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


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Old July 14th, 2011, 12:02 AM   #16
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Re: Questions for the wedding editors

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Originally Posted by Zhong Cheung View Post
Wow you guys edit fast... I just spent 30-40 hours editing a 3-minute highlight video, including the basic color correction I could do. Asking a motion graphics editor to help out with the text/names part. But to be fair, a lot of time went into the color correction (that I still can't seem to truly fix, but it's getting closer), even though we used the same cameras with same settings. Haven't even started the long form edit.
Wow Zhong, 30-40 hours for a highlight video is overkill mate. If you spent too much time on color correction, then you are not shooting right in first place. Your footage out of camera, should need minimal color correction if done right.

Anyway, most clients do not really pay much attention to the color correction, motion graphics etc. Sure it's a bonus.. but the storytelling & coverage is what attracts them best.

I agree with others. At $15-$20/hours, minus all the investment.. might as well work for a fast food restaurant :) To see how much a video is worth, try looking at prices of competitors in yout area. That will surely help.
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Old July 14th, 2011, 02:23 AM   #17
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Re: Questions for the wedding editors

I'm in the fast turn-around camp. If it was taking me 30-40 hours to edit a full wedding, never mind a 3 minute highlights, I'd be looking for a new occupation.
To spend that time doing a 3 minute highlight make no commercial sense, unless you are in the very, very top echelons of the business.

I can understand from a personal satisfaction point of view but to do it to attract customers if you know that you'll not be able to deliver that to them at an affordable price seems a bit misguided.

To have spent that amount of time I assume that you mean you were following the current vogue for colour grading rather than colour correcting. If you are taking 30-40 hours to colour correct I'd suggest you spend that time finding out how to set-up your camera correctly.
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Old July 14th, 2011, 04:40 AM   #18
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Re: Questions for the wedding editors

Like I mentioned, it was our first video and expect the edit times to come down as we develop our flow and system. We learned a lot of things that took a lot of time to figure out - things like what sorts of shots generally make good transitions, how to move from one scene to the next without it feeling like a random montage of shots, etc.

As far as color grading/correction, what's the difference? We shot with the Technicolor Cinestyle profile matched on all three cameras and did our best to keep our Kelvin color temps roughly the same within the scene. All three cams actually matched well (expected, since we had nearly identical settings and cameras) before the color grading/correction.

The problem was when the S-curve (LUT) was applied...for whatever reason, 5 of our shots at the hair salon just refused to match properly to the other clips at the hair salon. We spent tens of hours on these 5 clips alone and it's still not right. They matched each other fine if viewed as pure Technicolor Cinestyle, but as soon as the the S-curve was applied, these 5 clips no longer matched. The rest of our hair salon footage was easy to work with.

This wasn't even about personal satisfication. To be honest, we weren't that impressed with our final video, mainly because the song the clients chose was a horrible song that created a strange, upbeat, whimsical, corny vibe. It was very hard to find places to naturally sneak live audio in as well because this song was very flat, non-stop singing. It also had just a few seconds of instrumental lead-in in the beginning, not long enough to throw any sort of live audio into. These sorts of issues all added tremendously to our edit time as we kept experimenting with what would work best with the song. In the end, I really believe it's the song that ruined this edit the most. That said, for our very first video, I think we did decently. I'm proud of it as a first video...but as a portfolio worthy piece? Probably not.
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Old July 14th, 2011, 04:49 AM   #19
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Re: Questions for the wedding editors

Also, you are right about the color correction - for 95%+ of our clips, it only took a few minutes each. But it was those 5 shots that for whatever reason weren't matching that added 10-15 hours to our edit (and it still doesn't really match). We played with those 5 clips for so long, we wanted to scream at each other.

I don't know why not. Identical cameras, identical settings, identical picture profile (Technicolor Cinestyle), nearly identical K white balance temperatures in the same scene...

Also, if you feel $15-20/hr is too little, then how much are you charging? Let's say you have a 2-man crew as I do, so profits are split in half. Our operating costs are around $500 per wedding (not including the 10k of equipment we purchased) for rentals, insurance, gasoline, DVD cases, discs, etc. Let's also assume it takes 40 hours of work per person per wedding.

If we charge $2,500 - $500 operating costs, that leaves $2,000 profit, or $1,000 per person. That's $25/hr...not much more than the $15-20 I was mentioning. But the thing is, $2,500 is pretty crazy...I'm seeing tons of local wedding videographers do it for around $1,000-1,600 in the Los Angeles area, and they have much more experience than us.

I'm not sure how you would get away with charging $3,900 for a video, especially when photographers are paid $1,000-2,000. Would love tips on how to find clients willing to pay such a high rate! I imagine if clients are paying nearly $4,000, they will want StillMotion or similar quality, which we clearly don't have the skill to do yet.
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Old July 14th, 2011, 09:03 AM   #20
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Re: Questions for the wedding editors

10-15 hours (two day work) to attempt correction of 5 non-essential clips, and you say we, how many of you were working on them?. Whilst I can only admire your dedication to your craft I think you'll need to work out a much faster work flow and methodology if you want to make a profit with weddings.

I think that some people are tempted into this market by the claims of people achieving multi thousand dollar (or pound) commissions. Whilst I'm not in a position to dispute that those sort of prices are obtainable I can only say from long experience that those sort of prices are only obtained regularly by a very few people.

This is not the only industry that has it's share of up-talkers; more colloquially BS.
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Old July 14th, 2011, 04:59 PM   #21
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Re: Questions for the wedding editors

They were integral clips...we had hundreds to choose from, but these five were part of the ones selected that had the right angle, framing, and emotion. If they were non-essential, we wouldn't have spent 10-15 hours trying to color correct them. This isn't so much a dedication to the craft as it is an issue that needs to be solved. You wouldn't present a finished product in which five shots very obviously don't match and stand out like a sore thumb, would you?

What I think is being completely ignoring is the fact that this is our first video. Although we've edited other projects before (amateur level), this is our first wedding video. It is also the first time we've done any color correction. You don't learn a software and its tools in 1 hour, do you? You don't learn the right flow to edit a new type of project in 1 hour, right? Of course we don't hope to spend 30-40 hours on a highlight video in the future, but it was necessary for now as we are learning what works and what doesn't.

I was just impressed that some of you are able to pound out highlight videos in 3-5 hours of editing only.
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Old July 14th, 2011, 10:11 PM   #22
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Re: Questions for the wedding editors

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Originally Posted by Zhong Cheung View Post
Also, if you feel $15-20/hr is too little, then how much are you charging? Let's say you have a 2-man crew as I do, so profits are split in half. Our operating costs are around $500 per wedding (not including the 10k of equipment we purchased) for rentals, insurance, gasoline, DVD cases, discs, etc. Let's also assume it takes 40 hours of work per person per wedding.

If we charge $2,500 - $500 operating costs, that leaves $2,000 profit, or $1,000 per person. That's $25/hr...not much more than the $15-20 I was mentioning. But the thing is, $2,500 is pretty crazy...I'm seeing tons of local wedding videographers do it for around $1,000-1,600 in the Los Angeles area, and they have much more experience than us.

I'm not sure how you would get away with charging $3,900 for a video, especially when photographers are paid $1,000-2,000. Would love tips on how to find clients willing to pay such a high rate! I imagine if clients are paying nearly $4,000, they will want StillMotion or similar quality, which we clearly don't have the skill to do yet.
The simple way to make more money is definitely by cutting down your editing time. Assuming total profit $2000... If you cut down your total editing time to say 10 hours (which is possible) and wedding day 28 hours (14 x 2 for two people) and packaging 1 hour, you are already making $50 per hour.

If you can live with $25/hour, your can pretty much half the fee down to $1500.

I'm also still working on myself to cut down the edit time. My slower workflow were largely affected by my shooting workflow. The better my team shoot, the quicker I'll edit.
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Old July 14th, 2011, 10:25 PM   #23
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Re: Questions for the wedding editors

Thats a good point, if you shoot all amazing footage then editing is so easy, grab good shots and good shots work with a lot of things, bad shots u really gotta work to find a good spot for them.
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Old July 14th, 2011, 11:06 PM   #24
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Re: Questions for the wedding editors

Hi Sean

Some of us "old" guys started off before computers were an unknown factor and we used to linear edit which is transferring either from the camera onto a tape machine in realtime (or two machines) It lacked the precision of NLE editing so we had to "shoot for editing"! In other words you needed to shoot your footage so there was minimal editing since editing was such an enormous pain in the butt!! (Many times I had the urge to toss the VCR out the window..trust me!!!)

By planning your shoot just a little bit more carefully you will find that editing speeds up dramatically!!! Just plan each shot so you shoot the beginning and the end of the shot cleanly and instead of shooting and swinging away or walking to the next shot ..compose them carefully and make sure you have a clean start and finish and smooth camera movements in-between...with a bit of practice you will find that with a tiny bit of forethought you will even have clips that hardly even need any editing.

Even on an NLE you can have "waste footage" that's easy to edit. At weddings I go from table to table before any events happen just to give the bride "coverage" of who was there... I do this in one clip BUT by doing a slow pan around the table and then pointing the cam at the floor and walking to the next table and doing the same, I give myself visual cues where to cut each table start and end....the raw footage looks awful ...table pan...video of the carpet...table pan etc etc BUT it's very easy to edit as I know I need to cut as soon as the footage moves down!!! Ok it sounds silly but it's fast!!!!

Shoot to edit rather than shoot randomly and your edits will speed up a lot!!

Chris
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Old July 15th, 2011, 12:09 AM   #25
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Re: Questions for the wedding editors

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Shoot to edit rather than shoot randomly and your edits will speed up a lot!!
Spot on Chris. One of the things I've been learning since I started is; when you're on single camera, shoot as if you're editing in camera. When you're on a multi-angled cameras, shoot as if you're doing live coverage. How I wish I learnt all this when I first started.
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Old July 15th, 2011, 01:56 AM   #26
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Re: Questions for the wedding editors

I definitely have a lot to learn and improve but I am happy with my progress, from wedding 1 to 2 now to 3 my quality jumped tremendously. Its funny back at the first 2 i did everyone loved and i thought they were shot and edited well, now that i stepped up the quality with more cameras gears etc i see myself now compared to you pros and its funny how once you felt like u were on top of the world and now you just see so much to improve. I think I gotta work a lot with working with the bride and groom and creating artistic shots with just them and their smile.

i have a buddy in san diego i travelled to help and learn from and its amazing what he can do. Definitely a great guy. Check out his work: AQUA VIVUS PRODUCTIONS - BLOG



Hey chris do you have a vimeo account?
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Old July 15th, 2011, 09:50 AM   #27
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Re: Questions for the wedding editors

+1 to Sean's advice. Find an assistant that knows what shots to get, and having two people makes editing much easier.

The advice I was given when I started out was, do it for free, or do it at market rate. Otherwise, with everyone undercutting the market to figure out their workflow and get portfolio material, you experience what you are running into where none of the brides are willing to pay market rate.
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Old July 16th, 2011, 09:42 AM   #28
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Re: Questions for the wedding editors

Hi Zhong

My mate in California has some inspiring articles on his blog and mostly common sense stuff that's worth the read.

Take a quick read of Earl's blog back in 2009 regarding this very subject...I also found that I had to adopt this way of thinking otherwise I would simply become unprofitable!!!

EC Come, EC Go: At What Price Video Excellence?

PS: Sean I have a vimeo account but it's empty!!! I mostly host bridal stuff on YouTube and then keep the link non-public and embed in the bride's webpage I create for them.

Chris
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Old July 17th, 2011, 12:17 PM   #29
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Re: Questions for the wedding editors

I also envy all the fast cutters....

I'm getting a bit faster but still...complaining a lot about how much time i'm spending diting.

- For a Highlight...wow... just finding the right song can be fast or painfully slow...I feel the song can make or break a video...i never repeat a song in a HL so if I haven't found new ones I have to sit an search...that can be fast or very slow.

- also..how I'm i going to edit it? i don't always know...and I try to find new ways to look at it and find the right way for the couple and the type of wedd they had...waiting for muse...time..time..research..

- HL has to be great to me..is what more people will get to see..is also my business card...so..i need it to be great....

- some HL..12 hrs..others 8hrs..others 4hrs... don't think any shorter than that.

-or a full wedd...a bit easear maybe... a week of work..maybe 2 ... I know...i need to work faster..I'm already getting overwhelmed.
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Old July 17th, 2011, 01:50 PM   #30
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Re: Questions for the wedding editors

I agree with the post EC Come, EC Go, that there is a happy balance that should be achieved. However, only 8 hours to edit a wedding sounds crazy to me, I'd love to see a link to one of these 8 hour edits to see what the quality is.
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