike. The emotional allure of getting that new piece of equipment often overpowers the logical common sense that it's not going to actually benefit the studio in terms of dollars earned. It's possible that your clients won't purchase the end product (such as when BluRay first hit the market .. and even now to some extent). It's also possible that your new piece of equipment won't change your product in a way that your clients will notice. So it becomes a piece of equipment that makes a difference in the way YOU see your product.

I'm not against upgrading, or even upgrading right when new technology breaks. I just think it's important to examine your purchases from a business standpoint, and recognize that sometimes it makes more business sense to use what you have.

-CASE IN POINT-
I know of a videographer that has gone through 4 complete upgrades on cameras in less than a year; first upgraded to a new HDV setup from an older HDV setup, then to 5D's, and just recently to 7D's. That's a lot of money out the door, and for what? Sure, the 'old' equipment was sold, but there is definitely some loss there because of the 'new car' factor. Now the 7D has proven problematic because of the overheating issue, and it's possible they might have to change out their equipment again (back to 5D's).

I look at that and it's just poor business management to me; not because they upgraded, but because of their rationale for upgrading. They upgraded because something 'newer and better' came along. It didn't matter that the equipment they had would work just fine for what they needed.

But hey, each to their own. I'm just trying to get people to think about their BUSINESS in BUSINESS terms. Too many people don't, and they just make emotional business decisions.
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Old December 23rd, 2009, 08:49 AM   #32
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I would disagree that HD is the proper baseline for delivery. The percentage of people out there with BluRay players is still very small. The percentage of people out there with standard DVD players is huge. Like it or not, they ARE the baseline still. Now if you want to consider HD as the baseline for YOUR studio, then I have no argument with that. More power to you. d;-)
HD is my baseline not because of what my clients want (90% of my work is still delivered on DVD or electronically) but rather HD is my baseline because my equipment and workflow are HD.

Let me give you an example of why I don't like the $500 "up-charge" for HD:

Video Company owns a couple HD cameras and an HD-capable edit suite. Clients A, B and C call and want projects shot and delivered on DVD - the price is $2000 each. Client D calls and wants a project shot on HD and delivered on Blu-ray - the price is $2,500.

Video Company shot all those projects with the same cameras and edited them in the same edit suite with the only real cost difference being the delivery medium (blank DVDs are $0.30 while blank Blu-ray are $5.00.)

Video Company thinks they got a $500 bonus from Client D, when in actuality, they gave a discount to Clients A, B and C. Video Company just gave up $1,500!

Now are a lot more economic and market forces in play - perhaps Video Company has to give an "SD Discount" to remain competitive, but it is what it is - a discount for SD.
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Old December 23rd, 2009, 09:55 AM   #33
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i think something about that included everything being shot and edited in hd, when it didnt have to be :-) lots of this HD stuff will still do SD from one end to the other.

If they are cheapskates and want SD , then give them SD from one end to the other?

If they want to pay Extra for HD , even if its delivered in SD then they should pay extra. with the idea that they can get a HD version any time they are ready.

if you were charging 2000 to shoot and edit in SD , then it should be at least 3000 for HD, and if your going to use HD like it or not, then you are still on the high side, they still get the advantage of HD originals right?

its not like people will charge $500 for a upconverted Pos blue-ray from the SD, so if it is all done in HD then it is still HD, if the customer wont fork over $100 for a player when they forked over $3000 for services, then charge them $3100 and Include the player :-)

even on the distribution side (other than movies) the DVDs are going for $45-50 out to customers, look what were paying for simple copies of training DVDs. so even the furthest end of the client has already forked over so much money. . . If your also forking over all the money and time, equiptment and problems, and increased difficulty (like focus) to do HD, then let them eat cake.
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Old December 23rd, 2009, 10:32 AM   #34
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We take the view that the extra costs are negligible (and we charge a premium rate anyway); so BD is a "no-cost-option". Rather than trying to earn extra income from BD, we hope to secure (premium) clients from our lower-cost competition who don't/can't offer BD at all.

But I'm not actually bothered whether clients take the BD option or not: all our output is produced to the same HD standards: I'm looking for the promotional caché that comes from offering BD, whether taken up or not.
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Old December 23rd, 2009, 10:45 AM   #35
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i think something about that included everything being shot and edited in hd, when it didnt have to be :-) lots of this HD stuff will still do SD from one end to the other.
Here's an imaginary meeting with a client:

Client: "What equipment do you use if I choose the HD package?"
Video Pro: "We use a pair of JVC HD200 high definition cameras and edit on our 8-core Mac Pro with Final Cut Pro 7."
Client: "Wow. So what if I choose the SD package?"
Video Pro: "Same equipment, but I flip this little switch from HD to SD."

Now I don't know about your typical wedding client, but corporate clients do ask questions like that, and as a business owner for many years, I ask questions like that myself. So then what do you do? Lie? Try to BS them?

As for my business - everybody pays based on our experience, talent and quality. No fake upgrades and no fake discounts.

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I'm looking for the promotional caché that comes from offering BD, whether taken up or not.
Well said.
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Old December 23rd, 2009, 11:15 AM   #36
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I would tell them pay up or i will break out my old SD cameras :-)

I certannly wouldnt present HD as a switch on the camera, without lying i could point out Many thing, 4 times the resolution, 4 times the data , or 4 times the compression that has to be dealt with proper.
heck that is worth 4 times already :-) cause i have to work with 4 times the pixels. 4 times the computer needed to edit it.

4 TIMES not switch , that is easy to sell, 5 even on some things.

when i shoot your work in SD it will look like dirtbag stuff from the 80's , Your project wont have any Future, as it will be obsolete in a few years when some form of HD distribution will be as world wide as DVD is today.

Client: but i hear all you have to do is flip a switch
Video Pro : Ya right.

i flipped a switch and it cost me $35,000 , i do believe somone is going to pay more for that, or not get it.
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Old December 23rd, 2009, 12:32 PM   #37
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A DV upside to Blu-Ray also

There is another plus for the newest Blu-Ray players being sold currently, they make our DV widescreen video look a lot better.

Im noticing more than ever that NTSC DV material looks and sounds a lot better on one of the latest good Blu-Ray players. I have had several Blu-Ray players and 2 HD-DVD players (and one combo player) since they have been available. But the latest one actually makes a significant difference.

1. The overscan coming out of the player is much more controlled so the titling is always actually on the screen.

2. The compression MPG-2 noise is less visible and the picture just visibly looks better, maybe due to better upscaling.

3. The sound output is better, even on a cheap HDTV. This is what got me experimenting just yesterday. My main test playback set had a cracking on the audio like levels were too high (they were high) and distorting. It turned out it was the SD-DVD player not handling the audio well. And the sound quality was better off the newer player.
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Old December 23rd, 2009, 01:00 PM   #38
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i flipped a switch and it cost me $35,000 , i do believe somone is going to pay more for that, or not get it.
You still don't get it. You already bought and paid for the "camera with a switch". You're not getting more to flip that switch to HD - you're getting paid less to flip that switch to SD.
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Old December 23rd, 2009, 01:27 PM   #39
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I agree, i get less, and give MORE? if i turn off that switch lots of things go away.
i dont have to have a Nano to keep the compression right. Far less expencive Chips to have on hand for that job. i dont need a "memory technition"
i dont have to use some crasy codec junk to do simple color processing and still have signal after. i can use a cheap Firewire as a backup, DV file formats have less data issues. focus isnt as critical as HD not that i will work any less over it, i wont have to fret as much about it.
I dont have to process 4 times as many pixels in every display, It is unlikly that i am making broadcast or a film, so the client isnt as pickey.

The customers choice condems them to DV, there is no Return or regrets they chose the lesser package. so they cant decide they want YOU (of course) to set it up for broadcast to. (or something like that)

There will be no need for proxies and the flaws that can occur with that.
the Encoder doesnt have to go through 4 times as many pixels so it goes much faster.
no interpolation encoding to DVD from DV or related issues, shot in same res as it goes out.

there is much less to deal with by far, less is easy fast cheaper and less critical.
especially now with the ratio of edit time to shot time.

I am not going to get Less by shooting the lesser things in SD, it will be relative to the time and money spent. Less data to store if your using the same compression ratios, to store the data for the customer. Less high priced "coasters" AKA final output test items.

i am getting both customers, the ones who can afford for me to use 4times as much data, and the ones who would be happy to hire the guy who just bought my old stuff for 10% what i paid for it.

i get both the customer whos project can be whipped out in SD, and the person who asked for HD and expects it at every turn and takes 2 times as long to deliver it.

Or i can spend 30% of everything i make or 30% of my time doing Sales and handing money to people to advertise me, because when forced to pay for the HD they went elsewhere. how much does that cost? not less :-)

Almost everyone has different service levels in Service industries, get the cheap anything and you get a lot less, but they dont do the same services. Same equiptment same personell often. less resolution of services .

(dang these clients are a hard sell :-) What was it? "you have Quality, Speed, Price and you cant have all 3 so pick two, who said that .
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Old December 23rd, 2009, 02:37 PM   #40
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You still don't get it. You already bought and paid for the "camera with a switch". You're not getting more to flip that switch to HD - you're getting paid less to flip that switch to SD.
Like many things in life, it's all how you look at it. Chris, what Marty is saying is that he invested money in new technology and wants to get a return on that investment. It makes no sense for him to spend $35,000 to give people better quality and charge them the same prices, right?

As an example, let's say Marty charges $1,000 for a commercial when he has SD equipment/workflow. Then he spends $35,000 to upgrade to HD equipment/workflow and he still charges $1,000 for a commercial. Sure, the work looks better, but he's not getting a proper ROI on that $35,000 he spent. If he makes the upgrade and starts charging $1500 or $2000 for commercials, then maybe he's achieving a proper ROI.

Make sense?
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Old December 23rd, 2009, 02:47 PM   #41
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i was just trying to find anything to justify my price increase and still keep my SD customers, Chris makes it all sound so easy, and is there already.
i hope someone comes up with more than i got so far :-)

When i raise my price 150% some customers wont pay, so i will somehow have to give them the SD option too and try to sell HD. Or toss out customers that i have worked for, for 20 years.

If they were all bugging me For HD and Blue ray, then i just say sure 150% but i dont think half of them know what it is even.

Thanks Chris.
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Old December 23rd, 2009, 04:35 PM   #42
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As an example, let's say Marty charges $1,000 for a commercial when he has SD equipment/workflow. Then he spends $35,000 to upgrade to HD equipment/workflow and he still charges $1,000 for a commercial. Sure, the work looks better, but he's not getting a proper ROI on that $35,000 he spent. If he makes the upgrade and starts charging $1500 or $2000 for commercials, then maybe he's achieving a proper ROI.
That's exactly what I'm saying. Marty spent $35k to upgrade to HD. His baseline is now HD - and new his baseline rate is $1500 - $2000. If somebody wants SD and he wants to give them a discount and charge only $1000, that's great, but it's a discount. I won't do that - everybody pays the new $1500-$2000 rate, even if the deliverable is SD.

It seems like most in this thread think if you do 90% SD work and 10% HD work you're getting paid the regular rate from 90% of your clients and 10% are paying an "upgrade fee". I say 10% are paying the regular rate and 90% are getting a discount. Instead of asking "Are you charging more for HD?" the question should be "Are you giving a discount for SD?"
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Old December 23rd, 2009, 04:39 PM   #43
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Chris, did you increase your pricing when you upgraded to HD or no?
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Old December 23rd, 2009, 04:50 PM   #44
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if 90% is SD, then i should rent HD for the 10% , then when its more like 30-70 i could buy.

Because renting HD for the 10% who actually asked for it and wanted and are willing to pay for it. Just like renting my own HD at its higher costs, instead of old SD stuff i could get for cheap, would be more expencive by far, i am giving HD people a discount at that price.

If i was renting Either SD or HD to do a job, i would still be giving a discount to HD, because comperable SD rents and sells for way less than HD. and with HD i would have to rent Chips and all kinds of stuff that could fail completly. with Tape DV a failure is a minor dropout.


ahh that trick never works.
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Last edited by Marty Welk; December 23rd, 2009 at 05:52 PM.
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Old December 23rd, 2009, 05:22 PM   #45
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Well, there are a number of reasons why upgrading right away can be a disadvantage:

Third, upgrading to the next best thing won't always mean an increase in profit for your business. This is a big issue for videographers and photographers alike. The emotional allure of getting that new piece of equipment often overpowers the logical common sense that it's not going to actually benefit the studio in terms of dollars earned. It's possible that your clients won't purchase the end product (such as when BluRay first hit the market .. and even now to some extent).
I just think it's important to examine your purchases from a business standpoint, and recognize that sometimes it makes more business sense to use what you have.

I look at that and it's just poor business management to me; not because they upgraded, but because of their rationale for upgrading. They upgraded because something 'newer and better' came along. It didn't matter that the equipment they had would work just fine for what they needed.

But hey, each to their own. I'm just trying to get people to think about their BUSINESS in BUSINESS terms. Too many people don't, and they just make emotional business decisions.
Word. This is why I haven't bought my EX-1 yet, even though I REALLLLLLY WANT one!
It would be a STUPID business decision. I'd be spending money on something
that would not bring me IN anymore money. So it'd be a purchase because I
'wanted' something new to 'play' with. I have to fight this all the time, because I am
too much of a 'gadget tech geek' and I always want to buy the new fun stuff. And when
I look at my market, I see a few things. First, I teach tech and business classes for
the local SBDC. I routinely ask questions such as 'how many people here own a
Blu Ray player?' I have not yet had ONE SINGLE person raise their hand. I guess
my part of the world is just behind the times.

Second, I have tried to offer Blu Ray or HD production.....totally depending on the fact
that I would probably be able to rent gear from a station that I freelance for occasionally.
(They have the Sony 350 XDcam cameras). Not a single client has went for it.

Third, I look at the other people who have attempted to do video production in my
area....and have offered HD production. They are now out of business and as far as
I know, I am the only one left offering full time, independent video production in my
market (meaning I don't do it 'on the side' when I have free time from my regular
job, and I don't work for a TV station). The reason for this, is that I have figured out
that I need to limit my costs and 'run lean' especially in these economic times.
Spending a bunch of money on new HD gear, when the SD gear I have right now,
(which is all paid for), will do the job for my client base, would NOT be a smart business
decision, for my market....which is what those 'now out of business other companies' figured out too late.

In other places, the situation is probably much different. Thats why it helps to know
what competitors are doing, what clients and potential clients are doing, what
the economic situation in your area is, what perceived value marketing in general,
and video in particular is given by a potential client base.....and a whole variety
of other things.
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