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Old March 22nd, 2011, 10:58 PM   #16
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Re: Is HE among us? Story from newspaper this morning....

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Originally Posted by Christian Brown View Post
The local news here said he charged $500. That's 20 hrs of work at $25 an hour. $25 an hour is a good wage and is much higher than many people make (perhaps including that young couple). Why should someone not entrenched in the wedding business have cause to be alarmed at that price, those hours, and that rate?
Wedding videographers are not wage earners... that is, not unless they're working for someone else, and working by the hour. I've done that, when I was still in school -- I shot video for a husband and wife wedding photographer team in San Antonio. I shot with their camcorder (Super VHS! heh, back in the day... early '90's). When the night was done, so was I. They took it from there, with the editing and video package and all. But that probably doesn't describe most of the folks here today.

Most folks here today as wedding videographers are small business owners, and that's an entirely different ballgame than being a wage earner, so it really shouldn't be described as such. You're not working for an hourly rate; instead you're working to not only sustain but to elevate your business and all of the costs that go with it. Wage earners work at McDonald's (no offense intended to anybody). Wedding videographers -- most of them -- are small business owners, not wage earners.
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Old March 22nd, 2011, 11:09 PM   #17
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Re: Is HE among us? Story from newspaper this morning....

I don't blame the couple at all. They just got conned.

If the videographer was a friend who did it for free, would his conduct be acceptable?
If he was a famous person who charged 500K, would his crappy video be acceptable?

I like the title of this post. Any of the eminent wedding videographers in this forum could be a con artist. A showreel, a cool website and some 'references' can be created overnight. If you take a job for money, you must deliver. The judge was right.
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Old March 22nd, 2011, 11:21 PM   #18
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Re: Is HE among us? Story from newspaper this morning....

If you do anything that takes TIME and you receive a FEE for it, divide one by the other and you now have a WAGE. If you haven't thought about it, maybe it's time to sit down and keep detailed metrics of your work for a few months.

If someone has never had a wedding before -- never hired a videographer or even thought about hiring a videographer ever before in their entire life -- how do you expect them to know that $500 is a "bad" price for video? Let's say the bride makes $500 a week. Paying someone $500 for two or three or four days work doesn't seem outlandish, does it?

Due diligence? Cut them some slack. They hired a guy (hobbyist or professional - doesn't matter) with a camera, and all they got was the camera... They could have gotten better results if they'd just given the camera to one of the kids at the wedding. At least it would have been three or four feet off the ground.

I'm glad he got nailed. I'm also glad the news is all over it. Can't hurt to have brides reminded on national news that a wedding video is a must-have!

PS. Did you see their wedding photos? Awesome shots. Doesn't look like the photographer was a joker...
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Old March 22nd, 2011, 11:34 PM   #19
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Re: Is HE among us? Story from newspaper this morning....

"victim blaming mentality" - REALLY? Nope, we're just pointing out the simple fact that the quoted budget was probably less than they spent on sending out invites, or hiring a limo, or the DJ, or the flowers or... oh nevermind.

It's so easy to point fingers, and hey, the guy who did this was pretty much a scammer if you ask me, thought that was clear enough. I wouldn't even give him ANY credit for what he did shoot...

BUT, unless you're pretty naiive (wasn't the groom in a media business, so should have known a bit about such things?), this situation could EASILY have been avoided if the "clients" hadn't wanted a cheap "video". And I have no doubt that PRICE was the primary consideration here, NOT quality, reliability, reputation, or skill.

$500 won't even buy a used high end consumer video camera, so this was below even "do it yourself on the cheap" budget. I won't say I have never done a job "on the cheap" for a friend/family, or for a specific purpose (like to try out a new toy under fire), but that's just an absurdly LOW budget, and probably was whatever the couple had left so they thought "gee let's get video", what can we get for a few quid? A little "bargain hunting" later, and they got a stinking pile for their outlay. Sad, but you can't expect to drink Champagne on a beer budget, then be surprised or offended when you don't like the taste.

I'm sure they learned something, very likely along the lines of "you get what you pay for". I do think they should get their money back but from the article even that appears unlikely - hopefully they will learn to be more careful in their spending and purchase decisions, and in that case this was a cheap "lesson". The "gone forever" memories... to quote Master Card, priceless, literally.

As I suggested earlier, and Don touches on, brides should have a budgetary metric that would allow for hiring a qualified vendor at a fair price... so they don't end up goofing themselves up the way these poor folks did. Instead, from what I've heard and seen, most of the "how to's" are more oriented to how to get video for cheap on CL...

We of course only know what made print, and there MAY be more to the story, but however sorry we may feel for the bride and groom, the situation just SCREAMS scam/trouble/danger Will Robinson, and that is the most important lesson to be learnt.

No doubt we all feel sorry for the victim, but sometimes you have to ask "what did you think was going to happen"? That's not blaming the victim, it's just a realistic evaluation of the situation given the facts... there's a financial disconnect that's just too big too ignore.
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Old March 22nd, 2011, 11:57 PM   #20
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Re: Is HE among us? Story from newspaper this morning....

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Originally Posted by Christian Brown View Post
If you do anything that takes TIME and you receive a FEE for it, divide one by the other and you now have a WAGE. If you haven't thought about it, maybe it's time to sit down and keep detailed metrics of your work for a few months.

If someone has never had a wedding before -- never hired a videographer or even thought about hiring a videographer ever before in their entire life -- how do you expect them to know that $500 is a "bad" price for video? Let's say the bride makes $500 a week. Paying someone $500 for two or three or four days work doesn't seem outlandish, does it?

Due diligence? Cut them some slack. They hired a guy (hobbyist or professional - doesn't matter) with a camera, and all they got was the camera... They could have gotten better results if they'd just given the camera to one of the kids at the wedding. At least it would have been three or four feet off the ground.

I'm glad he got nailed. I'm also glad the news is all over it. Can't hurt to have brides reminded on national news that a wedding video is a must-have!

PS. Did you see their wedding photos? Awesome shots. Doesn't look like the photographer was a joker...
Your points are well taken - it doesn't hurt to at least sit down and do a spreadsheet and figure out how much you're making per hour... but that's NOT how a bride should evaluate what she's paying by a LONG SHOT - there's editing, travel time, overhead, and QUALITY of the finished product.

As I pointed out earlier, one could say "hey, easy sweet gig, show up for a few hours at a party, shoot some video, eat some cake and stuff and get paid like $20 hour for it". Doesn't even scratch the surface of the BUSINESS considerations (thanks Chris).

And also well taken that brides are too often "suggested" to downplay the video and accompanying budget, thus perhaps have expectations that set them up for this sort of "fall". Since video is too often almost an afterthought, and they've spent what seems like outrageous sums on everything for their "special day" they probably are thrilled if they find a "cheap" option... so are an easy "mark". Weddings are not typically "cheap" in ANY aspect, but I certainly can understand how one could get taken in by a shady/shoddy operator.

I've already pointed out they didn't even spend enough to hire a camera, let alone a qualified operator, they could've strapped a flip camera to the back of a dog and done better... and my young kids CAN shoot better shots, though I think they'd wander off to the other wedding too, if not watched...

This really DOESN'T help the industry, although I guess you can take the "I don't care what they say about me, just as long as they're talking about me" tack. It just shows the dark side of hiring a bad vendor (we see those when a venue goes belly up, but somehow it's more often the video dude... oh the humanity).

And to put it in perspective, I'm guessing they spent around 3-5x the budget ($1500-2500 in USD) on the photographer, and we all know he just shows up for a couple hours, points the camera, downloads the pix, and hands them a disk and maybe a couple prints... sweet gig... maybe I'm in the wrong biz... <ducking and running>
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Old March 23rd, 2011, 12:27 AM   #21
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Re: Is HE among us? Story from newspaper this morning....

Hi Don

I cost at $75.00 per hour absolute minimum and I'm really cheap....anyone costing at $25 isn't serious.

I did a job which was a 2 hour drive from home last January and the immediate travel cost and fuel extra was $300.00 ...If it was a 4 hour drive then it would have been at least $600 ..that's before overnight accomodation costs AND before I even pick up a camera. What he charged would barely cover travel never mind staying over (there is no way you can drive 4 hours, shoot a 10 hour wedding and then drive home at 1am for 4 hours)

The couple were probably blinded by the incredible low cost and never looked any further....here the general rule is "buyer beware" anyway.

They were lucky to get compensated for their lack of common sense.. even if the vendor was a total idiot!!

Chris
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Old March 23rd, 2011, 07:40 AM   #22
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Re: Is HE among us? Story from newspaper this morning....

ABC news did an outstanding job comparing the professionally done pics vs, the video. This should be a very good marketing tool for Photography.

I think it is safe to assume that if the videographer did manage to capture the march, the cake cutting & took tons of footage, no matter how crappy it may seem the couple wouldn't have sue.
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Old March 23rd, 2011, 09:12 AM   #23
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Re: Is HE among us? Story from newspaper this morning....

I think that we may have a blinkered view as to the way people outside of the business view wedding video. Our individual experiences lead us to believe that what we do is acceptable/desirable/valuable because we get bookings. I expect that each of us does work that is all of the above, but the public out there will only ever think about hiring someone like us once (or maybe twice) in their life and will be doing it with a wedding head on. The best source for them is personal experience from family, friends or acquaintances. These are equally good sources for us as they come to us with an already considered quality and cost in mind. For those doing it 'blind' it can be very difficult. Reading some of the many comments that people have made after the newspaper article it becomes obvious that many think that wedding videographers (cinematographers) are either inept amateurs or greedy chancers. It may surprise many of us that so many people think that £350 is not cheap.
People report that they have booked a videographer (or video company as many style themselves) after being impressed by a very competent website, only to be disappointed with what they eventually get, though not many take the next step of taking it to law, they just accept they made a bad choice. We all know that this is probably a minority of the 'professional' videos but don't we all suffer from those stories and articles like this, and it's not the first, which only go to reinforce in many peoples minds that a wedding video is a bit of a gamble. Due to the nature of the business we have an ongoing task of reassuring people that a good wedding video will be worthwhile and will become a family heirloom, something that there future family will be so grateful to them for having the foresight to have it made.
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Old March 23rd, 2011, 12:12 PM   #24
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Re: Is HE among us? Story from newspaper this morning....

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Depends on your clientèle George. In Asian culture bartering is the norm, so you can expect to have to give a little. Although it does not necessarily mean discounting your product. It could mean offering more DVDs/Blu ray which are cheap to produce anyway. :(
I was just reading back on your quote Aaron and by coincidence I had two call this afternoon asking for prices and both asked if I'd discount my prices before even asking to see any work. It seems it's now becoming endemic and not just in the Asian culture.
You'll probably know that all the magazine type programmes on UK TV have 'consumer champions' who are forever telling people to ask for discounts on everything; it's now becoming automatic, turning us all into market traders.

The second girl was so apologetic about asking but said her father wouldn't forgive her if she didn't ask. It's annoying because I set my prices at a fair rate and I don't want to artificially raise them just to be able to cut back down if asked to do so. I feel that instantly cutting the price suggests that I was chancing my luck trying to get a price higher than I'm willing to do it for.
When they ask before even looking at work it all seems so arbitrary, would they ask just as readily if I'd said £350 as they would at £3,500? By the way I'm not at either of those prices.
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Old March 23rd, 2011, 02:22 PM   #25
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Re: Is HE among us? Story from newspaper this morning....

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Or even change it to 25 hours of work at $20 an hour -- still a pretty good rate. The videographer is getting more hours and better wages than someone working part-time for $8.25/hr doing retail, and is still doing better than recent graduates of our top universities working for $15/hr (if they are lucky) in office jobs.
Firstly your analysis here is completely out of context and doesn't apply to this situation. You're not working in retail or in an office job, for this to be an accurate comparison you need to look at what the owners of the retail business & office firm earns per hour. You're not simply an employee, you're a business owner with a lot of overheads, marketing, employees, taxes, equipment & working in a high risk demanding job. Our cameras cost more than most peoples cars and editing doesn't fall between 9-5 working hours.

This is another lesson learned - you get what you pay for! Videographers aren't over-inflating their prices go to any art gallery and look at the prices of any well known artist, talent has no price limit. If anything I think many videographers are giving away their services at under priced levels, I know I am. The couple should have known better...really.
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Old March 23rd, 2011, 09:42 PM   #26
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Re: Is HE among us? Story from newspaper this morning....

After watching this I get the opinion that this guy works in volume he gives it away at a cheap price then tries to pack 3 jobs or more in a weekend ive seen it before. We really dont have enough info to tell who conned who. What is this guys demo like? Is it his work? The price is ridiculously low in my market (which is low) we get a minimum of $1000 for a basic (4 hours of coverage) goes up to about $1700. I would also be interested in seeing his contract and package agreement.
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Old March 23rd, 2011, 10:10 PM   #27
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Re: Is HE among us? Story from newspaper this morning....

Story I read said he's BK (bankrupt), so I'm guessing he probably isn't the sharpest tool in the shed, and was doing this because it seemed like a good idea, NOT because he'd planned to remain in business long term...
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Old March 23rd, 2011, 10:20 PM   #28
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Re: Is HE among us? Story from newspaper this morning....

I was just in the middle of telling this story to a college professor with a Ph.D. from Stanford. As I mentioned that the videographer charged 350 pounds, she gasps, and asks "Why so much?!"

Remember that each of us only gets to see the weddings we work at. It actually makes it difficult to grasp the great diversity of weddings. Especially for those of us with higher rates -- we only get to work weddings with budgets in the five figures, which may or may not be a minority.
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Old March 24th, 2011, 08:40 AM   #29
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Re: Is HE among us? Story from newspaper this morning....

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Story I read said he's BK (bankrupt), so I'm guessing he probably isn't the sharpest tool in the shed, and was doing this because it seemed like a good idea, NOT because he'd planned to remain in business long term...
Probably the only reason that this case ended up in the Small Claims Court is that he didn't have the money to pay them when they demanded a full refund which as far as I am aware is all that they were entitled to. Despite what the newspaper reports states there would be no question of damages just recompense for the expenses of bringing the case which as it was the Small Claims Court would not involve lawyers fees.
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Old March 24th, 2011, 08:48 AM   #30
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Re: Is HE among us? Story from newspaper this morning....

On a side note. What are the copyright implications of using the footage on websites or tv programmes?
Was the copyright transferred to the couple or do they need the videographer's permission to show it?

In my agreements I state that I retain copyright of my material, though I have never had to enforce it, but if there was footage of mine that I was not happy with I'd not want it doing the rounds.
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