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


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Old October 5th, 2012, 12:45 PM   #1
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Next Years plan

Hi All,

I offer 2 packages to my clients a 6 hour or 10 at 850 and 1250

The 6 hour package covers myself shooting the hall prep, guest arrival, event and bride and groom leaving.
2xDVDs, 1xBlu-ray 30min movie and a 5 min trailer.

The 10 hour covers the prep at the brides house and the groom if he lives nearby.
2xDVDs, 1xBlu-ray 40min movie and a 5 min trailer.

The profits I made this year were minimal and am looking for ways to increase profits next year.

Editing time is around 6 days which works out around 338 at minimum wage, then we have me filming on the day which is around I charge 300.

On the 6 hour package it leaves me with not much especially if I go over on the editing time and the 10 hour makes me a little more profit.

I think next year my hours will be 5 hours and 8 hours as this seems to be the norm for Asian weddings and am under selling my self. I was wondering what your thoughts were on this and if you had any suggestions.
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Old October 5th, 2012, 01:11 PM   #2
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Re: Next Years plan

Tariq, you're learning a lesson that can't be taught. You have to live through it. If you're doing any kind of creative edit, you need to charge accordingly. If someone came in and told you that they wanted you to work for 6 days for whatever that is (sorry I'm American I don't know money) You'd laugh in their face. Employ yourself, pay yourself a decent wage or quit. It's what you would do if you working for you. I would suggest that if you raise your price, do it in such a way that reflects where you're going. You may need to rebrand or market in different areas, but that seems extraordinarily low. Oh and your market doesn't matter. If you think there's no market to charge higher, you just haven't found it yet. It's there.
Bill

Ok. So I looked it up. It's like $1400 and $2000 is that right?
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Old October 5th, 2012, 01:25 PM   #3
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Re: Next Years plan

Around that yes.
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Old October 5th, 2012, 08:23 PM   #4
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Re: Next Years plan

Hi Tariq

It's great to see that you are looking at the whole thing from a business point of view. Seriously start with an hourly rate that you think you are worth and then calculate your prices from there so you personally don't lose out. If it really takes you 6 days to do your post production and say a total of 12 hours for prep and shooting (basing your edits are an 8 hour day) you are using up 60 hours of your time and I certainly would be looking at at least $75 an hour so a full wedding should be costed out at around $4500 so that's currently around GBP 2850

Don't sell your weddings as "hours" rather sell them as events ...ie: we will cover xxx and then xxx and then xxx etc etc .... at the moment they look at your 10 hour at GBP 1450 and see that you are a big rip off charging 145 an hour because they don't include your huge edit time .....I keep hours totally out of the equation so they cannot falsely calculate my "hourly rate"

If you are doing to do creative packages with cinematic edits then pay yourself a decent wage and for a full wedding I would go for at least GBP 2800 ... if you have a market that you need to access who want to pay lower prices then go for dual branding and do the weddings documentary style which will take far less edit time (I do mine in around 10 hours)

In any event don't under-sell yourself

Chris
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Old October 5th, 2012, 08:29 PM   #5
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Re: Next Years plan

Hi Tariq, I'm filming wedding videos in Kent on the coast so I'm surrounded by sea on three sides. I tend to stay local and charge 595. I'm considering raising my price but due to the present economy, I don't want to end up losing work by charging more than people can afford. My typical DVD is almost two hours long and takes me about 20 hours to edit as well as designing covers and printing discs.....and that's using NLE templates I've created to minimise the workload.
I love the work though. I get the occasional corporate job for a few grand which makes it easier.

I deliver one BluRay and 4 DVD's and I can totally agree with your feelings about making minimal profit.
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Old October 5th, 2012, 08:32 PM   #6
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Re: Next Years plan

Hi Chris, you're up early!! I'm loving the AC160 btw...
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Old October 6th, 2012, 12:15 AM   #7
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Re: Next Years plan

Hey Chris

We are 8 hours ahead of you remember..It's lunchtime here already!! As you probably know I ditched the AC-130's after 80 hours...the autofocus issues but mainly the crazy limited autoiris...I'm back using HMC82's but will probably add the new AC-90 to my gear too...Panny solved all the problems there at last.

For a single shooter, the 130/160 needs too much pampering ..if I was doing dance recitals/theratre I would use one in a heartbeat but they are too fickle to look after themselves where I'm working on stedicam and also contending with having to do an ND change cos the sun goes behind a cloud and I'm not there to do it.

Wow GBP 595 is quite reasonable..I hope that's a documentary style shoot??? The problem with offering "filimic" or "cinematic" stuff is that you have to charge a lot more due to edit time....I can probably zap a wedding from ceremony to first dance in under 10 hours which makes for a nice profit!!

Maybe Tariq needs to shoot doc style ..easier to edit, quicker to edit and you make more money...I'm convinced that most brides have no idea what the difference is anyway!!

Chris
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Old October 6th, 2012, 03:50 AM   #8
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Re: Next Years plan

The quick answer to your dilemma it to tell you to raise your prices by 1K each and see what happens to the number of booking you get. That would be the stupid way to do it, unless this is just a hobby for you and the income isn't that necessary to you.

The business way go about it is to first to an analysis of your market and your competitors.

I would take several evenings and search for all your competitors and place information of their packages, pricing and options into a spreadsheet. You probably already know a few competitors, this will give you the knowledge and experience your customers have as well. You need to do google searches, scan classified boards, check out websites of related industry vendors to find everyone in your market who is selling wedding videos. While doing this you will see some people turn up everywhere, some in only one place and no where else. Add to your spreadsheet where you find each vendor as another column of information, to analyze later.

Now you know who your competitors are and what they charge/offer. Next you have to figure out how many, or what percentage of, brides in your area are going to purchase a wedding video (a close quesstimation). Lastly the easiest part, approx. how many weddings will there be in your area this year. For the last, check with the government office that issues licenses and ask for last year's total.

When I did all this research for my area I came up with approx. 8% of the brides currently buy video which translated to approx 180-ish videos being sold in the coming year. As I remember, I also came up with approx 17 competitors already in the market and the magic number for pricing was $1500 for a doc style of full day coverage. By doing this exercise I also learned that above the $3000 mark, there were only 2 companies offering videos. On the other end I learned that below $800 I could get ceremony only from everyone.

When you are done collecting this information you will be in better shape to determine your new pricing. Sorting your spreadsheet by price will bring everyone into line so you can see high, low and the median. You will see where your pricing falls and who is your immediate competition. At this point you go back to those websites and now view samples and honestly compare their offerings to yours. If your immediate competition is selling a lower grade video than you, you have to look up the price chain until you find similar quality. When you find that, you have found "comparable value" and pricing to match.

BUT, the next question that screams to be asked, how many videos are being sold at that price level ??? If the income isn't necessary to you and you are doing this as much for personal satisfaction/fun as the money, you don't care how many times you work, as long as you are being justly compensated and enjoying yourself, right ??? If that's not the case and you need this as income, will there be enough buyers at the higher price to give you total sales that match or exceed what you currently take in now ??? If it doesn't appear there are, you have to figure out how you are going to increase sales in your market or how to expand your market until you get to the number of sales you need. This is far easier said than done. The highest priced company in my area, if you walked in and ordered "the works" it was just under $5K and from their calendar it didn't appear they were very busy at all.

One thing you have to also look at is "what is the total budget for the average wedding in your area?". Then take your best guesses at the higher end and lower end, and also how many weddings, percentage wise, are going to fall into those groups. This, combined with the rest of your new found knowledge, should start showing you what percentage of the total wedding budget someone WILL pay for a video.

When I did all this I came up with the average wedding was probably around $12K-$14K in my area. The "high end" of normal here, was probably stopping around $25K. The lower end in my area, $3500-$5000.

In my area the "magic number" was the median price point I found of $1500. for full day doc style. That I figure translates to about 10% of the average wedding's entire budget in my area. The wedding budget is usually a firm amount. Very few I have heard get carte blanche from Daddy for their wedding. So those on the low end would have to pay out 1/3 to 1/2 of their entire budget for a "magic number" video, likewise none really had any. Those on the high end, if 10% is the magic percentage, those brides could afford to hire the higher priced packages. If 10% is the magic percentage that probably is also the reason why there were only two companies offering videos over $3000 here.

If you go thru this entire process in the end you will know far more about your market than probably 99% of your competition will. You will have a pretty good idea on why some people have failed and others have succeeded. You should also have a better grasp on what you have sold and why you sold it, compared to your competition. Were you under priced ??? Where you over delivering ??? Are you selling what your market wants to buy ??? Right now you don't know, but this process should help you find those answers.
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Old October 6th, 2012, 09:57 AM   #9
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Re: Next Years plan

Tariq,
I think Chip offers some good advice. I can tell you that you also have to consider that emotion is the key to your work. If you can bring out the emotion of the day and show that so that prospective brides can find a connection to you. The issue you're going to have is selling doc style work a a higher rate. Brides don't care how much work goes into what you do, they care about how it makes them feel. Find that, and your market is irrelevant.
Bill
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Old October 6th, 2012, 12:00 PM   #10
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Re: Next Years plan

Bill, I couldn't agree more. For me, emotion is the key to whether I have edited a successful wedding or not. That's what I judge it on and whenever the bride has got back to me after receiving the film, if she says it made her cry (for the right reasons..) then I feel I've done my job.
I'm not that interested in glide shots, depth of field etc, I'll go for the emotional shot every time.
Chip, you're advice is on the nail, I'll take it on board and use it. Thanks both for your advice.
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Old October 6th, 2012, 02:28 PM   #11
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Re: Next Years plan

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tariq Peter View Post
Hi All,

I offer 2 packages to my clients a 6 hour or 10 at 850 and 1250
I wonder if the couple will ever watch a 6 HOUR video!!! Isn't that too much. The maximum I do is 3-4 hours.

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Old October 6th, 2012, 05:20 PM   #12
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Re: Next Years plan

Hi,

Sorry 6 hour attendance and 10 hour attendance.

The videos are edited down to around 40-60 minutes.
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Old October 7th, 2012, 07:32 AM   #13
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Re: Next Years plan

Hi Tariq

I found it critically important to measure the market average that people in your intended area can afford. Sure it's great to advertise $5K cinematic weddings with a team of 3 cameramen but if the average wedding video affordability in your particular market only extends to a max of $1500 then you are unlikely to get any bookings, regardless of how good your work is.

If you find that the average wedding budget in your target area is, in fact only GBP 600 then shoot weddings to suit that price...remember that a 6 hour wedding shot doc style with careful in-camera editing can easily be edited in another 10 hours so that's a hourly rate of 37.50.

Take your cinematic wedding at 850 and then add your assumed 6 days @ 8 hours for edit plus the 6 hours filming and you are making a miserable 15.75 an hour. In essence, you are doing a heck of a lot more work and making a lot less money for your time. Of course if the market can stand at least 2100 for a cinematic wedding then you start to make around the same rate per hour but the burning question is always what the market can stand in affordability ....if it's a budget market then simply shoot budget weddings that you can quickly edit but if you have garages full of BMW's and Mercedes in double storey mansions then obviously they can afford cinematic prices.

Dunno about the UK but over here the market is definately quite accurate..if I raise my prices 50% I just won't get any work (BTW: I tried it!!!) Chip's advice about average and affordable prices is the first direction to take and then shoot the video to suit the market.

Chris
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Old October 8th, 2012, 09:38 PM   #14
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Re: Next Years plan

Tariq
i just read your thread about 5 in a row. This is another danger of undercharging. If you were to gross 15k on those 5, you could do what it takes to get it done and not worry about cards. I would take this as a personal lesson and raise your price right now. One of the traps is looking at booking as success. Good luck through that and learn. If you booked 3 at double your price you would be way ahead.
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