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

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Old April 17th, 2011, 05:26 PM   #31
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Re: Why not give all raw footage?

I shot a wedding last week in which the bride asked for the raw footage a week before the wedding. When I discussed it with her, she wanted to see the entire ceremony and, as she said, "not miss any of it." When I told her that I would also be providing a full documentary of the ceremony, she was happy. That was all she wanted.

I enjoy producing the highlights and short form of a wedding by far the most but when you get down to cases, brides also want to see the entire ceremony as it actually happened. I have looked at and admired a lot of short form wedding videos produced by others but they are only part of a complete package in my opinion. The word is getting out that a short form wedding is short on content and high on eye candy. Nice as the eye candy is, brides want to see more of their day. How do I know this? I have has several brides tell me. After seeing samples of short forms, they are concerned that is all they will get. Slick as they look, when you watch one of these four or five times, you can understand the question, "Is that all there is? My wedding took all day and evening and this is it!?" The New York Times book review of a new book can be quite entertaining and informative but that doesn't mean you don't want to read the complete book.

There are times you need to decipher what a bride is actually asking for with respect to her wedding coverage. In the case I mentioned above, the bride wasn't asking for the raw footage per se; she wanted to make sure she could see the entire ceremony of HER wedding. She had seen a few 'doses' of eye candy short form weddings and their relative superficiality concerned her. There is some food for thought in there by the way. Even though "Bro" videographer A and "Bro" videographer B may decide how it all should be as they talk about how "stoked" they are, there is just one little minor detail that isn't considered in the bro-speak; what does the bride want!?
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Old April 17th, 2011, 05:27 PM   #32
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Re: Why not give all raw footage?

Originally Posted by Ryan Czaplinski View Post

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!
Something to consider is that clients will only value what you place value on. So anything you just include or that you give away for free, the client will place very little value on that. Once you place value on something, though, the client will also then see as something with value.

It's interesting that you give the raw footage away because you 'feel' the couple has already paid a lot to you. But then you also admit you've invested a lot of time, effort, experience and skill into the product you are delivering to them. So really, the issue of value is on your end. It is YOU that having a hard time feeling like what you have delivered to the client is really worth the money they paid you. Trust me, in no way am I stating that it isn't worth it. I'm simply pointing out that deep down inside there is a part of YOU that feels it isn't.

What is also interesting is that this is a pretty common issue among small business owners and videographers in particular. Few of us have business degrees or any real business management experience. As a result, we tend to devalue what we offer to our clients .. in our hearts and minds .. before the client ever has a chance to. In some ways, it boils down to lack of confidence in our product versus what we are charging. In many cases, it's a situation of "well I wouldn't pay that much for what I do so why should anyone else?". And this leads to people including things for free, because 'emotionally' it makes them feel better.

The good news is you don't have to do this. Have confidence in your products and your pricing and your clients will have confidence in those as well. Place value on anything available to the client and they will see those offerings as valuable as well. The photography industry is plagued with the same problem. Photographers give away discs full of images left and right because of a lack of confidence in their products and pricing. So they throw something in for free.

There is more than one way to run a successful business, so I try to never preach anything as gospel, but I will say that it is hugely important to make sure your clients see value in everything you offer. For some clients the raw footage is not something they care about, so when you give it away for free they could care less. You gain nothing and they gain nothing. For those that do care, when you give it away for free they now see raw footage as something without real value. Again, you gain nothing and they gain nothing. By charging some amount for the raw footage you let people know that everything you do or offer has value. Going on 9 years in the business now and we've never included raw footage for free, and so far no complaints or backlash of any kind. We HAVE however, made an additional profit when clients DID want the raw footage, and that's a good thing. Even if you start low, like $300, at least you're attaching value to what you're offering them.

Anyways, just offering my opinion. Hope it's useful. I firmly believe in turning the tide in our industry and making sure that we're all getting paid appropriately for our time, effort, skill, experience and investment. To me, that starts first and foremost with placing value on everything.

Regarding fps, we've always shot in 24p (well, 24F on the older cameras several years back). The more filmic look appeals to me. Thanks for checking out our website. d;-)
Black Label Films
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Old April 18th, 2011, 05:48 AM   #33
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Re: Why not give all raw footage?

"Anyways, just offering my opinion. Hope it's useful. I firmly believe in turning the tide in our industry and making sure that we're all getting paid appropriately for our time, effort, skill, experience and investment. To me, that starts first and foremost with placing value on everything."

Travis, your opinion is very useful. It's an informed opinion based on experience. Plus it's true. Objectively, it is true. It's human nature to suspect that if something is cheap or free, it must not be worth very much. If we don't value our hard work and talent, who will? It's hard to come up with a price that is comparable to value. Value is a mixture of objectivity and subjectivity. Confidence does come into play when I set prices. So does the available budget of the client. I wish I was a better salesman, but wishing won't make it happen. Working on salesmanship is required.
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Old April 20th, 2011, 10:06 AM   #34
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Re: Why not give all raw footage?

There were some times that the couple asked for the unedited material. We always refused, except once, when we are pretty new at the job, and the client wanted to have for trying to experiment himself (the groom) with editing techniques (the couple was amazingly satisfied with the final product, which was our first "big" job in some respects). All the others who asked thought that "they have a cousin or friend that does editing too, he has a good computer and he'd like to try too" (they were asking BEFORE they get their hands on the final product! :) ). Of course we never give anything away, unless the couple wants to see the monopods go extremely shaky, the camera going out of focus, or their friends and relatives doing naughty comments about things. And anyway, it's all in the contract terms. :) The thing is that, you are paid to do a job which is not cheap (at least to us), so trust in our work is of the essence here. From our side, it's sure that we never leave a useful shot out and we make sure the couples will know that. Unfortunately there are some wiseguys in their family circles who would like to do it better (if they can, they are in the wrong line of work then).
"A successful wedding videographer is the one that offers for viewing some excellent videos and some boring videos, and gets positive reviews for both".
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Old May 5th, 2011, 12:45 PM   #35
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Re: Why not give all raw footage?

Here here to Jim Snow's comments!

I have felt we as videographers have been trying to outslick everyone else with those killer shots only highlights while forgetting what the client may want. Sorry for the broad brush but you get what I'm saying.

I hear you Travis but when I say free I mean no additional cost to the client as long as it's a drag and drop situation. Most really appreciate it and likely never view it. I send out a letter saying I won't have a record of any kind six months after the event. I deliver within 8 weeks.

We are in a business like the Dive business. People want to be in it and will undercut and try to out deliver the next guy just to eat PB&J while "establishing" themselves. Meanwhile it hurts the people who really have the goods and the business head to maintain a venture.

I have owned and operated at least three successful (and a few not so) business over the last 23 years.
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