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


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Old June 1st, 2011, 11:23 PM   #16
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Re: Wedding nightmare...hope this never happens to anyone here

my apologies Chris...my bad :)
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Old June 2nd, 2011, 09:02 AM   #17
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Re: Wedding nightmare...hope this never happens to anyone here

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Originally Posted by Zhong Cheung View Post
Still trying to figure out the best way around the $500 deductible....
Consider it a cost of doing business just like gas, blank DVDs, equipment upgrades, etc.
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Old June 2nd, 2011, 09:27 AM   #18
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Re: Wedding nightmare...hope this never happens to anyone here

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What do other "single shooters" do for security????

Chris
Chris, like you I'm a solo shooter. When I set up a second camera in church I loop a cycle chain and combination lock through the camera handle and tripod. It's a heavy Manfrotto 058/116 combo so anyone trying to walk off with it will find it both heavy and cumbersome. After the ceremony I release the camera and
can usually get an usher to collapse the tripod and take them to my car, that's about the only assistance I need all day.

At hotels and the like I usually loop around something fixed nearby such as a radiator.
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Old June 2nd, 2011, 01:52 PM   #19
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Re: Wedding nightmare...hope this never happens to anyone here

This is interesting because I did an informal recce of a church for George just recently and the thing I reported to him was that I wouldn't leave my car on the street in the area if I wanted the wheels to be there when the ceremony was over!

Last edited by Philip Howells; June 2nd, 2011 at 05:44 PM.
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Old June 2nd, 2011, 04:09 PM   #20
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Re: Wedding nightmare...hope this never happens to anyone here

Philip, I don't think I'd have been leaving an unattended camera there - locked or not.
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Old June 2nd, 2011, 05:49 PM   #21
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Re: Wedding nightmare...hope this never happens to anyone here

George, my point exactly.

Whilst I'm sure we have all taken calculated risks from time to time (and I'm as guilty as anyone else), leaving a camera unattended, unsecured, without someone specifically looking after it, will surely strike anyone living in an urban UK environment as surprising.

20 years ago we did a night shoot of the installation of an advertising obelisk for a French street furniture company and even then we hired an off-duty policeman to guard our gear. It's sad and I'm not proud of having to say it, but it's a fact that the time when we didn't have to lock our doors or take basic precautions are long gone, at least in this neck of the woods.
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Old June 4th, 2011, 08:24 AM   #22
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Re: Wedding nightmare...hope this never happens to anyone here

I know a videographer that had his gear stolen from the banquet room..right in front of him! He chased the thief, but couldn't catch him. The thief jumped in a waiting car and took off. The videographer had to tell his insurance company that his gear was stolen from his locked car, otherwise he wouln't have been covered.
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Old June 5th, 2011, 04:05 PM   #23
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Re: Wedding nightmare...hope this never happens to anyone here

Why wouldn't he be covered if a theft was running away with his gear?

Also, Chris Davis, sure I can think of it as part of business costs, but then that means it needs to be passed onto the client...I guess if you're doing 10+ weddings a yr and you expect gear to get stolen twice (probably a realistic worst case, despite trying to keep an eye out and using locks), adding an extra $100 per client is okay, but if you're only doing a handful like me (less than 5), it begins to add a lot more to your sticker price which may turn clients away.
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Old June 6th, 2011, 01:55 PM   #24
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Re: Wedding nightmare...hope this never happens to anyone here

Whether you want to admit it or not, paying for insurance and replacing broken/stolen equipment is part of the cost of doing business.
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Old June 6th, 2011, 02:02 PM   #25
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Re: Wedding nightmare...hope this never happens to anyone here

You're absolutely right Chris but in a business populated by part-timers and hobbyists doing business in the usual way means the professional's at an even greater disadvantage.
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Old June 6th, 2011, 05:55 PM   #26
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Re: Wedding nightmare...hope this never happens to anyone here

Chris, everyone knows insurance is a part of the cost of business. That's not the debate. The issue is how to still be profitable at a reasonable hourly rate while still considering the upfront investment and risk one is taking by risking personal (and rented) equipment, liability risks if you hurt someone or damage property at the venue, copyright risks, privacy risks, etc.

Making clients pay for the $500 deductible, even if spread across many clients, increases the price they pay, which may ultimately result in a lost client if it pushes them over the edge of their budget. The hard part is finding the perfect price point that allows the highest profit possible while not throwing the number of hours one works or the amount of risk one has to take out of reasonable proportion.

It's not a simple issue of "oh, this is a required expense, so we'll just make the clients pay for it...no skin off my own back." Not at all. It's as Philip says...if a professional insists of making the client pay for everything that is "required" as the cost of business: insurance, rentals, labor, gasoline, marketing, and whatever else...then when a semi-pro or hobbyist comes along and can offer a much cheaper price because he doesn't charge the client for things like insurance or labor or gasoline because he just wants an opportunity to gain reputation and build a reel, then the client will often choose the non-professional.

It's a delicate issue of how to pass on operating costs to clients. Not simple at all.
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Old June 7th, 2011, 11:49 AM   #27
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Re: Wedding nightmare...hope this never happens to anyone here

My point is that the clients *are* paying for the deductible (and every other business expense.) Even if it's not a line item on an invoice, they are paying.

That's the nature of business. You take the total cost of doing business, add a bit (or a lot) for profit, and charge customers accordingly. Of course that's an oversimplification, but to do anything less means it's a hobby and not a business.
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Old June 7th, 2011, 01:17 PM   #28
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Re: Wedding nightmare...hope this never happens to anyone here

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Originally Posted by Zhong Cheung View Post
Making clients pay for the $500 deductible, even if spread across many clients, increases the price they pay, which may ultimately result in a lost client if it pushes them over the edge of their budget.
This sure did make me smile!

If you don't think your clients should foot the deductible if something got stolen, what about the premium? Continuing along that same vein, what about every other expense one incurs while operating a business?

If you can't differentiate yourself from the non-insured part-timer in your own mind how in heaven's name are you conveying that value to the customer? More importantly, are you?
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Old June 7th, 2011, 01:34 PM   #29
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Re: Wedding nightmare...hope this never happens to anyone here

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Originally Posted by Chris Davis View Post
...the deductible... Even if it's not a line item on an invoice, they are paying.
Indeed. But it should *never* be itemized -- yowza!

(posted just to say good heavens, I hope no one gets the wrong idea here and actually does that)
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Old June 12th, 2011, 04:22 AM   #30
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Re: Wedding nightmare...hope this never happens to anyone here

Okay, here are my thoughts. I hope I can present them logically and clearly.

As a business, of course the goal is to be profitable. On a side note, I too hope no one is naive enough to actually itemize it on the invoice unless it's for a friend who KNOWS you're doing him/her a huge favor, both in terms of your time and expenses.

However, my point is that there are situations where the client may NOT be paying for certain items such as deductibles. Ideally, they would, but sometimes, they just aren't.

So why in the world would you eat costs yourself if the goal is to be profitable? Well, here's the problem with insurance and deductibles being passed to the clients:

1. It increases your quoted rate. When a quote becomes too high, it will cost you the job entirely. So the balancing act is in deciding just how much you can increase your rate without losing the gig completely to some cheaper competitor. Or be willing to lose the gig because you are able to secure enough higher cost weddings throughout to year to make your absolute profit for the year enough (however much you define "enough.")

2. For a fledgling company still looking to build a reputation and a demo reel (or expand/improve the reel), almost no client will trust you enough to fork over a large sum of money. In their eyes, they will "trust" you and are willing to give you a chance only because they have already decided to accept a possibly lower quality production in exchange for saving tons of money. Or maybe they are part of your personal friends network, so they cut you more slack.

The decision for a business with full intentions to be profitable to accept a gig where it actually loses money is far from as simple as "do you view yourself as a part-time hobbyist or a profiting professional." A business may agree to do it for less than at-cost or even for free (aka losing money upfront) because it believes this decision will have a future return on the investment. It is arguably the most effective way to develop your skills, build a reel, and spread your reputation, so that in the business's future, you can charge the rate you really want to charge, one that will cover all your expenses and still have enough left over for profit.

Most businesses have to invest a large chunk of time, effort, and money upfront (unprofitable at first) as an investment before it starts to turn around and become profitable. Don't confuse this and boil it down to a mentality difference between a part-time hobbyist and a profiting professional. It's all about weighing the give and takes: profit/losses, operating expenses, reputation, opportunity to network, opportunity to gain experience and improve technical, creative, interpersonal, and business skills, marketing, etc.

In an ideal world, of course all business would love to pass on all expenses and still have profit on top. In the real world, business must decide if this is truly the best decision to pass on all costs to the client because there are gains that are difficult to put a price tag on: reputation, experience, development of a reel, etc. These monetarily intangible gains all lie on the fine line I've been talking about.

It's not all about what you think you're worth nor is it all about what the client thinks you're worth. It's somewhere in between. You can try to convince the client what your value is in order to increase your rate. But realize at the same time, if you have yet to develop a reputation, enough experience, and/or a good enough reel, then you're going to be hard-pressed to find a client willing to pay what you think you might deserve. No matter how highly you view yourself, your work, experience, and value...the client is quite simply going to stay skeptical until you prove yourself.

So how do you prove yourself if no one will hire you because they don't trust you without a reputation or reel? It's a catch-22. The solution might very well be eating some costs yourself upfront and not pass them onto the client, so that you can gain more clients in the future, hopefully ones willing to pay a reasonable price. If you're lucky enough to start right off with clients who pay for all expenses and pay you a profit, that's awesome. Unfortunately, for many of us, it's not so easy. We had to suck up the costs ourselves until we reached a point where we could ask for profit and still find clients willing to pay it.

3. Furthermore, consider the psychology of money. People are far more forgiving of things they receive for free, but as soon as they invest their own money into it, even if it's a relatively small sum, they suddenly become far more critical and discerning. They grow an intimate and personal attachment. That's why you meet those nightmare clients who want everything, everything the best, yet aren't even willing to pay enough to cover operating costs.

To them, $500 might be a lot of money so they understandably want the most from their money. But to us, that doesn't even cover half our operating costs for one wedding. Sure, you can say you get what you pay for, but that doesn't sit any better with the client who paid $500 when they were really expecting a $3,000 quality wedding video. If they receive a $500 quality video, they'd be furious. Even if you went above and beyond and somehow produced a $1,000 quality video and only charged $500, they would still be upset because they expected a $3,000 quality video.

Btw, I'm using these $ figures just for simplicity's sake. I know more money itself doesn't necessarily equate to higher quality.

So sometimes, eating the cost of $500 (or whatever) for operating costs yourself in order to be given the opportunity to film a wedding and build up your reel might be the better decision. Even if you hand them utter crap, they really can't complain because you did it for free and spent your own money in fact. This is also a safeguard to your reputation as you're still developing your skills. They probably won't go out and badmouth you on the web and to their friends because they didn't pay any money, but if they paid and were dissatisfied, you can bet they are going to run their mouths and spew all sorts of negativity. Not a good way to start a new business, trying to recover from a bad reputation.

When you've landed enough gigs, even if at cost to yourself, and are more confident in your reputation and quality, then you can consider standing more firmly with what you're worth. Then you can ask for clients to pay for all your operating costs, deductibles, etc. and still tack on a nice profit on top. But before then, it's a fine line between what decision to make: pass on your costs or not.

Anyways, hope that all makes sense. Cheers.
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