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


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Old November 15th, 2010, 09:15 AM   #1
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Single shooters in the event of illness...

...what do you do? I have a good relationship with another single shooter in the next county who I can get to stand in - that is assuming he is not working (and he probably usually is)

If I'm asked about this by the client I say I can get someone to cover, or in the worst case refund the deposit, but it just sounds inadequate - I'd like to know your thoughts on this

Cheers

Pete
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Old November 15th, 2010, 01:30 PM   #2
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The biggest list I have is other shooters. I try to keep at least 10 on the list. I will say though that if I have to call someone in to shoot the job I better be on my death bed. I have never missed a job in my life. I've gone sick (I mean sick not just a cold or sore throat) I've gone after my wife had major surgery, I've did a wedding 1 day after I buried my mother. While it may sound like I am an uncaring person that is not the case. I had a job to do and frankly sitting around doing nothing is not good for me, so I knew my mother would understand. While I was not in the best mood I've ever been in I did the job and it worked out quite well.
Anyway, make as many friends as possible and develope some sort of working relationship to help each other out in case of an emergency.
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Old November 15th, 2010, 02:58 PM   #3
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There is no good way to put it. If you're a one man band, then an emergency preventing you from handling the shoot will mean one of two things as I see it.

1. Hire someone to shoot for you and accept the fact that you are still responsible for the quality of the footage they capture in your absence.

or

2. Refund the money and help the couple find another videographer, thus transferring all of your responsibilities to someone else.

When talking with potential clients, I am simply honest with them and tell them that in the worst case scenario in which I would not be able to make it to the shoot (from some ailment or emergency), our plan would be to go for option #2 above. In the same breath though, I make sure to mention that my record is spotless so far.

You might also go for a very matter of fact approach with something along the lines of, "There's also a chance that I (or your photographer, or officiant, or musicians...) might get into a car accident or have a heart attack on the day of the wedding, but as catastrophic as that would be, it is very unlikely. Given my track record, (quote them a number of weddings here) me being sick is also extremely unlikely. Regardless, I can assure you that I would do everything I could to make things right if something like that were to happen."

I think that if you exude confidence in speaking with the couple about this subject, then they will trust you far more than if you appear timid. Be up front with an assuring attitude.

Alec Moreno
Wedding Art Films - Southern California - Los Angeles - Orange County - Video
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Old November 15th, 2010, 03:49 PM   #4
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Put it in your contract. I've worked over 500 weddings (as a DJ and as a videographer) and only missed one because I was in the hospital. Fortuantely, I was able to call a "friendly competitor" to cover for me. If he were not available, I would have had to cancel and refund the money.

Sometimes life happens and you just have to roll with it, baby. I wouldn't lose sleep over it.
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Old November 15th, 2010, 05:17 PM   #5
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Like Don, I have never missed a wedding!!

Sure I have done them when I have felt that I really should be in bed recovering, but it's the fact that you don't want to let the client down!! I do have a buddy who could take over but I would have to be totally incapacitated before I resorted to that or a refund.

I do have a clause in my contract limiting liability to a complete refund of all monies paid but haven't ever had to use it. It's pretty important to have it in!! Forget sickness or such events! What would happen if your gear was stolen the night before. Yes, we are all covered by insurance but you are certainly not going to be able to replace your cameras in a few hours...insurance claims take months usually so often more than one wedding may be affected unless you have funds to completely re-kit instantly!!

My biggest problem is finding a well equipped shooter!! They seem to be scarce around Perth!! It would be comforting to have someone who could take over competently. Gosh, an Don has a list of 10 and I have one "maybe" at best. (Photog who has shot a few videos only)

Chris
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Old November 15th, 2010, 05:22 PM   #6
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While I have a big list it is really only the top 2 or 3 that I would call. The others are really 3rd cam type folks. Mostly due to lack of gear. If they're bad shooters why have them on the list. Plus here in Chicagoland I'd be willing to bet there are a lot more shooters than in Perth.
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Old November 16th, 2010, 02:15 AM   #7
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Yes I too have a clause in my contract limiting liability to a complete refund, and like you guys, I would have to be completely incapacitated to miss a shoot. It doesn't harm to plan for such an event though. I think I'll have to revisit my contract because even though I might be able to secure a replacement I won't be able to guarantee the same fee (I am pretty affordable but others in the area not so!)

Thanks for your thoughts
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Old November 16th, 2010, 07:28 AM   #8
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I have freelancers that work for me and I'd send them if I were in the hospital (18 years and I've never missed a wedding). I charge less for my freelancers and I'd charge the bride the freelancers rate.
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