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


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Old October 11th, 2012, 03:40 AM   #1
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Product or art?

Quick thought/question: To what extent can one really guarantee consistency to a client? Can a wedding video ever really be a consistent McDonald's-like product?

Last edited by Adrian Tan; October 11th, 2012 at 06:38 AM.
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Old October 11th, 2012, 06:49 AM   #2
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Re: Product or art?

I know a lot of people that work for big box studios as freelancers. They're good people and good shooters (both video and still) but they have to shoot according to what the studio wants as far as type of product they sell. IOW, if the studio is selling documentary style that's what they shoot. If they specify a 6 hour contract that's what it is, etc. Of course there is some latitude and these people shooting aren't fresh out of school. Some folks like the idea of working for the big studios because it doesn't cost them anything for advertising, putting up with unreasonable clients, bridzillas, groomzillias and the the fun of running your own business. Expenses and overhead, taxes, etc. I shoot, you pay, I shoot again. I know people that make a really good living doing this, are happy with it and they produce sopme very fine quality work...they just have no real input as to the finished product.
I know one guy that owns a big box studio and routinely does over 400 contracts a years both still and video, pretty evently split. When he has a problem he vents to me, (we've been friends for many years) and luckily for me he hasn't vented much this year. Do more than 1 or 2 weddings a year and there will be problems be it stills or video. I won't go into the type of stuff he's had to put up with from some of the peole that shoot for him but I know I wouldn't put up with it.
So is it a good thing or bad? Well hard to say. If you have some good shooters and editors and the take a least some pride in what they do, then it's can be a pretty good thing. If you don't have those people, well then you can guess the other side.
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Old October 11th, 2012, 08:24 AM   #3
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Re: Product or art?

Hi Adrian

It's a live event, dependant on the people in the movie, the weather (rain and wind) the bridezilla factor and much much more.

So many videographers get into trouble promising the sun, stars and the moon and they cry bitterly when the bride says "It's nothing like you said it would be" ... Read Tariq's post about the brother who complained!!

The more arty you make it the harder it becomes ...if you promise a wow factor and fail to deliver regardless of the circumstances you are in trouble.

My approach, apart from shooting documentary style, is to make sure I have a big selection of weddings up on my site..some went better than others, some had perfect weather and some I struggled with everything. The point of this is don't choose your best ever shoot than you did back in 2003 and use that as your sample video...sure it may be good but the chance of a repeat performance is slim!!

By watching a selection of different clips from different weddings chosen randomly may not show my very best work BUT it shows a broad range of what the bride can expect and there are no nasty surprises when you deliver the DVD's I have never had a bride come back to me and say .."That's not what you said you would give us" .... For me, it's the only way to do business and it works!

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Old October 11th, 2012, 10:14 AM   #4
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Re: Product or art?

If you do a terrific job on their wedding, you'll get a call for their child's first birthday party, preschool graduation, the couple's anniversary party, etc. etc. I'm not kidding.
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Old October 11th, 2012, 11:16 AM   #5
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Re: Product or art?

Adrian,
It seems you changed the question a bit after I answered....;-)
So to answer it now, I think you can pretty much get the same IF you shot the same. Granted every wedding is different, every couple is different, every circumstance is different but...and I can only speak for myself, I have a shot list in my head, I know what I want, I know what I need and I do what I can to get it. the thechnical side of shooting is pretty cut and dry so now it's a matter of the "artistic" side. I shoot doco style almost exclusively so when I cover the ceremony, it's in it's entirety and it's that way every time. I can't edit what I don't have. Postceremony prior to the reception, I know I need some footage of the B&G, the guests, some B roll of the venue and details such as the toasting flutes, cake that sort of thing. The reception I know I need the intros, cake cutting, toasts, 1st dance, father-daughter, mother-son, the speciality dances. I cover some open dance (party time) and this is what I do everytime I shoot a wedding. Cookie cutter, yeah to a degree. McD's everytime? No I don't think so but the shot list rarely changes.
I have done childrens birthday parties, Mitzvahs, sweet 16s, even a couple of the kids weddings. I've even done a couple of 2nd weddings for people I shot for over 25 years ago. I've gotten a bunch of corporate type business from a number of these jobs as well.
When a client goes with me, they know what they're going to get in general because I show them and tell them. I hate surprises and I hate nasty calls from the B&G even more.
So can one do a by the numbers type wedding shoot? Yeah I guess you can but since everyone has their own eye for the shot, well, maybe not.
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Old October 12th, 2012, 12:37 AM   #6
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Re: Product or art?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adrian Tan View Post
.....Can a wedding video ever really be a consistent McDonald's-like product?
Sure it can. Take one camera, place one mic on top of it and plug it in. Set camera/mic combo on tall tripod, set tripod up as high as it will go and place in the back aimed forward. Push record 5 minutes before the start, end the recording 5 minutes after the end. Insert footage into computer and render to DVD.

That will give you a "consistent" product, not good, but not total garbage either. Consider it as "substance" and you covered all there was to see. I don't really see a market for this type wedding video, brides are going to want a bit "more". The "more" you add to this basic bare bones set up, the more you are going to end up varying from "McDonald's-Like".

As Chris and Don have already stated, each wedding presents it's own set of challenges. How well you can navigate those challenges will determine the perceived quality of your end product. A lone camera set up in the back doesn't navigate nuthin'...... that's where the professional comes in.
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Old October 12th, 2012, 04:33 AM   #7
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Re: Product or art?

...and that's the reason why McDonalds burgers consistently taste like meat flavoured newspaper...Gotta hand it too them however, they certainly are consistent.

I still run a backcam..not to create any sort of consistency but to create a backup when a guest stands in front of the camera or usually the photog!! (Today he was good...never crossed my line of vision once!)

If you take this afternoon as an example..we were in a big gazebo and the bride insisted on standing at the very edge with her back against the bright sky and, of course, under the roof was a LOT shadier so immediately I have a backlit situation to contend with which means having overexposed background so the faces of the bridal party or not blown out....immediately your consistency is out the window cos "My video looks washed out compared to Jenny's one on your website" (Jenny of course was sensible enough to choose a ceremony venue with nice even lighting and listened to my advice too!!)

Remember it's HER wedding, not yours! so usually you can only suggest, NOT insist!! Unless you have a TV style wedding set that is lit perfectly there is no way you will ever attain consistency like a Big Mac cos, unlike McDonalds, you have no cotrol over the venue and lighting.

Chris
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