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


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Old January 20th, 2010, 12:31 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by Noel Lising View Post
I use to freelance for a Photog, 3 years ago he books 60 weddings a year. He has this take it or leave it attitude, I won't go down in pricing coz I have been doing this for 25 years, etc, etc. Last year he did 4 weddings, he dropped his pricing but I guess the change was too late.
The woman I spoke to is also looking at volume to compensate for the lower rates she'll charge advertisers. But she thinks it's realistic to expect to shoot two spots a day. She's obviously never done this if she thinks that shooting a commercial is a matter of walking in, having your people speak their lines, and leaving with a cheque in your pockets. She says she doesn't want to "impose" on the client, but she doesn't realize how that affects the end product.

But what really killed the deal for me was her faulty business model. She intends to have all the ads that she produces shown on a web site - no other content. I guess in all the months she spent developing this idea, she's never asked herself who would go to a web site just to watch commercials.
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Old January 20th, 2010, 04:13 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by Randy Panado View Post
Isn't the saying pick two? ;)

I remember it from a car performance forum I use to frequent : Fast, Cheap, Reliable. Pick two.
Not if the budgets low enough, but then again you probably don't get 3 to pick from either...
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Old January 20th, 2010, 04:38 PM   #33
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Alan -
You hit the nail on the head - the "digital revolution" makes the "tools" more and more affordable and of higher quality... This of course means in theory eventually 1000 monkeys with video cameras hooked to a computer mainframe with an AI that chooses all the "best" shots using the patented Lucasberg algorithm can create the next blockbuster movie... or not.

Like ALL tools, in the wrong or inexperienced hands, they are ineffective, and in fact can be DANGEROUS! In the hands of a craftsman/artist they can create something of value. It's the carpenter, not the saw...

In the end, to create a working living you still need a viable business proposition/model, knowledge about the equipment and techniques needed to get quality results, and the skill and dedication to pull it off with a professional demeanor...

Plus the ability to market yourself and your results in a way that makes it painfully obvious that that "freeeee/cheap" product with the blown out, oddly white balanced video, and the muddy mess of a sound track that's a torture to watch is an embarrasment to the client... and you care too much to deliver such shoddy work.

IMO, QUALITY always stands out, no matter what the price (and I've often found true artists "undercharging" for superior results, yet happily doing lots of business). Video/audio production is not like Mickey D's where you can systemize and train any greasy haired teenager to produce the same thing thousands of times...

The scary thing is that same teenager who really does have some serious talent and decides to pass on the burger joint job - he or she doesn't have to make very much to come out ahead!
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Old January 20th, 2010, 08:58 PM   #34
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I certainly don't lowball now that I've been in the business 3 years. In the beginning I offered lower rates. I did pretty decent work using one camera and lower end lighting and audio. I got good reviews and few referrals. To this day I use craigslist to advertise. I haven't found a successful way to advertise. Potential clients asking me to film their wedding (bride/groom getting ready, ceremony, reception) for $300 is annoying. I still get calls and emails with people loving my demos and are ready to book for a fair price. (from craiglist)

Because business hasn't been coming in much, I work a security job to help keep money coming in to support my small family. I still haven't been able to get another camera and upgrade my equipment much. I do what I can and make do with what I have. I now offer 2 camera shoots but I need to rent the camera. I'm not giving up and I'll fight to keep in the business. I love working with video and that will keep me going.
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Old January 20th, 2010, 11:14 PM   #35
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This whole technology sea-change has done the same thing to graphic design, which is my background. Even the secretary thinks she can do some "desk-top publishing". MS Word has so much to answer for!!!

When other designers are complaining about this, my answer is simply this: "The role of the amateur is to make the professional look good."

In that sense, long live the Uncle Jerrys of the world.

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Old January 21st, 2010, 12:40 AM   #36
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Andrew, there is a lot to be said for that.

And if the Uncle Jerry's of the world don't make you look good... then one of you needs to make a career change =)
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Old January 21st, 2010, 07:22 AM   #37
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Originally Posted by Jacques E. Bouchard View Post
I don't think that's the case with this type of client. They go with the low-baller, get crappy work but by now have blown their budget. Their mistake benefits no one, because the next client will think they can get a deal for $250 too, and the cycle repeats.

The low-ballers don't count on repeat business to make money. They just rely on the inexhaustible supply of pigeons out there.
I gree that most of these people will go to their graves thinking how clever they were to get a video produced for $200 or less...nevermind that it's handheld, the built-in mic can't pick up the dialogue over the air conditioner, and the only light source is a window directly behind the CEO.

But, a few people get it...sometimes it takes getting burned a couple of times before they realize James Cameron isn't looking for work on craigslist. I find generally, how much people are willing to pay is often proportional to how much they feel their butt is on the line...that's why you don't see $200 Volvos.
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Old January 21st, 2010, 08:56 AM   #38
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I don't know about low balling, but my wife is beginning to think her husband has more balls than brains picking a time like this to retire early from a job in health care to start a video biz. It's hard in my area to find video work at ANY price right now. Most of the other videographer web sites in my local area are now gone. I certainly didn't steal any of their business away, even though I'm trying the cost effective approach, because I didn't get any business either. Tough times are here. It takes talent, tenacity, and maybe even a miracle or two.
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Old January 21st, 2010, 09:09 AM   #39
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So why did you leave that nice health job? I'm very mindful (from stories told by friends) of just how much of a mess the US economy is in.

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Old January 21st, 2010, 09:59 AM   #40
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I left largely for health reasons. My blood pressure medication was no longer keeping my blood pressure under control. 190 over 130, in my cardiologist's office, isn't sustainable for long. Being broke is better than having a stroke. I had two friends have strokes on the clock. Another had a heart attack and died (on the clock). Money isn't everything.
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Old January 21st, 2010, 01:26 PM   #41
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Roger, I hope you will be fine doing what you enjoy and making money in the same time. Good luck!
We are talking about two types of people here. It is totally different when someone who has put lots of efforts to change his life, starting up from the scratch and working hard to get his first clients for success charging less than established studios.
And it is different when someone without even understanding the basics of the job offers himself as a pro for pennies.
Few days ago I took a club party gig for $200 from CL. This guy (DJ) just needed basic stuff, 4hrs shoot without editing whatsoever. He just asked me kindly if I can do him a favor and provide him the footage on DVD. And I said YES. When I have showed up with my gear (Z5, light, wireless lav system, handheld support) he was surprised and happy. Just because he wasn't expecting that. And I did my best to make this guy even happier with the result...
And result was 1hour edited video with a crisp sound and cool shoots... plus 4 authored DVD's with menu and screen shoots!
Of course it has been introduced to him as a favor, not as my regular rate for the amount of the work that has been done. And at the first place I did that favor to myself. And if someone comes out and tells me that I am wrong, I will kindly ask the person to mind his own business. Because no one knows better than me how to run MY business. And no one cares actually.

Last edited by Alex Khachatryan; January 21st, 2010 at 03:24 PM.
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Old January 21st, 2010, 06:58 PM   #42
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I don't see this as a bad thing for the business at all. We need to put our work out there and let people know when they are getting a deal. If he comes back for another video with more money he should expect to pay more. He should put forth the effort to refer you to other DJs at a reasonable price. It doesn't always work that way but its worth the chance. Times are tough right now.
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Old January 21st, 2010, 09:22 PM   #43
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This whole topic really brings up an interesting dichotomy in that we as "non-large production house" based video producers have all low-balled someone. When I first decided to go out on my own back in the early 90's (I was working on and off for a film-based commercial production company), I invested in some prosumer hi8 gear (Canon L1) and produced a couple of documentaries (while keeping my day job), and was shunned by TV stations for not having "broadcast quality" gear.

At the time, Betacam SP was the standard, and a camera was worth north of 50k in Canada, not to mention edit suites were at least $100.00 an hour, and you couldn't even think about about setting yourself up in an edit suite unless you had really deep pockets. I produced a show on VHS whose sales barely covered the cost of the edit suite.

Basically the hurdles were monumental, and I took a few years off. Now we have not only affordable technology, but streaming video has totally democratized broadcasting, and multi-core processors allow practically anyone to edit in HD and produce results that only the big production houses could afford 15 years ago. Now it is the traditional broadcasters who are being undercut left, right, and center by all of us.

We are the middle tier, we're undercutting the big guys, and the little guys are undercutting us. That's the way it is... But I like things a whole lot better now than I did 15 years ago.
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Old January 22nd, 2010, 12:29 PM   #44
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Originally Posted by Sean Johnson View Post
I don't see this as a bad thing for the business at all. We need to put our work out there and let people know when they are getting a deal. If he comes back for another video with more money he should expect to pay more. He should put forth the effort to refer you to other DJs at a reasonable price. It doesn't always work that way but its worth the chance. Times are tough right now.
Once someone pays $250 for a job, he'll never expect or accept to pay more - not so long as someone else is ready to do it. Heck, would any of us buy our tapes for $10 if three other guys in town sold them at a loss for $5?

And that's why low-baling hurts everyone.
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Old January 22nd, 2010, 12:55 PM   #45
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Originally Posted by Roger Van Duyn View Post
I don't know about low balling, but my wife is beginning to think her husband has more balls than brains picking a time like this to retire early from a job in health care to start a video biz. It's hard in my area to find video work at ANY price right now. Most of the other videographer web sites in my local area are now gone. I certainly didn't steal any of their business away, even though I'm trying the cost effective approach, because I didn't get any business either. Tough times are here. It takes talent, tenacity, and maybe even a miracle or two.
The miracle angle hasn't been working so far. ;)

I'm living in a town FULL of low ballers. Hell there is a damn tech school her who's students just love working for free (under the con that they will get a "rep" that way - I hate schools that encourage this BS. I mean, OK, for a simple gig or two for demo real purposes etc but not gig after gig after gig...)


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jacques E. Bouchard View Post
Once someone pays $250 for a job, he'll never expect or accept to pay more - not so long as someone else is ready to do it. Heck, would any of us buy our tapes for $10 if three other guys in town sold them at a loss for $5?

And that's why low-baling hurts everyone.
I couldn't agree more. It's also why my area is a total PITA. I'm thinking of moving cities actually. I just don't like the idea of having to rebrand in another city but then again, it may be worth the move as the nonsustaining lowballers here (who are all broke by the way) are killing business here. Many of these guys even do decent work.

It's not just the economy. It's the fact that many of these people were desperate for business from the get go and never said no to a low price in fear of losing the client. They don't seem to get that they are really making less than min wage when they factor in their yearly expenses and monthly life cycle cost of equipment (I'm sure there is a better accounting term for that).
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