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


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Old June 30th, 2012, 04:02 AM   #1
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How long is your....?

Just a quick question, how much time do you give your clients, both in terms of shooting time and the duration of the final DVD production.

Generally I give the client the option of my whole day, although often I will only be required one or two hours before the start of the ceremony - just for the make up and preparation shots. I stay to cover the speeches and first dance and maybe a few extra shots after that. I may spend one or two days editing finally I give the client two copies of a 60 to 90 minute DVD. SD format - Haven't been asked for Blu-Ray as yet, but everything is shot in Full HD (1080p)

Anyone else have any alternative shooting editing ideas?
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Old June 30th, 2012, 04:58 AM   #2
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Re: How long is your....?

Hi Vincent

Much the same for me ..the onlt real variable is the speeches on long form ...if you happen to have a full blown Catholic ceremony and then speeches that go on and on it can easily make it to 120 mins..my DVD sets add up normally to between 60 and 100 minutes. It's not often where I fill a 16GB card on each camera and need a third so on average I probably shoot around 2 odd hours of raw footage

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Old June 30th, 2012, 07:08 AM   #3
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Re: How long is your....?

Same here, about 60 to 90 minutes, as Chris points out a lot depends on the length of the speeches. With very long speeches, such as the Irish wedding I shot last year, 1 hour 20 minutes!!!!! I edit the speeches down on the main DVD and supply a second DVD titled Speeches uncut
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Old June 30th, 2012, 08:23 PM   #4
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Re: How long is your....?

I never tell the bride and groom the 'final' length of a documentary style DVD (as the even hasn't been shot yet, and there are too many variables). I do give a range (45-90 minutes typically). I know that a full-mass wedding with a bridal party of 14 will be a longer final video than an outdoor wedding of 80 guests. It's rare that you'll get tons of long speeches from a smaller wedding. That being said, I also put in my contract that hours of attendance DO NOT equal hours of footage. I do my best to bring this up during the consultation as well. Some couples think that 8 hours of coverage equates to 8 hours of raw footage. Then they would be sorely disappointed with 30 minute final edit if that wasn't their expectation. My analogy is this: if we recorded 8 hours at an 8 hour day, you'd be looking at a security camera.

This also helps avoid trouble with certain cultures that expect everything to be documented (even the parts we consider inconsequential). If I sense hesitation or pushback, then I gently explain that I might not be the ideal choice for their event.
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Old June 30th, 2012, 09:11 PM   #5
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Re: How long is your....?

It's actually quite important to know however, that most Middle Eastern cultures DO require the entire event to be filmed and you dare not leave anything out either. When they want the reception covered from 6pm to midnight, they expect to have a neat stack of DVD's covering from start to finish..sorta CCTV footage. I don't do those at all as I shoot solo and I couldn't imagine doing a non stop shoot for 6 hours!

My reception DVD basically consists of a video guest book during pre-dinner drinks, bridal entry, speeches in full, cake and first dance and then I normally do a maximum of dancing to 3 songs and finally the farewell circle and arch and the limo driving off into the night. I would say 99% of brides (excluding the cultures above, are more than happy with that sort of coverage) ... It's more important to tell the bride what you are going to cover rather than how long it is...I doubt whether she will time it with a stop watch!!!

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Old July 1st, 2012, 01:22 AM   #6
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Re: How long is your....?

Thank you all for sharing your suggestions. Although I have covered many weddings over the years as both a stills photographer and over the last ten years with video, I had a wedding on yesterday and for some reason I started to doubt myself, perhaps losing confidence - this was my first wedding since last August (2011)..Weddings are not my main source of income and I do not advertise, I only do it on recommendations etc.

The job went OK and I needn't have been so worked up. Started at 1.pm and finished at 11.pm, shot enough material for a 75 minute DVD, without any overkill.

The one thing that I had forgotten was just how much of a pain the stills photographer can be (X2) They just dominated the entire photo call and when I wanted to shoot the bride and groom walking, the photographer told me to be quick as he had more shots to do. I told him in where to go in a very clear manner. After that I just grabbed the bride and groom when I wanted to do my shots. I wasn't too happy with this part of the day.

I will start editing the footage on Monday.
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Old July 1st, 2012, 01:53 AM   #7
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Re: How long is your....?

Hi Vincent

We have all "been there and done that" ..What I do is give the photog the entire shoot to himself BUT before he starts I take the couple on a 15 minute stedicam shoot and then he has them until the reception..they seem to like to be in control and they appreciate the way I do it. Works very well!!

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Old July 1st, 2012, 02:49 AM   #8
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Re: How long is your....?

Thanks for that tip Chris, I will bear it in mind on my next shoot. I did get some nice footage of the couple walking which will look good in slow motion together with some tear jerking music.

On the whole I did get a lot of good footage throughout the day, it's just when you get a superb location that you want to do more.
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Old July 23rd, 2012, 03:13 PM   #9
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Re: How long is your....?

Shooting - At least 6 hours (3pm to 9pm). Covers the wedding in the afternoon, reception at night. Sometimes, until midnight if they dance all night long.

Pretty much stick with them until they leave because I can't get them departing until they leave. I know others leave prior, but I hate to do that because they often get worked up when something fun happens and no ones around to record it. Plus, wedding's not over in my book until they leave.

---

DVD length is typically 1:30hrs. 30 minutes to wedding ceremony. 30 minutes for speeches. 30 minutes for photos, reception, dancing, etc.

Length has gone longer if there's more material, Catholic mass wedding, etc., but if it pushes 2 hours+, it'll have to be mastered to DVD+R/DL discs because of the quality issues.
(Not quite enough bandwidth at 2 hours for my tastes, just about borderline at 1:30 hours on single layer DVDs.)
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Old July 25th, 2012, 03:17 AM   #10
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Re: How long is your....?

I also wonder if anyone has done any research on how much material the wedding couple actually want. My own opinion is that 1 hour is more than sufficient, this includes edited highlights of the ceremony and possibly speeches. Generally the service includes one verse of each Hymn the complete vows, and an edited version of the sermon which always seems to go on for too long. I try to include video messages from many of the guests including the parents, best man, bridesmaids and grandparents whenever possible.
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Old July 25th, 2012, 05:13 AM   #11
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Re: How long is your....?

Hi Vincent,

We only offer all day coverage which usually commences with the preps and ends after the first dance and a bit of bum wiggling. Sometimes we can be there until 2am when everything finally ends.

Our full film is around 16-20 minutes long (you can find a full film on our blog).

Quote:
I also wonder if anyone has done any research on how much material the wedding couple actually want.
If you ask most people what they want they will want 6 hours for as little as possible. Because more is better right? We used to do the 90 minute feature but quickly grew to hate producing it. Also, it was what everyone else was doing so what was the point in trying to just do the same old thing. We now find the short form edit to be much better for us. A lot of our couples come to us because its just what they want, the ones who come in thinking they want something longer walk away sold on the idea of a shorter edit after we show them an example or two.

Done right a short edit contains no less coverage or content than a longer edit. Think about this. When you watch a movie on the big screen involving a wedding do you see 90 minutes? Often the entire wedding day is over within 5 minutes. The ceremony consists of "Do you, I do, heres a ring, have a kiss, WOOOO!" and done. A catholic ceremony with full mass will usually be around 70-90 seconds in one of our edits.

Quote:
The one thing that I had forgotten was just how much of a pain the stills photographer can be (X2) They just dominated the entire photo call and when I wanted to shoot the bride and groom walking
Consider another way of thinking. You want to film the couple during the photo shoot but why not let the photographer cover that part of the day? Do the couple really need the stills AND a video of the same thing? Often couples are being posed and on photo that looks great, but video we found it often feels awkward. So we spin it that while they are having their groups and couples stuff done we will be doing something better, filming their guests enjoying cocktail hour, kids playing, adults drinking and having a laugh. Let the photographer have his moment. When we ask photographers how many weddings have a video its often 1 in 10. They just arnt used to having anyone around and they often find it hard to adjust their routine to accomodate anyone else (although the good ones have no issues whatsoever). So we made the decision to let them do their thing and we do ours.
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Old July 25th, 2012, 06:19 AM   #12
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Re: How long is your....?

Interesting that your final production time is 16 to 20 minutes, it must take a lot of courage to tell the couple that they will get that duration for the fee. Of course it may depend on how much is being charged, I would assume that if you are there for a full day coverage then the fee must be excess of £1000 +.

I put chapter points on all my productions so they can skip through sections. I have also started to include a shorter version (same version but with complex chapter points which skip though to defined chapters)

I had a look at your blog and thought you put together some excellent footage which I am sure would have pleased your clients.
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Old July 25th, 2012, 07:38 AM   #13
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Re: How long is your....?

I forgot to mention on the blu-ray bit. Do you currently offer BD? If not then that will be why one one has asked for it.

We include BD for nothing extra and 80% of our clients take it. Even if they don't have a player they like one for when they do.

Quote:
I put chapter points on all my productions so they can skip through sections.
This is why we do the shorter edit. When you watch your favourite movie do you skip bits? There shouldn't be anything to skip.

To get started with shorter edits just take one of your regular edits and cut it down to how YOU think it should be. Show what you want people to see. Make the ceremony as long as you like, cut out anything you feel you would skip. Then show it to future clients and see what they think.

If you show them a long edit as an example then that is what they will want.

Our shorter edits start from £2,495+
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Old July 25th, 2012, 08:34 AM   #14
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Re: How long is your....?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Danny O'Neill View Post

This is why we do the shorter edit. When you watch your favourite movie do you skip bits? There shouldn't be anything to skip.
Point taken, I guess maybe I am thinking too retro. Personally I feel that a 1 hour production is the minimum that should be offered.

Does anyone else offer a 20-30-40-50 or 60 minute production? Maybe we should provide time packages instead of the corny "Platinum, Gold, Silver, Deluxe, Superior Deluxe services" etc.
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Old July 25th, 2012, 10:33 AM   #15
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Re: How long is your....?

I've been offering 10-20 minuteish edited tight videos, with the ability to add the full ceremony, dances, speeches, etc onto a bonus disc for the couple. It just saves so much editing and shooting hassle, and it's a lot easier to have fun shooting when you don't have to be paranoid about being running constantly.

Example :
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