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Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old April 4th, 2011, 07:44 PM   #16
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Re: Why not give all raw footage?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Hurd View Post
Of what aesthetic value is the pile of little rock chips that were hewn away to create these masterpieces? Zero. The sculptor doesn't want you to see that mound of shavings; the sculptor wants you to see the finished work. It's the same thing here. Video editing is electronic sculpture.
Totally agree.

I gave the raw footage away with hesitation ONCE.

NEVER again. First I had ENDLESS phone calls about how to view the HD material. "Why is it skipping and jumping?" "Why is the sound different on each speaker?" (tracks). THEN, 6 months later once they had gone over EVERY frame, the questions started... "Why didn't you include shot of little Johnny outside the church?" "Why did you cut away to grooms face as I was coming up the aisle?" "Why didn't you include all 30 seconds of Auntie Mary sitting on the park bench picking her nose?"

Now I make it clear, they are paying me to produce a final edited DVD of their wedding - that's what they get. Nothing else. No tapes, no cards, no editing choices. Autocracy rules!. Heil to the King baby! :)
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Old April 4th, 2011, 08:02 PM   #17
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Re: Why not give all raw footage?

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Originally Posted by Joel Peregrine View Post
Ever since selling unedited footage I've learned not to chat to others during the quiet times...
Oh Joel... that's terrible! Half the fun I have at weddings is joking with the photographer or flirting with the catering staff... another good reason I don't give away the raw. I'd probably be sued (or lynched) ;)
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Old April 5th, 2011, 01:51 PM   #18
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Re: Why not give all raw footage?

In my opinion the worst thing you can ever say to a client is 'no'. That's not to say I don't say 'no'. I definitely do, but I've learned over the years to find a way to say 'yes' that leaves the client wanting to say 'no'.

Regarding raw footage, we simply don't advertise that it is available. When a client does ask then we quote them a price that tends to make them say nevermind. Sometimes they still say 'yes', but at least then we are making a good profit providing the client with something valuable to them and us.

That said, we also have our contract written so that WE are in complete and total creative control on any edits we deliver. So if a client comes back and wants some random shot thrown in somewhere we can either say 'no' (point to the contract) or we can say 'yes' and quote them a high dollar amount to make the change. Works pretty well.
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Old April 5th, 2011, 02:35 PM   #19
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Re: Why not give all raw footage?

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Originally Posted by Travis Cossel View Post
I've learned over the years to find a way to say 'yes' that leaves the client wanting to say 'no'.
So true, love it!
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Old April 5th, 2011, 09:06 PM   #20
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Re: Why not give all raw footage?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Hurd View Post
Look at it this way: there are some magnificent works of art in
museums around the world that have been sculpted out of marble,
stone, etc. Of what aesthetic value is the pile of little rock chips
that were hewn away to create these masterpieces? Zero. The
sculptor doesn't want you to see that mound of shavings; the
sculptor wants you to see the finished work. It's the same
thing here. Video editing is electronic sculpture.
This quote belongs in an analogy hall of fame.
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Old April 5th, 2011, 09:20 PM   #21
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Re: Why not give all raw footage?

Have you ever heard this? "Photographer is providing all his shots on a DVD."

No he isn't. (hypothetically) he deleted 85 photos in-camera. You never saw those photos and you never will. Wow... how convenient and easy it is to press that trash button when you're product is a still photo comprised of one single file?

My point is that the photographer IS NOT not putting his trash on display ...why would you?
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Old April 6th, 2011, 02:51 AM   #22
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Re: Why not give all raw footage?

There is no right or wrong here. I'm not going to feel guilty for selling something of value to a paying customer. If they want to pay me for lots of shots of the floor, and out-of-focus shots, etc., then I'm more than happy to give it to them.

It's not like they're renting out the local cineplex to display your raw footage for the whole tri-state area to come watch, or running a 6-hour cable marathon of nothing but your raw footage. Chances are, they'll never even watch it.
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Old April 6th, 2011, 07:09 AM   #23
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Re: Why not give all raw footage?

Unfortunately some couples have watched the video, suddenly remembered a shot the photographer took (including signing the register!) that wasn't given to them and then complained, so it can work both ways ;)

It's true that a photographer can usually get away with deleting more, but it's also the case that many couples do assume they got all the photos and not just a subset. Transparency is not always the better way of doing things.
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Old April 6th, 2011, 03:27 PM   #24
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Re: Why not give all raw footage?

Hi Craig,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig Terott View Post
My point is that the photographer IS NOT not putting his trash on display ...why would you?
A. Because they are willing to pay for it.
B. I don't consider my unedited footage trash.
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Old April 7th, 2011, 08:03 PM   #25
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Re: Why not give all raw footage?

I offer my raw footage for free. It takes the onus of the archiving off of us, and I consider everything I shoot art.... :)

I control the why didn't you include this or that with a nice letter saying that the studio time included in their package has been exhausted and any future editing will incur a $200 per hour studio fee.

The way I deliver the raw is have the couple give me a flash drive (or HDD) with varying capacities depending on time on location. The files are uncompressed the way they came out of the 5 or 7D. I let them know in the aforementioned letter that they will need a good fast computer to play the HD clips.

To this date I haven't gotten anyone asking anything to be changed as a result of giving out the raw footage.
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Old April 8th, 2011, 12:30 AM   #26
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Re: Why not give all raw footage?

Why give something away for free that clients will pay for?

Our industry struggles enough as it is to get paid properly for our talent, expertise, investment and time. To me, giving things away for free that a client values and would pay for is bad for business and bad for the industry.

I get that you don't want to hassle with archiving, so just put in your contract that you don't archive and that the raw footage will be cleared a week after delivery of the DVD's. But don't just give it away for free.
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Old April 17th, 2011, 02:27 AM   #27
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Re: Why not give all raw footage?

I give the raw footage on my highlights packages. I don't have anything to hide really. IMO The people should have a right to see it, and I make every effort to make sure each shot is done well and not a massive quantity of junk then cleverly edited later to cover up my mistakes.

There is, however some common sense I use in my raw footage inclusions if there's some goofed up shaky meaningless pieces that end up in the batch. I simply omit that material and include the rest. I also normally enclose what to expect from the raw footage just so they're informed.

My highlights package includes a full edit of the ceremony and other main events, so in turn the raw footage from those are completely removed because they just aren't necessary at that point.

I haven't heard one complaint yet and the couples I've worked with have been very appreciative thus far.
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Old April 17th, 2011, 09:16 AM   #28
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Re: Why not give all raw footage?

Just curious .. why do you think they have the 'right' to see it?
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Old April 17th, 2011, 11:37 AM   #29
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Re: Why not give all raw footage?

Travis-

Well... Just given how much they paid for their package and what little is given in the finished product (even though it takes a lot of time to edit and color process well) I just think it's something nice for them to have. I guess a "right" isn't so much as just me being nice about it. In the end it all goes to an archive on my server and most likely never used again, so other then it just takes a bit to throw on some discs I don't see the great harm in it, but I have contemplated it being a by request/added fee thing because the rates I charge are very competitive for HDSLR cinematography and finished product for what goes into it.

I'm not against anyone who doesn't do it. In the end it is your work and I think people can do what they please with their raw footage.

What fps do you shoot in? Saw your site and love your work!
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Old April 17th, 2011, 04:21 PM   #30
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Re: Why not give all raw footage?

When I shot weddings regularly, I never, EVER, provided raw footage to the clients, and even had that policy notated in my contract paperwork- with "no exceptions" included in the wording. I was only asked twice if it would be something I could provide instead of an edited work, as a means for providing lower cost services to the client, but I simply explained to them that the formatting of the audio and video content, along with the massive amounts of data from an all-day multi-camera shoot and multi-tracked audio would impose nearly insurmountable hurdles to their ability to enjoy the footage. That was the technical reason. Luckily, I've never really had to go into much detail about the practical reasons for such a policy.

After editing wedding videos for some time, I eventually came to realize that I was, at least in part, responsible for how they will some day come to remember the event. (This was a realization that was partially fostered by a documented psychology experiment in which a test base of individuals where intermittently exposed to doctored images from their childhood, displaying their presence and involvement in events and circumstances that never actually occurred. Over time, they began to share details about these events with their imagination having filled in the holes, and did so with the firm and compelling belief that these events did actually occur.) Although that perspective is a bit extreme compared to wedding footage, there is a fundamental similarity. For many bride/groom couples, the wedding day is such a whirlwind of anxiety and activity that it is often difficult to take stock of the details and individual moments of the day. Often, they rely on their wedding videos to afford them this opportunity. My general approach to wedding video editing was that I would attempt to provide a document of the day that they dreamed of, (within practical reason, of course) even if at times such documentation required the judicious omission of undesirable content - most often by explicit requests from the bride or groom. These would typically involve footage that included a fainting bride or groom, hostile family arguments, event crashing by an "Ex w/posse", or almost anything that required calling 911.

But most often, and quite commonly, my exercises of omission involved content that the bride or groom were never even made aware of, and that I determined on my own would not be included in the final cut.

When I shot weddings, I generally had cameras and microphones EVERYWHERE, and most often very discreetly located to be unobtrusive, but positioned in such a way as to capture rare and special moments, or appropriate cutaway shots. While the wedding party and guests were generally aware of this, such discreet placement and my unobtrusive nature eventually made them feel more at ease and forget that the cameras were even there.

Keeping in mind that many such events frequently included ample opportunities for recreational lubrication among the guests, those in the shots (bride, groom, respective parents, wedding party, and guests alike) were often enjoying varying degrees of inebriation, and I found that the discreet nature of my camera or microphone placement generally corresponded with an opposing lack of discretion among the subjects captured.

Over time, I found that I had captured in the raw footage a great many samples of very rude, crude, cruel and infantile demonstrations of behavior from a whole host of guests ranging from groomsmen, college roommates of the bride, to grandparents of the couple, alienated family members, and so on. It was my own determination that my clients simply not even know about such incidents, and that no good would come of it if they did.

The end result is that if I have captured the event well enough, and that I have purposed the content to not only meet but exceed the clients' expectations, they would not even have to think about the possibility that anything of merit remains on the cutting room floor.

But the long and short of it is this: By and large, wedding video clients are generally oblivious to what is involved for the proper editing with the final masterpiece. (And really, it's not their job to know - just like I don't really have to know or care how a high rise is constructed if all I want to do is walk through the front door.)

But at the same time, when such clients ask about the raw footage, it is my contention that they are generally unaware of what it is they are asking.

I think that allowance for raw footage may merit consideration depending upon the extent of proposed cutting, as well as the nature the event coverage to begin with. But with my personal style of shooting and extent of coverage, client acquisition to raw content was never a consideration.

-Jon
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