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

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Old August 7th, 2010, 01:15 PM   #1
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What should i include

Ok first off I have never filmed anything for cash, but my friend just hooked me up with a job filming a wedding for $300. I was looking at sample video on here to see what everyone else is doing with there edits, and I was wondering do you guys really get paid just to make a 5 minute montage of there wedding because the video seem short to me I would think the bride would want something longer. I have meeting with the bride in a week so i would like to sound like i know what I am doing, as well as not have my friend seem like an idiot for suggesting me since he is doing photography.

Basically I am wondering how long should my edit be and and what i should include for the price of $300 knowing I am a beginner at this. And I know that you guys all use multiple cams but I have only one good hdv cam and 2 other consumer sd cams.

I know this probably sounds scatter brained, but please help me I am currently jobless and need some form of income so 300 bucks for me would be amazing right now.
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Old August 7th, 2010, 02:20 PM   #2
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Those 5 minute montages are just the highlights. The brides going to want to see AT LEAST the full ceremony.

I do everything. I usually do a montage of the getting ready, then the full ceremony, a montage of the photoshoot, and then the majority of the reception. All the speeches, performances, etc.
Then I make a 4 minute highlight video that the couple can put online (facebook, youtube, etc.)
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Old August 7th, 2010, 02:32 PM   #3
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Matt, congratulations with your first lead.
I would recommend you to shoot the entire thing starting with bride's preps all the way until the cake cut and dances. It will be a good experience for you.
Get them a DVD with chronological dynamic timeline (1-1,5 hrs), consider as rough cut, and a highlight clip that you can use for your reel.
Tell the bride that you do this for $300.00 just for promo purposes and a full day coverage usually starts from $1500.00 (it really does).
Have them sign a contract with you. Some sort of documentation that will state all details and your ability tio use the highlight video for promotion.
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Old August 7th, 2010, 08:41 PM   #4
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"what i should include for the price of $300 knowing I am a beginner"

You should try to do the best you can and do it all if at all possible. That is what you should do each and every time you go out. The amount you are paid, is immaterial to what you want to present to your clients.

If you go at this or any job with the idea of "what does $300 worth of video consist of ??" The answer is "gear rental".

$300 is stinking cheap, but is the best offer for your time and talents you got going right now. So, give them all the time and all of your talents to do this job as best you possibly can. Next time, with some examples of quality work to present to a prospective client from this gig, you should be able to command more than this time's compensation of $300.

Your goal should be to approach this as "can I really make a $1500 or maybe even a $2500 wedding video for these people ???" You know, maybe you can't, maybe shooting and editing weddings is not going to be your forte. But, you have someone willing to pay you, where you can find out for yourself, if it is possible for you or not.

So research as much as you can, go at it with all intentions of blowing your customers away with your product, and don't stop working on it until you are PROUD to put your name on what you have produced.
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Old August 8th, 2010, 03:11 AM   #5
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Thank you all for your responses and chip i always go at everything to do the best i can; i was really just wondering what most people put in the videos to know what i should focus on shooting since i only have 1 good cam. depending on if she cares if its all hd i may be able to use old camera on tripods.
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Old August 8th, 2010, 04:53 PM   #6
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Matt, if you noticed I posted a quote from your original post where you ask what should you do for your $300.

Before I get into that, a good forum buddy has a DVX100B and an HMC150. The DVX is SD and the 150 is HD. He did a music video that went on broadcast and used both in it. The DVX he used for the wide shot, and the 150 in HD he used for the tight close in work where the HD would really stand out. When he posted that video for comments and mentioned the two cams, I asked which was which, and before he answered I actually guessed wrong, that's how well they worked, being used for very different shots. So try that with your cams, shooting wide on the SD and close in on the HD and see how well they cut in the same timeline.

Now, my thinking on pricing.

For the first 30 years of my day job, I worked in purchasing and sales of product where what the customer spent directly equated to what the customer received. My pay was tied directly to this as well, so if the profits were low, so was my pay. As much as people might wish it weren't so, that does nothing but breed a "cash at all costs" greed factor mindset.

Ten years ago I was hired for my skills and paid a flat salary and bonused on company profits, not those directly tied to me. This led me to be in a position for the first time in my life to allow me to make decisions based on quality, not necessarily just price or profit potential. That was a dot com that went bust in a year, but I have taken the mindset it taught me back to now being an independent purchasing rep for clients I had already had relationships with, before that job. This has worked now for the last 9 years.

When I am successful for one of my clients and make one of their purchases, I am paid my set fee. When I am not successful, no one pays me anything. If I make a fantastic purchase that leads to massive profits fro my client, I am paid my set fee. If I make a purchase that results in minimal profits, I am paid my set fee. If I invest hours upon hours, or maybe its only just a few minutes, to put together a purchase for my clients, either way, I am paid my set fee.

I set my fees and did so from what I knew was the going rate for someone of my skills, knowledge and experience. My clients have hired me and have retained me because they know what standards I will use for them, and what to anticipate from my decisions when their purchases arrive. My clients also know, regardless, they owe me my set fee.

When I researched the video shops in my area as I pondre entering wedding videos, I saw so many that had a smorgasbord board of options for the clients to be upsold from. The ones that blew me away were those offering one cam and more cams and or more operators for set upcharges. So in other words, they are more than willing to shoot a crappy single cam, single operator shoot, or will wow your socks off with operators and cams everywhere and cuts up the wazoo in your final edit but ONLY if you spend lots more money.

In that scenario, the QUALITY in their final product is negotiable, based on the final agreed upon price.

If I missed the mark in my first post, that was what I was trying to relate, to set YOUR standards, which you say you have, and go at this with YOUR standards and give them everything you got, for the agreed upon rate. Your next lead, go at it with the concept of pricing from your skills and experience which will be more than today. The job after that, same thing, skills and experiences, which should be even more than the gig before that one. When you get to the level of your competition, price accordingly then. the last thing you want to do is to whore out your quality, to keep a profit margin where you wish it to be. NOTHING will kill a business faster than doing that.
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Old August 9th, 2010, 01:52 AM   #7
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Chip i agree with your business model it was the same type of thing i dealt with printing shirts, but my bosses did not get it when I explained it to them and i am going to stop my self on that subject now because i could go on forever about that place. Anyways depending on how well this goes i may or may not try it again i was not looking for this gig kinda just fell in my lap and since i have nothing on my plate i am going to shove it down my throat. My real interest is x-sports and music, and i know getting any money from that is basically impossibly at the moment.
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Old August 9th, 2010, 02:03 AM   #8
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Matt, may I add one piece of advice to what's been written, much of which I agree with?

People say that referrals from satisfied brides (a thought to ponder on itself?) are very important in this business.

My advice would be to forget the value of such referrals until you've got your price levels to where you think they ought to be. Referrals from your first work will expect that quality for the same price as the original and strongly reject you if your price appears to have increased sharply. I say "appears" because in this business one is often selling two years ahead or, put another way, working today for the prices of two years back.
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Old August 9th, 2010, 08:35 AM   #9
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Seems like everyone here has given great advice.

I would certainly shoot everything and give them a raw footage copy of everything. But for the price of $300, I would edit a version with just the best and most important moments. If you want to shoot more wedding videos, I would make this edit as awesome as possible to use a your demo. Wow the bride.

Also, collect at least $150 before the wedding. It's important that money changes hands. And of course, sign a contract with the couple. It's very important. Good luck!
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