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

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Old September 22nd, 2005, 03:41 PM   #16
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Labor & Gear

I am with Tim and Stephanie. I work mostly in broadcast and corporate communications but in the past have done weddings for friends at no charge and I have done them for actual paying work so I'm familiar with the frustrations. Most of the incidents and intricacies and just plain headaches that have to be endured that you all have described and that I have experienced is why I just don't do them anymore. Working for professional clients and consumers is two different things. They can both be demanding but the pro clients have the budgets and on the most part consumers....well.

The solution to all of this is to charge for your time according to industry standards, a worthwhile flat rate. Breaking your time down into all of these little tables and special circumstances is just a waist of time and is just plain inefficient. The standard (non union) these days is a flat rate for 10 hours with OT after 10 and DT after 12 hours. It is moving toward 12 hours as the mininimum though which still isn't that bad. (See rates below) This way, you are on the clock the whole time and if there is down time (beyond your control), you're still covered. On a couple of shows that I have worked on, producers have wanted the crew to do what is know as a split or walk away. That is, they want you available for the whole day but not necessarily committed. It may be split with a gap in the middle to prevent having to pay overtime. The thing is that you can't sell that additional time so you just have a break off the clock. This is very unpopular and usually doesn't fly with savvy crews. Your response may be, the folks we cater to won't pay rates like that. My answer is simply this, then find something else to do. There's no way I could produce wedding videos for a living at lower than industry standards and have to put up with what I have in the past and what others I know currently endure. I have a lot of respect for those of you who do produce this content and put up with the crap! I know exactly what you're going through and I am just not willing to put with it. I have been talked to like I was the help and that will NEVER happen again! That and working in retail, never again. Consumers are more demanding than any professional client that is actually paying you your worth all thanks to corporate America spoiling them with free this and free that.

If you are not, at least, getting the rates below and are confident that you are providing a great product, then you need to seriously consider finding another profession because you are not getting what you deserve!

Recent Shooter Labor Rates
$400.00 / shooter / day for 10 hours & $60.00 / hour after 10 or 12 (negotiable)

Recent Gear Rates
$200 - $250 / camera / day - depending on camera (XL, DVX, PD 150, etc.)

$50 / wireless mic / day

Post & Tape Stock

$25 / hour import/export (more in & less out)

$100 / hour on-line & Graphics - $50.00 / hour

Tape Stock - TBD (usually $10 per 60 min load)

Last edited by James Emory; September 22nd, 2005 at 04:17 PM.
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Old September 22nd, 2005, 07:05 PM   #17
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I have a friend who had plumbers at his house recently, and the bill included $6 an hour for the truck to be parked there. LOL

James what do you think about an all-inclusive rate for a day of production, including cameras, mics, lights, expendables, and one assistant? I just feel that clients don't want or need the detail, and they always hire me with my camera. Some use more mics and some use less.

And do you do half-day rates? (or maybe only with a one-day minimum?)

But if his rates are lower than you quoted, he should certainly focus on getting there (at least). But when you are new, any work is better than no work. And wedding people have other compensations, mostly that it fits into a nice extra-job schedule vs. full-time pay and commitment.
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Old September 22nd, 2005, 07:31 PM   #18
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I would not have paid that $6.00 / hour parking fee! That is absolutely ridiculous. That's right up there with the phone company charging me an additional $7.50 per month for my second line. It's not enough that I'm already paying an entirely seperate bill for the extra line. Why don't they just go ahead and charge me for all of my neighbors' lines in the neighborhood too? That is highway robbery, legalized extortion!!

Oh, I agree with the one rate deal for everything. I was just itemizing everything in that post for info purposes to show how a total is derived. Most consumers don't give a damn about knowing all those details but pro clients sure enough want an itemized list of everything they paid for. This is known as a kit rental.

The production cost is determined by the number of people and what their positions are, number of cameras (what model), mic(s) (type), light kit(s) (type), expendables (usually just thrown in if not out of pocket costs). I never charge any extra for use of small things like stingers, power strips, gels, gaff tape, etc. unless it is a rental. If alot is used, I will charge for it as a kit rental or grip package. The reason I don't usually charge for that small stuff is because I'm already getting paid very well for the labor and the rental of my primary gear.

I don't do half days or splits (as I mentioned) because you can't sell that time not used. The one's that try that with you will only take from you what you let them.

I'm not talking about beginners in this discussion. I am talking about those that are making a living doing this and are established. We have all worked for free or next to free at one time or another. I'm not in this industry for the money, I just like what I do, but it just so happens that you can do very well in it. We all have bills to pay so I can't and I won't work for free or next to free!

Last edited by James Emory; September 23rd, 2005 at 07:00 AM.
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Old September 23rd, 2005, 06:51 AM   #19
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Another industry standard still in use today but becoming rare is the portal to portal billing method. This means that your time starts from the time you leave the office to the time you get back to the office. I would say the folks from the old school with long term relationships with clients are the one's able pull that off because it can get quite expensive and if there's one thing these production companies don't like, it's extra expense.
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Old September 23rd, 2005, 10:21 PM   #20
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All my literature and contracts says that my time starts when I arrive at the first location for the day and ends when I leave the reception, with all time in between locations and events included. I usually cut people some slack when their schedule requires a slightly longer day than expected, but at least I have a contract which says I can leave if I've put in the allotted time. I also try to make sure people sign up for a package which includes enough hours for their event, and then charge accordingly so I don't have to worry about billing extra hours after the fact. The way I see it, it's just tacky to be haggling about time and money at the end of the evening, so try to address that up front. If you find yourself in an unexpected situation, you have to decide whether to hassle the couple for extra money, or just suck it up and shoot the video you need to shoot.
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Old September 24th, 2005, 06:56 AM   #21
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I think sometimes you need to get the job done even if it falls outside the time frame. I would not, ever want an assignment or product look weak just because I didn't spend an extra hour or so getting it right.

I have done plenty of weddings to know most have there own pace, sometimes you get burned, but the book, tape has your name on it.

It is not like you can handle another asignment on the wedding day.

Charge more.
"The Light is the melody, the Motion is the lyrics..."
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