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


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Old August 9th, 2010, 11:29 AM   #1
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changes

I'm sure this has probably been covered in here in the past but I couldn't find any threads.
This is my first year in business (even though I filmed and edited for a while) on my own. Everything is going great but I find myself struggling with DVD changes.

When I finish the wedding film, i send the couple a draft copy and I offer them one free set of changes before i create the definite product....
I've found that a lot of people that are more than happy with their film tend to include changes which are not changes but additions to the DVD!
or maybe changes in a particular part of the filming that i've edited to music of their choice and they change their mind, etc...

So i guess the questions are: do you offer free changes at all?
where's the limit to our artistic choices? are we not hired to give our artistic impression of the day? or are we pure machines that just film and put the footage on discs?

any views appreciated

thanks
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Old August 9th, 2010, 11:35 AM   #2
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Need advice on equipment please

I currently own the sony z5 and sony V1

I was going to go the dlsr route and now someone has offered me 1500 for my v1 ( B cam) does anyone think this is a good move . To replace i was thinking t2i?

Obviously it would change my work flow but i hardly use the v1 at weddings and I am a sucker for the the look

Kind regards

Luke
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Old August 9th, 2010, 01:12 PM   #3
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I don't ever send a proof DVD .
when they get the DVD it is the final.
The only time I will make a change will be only if I made an error.
If I had to do changes it will be not for free.

"where's the limit to our artistic choices? are we not hired to give our artistic impression of the day? or are we pure machines that just film and put the footage on discs? "

If someone booked me for there wedding day it is because they saw my movies before and liked my style.
So when they get their DVD, they should expect to see something similar.
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Old August 9th, 2010, 01:28 PM   #4
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Guillermo, when we deliver the final product to the couple it is the final product. We will correct any errors free of charge (and errors must be reported to us within 7 days of delivery). All other changes/revisions/additions require a quote.

I would highly recommend you get away from sending a draft and asking for changes. Too many couples will feel they need to look for changes, thus creating more work for you on a product that if you had delivered it as the 'final product', the couple would have been happy with. I would also make sure that in your contract it somehow states that you have complete authority over the final editing decisions.

We've been creating wedding films for 7 years now and not once have we ever done a pre-screening or delivered a draft copy. Trust me, you'll love it and your couples will love it too.
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Old August 9th, 2010, 04:48 PM   #5
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I've never sent a draft copy. I figure they hired me because I'm a professional and they have seen my work so they know what they're getting and they have enough trust in me as a professional do do the job properly. Besides, they're not professionals so why ask them.
IF I do credits and spell a name wrong (it happens once in a while even though I check the names 97 times) that I'll do for no chage as long as it's within the alotted time frame which is 14 days from date of receipt. Since I send the DVDs via priority mail with a tracking number I know when they get it so that's a no brainer. Other than that anything they might want changed, they pay. Funny no one ever wants changes. :-)
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Old August 9th, 2010, 05:20 PM   #6
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thanks for your comments guys.
The more i think about it, the more convinced i am that's the way to go. Offering changes, projects drag forever, for months in some cases and your right sometimes they feel like they have to ask for changes.
It's amazing the amount of stuff that i've learnt about business in general in just one year, next year I'll do things very differently
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Old August 9th, 2010, 06:56 PM   #7
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I take an entirely different approach. About two months before the wedding we send the couple a lengthy questionnaire, most of which is to do with when and where we start and stop recording on the day and what of that material they want to see in their video. eg hymns in or not, homily in or not, receiving line in or not etc. We also ask them to specify the music from which we choose to include in the programme and which they supply on CD.

We make it quite clear in our website and brochure that we want their complete satisfaction.

At the first showing we show the whole programme non-stop. This is what most viewers will see and shows them the dynamic of the whole piece. Then we offer to go through any section again. Any changes which are not as described in their questionnaire answers we note clearly.

They sign the alterations sheet which also explicitly approves what isn't noted for changing. We send them a copy of the signed document.

When the changes are made we show them the changes for their approval - unless we've cocked up again in which case we approve the process) they sign the whole disk off as approved. This time they sign the actual disk. This becomes our master and is used for all copies, ensuring no downstream errors.

It probably sounds like more work but more than 80% of our work is approved at first edit because the questionnaire is so precise.

Clients like it because they feel they're in control, but showings are always under our control and in our presence; clients can be discouraged from demanding changes which won't work and because they sign off everything that isn't for change the need for anything other than one re-edit is very very rare.

Any changes outside the agreement eg changes to changes already made are charged at 110 plus tax per hour actual. Since re-chaptering/re-authoring alone takes 2 hours we've only had the question arise once.

I believe I have this attitude because I come from a corporate/commercial/broadcast background where the client is right even when he's wrong. It's an approach which is certainly easier to sell than the "this is my style; if you don't like it, don't buy it" philosophy.

That said, I have a sneaking admiration for Don, Travis et al who obviously manage to pull it off - and probably avoid a little more re-editing than me; but it just isn't my style.
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Old August 9th, 2010, 10:48 PM   #8
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Unlike Philip, I have a clause in my contract that allows me to make all the edit decisions and the bride gets her final DVD without any draft copy at all. This was prompted by a bride who spend 3 days (FULL) with me editing out every tiny little defect she could find in her clips and they were not technical ones either!! She didn't like the way her hair had fallen over her face, or that her hubby-to-be was touching his face....it was a nighmare that I didn't get paid for.

Obviously I will re-edit anything that the bride would class as un-tasteful but that has never arisen as I usually spot it before she does (we had a situation where the priest forgot the couple's names and the guest prompting him was carefully omitted to the bride's delight!!)

I would say as long as you carefully edit a normal wedding, a draft is un-necessary and I have never had a bride (apart from the one above 3 years ago) who has ever given me anything but glowing comments!!!

If the wedding is a "bridezilla" affair (luckily I haven't ever had one) or there is the need for the bride to decide about dubious footage then it might be an idea to do a consultation with a draft of the offending pieces on DVD but 99.9% of the time I really don't think a draft copy is necessary because more often than not the bride will try to look for changes as she is expecting you to find at least half a dozen!!!

I know Philip does things differently but that's my take on the issue and it certainly does save time.

BTW: I have a VERY patient wife who insists on watching my weddings from start to finish so it's good to have another opinion before the bride gets the copy!!

Chris
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Old August 9th, 2010, 11:26 PM   #9
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This is developing into an interesting thread. One thing I'd be interested to know, especially from Chris, Don, Travis school (and I use the term as one refers to the Dutch school of painting etc) is whether their approach in which they have total control tempts or lures them into or towards formulaic production.

I don't mean the outstanding wedding when the weather's kind, the couple are young and handsome, when the speeches are inspiring and not lifted straight from the Internet and when the couple's first dance is more than a matter of holding each other's bum cheeks in time to the music - but the usual run-of-the-mill job.

Perhaps I have an over-active self flagellatory gene, but I still feel driven to do something different in each programme and knowing it might be completely rejected is, I suppose, some sort of challenge.

If I had the confidence of the "I did it my way" school, I fear I might look back in five years time and wonder if I couldn't have done slightly better.

Chris has touched on why he took the decision to take that direction; since I may be in a minority amongst those who've been doing it longer I'd be interested in why others did so too.
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Old August 9th, 2010, 11:48 PM   #10
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We only deliver the final copy. Our contract states the client has 7 days to request any changes. It also states we have complete creative control.
In the 8 years we've been doing wedding videos I've only had 3 customers come back and request changes. Ironically it has always been from one group of people that always want more, "why was there no footage of people standing around the bar?" (because its not interesting to watch) etc... So we're conveniently booked when they call.
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Old August 10th, 2010, 12:09 AM   #11
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Hi Philip

My edit decisions are probably totally different from most because I do most of my creative work in camera.. if it sounds strange I'll tell you why!! I developed the style around 20 years back when I was using full VHS cameras and decided that the couple needed the best quality copy possible and as you are aware, shooting on VHS and analogue editing loses a good 20% of resolution. What I used to do is pre-shoot the titles at home and then basically shoot the entire wedding in camera with the view that I didn't need to edit...at the end of the wedding it was a matter of ejecting the cassette and getting paid and the bride took her wedding video on honeymoon and it was a 1st generation copy!!! I know it was a strange way of doing things but it guaranteed instant payment and NO editing and generation loss!!!

Old habits die hard so I still tend to shoot with a view that I don't have to edit and each clip I shoot in theory can simply be assemble edited into a DVD. I tend to plan each sequence so I seldom have an awful lot of editing to do where I have just used one camera. Of course the moment I have used both cams then editing comes into play as I have two video streams to contend with. You guys are using two or three operators so the editing side becomes far more complex.

My editing is probaby formulaic because most shots are already pre-planned at the shoot. Then again a wedding is a fairly sequential event especially if you are shooting documentary style like I do (all except the photoshoot which you don't do) things do fall into place sequentially. I break my production into event clips so I'm seldom editing more than 20 min at a time and if I have done my job right a clip might only need a couple of trims and a few crossfades. Also because I do next day editing each event is still fresh in my mind. If a wedding hasn't been exceptionally noteworthy and was a run-of-the-mill affair, yes, I probably do edit it without making it really different. If it's out of the ordinary then the things that make it special are rather captured at that moment rather than creative editing.

Sorry, but I tend to be boring when it comes to creative edits!!! I rather lean towards creative shoots.

Chris
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Old August 10th, 2010, 12:24 AM   #12
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Fascinating Chris - I hope any young people considering this business find it interesting also. Ironically, I never made VHS movies; I was lucky enough to already be in production so I was the guy lugging a BVW507 around the school sports day!
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Old August 10th, 2010, 02:02 AM   #13
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Good question Philip. I also do not offer clients the option of making changes, so I'll give an answer from my perspective.

I've never had an urge to do anything wildly different unless I've discussed it ahead of time with the clients. For me, this has nothing to do with the fact that I don't offer a preview edit. Instead, it is wholly because I have promised my clients a particular style consistent with what they have seen in my samples. In my opinion, my approach is far from formulaic though, because I believe that it only takes a few key moments in a wedding film in order to give it an original flavor. So it is these small moments that I look for when shooting and editing what might otherwise be considered a "standard" wedding. It's almost a game really, where I'm trying to see how many small moments I can uncover during the production.

Now, some may think that this approach is extremely formulaic, but this difference of opinion leads us to what I think is an even deeper question...

What is the minimum that must be done in order to create a unique wedding film?

Is it a matter of style, technique, emotional impact, arrangement/order (such as time shifting), "wow shots", shot selection, locations, audio from the toasts or ceremony, music choices...? I have to believe that we'll see a lot of different opinions out there on this, and that many of us have not considered this question throughly enough. I'll be contemplating this one for a while.

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Old August 10th, 2010, 07:09 AM   #14
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Yes, I have become a bit forumlamatic (sp) over the last 7 to 10 years. Since most of my business is coming to me as a documentary style approach and not the short form package I so dearly love, there is little I do to the ceremony other than basic CC, audio sweetening, and of course cutting the air out. For the reception again I play it pretty straight. Intros, toasts dinner prayer, cake cutting (not always in that order) special dances, open dancing, garter and bouquet and finally a goodbye shot but the reception although generally cut to no more than about 50 to 60 minutes is done in lineal order with little if anything done to it other than a bit of audio sweetening.
The pre ceremony and prep (if done), postceremony and highlight are worked over a bit but honestly not a lot as the doco package doesn't leave a lot of room money wise. However work is work especially this year.
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Old August 10th, 2010, 09:47 AM   #15
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most of the requests I get are for additional footage "we liked this part of the dance montage, can we see the whole thing?". I do offer one re-edit in my contract but starting to re-think that based on some of the responses here and thinking how much work that could save me:)
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