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Old June 6th, 2011, 07:48 AM   #1
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Buy a Stedicam shot for $50?

I had a new one this weekend... The DJ was very chatty with me, following me around while I shot the reception venue, asking about gear. Thats fine, I don't mind to talk shop a little but he didn't quit. I handed him my Zoom H4n for a line out of the mixer and he dives into the menu and heads for the format command. Whoa buddy, the ceremony is on there! Glad I was standing nearby. (my fault for taking my hands off of it)

About 5 minutes before the first dance he whips out a stedicam merlin, looks me in the eye and says "for $50 I will put your camera on here and get some real nice revolutions around the bride and groom. It is amazing at the shots I can get with this thing, what do you say?" I said no thanks and tried to avoid him the rest of the night.

Also, during the ceremony (same location but outside) he was running around like a monkey on mountain dew snapping photos on a GH-1. I figured he was with the photographers. Apparently not, they had words after the ceremony about him standing in the aisle during the procession.
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Old June 6th, 2011, 09:34 AM   #2
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Re: Buy a Stedicam shot for $50?

This is starting to become quite common. DJ's either providing photography or video, sometime both and just trying to stay in business in this economy. Photographers are shooting video, Videographers are shooting portraits at weddings. Its all about staying afloat in a bad economy. I have seen this alot latetly and now with the photobooths, I have seen the dj provide along with photographers.
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Old June 6th, 2011, 10:40 AM   #3
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Re: Buy a Stedicam shot for $50?

Recently two photographers with the DJ shooting everything including walking around and snapping during the speeches, and standing in front of me on the dance floor to gain the benefit of my light, and then having the cheek to ask me to turn if off because they wanted some ambient shots. They were doing it for an ongoing projection show behind the DJ and for their own publicity.

On a further two separate occasions photographers who were working in pairs said to me during the meal break that one of them been shooting video of the ceremony on their camera and were going to shoot the speeches and dancing to give the couple a DVD of film and stills. Both asked me what radio mics I use for the audio. It seems that photographers are finding a new way to snatch some more of the business away from the video guys.

Last edited by George Kilroy; June 6th, 2011 at 12:31 PM.
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Old June 6th, 2011, 11:01 AM   #4
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Re: Buy a Stedicam shot for $50?

Brian, it would have probably been fun if you had given the DJ your camera and then watched him flail with trying to balance it for 15 minutes (or more), then just as he was close, say "sorry, I gotta take it back now--didn't know it was going to take you so long to get it set up".

Although the reality is that he probably would have just thrown it on there, not done a proper balance and muscled his way through a few tortured shots.
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Old June 6th, 2011, 11:17 AM   #5
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Re: Buy a Stedicam shot for $50?

So how did his shots turn out? Was it worth it? ;-)
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Old June 6th, 2011, 12:10 PM   #6
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Re: Buy a Stedicam shot for $50?

I understand being diverse but it makes me wonder if he was hired to be only the DJ? Or if he was also hired to be a second photographer etc. I suspect he recently bought the gear and was exited to use it. He was nice enough and like all of us was trying to make a buck.

I couldn't imagine throwing my camera on his Stedicam and letting him go after it and getting anything but wonky poorly balanced circles around the B&G.

To his credit, he was trying to do it all in a fairly small town. I wouldn't be surprised if he was ordained and offered those services as well. In fact I thought I saw him carrying in the cake...
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Old June 6th, 2011, 07:14 PM   #7
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Re: Buy a Stedicam shot for $50?

The wedding I did on the 21st was similar!! The moment I arrived at the Church I was approached by the two photogs that I could NOT take stills...their contract clause with the bride made sure of that!!!

What had happened was on a previous wedding the videographer arrived with an assistant and TWO more photogs armed with Canon 5D's and they virtually took over the photo side. Of course this must have been somewhat distressing for the official photogs!! When I explained that I was only doing video they were very happy!! They were not, of course, concerned that I took half a dozen stills for the DVD Cover!!!

We do have a DJ company here where the DJ runs around with a camera during pre-dinner drinks (when the official photog is still out with the bridal party) and does group shots of the guests. They then put the shots up on their website for sale..a sorta human photobooth!!!

It is rather annoying when photogs (mainly amateur ones) stick around for the speeches and seem to take about a trillion shots of each speaker (for what reason??????)

Probably all about survival but I don't like vendors that try to muscle in and take over someone elses job!!

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Old June 7th, 2011, 12:22 AM   #8
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Re: Buy a Stedicam shot for $50?

My photographer pal has experienced the DJ with camera syndrome though I'd say that the situation is still at the annoyance stage here.

But it doesn't surprise me because, as I see it, the DJ business has been rumbled.

The days when the DJ and often an assistant carried in huge rigs and boxes of precious discs then CDs are long gone. A couple of years ago I did a wedding in the Lake District where the DJ was equipped with a couple of self-powered speakers, a tiny mixer and two iPods. The sounds and the show were to all intents and purposes exactly the same as any other DJ's show.

What is happening currently is that wedding couples (who have their own iPods) are deciding to spend the money they used to spend on the DJ on a live band (Manchester has long been a fertile ground for bands) and making up their own playlists for the intervals and plugging their iPods into the band's PA.

So what's the answer?

Exclusive contracts might be one approach though I am by instinct a business liberal and sensible restrictions can easily be portrayed as "difficult to work with". And where do you draw the line anyway? How many snaps does the bride's brother have to take on his Nikon or Canon copy of their pro cameras before he's competing?

Perhaps go to the other extreme and let it happen on the basis that the video the DJ will grab won't have the quality or professional qualities that our product does? Probably risky, after all how many couples buy the hobbyists work and think it's wonderful?

Maybe we should identify the offending DJs and publish lists of people with whom we won't work. Could be expensive, gives the problem people more free publicity and as someone said on another thread, there'll always be some amateur will to take on the job we turn down.

None of these solutions appears to me to be ideal. Perhaps the real solution is to be more proactive with the couple. Explain what a couple of uncontrolled whirling dervish DJs with Merlins will do to their First Dance and suggest THEY make it clear to the DJ they won't tolerate him doing anything except play the music and make the show run successfully. If the offending DJ is one of those engaged by the hotel then making them aware that this sort of sideline activity by the DJ isn't acceptable will mean they'll add their weight.

In the end it's my view that weddings and the wedding business are feeding grounds for all manner of non-professionals. In a free market economy the only way to compete is do our job better, more efficiently and more cost-efficiently than the others. It won't be perfect, the free market never is. Just as you can choose to have your car serviced by the manufacturer's dealership, by a competent and time served engineer or by a backstreet fly boy, or your house painted by an experienced painter who'll apply an undercoat and two coats on top or an odd-jobber who'll get by with one coat of top.

Unlike my two examples our problem is that most people only usually buy a wedding video once.
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Old June 7th, 2011, 08:46 PM   #9
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Re: Buy a Stedicam shot for $50?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Philip Howells View Post
In a free market economy the only way to compete is do our job better, more efficiently and more cost-efficiently than the others. It won't be perfect, the free market never is. Just as you can choose to have your car serviced by the manufacturer's dealership, by a competent and time served engineer or by a backstreet fly boy, or your house painted by an experienced painter who'll apply an undercoat and two coats on top or an odd-jobber who'll get by with one coat of top.
Well said, and exactly the ideal I try to work by. At the end of the day your product is what you rely on. You just have to be confident that your work is much better than what is offered by a multi-tasking DJ or photographer. And if they do get in the way or become a nuisance, I'm sure a polite conversation would be a good starting point towards getting their co-operation.
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Old June 7th, 2011, 09:03 PM   #10
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Re: Buy a Stedicam shot for $50?

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Originally Posted by Brian Volland View Post
I handed him my Zoom H4n for a line out of the mixer and he dives into the menu and heads for the format command. Whoa buddy, the ceremony is on there! Glad I was standing nearby. (my fault for taking my hands off of it.
Sounds like sabotage.
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Old June 7th, 2011, 09:29 PM   #11
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Re: Buy a Stedicam shot for $50?

Great thread.

Technology itself is largely to blame for the state of affairs, IMO. As we all know, it really seems everyone is a photographer now, including many guests, who can also become quite annoying when blocking my shots during the processional or speeches. Or the ones who like to stand next to my camera during the reception shooting away, and if I move they follow me.

At a local park on any given Sunday the grounds are covered with dozens of folks playing photographer for friends, shooting family portraits. What is sad is you can see they have little to no idea of what they are doing.

When I got my first DSLR I was guilty of shooting everything in sight. It really is something special to be able to slap on a 85mm F/1.2 lens and capture amazing photos of almost anything. If you take enough photos, you are bound to get lucky once or twice. That's why some people shoot so many photos, they don't know what they are doing, and realize if they take enough they may get a usable one or two out of dozens.

Anyway, it is a pervasive phenomenon, and it would seem it is not likely to end soon. The worst victims are actually photographers, whose prices are being driven down by the commoditization (is there such a word?) of what used to be an art form.
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Old June 7th, 2011, 11:45 PM   #12
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Re: Buy a Stedicam shot for $50?

In the past, our "pro gear" is what seperated us from the Uncle Joe's - a simple visual. Today, part of the problem is that with the cost of pro gear coming down, we now blend in with all the Uncle Joes invited to the wedding/event thinking because they have the same gear as us, they are us?

And because we blend in, the Uncle Joes seem to feel that we are all in the same "club" and can hang together? But the big difference, usually, is that we are the paid shooter, not them - I really try to explain that to them as nicely as possible.

Two things I have found to be very successful:
1. Reminding the annoying photog wannabe, that the bride paid me to shoot the weeding and will not be happy with the crappy photos when I tell her Uncle Joe jacked up the shot.

And most successful:

2. I have resorted to a "uniform". Yes, I have clothes that says PHOTOGRAPHER (and my web address) across the back. It seems that when folks see this, their brain tells them, "working professional - please do not disturb" and honestly, for the past year and a half, it is working well. I actually get left alone and when someone does approach me, it is when I am on break or something. It reminds them, quietly, that I am a working professional and not just a guest with a big camera - I'm not one of them.

You can kind of see it here:
Harmel's Video Shoot | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

I have T-Shirts for casual, I have Coaches Polos for my commercial work, and black denim longleave button-ups for more formal. And when I explain to the bride, why, it get's me out of having to wear a full suit!

And seriously, it really does work....
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Old June 16th, 2011, 11:41 PM   #13
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Re: Buy a Stedicam shot for $50?

As not only a videographer but a DJ who visits a DJ forum I see alot of DJs with decent DSLRs and video cameras that post gig logs and pictures of their events. They also use alot of the shots for promo on their web sites. Now I can see the purpose for doing that but when it starts to interfere with the hired professional than it is a problem. Furthermore when I am DJing a wedding I don't have time to snap pictures or shoot video. Any DJ that does is not doing his job properly.
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