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


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Old September 8th, 2010, 05:56 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Philip Howells View Post
Chris, you know me well enough to know that I would regard Michael's suggestion as absolutely wrong. You've already pointed up some of the negatives, add to those the fact that if they are any good they'll be wanting to steal your business anyway.

The only way basis on which to employ people is with a clear, enforceable contract with a clause which prevents them from working on your turf for a period of time after leaving you.

I'm very pleased with the number of people who started in our company over the past 30 years and who have gone on to much greater things, but what they took from us and often developed were our techniques, our ethos and our attitudes, never our clients.
Michael's suggestion is ABSOLUTELY correct. I've had the same 4 freelancers working for me the past 10 years. I pay them well, they show up and care about what they do. They have families to feed. My freelancers are in their 30s and 40s. I'm not hiring kids out of high school. They definitely don't steal my business but help me build it.
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Old September 8th, 2010, 06:09 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Philip Howells View Post
Chris, you know me well enough to know that I would regard Michael's suggestion as absolutely wrong. You've already pointed up some of the negatives, add to those the fact that if they are any good they'll be wanting to steal your business anyway.

The only way basis on which to employ people is with a clear, enforceable contract with a clause which prevents them from working on your turf for a period of time after leaving you.

I'm very pleased with the number of people who started in our company over the past 30 years and who have gone on to much greater things, but what they took from us and often developed were our techniques, our ethos and our attitudes, never our clients.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post
Hi Guys

The advice is always appreciated ...just remember that I'm not looking for bookings at all..in fact it just saddens me to have to turn away brides (but then again it's their fault for not booking early!!!)

I should really be happy (pricing aside) that I have to turn away clients!!! Freelancers would more than likely be more trouble than they are worth and as already mentioned could quite easily end up taking away your business!!

Pricing will increase later..at the moment I'm new in the Perth market as the majority of my weddings shot over the last 20 years were not here...this is only my 3rd season coming up and as I get established so will my prices. Thanks Philip ..your advice to always respected ...but you know that already!!

Finally yes what Chip's assistant loses in camera skills she makes up for in looks...I received a glamour photo of her draped over a vehicle with Chip's comment ...this is my new camera assistant!!!

Chris
Chris, I've been employing the same 4 freelancers for 10 years. Just pay and treat them well. Don't try to make them shoot they way you do. Sell them as them, not you. My freelancers shoot 35-40 wedding a year for me. That is money in my pocket and not work my competitors are getting. Pay them well and they won't stab you in the back. I guarantee anyone that complains about freelancers is because they were cheap and didn't pay them.
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Old September 9th, 2010, 12:38 AM   #18
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Micheal, I apologise; although I wrote that it was my opinion, my statement was clearly too sweeping and I haven't met your excellent freelancers so I'm not going to argue with your experience. However, aren't you a little disappointed that. having recorded 350-400 weddings for you, they're still not as good as you? I know from the positions they hold in the industry that some of the young people who began their careers with my company are considerably better than me.

Clearly we're offering a different product - and neither is right nor wrong. There's a part of me in every programme I make - OK I'm in a situation where I can choose that model but merely churning out programmes wouldn't suit me or my temperament. I am happy to sell me, I wouldn't be happy selling someone else, but if doing so suits you, I'll be the last to argue against it.

Last edited by Philip Howells; September 9th, 2010 at 01:10 AM.
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Old September 9th, 2010, 01:24 AM   #19
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If I could find a decent freelancer I could more than likely get away with it as our packages are very non-cinematic and basically a documentary of the day rather than a filmic masterpiece as Philip produces.

Getting the right guy (or girl) with the necessary passion and dedication is probably the hardest problem to solve...I don't want someone who will think "If I screw this shot up I don't really care ..I'm only the freelance shooter" .... Unfortunately you only need one of those to trnish your image and telling the freelancer that they will not get any more work from you isn't going to help your now blemished image when the bride tells her mates about her bad wedding video!!

The real answer is the one Philip has and that's his second camera person is his wife so he obviously will share his passion!!

How did you find your guys Michael??? old friends, shooting buddies or did you advertise???? My best mate shoots video but I would want him to do any of my weddings...he's a great guy but a lousy videographer!!

Chris
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Old September 9th, 2010, 05:51 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by George Kilroy View Post
I don't think that wedding DVD pricing compares with that of hotel rooms.
Hi George... I used the analogy as it is a finite supply that demand outstrips for those weekends. Very similar to what Chris is experiencing, demand for him and his services outstripping his ability to supply all of those brides with video.

One or two requests for a previously booked date is a nice compliment and of course an ego boost that you must be doing it right. When you get 5 or 6 as Chris states, that is a loud and clear signal there is a huge reason for them that should be investigated as to if there is a pattern there and that maybe a possibility exists they can be capitalized upon.

A couple other analogies of supply and demand here, booking a band to perform on New Years Eve will cost you double the normal rate, regardless of who you are. The other, a dinner reservation on Valentine's Day.... near impossible to pull off at the "nice" places.

That is here, your market I am sure could be very different.
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Old September 9th, 2010, 08:04 AM   #21
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I guess this has to do with what business model you want to evolve in. There's a company in Toronto who mass produces weddings, quality of work is of course not consistent but money is flowing.

I only take double bookings if the freelance videographer I have worked before is available. I make it a point to show the client his gallery and make sure they get introduced before the wedding day.

There is no right or wrong here. I am sure Still Motion will not get someone to shoot their weddings for them, but in the case of the company I mentioned they don't care as long as money comes in.

My 2 cents plus HST.
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Old September 11th, 2010, 09:24 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post
If I could find a decent freelancer I could more than likely get away with it as our packages are very non-cinematic and basically a documentary of the day rather than a filmic masterpiece as Philip produces.

Getting the right guy (or girl) with the necessary passion and dedication is probably the hardest problem to solve...I don't want someone who will think "If I screw this shot up I don't really care ..I'm only the freelance shooter" .... Unfortunately you only need one of those to trnish your image and telling the freelancer that they will not get any more work from you isn't going to help your now blemished image when the bride tells her mates about her bad wedding video!!

The real answer is the one Philip has and that's his second camera person is his wife so he obviously will share his passion!!

How did you find your guys Michael??? old friends, shooting buddies or did you advertise???? My best mate shoots video but I would want him to do any of my weddings...he's a great guy but a lousy videographer!!

Chris
hey Chris. I simply found my freelancers from working in the industry. I did have one freelancer recently that did pursue his own work while working for me and stole my ideas and incorporated them into his videos. So of course that does happen. I just found people that I can trust. There are trustworthy people out there and they do care about their job. I found freelancers that aren't interested in the business side of wedding videos. They like to shoot, hand over the tapes and get paid.
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Old September 11th, 2010, 09:31 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post
If I could find a decent freelancer I could more than likely get away with it as our packages are very non-cinematic and basically a documentary of the day rather than a filmic masterpiece as Philip produces.

Getting the right guy (or girl) with the necessary passion and dedication is probably the hardest problem to solve...I don't want someone who will think "If I screw this shot up I don't really care ..I'm only the freelance shooter" .... Unfortunately you only need one of those to trnish your image and telling the freelancer that they will not get any more work from you isn't going to help your now blemished image when the bride tells her mates about her bad wedding video!!

The real answer is the one Philip has and that's his second camera person is his wife so he obviously will share his passion!!

How did you find your guys Michael??? old friends, shooting buddies or did you advertise???? My best mate shoots video but I would want him to do any of my weddings...he's a great guy but a lousy videographer!!

Chris
Quote:
Originally Posted by Philip Howells View Post
Micheal, I apologise; although I wrote that it was my opinion, my statement was clearly too sweeping and I haven't met your excellent freelancers so I'm not going to argue with your experience. However, aren't you a little disappointed that. having recorded 350-400 weddings for you, they're still not as good as you? I know from the positions they hold in the industry that some of the young people who began their careers with my company are considerably better than me.

Clearly we're offering a different product - and neither is right nor wrong. There's a part of me in every programme I make - OK I'm in a situation where I can choose that model but merely churning out programmes wouldn't suit me or my temperament. I am happy to sell me, I wouldn't be happy selling someone else, but if doing so suits you, I'll be the last to argue against it.
hey Philip. My freelance videographers work is not at the level of mine (not even close). But the bride knows this and if she hires another company, she is still not going to get me.. When the bride books my freelancers, it's usually because I'm already booked. Also, the rate for one of my freelancers is much lower than my own. I've yet to have anyone that works for me leave and become better. I just happened to find people that aren't interested in the business side of wedding videos. As I mentioned in a previous post, they like to shoot, hand over the tapes and get paid.
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Old September 15th, 2010, 04:23 PM   #24
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Chris you make a good point about referring someone puts your name on the line. Of course you never want to refer a company you don't trust. As for us- first we'll try to assemble a team of shooters to cover it. If I don't have the coverage I will refer them to a handful of businesses I both trust and know they would do the same for me (refer me back).

I'm at a pivotal point with my own business- I've been getting several duplicate inquiries for 2011 dates. I either have to make the decision to stay relatively small (safe choice), or try to expand a bit and be able to take on the extra bookings by hiring more staff both in production and post. The latter is more dangerous and time consuming (training new shooters/editors) but it also yields the biggest rewards. Isn't that how most things are in life?
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Old September 15th, 2010, 05:47 PM   #25
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Hi Glen

Very true!! Decisions, decisions!!!

The real answer to expand "gently" is to discretely dump the current wife and find a expert female videographer looking for matrimony!!!! At least that way, you have a partner with the same passion and the same goals.

With someone who you can genuinely trust and works to your standard but is freelance, you also have the problem that they might just take over your business and your clients!!

It's sad to have to turn away brides each month but I guess I should be glad that I'm getting work while poor Charlie seems to be hunting for jobs. Over here the market seems to be constantly changing and one year you will have a busy Winter period and the next is dead!!!

Chris
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Old September 15th, 2010, 06:54 PM   #26
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This really hit home with me as my wife, literally, will be turning in her letter of resignation to her job tomorrow. So in 30 days she'll be working with me full time on the video business. I'm very blessed to have a wife so enthusiastic about being a part of it- especially considering she has a good career of her own, she's an RN.

I can't tell you how nerve-racking it is to give up that income and our health insurance. God willing, her working for me will help allow the business to grow. She'll work on things like getting an active blog up, networking, and logging/keeping track of our books. In addition she's becoming quite an accomplished shooter. I hope to have her at a level where she can be a lead shooter in the 2011 year. That way I'll hire two part-time 2nd shooters and be able to book two weddings on any given date regularly.

Best of luck with your endeavors- and remember too much work is never a "problem". It puts you in a unique position to either build up a healthy referral relationship with fellow colleagues and or continue to grow your business.
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