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Old June 4th, 2012, 06:47 AM   #1
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Is converging media capture causing videographers problems

For some time now DSLRs have been used by many videographers as a useful additional tool in their kit. I've noticed recently that photographers are also finding them to be a useful addition; let me explain.

During the last year I have worked with a number of 'togs who have been running their camera in video mode during the ceremony, they just stand close by the couple (as many do) and let it run. Those that I've asked tell me that they give the couple a 'bonus' with their stills, a DVD of the ceremony. Whilst they accepted that it wouldn't be the same as a 'proper' DVD they said it was often a deal breaker for them. I wonder how they sell that, I suspect that they don't down play the limitations more likely say it will save on having a separate person to film, it's only afterwards the couple find out how limiting it is. Photographers are always ahead of the video in the planing/booking so that may even put couples off enquiring about DVD thinking that they will have it covered.

Now last week that problem jumped up a level. Whilst I was filming the ceremony I noticed a Zoom recorder on tripod right next to the couple which hadn't been there when I set up, when I looked to the back of the church the photographer had set a camera on a tripod pointing straight down to the couple and he was on the opposite side to me shooting. Later when I asked him he said the audio was just used as a background to his 'slideshow', however during the speeches, just as the father stood up, he walked up and plonked his Zoom right in the centre of the table. I am staring to think that very soon a 'war' will break out; rather than trying to work together many photographers are trying to burn out the opposition, or to be more charitable to them, increase their take by slicing off the video budget. What really annoyed me though is that on my work the zoom is very clearly in shot and may look as though I set it there, when I go to a great deal of trouble to ensure that my equipment is place where it will not appear in shot, I even conceal the lav so it won't appear in the photographers shots.

Another aspect is venues using weddings to create their own wedding video. This happened to a friend only this weekend. He had been commissioned as the wedding videographer but noticed someone else with a DSLR rigged with rails and matt box etc for video. When he questioned the person she stated that she was working on behalf of the venue to make their own video of the wedding. He explained that his contract with the couple claimed exclusive commercial rights to filming the event. He was then confronted by the manager of the venue who in no uncertain terms told him not to interfere with his videographer. When he protested that he should have been informed of the situation prior to the event as two crews working without coordination would mean the potential of both producing a poorer video he was to he would be banned from that venue in future.

Has anyone else had any such problems?
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Old June 4th, 2012, 07:43 AM   #2
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Re: Is converging media capture causing videographers problems

We haven't encountered problems although I am sure that it's the obvious next step as far as covering weddings is concerned. I know quite a few photographers present an animated slideshow set to music. Some even do it just before first dance for maximum impact (their equivalent of a same day edit). I know of another who produces what they call a “Movie Slide Show” where they take a selection of HD video clips and then merge them with stills all edited & set to music and then produced as a DVD or Blu-ray disc Movie Slideshows - Lisa Beaney Photography

On the basis of if you can't beat them join them my wife has stepped up to the plate & agreed to take on photographic duties in future so that we can offer a dual package. We are already shooting on DSLRs so it's a logical progression. She has always been a keen photographer & after our experience with filming weddings is well placed to take on the role. Over the past couple of years we have both joined photographic organisations (SWPP & MPA) been attending photographic workshops & other similar training events plus subscribing to online training like Mark Cleghorn's Photography Training For Photographers - PhotoTraining4U as there is a wealth of photographic training available which is very applicable to videography & very little video training available. We have now rebranded the business changing the name from 'wedding videos' to 'images' & just launched a spiffy new website. Alice Barker Images – Professional Wedding Photography & VideoAlice Barker Images - Professional Wedding Photography & Video - Professional Wedding Photography & Video.

The traditional long form documentary style wedding video has never been popular with more than a fraction of couples & never will be. What most couples want is something extraordinary that makes their wedding look even more wonderful than it was just as photographers will do beautiful fashion style poses & create spectacular images with off camera location studio flash units. A photographer may charge $500 or $5000 & still use the same camera but it will be his/her flair & artistic skills that will enable one to charge ten times what the other can charge. Photographers also have the advantage of being able to offer beautiful artefacts to their customers with eye-catching large prints & gorgeous albums.

Unfortunately couples are generally not willing to pay the true cost of producing spectacular video involving as it does multiple camera operators & lengthy editing to produce a truly outstanding product.

I was reading an interview the other day from a top Aussie photographer who started shooting weddings back in the late 1950s. Interestingly enough he said that back in the 50s & 60s about 20% of the high end weddings they did were also filmed on 16mm. I doubt that the percentage of weddings today that have a video is that high. Those 16mm films will likely just have been highlights & silent at that. Perhaps a highlights video along with some lovely photographs is all that the vast majority of people want & are willing to pay for?
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Old June 4th, 2012, 07:44 AM   #3
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Re: Is converging media capture causing videographers problems

Damn! Just realised that after rebranding & redirecting all our websites that I had still forgotten to update my signature on DVinfo. Now all done:-)
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Old June 4th, 2012, 08:13 AM   #4
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Re: Is converging media capture causing videographers problems

Nigel, I think that is probably the way to go, work together with the photographer to remove or at least reduce the risk of conflict. That's obviously much easier when there's already a tie such as your situation (though my wife's a very good wildlife photographer she won't go anywhere near a wedding) or you business partner with a photographer or employ one as I'm sure that many established or accomplished photographers would be reluctant to split the winnings once they realise the potential they have in their camera.

Whilst I acknowledge that a large percentage of weddings will never want a video, my experience is that many of those that do, whilst appreciating the short form and on the most part stating that's the part they enjoy most, they or at least their parents still want to have a fully documentary. I meet many couples who's weddings I did years ago tell me that it's only in time or when they start their own family that the true value of their long-form video reveals its true value to them and their family. So many say that it'd the favourite video of their young children. Bear in mind that in the fifties the expectations of a 16mm film would have been very short and silent.

However, I'm realistic enough to realise that nothing remains the same for all time.
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Old June 4th, 2012, 08:21 AM   #5
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Re: Is converging media capture causing videographers problems

Hi George

The opposite also applies!! I did a wedding just before Christmas a a very stressed photographer came up to me (she hadn't bothered to attend the rehearsal) and asked me if I was going to take any stills? I told her sure, I always take half a dozen shots of the couple for my DVD cover...that didn't worry her and she beathed a sigh of relief...like most she had the exclusive right during the wedding to do the stills and the previous weekend the video guy and his TWO assistants rolled up all with 5DII's each and not only shot video but also shot stills of every single group she posed!! She was abviously livid!!!

It seems like the video guys are doing some payback too!! As Nigel says if you can't beat them, join them!! I actually work in with a photographer who is pretty popular and he offers "combined packages" and his website and I do the same so we never have any issues about who shoots what. It seems to work very well!! So, instead of a video assistant, get a photographer up your packages to cover the cost and tell the bride to fire the photog!!!

Just for interest, my wife had a work associate who got married back in her home town in Kenya ..it was a huge wedding with video and photos and I did some editing and a slideshow for her..she gave me two disks for the photos..one is the photographers images she said, and the other is the paparatzi images!!!
Aparently over in Kenya freelance photogs simply "gate crash" weddings, ceremony and reception and shoot thousands of frames and sell them to the couple. The photogs over there are used to it I guess???

Yep, I have also been hijacked once by a devious photog who said his buddy was "making a promo just of me working"..he shot the entire wedding but I made sure that my assistant got in his way as much as possible. Maybe get really mean George ?? get an old film camera and buy the biggest meanest flash head you can find and while your cams are running blast the photog with overexposure and then see how he/she feels!!

It's a bit pointless raising legal issues after the damage has already been done!!!

Chris
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Old June 4th, 2012, 08:43 AM   #6
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Re: Is converging media capture causing videographers problems

George,

The problem is that the traditional long form documentary video does not appeal to the vast majority of couples. I don't know whether this is because of the bad reputation that wedding videos have for being technically incompetent &/or boring or whether they regard shoulder mount broadcast cameras as intrusive or what but it's clear that the product as it has been delivered for the last 30 years does not appeal to most couples.

Most videographers delivering 15-30 minute short form cinematic videos are not being paid what the production is worth in terms of time & effort.

I think that there might be a third way which is a to deliver a beautiful short form cinematic highlights video plus as separate chapters on the DVD/Blu-ray a straightforward real time multicam edit of the the ceremony & the speeches at the reception & perhaps some other bits like first dance or any special entertainment like singing waiters or fireworks. Combine this package with photography & I think that we can attract more couples than just the current minority who even consider a video. It helps that to an extent we can multitask e.g. the videographer can help organise the wedding party for group shots while the photographer can help lug the gear about:-)

It's pretty easy nowadays to use two or three locked off camcorders & a digital audio recorder for the ceremony & speeches so that a photographer can offer some video in their packages 'for free' & for many couples that may be all they want. As videographers we need to be able to offer something that the photographers can't.
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Old June 4th, 2012, 08:46 AM   #7
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Re: Is converging media capture causing videographers problems

Hi Chris.

I wasn't suggesting that the poor videoguy is whiter than white in these things. I think that some weddings will become a metaphorical battlefield as the new forms of capture and delivery take over from the older ways. Last night I had two guys from the disco sweeping the dance floor with cameras and uploading stills and videoclips straight to their facebook page and telling the guests to log on to see them. The first dance there almost before I switched off. With a declining number of weddings with shrinking budgets to boot everyone is trying to maximise their income in ways that would not have been possible in previous times. I had for many years had good working relationships with local photographers but one by one they have retired or given-up.

As for pursuing exclusivity contract terms after the event, that's not my style and to a great extent probably a complete waste of time, money and energy, unless there is any issue about me not being paid.
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Old June 4th, 2012, 09:43 AM   #8
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Re: Is converging media capture causing videographers problems

George Quote:

"As for pursuing exclusivity contract terms after the event, that's not my style and to a great extent probably a complete waste of time, money and energy, unless there is any issue about me not being paid. "

Hi George,

As you know my reliance on weddings and the need to pay a mortgage is not my principal requirement, so bringing on the heavy guns when your business is being squeezed is a concern for others, but does spill over into other areas. And yes, as it gets tighter, many will have to resort to different strategies.

All my "gigs" are on contract and designated as "exclusive" in that the client agrees that I am the only video producer/video production provider on the day - failure to comply is forfeiture of the total amount (always paid before the shoot day) and as a result of the breaking of the contract (with me) I have no obligation to provide.

Contract Law in the UK is specific when indeed there is a contract to enforce.

As for a venue pulling out its own videographer as previously described then what will happen is a claim for damages as I pack up the kit - my clients will sue the venue (for my payments), and very likely the venue will settle out-of-court with me for threatening and restrictive practices or not allowing me to lawfully exercise my contract with my client.

My husband is not skilled in photography or video, but he was a post-graduate tutor in Law - my son-in-law is a lawyer - so family members are contributors to my small and meager business.

As in all aspects of video production for location and participants, the contract is all. Everyone of my clients understand this.
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Old June 4th, 2012, 09:45 AM   #9
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Re: Is converging media capture causing videographers problems

Nigel.

On what do you base your assertion that the long-form doesn't appeal to most couples?

I have many couples who are concerned that they will only get a 30 minute video. When I show them a fully chaptered 90 minute documentary with a 5 minute highlights they are happy. Whilst I guess that you offer the shorter cinematic type and obviously attract that market you can't rule out that some do want a more comprehensive recording of their day. Even though the market may be shrinking in terms of volume it is still quite diverse in what couples want.
Boring is a relative term and often over-used by those promoting the cinematic form. I have given a highlights alongside my docu-type almost from when I started when editing was done tape to tape; on VHS it was the first 10 minutes with the full video following so they could show that to their friend without having to go through the one their parents and grand-parents wanted to see. Obviously on disc this can be chaptered more selectively.
I have no concerns over the style that I shoot and present, my main concern is that the value of video is being undermined by photographers, who mostly get to see couples first, suggesting that because they can also shoot video there may be no need to spend much, or even bother with a videographer. In the past most photographers had no interest in video and would happily pass on recommendations, that is now becoming rarer.
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Old June 4th, 2012, 10:18 AM   #10
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Re: Is converging media capture causing videographers problems

Everyone who is serious about filmmaking should know how challenging it is to produce a high-quality wedding film that will touch people on a many different levels. If you're at the top of your game and produce a consistent awesome work, there's no way a photographer who does half of the job can get close to being a competition to you.

If a photographer can "steal" a client from me, it either means that his video work is much better than me, or that the bride who picked him simply wasn't the type of bride who would appreciate and value my work in the first place.

So far, I haven't found any of that to be something I should worry about yet.
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Old June 4th, 2012, 10:47 AM   #11
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Re: Is converging media capture causing videographers problems

I tip my hat to you Long and all of those who are able to draw the 'right type of client' beating a path to your door by dint of reputation for excellent work.

However not every wedding videographer is an award winner and not every excellent film maker wants to be in the wedding market. Whilst there is a top-end who value style over cost most couples are on more modest, even capped, budgets so are looking to get the most bang for their buck. This is the market that I'm in and I know that this is the most turbulent where many more people want a slice of a smaller cake.

I wasn't accusing photographers of 'stealing' work after all if they are able to satisfy couple that their video will save them money good luck to them, that's what a free market is all about.

This was not meant as a complaint or a rant against photographers, rather an observation on some things I find happening in my market; just wondering if others have similar experiences.
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Old June 4th, 2012, 11:22 AM   #12
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Re: Is converging media capture causing videographers problems

Quote:
Originally Posted by George Kilroy View Post
On what do you base your assertion that the long-form doesn't appeal to most couples?
For most of the last 30 years only the long form documentary edit has been offered to couples but the vast majority of weddings have not had any video done. Therefore the long form documentary edit doesn't appeal to most couples.
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Old June 4th, 2012, 07:48 PM   #13
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Re: Is converging media capture causing videographers problems

Hi George

One very essential key to business success, especially in a niche market like weddings is that you have to produce something special that the average man in the street cannot produce..if it is easy duplicated then we end up with Uncle Steve doing the job...in fact the DIY market seems to be emerging too on wedding videos. If you can only produce a wedding video in much the same format as Uncle Tom (but with better quality and better gear) then the bride (who isn't that clued up on IQ anyway) might just let Tom do the job even if it's a bit shoddier simply beacuse it's free.

Add some speciality into the wedding video that is beyond the talents of Uncle Bob and his HandyCam and market it correctly and you have something that cannot be duplicated by a relative and is unique...let's face it, your next door neighbour, with a couple of cams and some practice, in the brides eyes, could quite easily be perceived to be as good or even better than you, something that makes you vunerable.

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Old June 4th, 2012, 10:22 PM   #14
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Re: Is converging media capture causing videographers problems

I'm with Long. Not a concern. And if this is a concern, you should evaluate in a lot of ways, how you have gotten here. A photog with half baked audio should not be able to steal even a quarter of your thunder, whether they get to the bride first or not. If they're serious about video then bring it on. But if they're gonna just play with it for some sense of security. They are no threat.
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Old June 5th, 2012, 03:32 AM   #15
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Re: Is converging media capture causing videographers problems

Chris.

I don't decry my next door neighbour or even uncle Steve from doing their video (after all most of us will be someone's neighbour or uncle). If a part-timer with a couple of cameras is able to produce something the bride is happy with so be it, not everyone has the budget to employ a professional. I'm not aiming to compete against those people, I fear I may have given you a wrong impression of what I produce.

I wasn't looking for tips, merely reporting something that I have become aware of and wondered if others were finding the same, it seems not so maybe it's just here that it is happening.
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