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


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Old October 12th, 2010, 04:04 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Andrew Brown View Post
Maybe i'm slow as it can easily take me a week or 2 to edit a wedding.
An important part of the process for me is once it's been graded and rendered out I leave it for a couple of days or even a week then watch it again and will probably make more adjustments that at the time you just don't notice.

Chris, I would love to see a film that can go through the entire post production process in 13 hours.
I'm with you Andrew. I spend more than 13 hours on audio, grading, authoring and case design, and that's after the basic video editing has been done, and that doesn't allow for the full DVD review and subsequent changes once I've seen it on a large TV. Hmmm..... need to keep raising prices ;)
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Old October 13th, 2010, 03:23 AM   #17
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Although I'm interested in Danny's rationale for a longish wait, we generally aim to turn programmes around as efficiently as possible, though at the end of the summer season that can be three months. We have the additional motivation that until we deliver the finished programmes we don't get our final payment.

If all the people who take a variable period of up to 6 months to deliver have already taken all the money before the wedding then frankly I think they're taking the p***. No wonder the business has such a bad reputation for being unprofessional. After all, on what basis can you justify having all the money before you've recorded a single frame of material?

Try that in the professional world and see how many clients you get running to your door - not! The standard terms are 50% on commissioning (and that's after a pitch and probably a script outline and storyboard) and 50% on completion. Only in exceptional circumstances eg series or very long shooting periods, is there a stage payment and that's generally taken from both "normal elements".

It's hardly surprising the one constant we hear is that couples "still haven't got their pictures - but of course the damned photographer's had all their money."

Producing programmes as efficiently as Chris - and I know how he's able to achieve that - is simply good business - and clients who pay up front knowing for certain they're not going to get their programme until 6 months after their wedding I can handle as well but having an open ended schedule when you've already been paid is frankly unjustifiable.

And please don't give me the "I don't know if they'll have the money after the wedding" thing - I've got a client who's are trying that at present and it's very simple, a) remind them they don't get a single thing until they've paid, and b) build a penalty into your Contract Terms that requires them to pay surcharges every month/three months after they've been advised the product is ready.
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Old October 13th, 2010, 03:51 AM   #18
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Thanks Philip

However I do appreciate that special effects, colour grading and cutting to music are long and tiresome tasks. Remember I don't have to do them. In fact that's the very reason I shoot docs and not creative masterpieces as docs make for better business sense.

Yes, my brides pay me 1/3rd on booking, 1/3rd 2 weeks before the wedding and the balance on delivery..that gives them a bit of faith and me some incentive to finish. I have yet to have a bride who has not paid me and sometimes I have delivered packs on a promise that the funds will be transferred during the week or on pay day... they always honour their obligation!!!

Although I have have some bitter in-forum fights (not here!!!!) with a videographer who said that 6 to 12 months was perfectly acceptable and the bride was complaining bitterly about not getting the service after paying up front I felt that a little compromise on each side is good for both parties!!!

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Old October 13th, 2010, 06:15 AM   #19
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Because I have given my personal opinion on the subject, I'd like to clarify that we are not receiving full payment before the wedding, but on delivery. That means (at least for us), that we don't care for the quick cash-in. If we did, we'd make it fast (and I said, we are pretty slow, regardless the reasons), take the money and bye-bye.

But I don't think there is a problem whether the time it's 2 weeks or 6 months, since the couple accepts that this is the reality. After all, I have talked with some high-end (I mean worldwide high-end) colleagues that admit the 6-month (and more) period is a reality. Of course, I won't put myself at those levels, but I wonder why in these "inner circles" this amount of time is acceptable (especially if you think the money the top wedding videographers are paid) and not for the rest of us who try to deliver a good result.
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Old October 13th, 2010, 03:12 PM   #20
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Dimitris, I don't think you should bother about comparing your work with the so-called high enders. Who are these people anyway? And on whose judgment are they given that epithet?

I've never entered a competition since I was a simple amateur and never would. There is no empirical measure of right or wrong, good or bad and when you see some the rubbish these bodies approve and praise it makes you wonder if there isn't a market for better spectacles.

The only view that matters is that of the person paying the bill. I think your terms are businesslike and anyone else's opinion is irrelevant. In this field especially with so many variables outside your control when you can produce a programme of which you are proud enough to pout your name on, then you're getting there.
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Old October 13th, 2010, 04:30 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Dimitris Mantalias View Post
Yes, it is very acceptable. The couples will rarely bother us before the deadline (6 months) and that's because we let them know the times before they sign. As for the workflow, its pretty alright. as a matter of fact we work so hard that for a period of 5 months, wife sees my face for 1 hour every day. It seems simple to do fast, but its not. Because when the season starts and you have 2 weddings plus one or two christenings every weekend and also have the older projects like tv commercials, corporate videos etc running then you know that editing that fast is impossible, and we are pretty used to editing. So we have two options. We will either edit super fast, give a crappy DVD and take the cash or we will take it slow and have it ready when it will be ready. The couples respect that and I respect the couples and the money they pay me to give them something decent (at least). Ok, maybe we are slow or badly organised but the couple cares more about the result. At least most of our clients do.
Dimitris, I'm with you. 4 months is totally acceptable.
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Old October 14th, 2010, 06:56 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Philip Howells View Post
Dimitris, I don't think you should bother about comparing your work with the so-called high enders. Who are these people anyway? And on whose judgment are they given that epithet?

I've never entered a competition since I was a simple amateur and never would. There is no empirical measure of right or wrong, good or bad and when you see some the rubbish these bodies approve and praise it makes you wonder if there isn't a market for better spectacles.

The only view that matters is that of the person paying the bill. I think your terms are businesslike and anyone else's opinion is irrelevant. In this field especially with so many variables outside your control when you can produce a programme of which you are proud enough to pout your name on, then you're getting there.
Philip, I totally agree with you in everything you said. Still, we entered competitions some times and even won some awards (with the more recent been a week old for the "Butterfly Effect"). Of course that doesn't mean that we are better than someone that didn't even bother to send a video to compete. But it's a fact that such things, if well promoted, can catch the brides' attention and also help to enter the "expensive wedding" markets. At least for us, it worked that way. Some couples pay more attention when they know about some award. It's good thing for business.

Regarding who can be called hi-end and who not, is also an excellent question. I consider hi-enders some teams that their work (the one that's been shown on the Internet) is outstanding in general... People that travel all over the world (probably with very good money too) to do weddings, people that upload videos that are far more technically advanced and emotionally involving than the average. I have some names in my mind, but names don't matter. Of course, even this is subjective... Many people will disagree if a certain wedding videographer worth the hype and the money, but I take into consideration their general image and commercial success. This is the hi-end I am talking about.

But I agree... I have seen some works of some so-called hi-enders and I asked myself some questions about what the hell is going on in some parts of the industry... But maybe this is just the subjective point of view I mentioned before. -:)


PS. Have some strange tendency to go off-topic lately! Sorry!
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Last edited by Dimitris Mantalias; October 14th, 2010 at 07:02 AM. Reason: adding a ps
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Old October 15th, 2010, 12:48 AM   #23
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How's this for different? We don't specify a delivery time for our clients in the contract. Verbally we tell them it generally takes 3-6 months, but we also emphasize that it can take longer as well.

Last year we were delivery 90% within 3 months, and none over 5 months. This year we got that down to about 90% within a month, although we're relocating our studio to Miami as I type this so our most recent wedding edits are on hold.

The answer to the 'how long until delivery' question is complicated. First and foremost it depends on what you are delivering. Some guys deliver a lot more than others. We deliver a lot, and by a lot I'm talking about much more than content length. I'm talking about the quality, about how much of a perfectionist you are. I know some guys that brag about 1 week turnarounds but their work looks nothing like ours. So it's a tough comparison to make.

That said, I think no matter what you're trying to deliver, you should make every effort to deliver within 6 months, and if at all possible, within 3. Our couples trust us and know that we go to great lengths to make their films perfect, but it's only human nature to become impatient. Even if you deliver something amazing, if it takes so long that the couple gets jaded, you won't achieve the impact you had hoped for.
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Old October 15th, 2010, 06:05 AM   #24
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6-12 months sounds a bit outrageous. 3-4 months if completely reasonable.

Personally, I tell the couple most videos are delivered in about three months but it could be longer. Then I normally deliver within 2 months. I've had couples ask why it takes so long and I tell them their wedding video deserves attention and I'm not going to comprimise it by rushing. Nobody has ever argued with that.

Granted, I don't spend the full 3 months editing it. Normally it'll be about 30-35 hours but very broken up. Capture one week, cut it the next, review and burn the following week. Much of my work apart from weddings is short form events (2-3 minute news style packages) so I'm not used to staring at the same thing for a week straight. I need to work on a wedding for a few hours, then do something completely different, and came back to the wedding with fresh eyes.

Chris, in regards to pricing, I don't think of it like them hiring me for $100/hr. I picture a wedding to be one and a half weeks of full time work (Around 60 hours including meetings, prep, travel, shoot, edit). So, after expenses and overheads, I expect to earn from each wedding what my mates earn from a week and a half of their regular full time jobs. This works out alot cheaper than most vendors which means I have no qualms (and nor do the couple) with asking for full payment prior to the wedding day. Of course this is would not be sustainable forever, and I've only been doing this a few years - so obviously I'm planning yearly price rises and this might also mean re-thinking my payment deadlines/payment plans.
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Old October 15th, 2010, 10:08 AM   #25
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I agree with Danny's assessment of the post-wedding depression, although I feel that the cost of the wedding hasn't been taken into account with this discussion.
There is always going to be a perception of higher quality+higher cost=greater care with the production..
If I paid 2K for a wedding film, I would expect a great deal of care and attention to go into the entire production process. If the film was delivered a week later, there would be elements of my mind that it was just treated as a factory export. For 2k I EXPECT it to take longer as my "investment" should have the utmost care and attention applied to it. Whether or not the filmmaker has taken a day or a month to edit it is really irrelevant to the customer (although not to suggest the process should be rushed).

At the end of the day, it the length of time to edit a wedding should be discussed at the very beginning. If they know you will be delivering in 1 week/1 month/1 year then they know exactly where they stand.
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Old October 17th, 2010, 02:51 PM   #26
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I'm with you Andrew. I spend more than 13 hours on audio, grading, authoring and case design, and that's after the basic video editing has been done, and that doesn't allow for the full DVD review and subsequent changes once I've seen it on a large TV. Hmmm..... need to keep raising prices ;)
Dave:

I am with you, the tasks other than video editing can take a lot of time. It's nice to hear that other videographers have a interest in full product quality, including QA/QC review. I have had 3 "pro" editors work for me and what some editors believe is a final product is a joke. While my productions are not very artistic, they are technically perfect, or as good/tweaked as the source material permits.

To do things right takes time. I never send any production out if I have any question about the quality of the audio and video edit or even the case artwork.

3 to 4 months is normal fo me.
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