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


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Old July 13th, 2011, 07:34 PM   #1
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Local TV station just did an exposť on a wedding videog...

The consumer complaints reporter for one of our major tv stations did an exposť on the evening news tonight about a local wedding videographer. I missed the program, but others watched it and told me about it right away. The complaints were primarily about wait times. The videographer's trailer videos, at least, are very well done.
The problem is that there are many couples who have received their short trailer / highlight video, but have been waiting over a year for the rest of their videos. The videographer basically said he's been having personal problems and is now no longer taking on new clients until he finishes the overdue videos.

The reporter then made two suggestions for brides and grooms:
- Always pay 1/2 as a deposit and 1/2 after they are satisfied with the delivered product
- Always make sure the contract has a clear timeframe regarding when the videos will be finished by

------

Having not seen the video myself, I can't say a whole lot, but I wanted to bring this to your attention. Obviously I feel bad for the couples who've had to wait over a year (and are still waiting...) for their videos, but these programs also tend to hang the responsible companies out to dry. A one year wait time for videos is actually not uncommon. (Stillmotion has taken up to 2 years to deliver videos.) I would suspect one of the problems is that the couples were not told that the videos might take this long, and thus they expected them much much sooner. (Though a year is still much to long to have to wait, IMHO)

I'll post a link to the video if they post it tonight / tomorrow.

Back to editing!
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Old July 13th, 2011, 11:06 PM   #2
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Re: Local TV station just did an exposť on a wedding videog...

Hi Kevin

I know I'm crazy but my couples get the DVD set within 7 days of the shoot!!! They love getting their memories so soon and with me it's one job out of the way and I'm clear the next weekend for the next wedding!! Also I do 1/3, 1/3, and the final 1/3rd on delivery so it helps cash flow!!

You have to remember that some "big boys" shoot a whole season and then edit all the weddings off season!!

Chris
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Old July 14th, 2011, 12:04 AM   #3
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Re: Local TV station just did an exposť on a wedding videog...

You surprise me Chris - and frankly if the "big boys" can't manage a maximum 12 week turnaround even in peak season well they're not that big.

Shooting is only part of the job and if people can't do the edit in a reasonable time they don't deserve the business.

Although I know there are different business models (and we know other suppliers demand full payment before the day) but not having all the money before they've shot a single frame would concentrate the minds of these people who are, to my mind, sitting back on the job.
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Old July 14th, 2011, 01:30 AM   #4
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Re: Local TV station just did an exposť on a wedding videog...

I've always been a two week man myself, though currently with an unexpected contract for commercial work that is taking up 2-3 day a week I am advising one month. With great respect to Philip I think that even 12 weeks is excessive (though I know Philip produces a different product to mine).

As for a year or even two, who do those people think they are producing for, I think blockbuster movies are produced is less time.

I'd be worried that the couple are divorced and re-married in that time.
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Old July 14th, 2011, 02:47 AM   #5
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Re: Local TV station just did an exposť on a wedding videog...

Hi Philip

There was a company here that basically shot all Summer then edited all Winter!! If you don't physically start the edit for at least 20 odd months then you certainly are not going to get it to a client in a reasonable timeframe!!

I had an "online fight" with a competitor on one of our local forums who was adamant that 6 months is quite acceptable for delivery. Funny thing is that a whole bunch of brides also responded saying that 6 months certainly wasn't acceptable for them!!!

I do accept that some videographers are not as lazy as I am (I try and stay with one wedding a weekend!!)
I can transfer footage when I get home, have Sunday off, edit on Monday and package on Tuesday/Wednesday. If I was shooting on Friday/Saturday/Sunday there is no way I could get stuff out in 7 days!!!

As long as you state your terms on contract signing the delivery time doesn't matter but being a person who "wants things now!!" I feel I should practice what I preach!! (If I buy something on eBay it absolutely kills me to have to wait 6 days for delivery)

I think if it was my wedding I would be happy with George's delivery time!! Just purely personal but I would also find 3 months a bit of a long stretch!!!

Chris
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Old July 14th, 2011, 05:11 AM   #6
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Re: Local TV station just did an exposť on a wedding videog...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post
Hi Philip

There was a company here that basically shot all Summer then edited all Winter!! If you don't physically start the edit for at least 20 odd months then you certainly are not going to get it to a client in a reasonable timeframe!!

I had an "online fight" with a competitor on one of our local forums who was adamant that 6 months is quite acceptable for delivery. Funny thing is that a whole bunch of brides also responded saying that 6 months certainly wasn't acceptable for them!!!

I do accept that some videographers are not as lazy as I am (I try and stay with one wedding a weekend!!)
I can transfer footage when I get home, have Sunday off, edit on Monday and package on Tuesday/Wednesday. If I was shooting on Friday/Saturday/Sunday there is no way I could get stuff out in 7 days!!!

As long as you state your terms on contract signing the delivery time doesn't matter but being a person who "wants things now!!" I feel I should practice what I preach!! (If I buy something on eBay it absolutely kills me to have to wait 6 days for delivery)

I think if it was my wedding I would be happy with George's delivery time!! Just purely personal but I would also find 3 months a bit of a long stretch!!!

Chris
How many weddings are you producing per year to be able to deliver in a week?
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Old July 14th, 2011, 05:40 AM   #7
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Re: Local TV station just did an exposť on a wedding videog...

There is definitely a divide here between those who's ethic is to work for their clients and those who believe their clients are lucky to have them.

When I first started I remember feeling privileged that couples had chosen me to be entrust with capturing their most special day, I must admit I not quite so deferential now, but I've always held on to the belief that I am working for them. My product is not the over elaborate - 30 hours to make just one a 3 minute sequence type, but even if it were I don't know how, from a practical, logistical point of view, I could let it take 3 months or more. As for storing them until a quiet period, I'd have lost all connection with what I'd shot at each event. Apart from which it is many years since the quiet winter period has been a wedding free period, my season is now throughout the year, admittedly with fewer in the winter months.

It's not even as if you have to take it through script development or audience focus groups, the story's there, all the elements are in place and recorded, it's just a matter of sitting down and applying your skills and creative talent to it.

I'd like someone who does have a long delivery time to help me understand just why their clients have to wait so long; I'm talking about 3 months or more.
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Old July 14th, 2011, 05:57 AM   #8
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Re: Local TV station just did an exposť on a wedding videog...

Wedding videography isn't even my "real" job, and I can get a beautiful edit with a highlights edit out in 2 weeks. I promise the couple that they'll get their discs in a month, and when I can cut that delivery time in half, they're that much happier.

I understand that small production houses get backlogged and may take a little longer, but in my mind it's completely ridiculous to make the couple wait for months.

I was talking with the DJ at the last wedding I shot. I had never worked with him before, and he asked me how long it takes me to get the discs to the couple. When I told him a couple weeks, he was surprised. He told me he had talked to another videographer in the area who said that they intentionally make the couple wait a couple months -- even though they have the edit done much quicker. The justification for this was that they believed that a longer delivery time made the couple think that it had taken that much longer to edit, and thus built more value into the video.

What a crock. Dishonest, unethical.
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Old July 14th, 2011, 07:00 AM   #9
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Re: Local TV station just did an exposť on a wedding videog...

Long delivery times can only mean that you are taking on more work than you can handle & are not prepared to pay someone else to edit & help clear the backlog. I can understand not wanting to turn away work but to force your customers to wait a year or two is just an insult to them. You are basically saying that you are so greedy for money that you aren't prepared to prioritise work for existing customers (who have already paid in full) but prefer to take on new customers rather than completing the outstanding work.
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Old July 14th, 2011, 07:32 AM   #10
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Re: Local TV station just did an exposť on a wedding videog...

Just exposed--"The Emperor's New Clothes", story on the 6 pm newscast!!!

It's a tough economy where I live. It's so tough that a good price isn't enough to compete. You must give good prices and good service plus good quality. It's an old fashioned "buyer's market." There are so many people offering to do video and photography lately at a discount price. You have to differentiate yourself. If you want to get the business, the customer needs to perceive you as an excellent value for their money.

Where I live, even people who still have money are holding on to it pretty tightly. And their expectations are still high. Wishful thinking won't work in this business. You must face reality and deal with it effectively. It's challenging. Still, I'm enjoying my work. I'm enjoying a lot of repeat business from my corporate clients.

I'd like to do more weddings. I've thoroughly enjoyed the ones that I've done. I'm also looking forward to the few I have booked.

Couples around here are going to the courthouse now most of the time for a simple civil ceremony, if they are bothering to get married at all. At least from a financial point of view, it's good my business is mostly other than weddings.
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Old July 14th, 2011, 07:40 AM   #11
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Re: Local TV station just did an exposť on a wedding videog...

I'de have to say that I'm a little surprised with all animosity towards videogs that deliver months later.
I always quote all of my clients 6 months and usually deliver within 3 to 4. I've yet to lose a gig based on wait time..
I also think its a little sweeter when the B&G receive months down the road when they say something like "ohh I completely forgot that that happened". A week later, everyone's still thinking and talking about what happened at the wedding.

Steve
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Old July 14th, 2011, 08:06 AM   #12
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Re: Local TV station just did an exposť on a wedding videog...

In my professional experience, as long as the wait is reasonable (ie not a year or 2) clients are fine with the wait as long as you have outlined with them what to expect. If it's going to be 6 months just tell them. If they freak out then you know where you stand and can put a rush on editing. I've found that especially with people who have never had video work done before, as long as you've built enough value in what you're going to deliver, they understand that they don't know how to do what you do and if you say it'll take 3 months they except that. I always add several weeks to what is likely to be the turnaround however just in case. People also like to feel like you've gone above and beyond.

The biggest thing in my industry (and I can only imagine it's WAY more so with weddings) is that people don't want to feel like they are just another client. They want to know you care specifically about them and their product. I personally manage about 3500 live video clients 3-500 of them are currently in production. I have to consciously treat everyone's issues as if my day comes to a halt because of a problem they are having no matter how little a deal it really is with regards to my workload.

For what it's worth.
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Old July 14th, 2011, 08:13 AM   #13
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Re: Local TV station just did an exposť on a wedding videog...

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Originally Posted by Stephen J. Williams View Post
months down the road when they say something like "ohh I completely forgot that that happened".
Steve


What, that they'd got married.

I know that it's the business model of some to quote a long delivery time and that's fair enough if that's what the couple's sign up to. I'm not saying it's wrong but I still can't for the life of me see why it has to be so long unless it is to heighten the expectation that the clients are paying for a lot of work, or like cowboy builders they take on every piece of work, start the job then start another and eventually get back to the first one when they've got the time.

What is the work flow? Shoot then store it for a few months before editing.
Shoot and edit then hold back for a few months before releasing it or,
Shoot and then work on it little by little over that time with multiple projects on the go at the same time?
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Old July 14th, 2011, 08:15 AM   #14
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Re: Local TV station just did an exposť on a wedding videog...

Hi Michael

I usually do around 30 per season ...based on one each weekend thru our season which is September to May.. as already mentioned that makes doing one each week pretty simple.

Of course if I was a video machine like Don who manages twice that (I think he mentioned 60?? Forgive me if I'm wrong Don) I would have to look at someone to help me edit (or shoot) to achieve a reasonable delivery time.

Stephen, there is certainly no animosity towards producers who have longer delivery times at all!!! Just curious why it takes so long and if, in fact, it does take 60+ hours of editing what do you actually do for 60 hours ???

My costing is based on my hour rate for the whole gig and if I take more than, say, 15 hours to edit and package I'm effectively losing money or working for a lower rate.

Chris
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Old July 14th, 2011, 08:39 AM   #15
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Re: Local TV station just did an exposť on a wedding videog...

Heh, the machine is starting to break down! For the last 11 or 12 years I've averaged about 55 a year with a high of 63 and a low of 48. I also do corporate work which is mostly seminars and might run a day or 2 but not every week.
This year is a wild example. The first 1/4 of the year I did 3. Yikes. Lots of down time. In August I have 7. So 2011 I'm still going to end up with 52. Go figure. I load tapes the next day provided I'm not working and start the edit right away and like you I do a doco style with a preceremony segment, postceremony segment and recap (highlite). If I'm doing prep then that usually takes about an hour or so. I have the system down almost to a science, cut a 3 camera ceremony in about 2 hours to include edit decisions, any color/exposure correction that might be needed and audio work. The postceremony segment takes about 2 to 3 hours depending on the footage and the music, the preceremony takes about an hour. The reception takes the longest since I shoot pretty much everything from the time the intros are done, cake cutting, toasts, first dance, father daughtr, mother son, bridal party dance if they do it, lots of open dance, garter and bouquet and every major event is chaptered. Probably about 4 to 6 hours depending on how motivated I am. The highlite is about another 1 or so. So not including load in or render time about 10 hours to cut. Now I have spent longer, and if I'm doing a short form it's about 40 hours. None of these times are carved in stone.
I try like the devil to get them done within 7 days of the event but there are times like August with 7 jobs that it might be 2 weeks. I want them done and gone and I've never had anyone say that because it got done so fast that they questioned the quality or workmanship. Most times they're surprised to get it in many cases before the photog gets them the still images.
I just can't see making them wait a year or more, but that's just me.
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