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


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Old October 23rd, 2012, 05:15 AM   #16
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Re: New business, could use a few specific tips.

im in a similar position, in so far as i as a relative newcommer to video, cant go to my potential opposition and ask them to show me how to be a successful videographer, the place i live in is pretty small and theres not that much work to be got anyway. So you learn yourself, shooting everything and anything, figure out what works what doesn't!! hopefully not ruining someone's big event :-)

One bit of advice i got when i started out in the stills scene from a seasoned photographer was, 'always expose for the Bride' this has stood me well and i'm sure that it applys to video too.

I'd agree with the comments that essentially if you have the Bride's approval of what you've produced your on a winner! it would be the same here, most guys if given the choice wouldn't have video at all or perhaps a reception!

I haven't got too hung up on HD, most people aren't even sure what it is, I do record everything in HD but like most, it's eventually downsized to SD on DVD, BD has some time to catch up yet!! I record in HD to future proof the footage for when the day comes when clients (that can tell the difference) might come and ask for HD content. I had someone comment to me recently on SD footage that i supplied - 'that it looked great on their HD television' i said nothing :-)
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Old October 23rd, 2012, 06:22 AM   #17
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Re: New business, could use a few specific tips.

Hi Rob

That's a very good point that most of us do but just take for granted..not only expose for the bride but also favour the bride..whether in a Church or outdoors if the bride is on the left as you face the Church altar (or officiant outdoors) keep your main camera on the right hand side of the aisle or carpet so you are just a little offset and the shot favours the bride...the groom is really just there to get married (as cos he has to be there) so it's much more of a big deal for the bride (and she looks prettier too!!) That way the groom's face is slightly side on but you get a full shot of the bride's face/hair etc etc.

Chris
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Old October 23rd, 2012, 07:30 AM   #18
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Re: New business, could use a few specific tips.

Getting exposure correct on the bride & especially her dress is vital. Nobody will care if there is no detail in the shadows on the groom's black suit but you should never have blown highlights & loss of detail on the dress that was chosen so carefully.
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Old October 23rd, 2012, 09:59 AM   #19
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Re: New business, could use a few specific tips.

Hi Nigel

Plus it usually cost the bride tens times what the groom paid for his "one day hire" of his suit!! I find that the main viewer of wedding videos will be the bride anyway and that dress is VERY special and she wants to show it off to her friends that maybe never made it to the wedding...it's so easy to get a blown out dress with all that (usually) white!!

Chris
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Old October 23rd, 2012, 11:03 AM   #20
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Re: New business, could use a few specific tips.

Patrick,
i's kinda late for you to take Jeff's advise, since you already opened your own video company you'll be like a Trojan horse for the guys in the same business, they will think you want their "secrets", although there is none:), but i have to say Jeff's advice is the best advice you can get in your situation, if you'd shoot one season as a B cam, or just as an assistant for someone who knows what he's doing you wouldn't have all those questions you have now, anyways, i'll try to answer all your questions, but of course this is all MHO
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My company has the word "HD" in it, because I would like to only offer HD delivery.
Don't, unless your client specifies deliver both DVD and BD, my standard package is 3 DVDs and 1 BD, i started deliver on blurays 4 years ago, when 95% of my clients didn't even have BD players and they didn't want blurays, I was giving those for "free", today i am getting thank you calls (and referrals) from those couples;
but up until now i haven't had a single client that wouldn't wan a DVD, i also give my clients iPod/Pad/Phone file in 720, and a digital photo frame with the full wedding video on it; so, deliver as many formats as you can and always work for the future, because more than you want your clients be happy with your video, you want them to refer you to their friends, in our business about 50% of your clients are referrals, if not - you're not the best in your price range.
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Do you guys generally make three different videos?
I deliver two videos - highlights and full wedding video. I make a personal web page for every couple and post their highlights video (usually next day) there. to be honest I do this more for myself then for my clients, page has direct link to my website and hidden counter, last year i had one page with over 2400 unique hits within 24 hours. My full wedding video is no longer than 2 Hrs
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do you combine them all for one price, or do you have different prices for each or certain combos? I generally like to keep things simple. I need to make a rate card, but I don't want the dizzying options I see others list on their sites.
I like to keep thing simple too, so i have one package which includes everything i can offer to my clients,
it might not work for you, and you may have a few different packages with different prices so you can cater to the wider range of clientele , but with time i got lazy and prefer to charge more and shoot one wedding instead of four, but that's me
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I do not want to provide raw footage.
Why? because you shoot a lot of "garbage", or swear when you shoot :) i give it "free" to all my clients, most of them don't even know what does it mean "raw footage", and many couples buy DVDs from their videographers with compressed MPG as "raw", i give my clients original files, full HD from all cameras, itís about 300Gb so my clients have to provide a hard drive if they want raw, I can tell, 99% never watch those files, but it gives them piece of mind and something ďfreeĒ from me that many companies charge for, or do not provide at all, but I have a rule, in my team we close mouth first and push record button after.
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What's the best way to come up with a rate card that makes sense and is reasonable?
Many different factors, on average Indian wedding in NY $8K, suburban catholic wedding in Ontario from $500, look at what your competitors deliver and how much they charge, to win the client you need to offer more for the same price, or offer the same for less money; most importantly Ė better start (reasonably) low and slowly raise the price than otherwise.
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there's a scene where the bride is standing around and the groom walks up to her and surprises her, many times in a series of complex camera angles/moves.
Never seen that, usually itís other way around, bride comes to the groom from behind to tap him on the shoulder. It is a real time, as many other moments of the day, and it is precious only when itís real and not staged. Sometimes you have a few minutes to prepare the shot, sometimes you donít, shooting weddings is a lot about anticipation and just knowing whatís gonna happen next
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Originally Posted by Patrick Janka View Post
Not to mention you have to share that time with the photographer,
All i can say here - good luck
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do you have enough time afterwards to make it to the reception hall to set up your lights, cameras, and hook up sound? It seems quite difficult for a one man job.
I have two assistants, but still sometimes this can be challenging and stressful, you have to make that time, you tell your clients that you need a setup time in the church and in the venue before you can start to shoot, clients think that all it takes is just get off the car, point and shoot, like they do with iPhone.
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I mentioned getting those CN600 LED lights. Are those a good choice for wedding receptions?
Iíd say useless even for medium size banquet hall, I use three of these lights on wireless switch , when positioned properly you can use just two, but youíll need to re point one after bridal party introduction and coming inn.
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Originally Posted by Patrick Janka View Post
Do you have couples or others discourage you from using them?
Sometimes, but I keep the lights on during main events of the evening only, not all the time, and I explain to my clients that camera needs light, because i use fresnels it is more or less controlled beam of light, plus I try not to point them to the people faces, except for the one on the podium :)
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What do you use to haul everything?
collapsible dolly with a few bungee cords
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Originally Posted by Patrick Janka View Post
Thanks in advance!!!
You welcome Patrick, I really want you to succeed in your business and tried to answer all your questions and share my relevant experience that I have gathered over the years of being wedding cinematographer,
but the most valuable advice i can give you - work on your sales skills, because that's the key to success of any businesss.
This is a bit long, but you asked for it :)
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Old October 23rd, 2012, 02:06 PM   #21
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Re: New business, could use a few specific tips.

yeah, i meant 'expose for the Bride' both figuratively and literally!
it's really all about the bride eh?
if she's happy - your on a winner, this may not apply in all regions but certainly where i come from the bride or/and her mother generally call the shots!

R
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Old October 23rd, 2012, 02:11 PM   #22
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Re: New business, could use a few specific tips.

Thanks, Buba. My sales skills are actually my greatest asset. I have two business degrees, including a masters, and have been self-employed most of my life by creating my own niche businesses.

I've been thinking it through, and I'm starting to lean towards offering a case that has a DVD, Blu-Ray, and Flash Drive in it in addition to the highlights video on Vimeo and perhaps a Flash based DVD on the web. Just throw it all in.

As far as I've read, the general consensus here is to not offer raw video. I definitely don't want the client to watch all the failed camera moves, out of focus shots, etc. and shatter the illusion of perfection they get with the actual final product.

I've tried to make a rate card based on other businesses, but it's tough, because some force you to email them for rates, most of them have very different packages, and location affects price, as well, when looking outside my area.

Oh, I guess it's the bride that approaches the groom, sorry about that.

As far as lights, I do already have a set of genuine ARRI fresnels like that one you posted. I figured those would be bad because of the high heat they put out, which could be a major safety hazard with kids running around. The LED's are much lighter, quicker to set up, dimmable, and safer.
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Old October 23rd, 2012, 02:14 PM   #23
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Re: New business, could use a few specific tips.

Someone asked about what weddings I'd filmed. I also did one for my sister's wedding, one for a couple I found on facebook (who happened to be friends with one of my friends). These were complete shoot & edits. I did forget to mention I shot the ceremony and reception of a third wedding I got booked from a photographer I met at a nightclub shoot. It was a Haitian wedding that started 2 HOURS later than scheduled. What do you do in a situation like that, bill them extra afterwards?

Also, everyone at the Haitian wedding had black skin and white clothing. What's the best way to expose for that? If you try to get detail from the dress you get no details in the face. I ended up exposing for faces, which blew out almost the congregation and wedding party. So what do you do with dark skinned people?
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Old October 24th, 2012, 07:15 PM   #24
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Re: New business, could use a few specific tips.

Re exposure, what I'd do (your mileage may vary):

-- expose for faces (and any lighting you can supply from camera direction will make it easier)
-- but treat highlights as a limiting factor.

What are the limits? When are the highlights too bright/ugly/distracting? Well, it varies from scene to scene and according to your personal taste.

Also, in these sorts of situations, a low-contrast picture profile (like Cinestyle on Canon DSLRs) can be useful. Or just go out and buy a camera with a fat dynamic range :).
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