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


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Old February 20th, 2013, 11:40 AM   #1
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Do you offer full service and speeches?

I'm discovering lately that a few of my competitors who also offer DSLR highlight trailer packages, are only giving over a heavily edited version of the day. I never even considered giving anything less than the entire ceremony and speeches.

I assumed that clients would want it all (even though I wonder sometimes at 10minute long prayers and 6 verse hymns).

The truth is, the ceremony takes a heck of a lot of editing, with sometimes three video tracks, and an off camera audio source to sync. Also, trying my best to scan the footage of an hour long service for instances oftropod nudges or wobbles or shots being blocks.

I've just finished a clients service which has taken 3.5hours. (includes soundtracked mingling and gathering before and after)

I wonder though, should I start to enquire with my clients to see if in fact they want every single hymn/prayer/blessing/mass? Might save myself some time and effort.

What do you guys offer??
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Old February 20th, 2013, 01:14 PM   #2
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Re: Do you offer full service and speeches?

We offer 3 videos plus anything special... so they usually get
-a trailer (3-7 minutes long... this being the one most shared with friends online)
- a highlight (7-15 minutes long... the most repeatable viewings for B&G and close family)
- a documentary (22-40 minutes). More of the day, not stylized, usually DVD only
- if speeches, pastor's message, or anything with grandparents/parents seems special, I put them on the DVD on their own. Example: I sit bride's grandparents down and get them to tell the story of how they met. It's not in the highlights, but on it's own.

Unless they specify, or I see something worth it, the only part of the ceremony I include is bride's entrance, vows, rings, kiss, pronouncement, exit. I often trim speeches to a few lines, if I include them at all.
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Old February 20th, 2013, 02:14 PM   #3
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Re: Do you offer full service and speeches?

I include full ceremony, though I sometimes wonder if I should try to manage client expectations more from the start so that they don't want this stuff.

Here's the problem: if you're shooting for full coverage, and you want stable cameras on tripods, then it's difficult, with two videographers, to also shoot for highlights, with lots of creative angles and movements. I think so anyway. You're stuck in the same position most of the time making sure things are in focus.

I know at least one person, who shoots weddings by herself, who makes a blanket decision not to include the priest's sermon. She'll record everything else pretty steadily, but when that priest starts talking she'll then run around with the camera for cutaways and creative shots. So that's one possible way to do it, albeit a compromise.

But there are plusses to full coverage, of course. They'll never have reason to complain about you missing anything important, and I think relatives (and children and grandchildren) will enjoy seeing the full thing, with priest's sermon and all.
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Old February 20th, 2013, 02:49 PM   #4
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Re: Do you offer full service and speeches?

Most of my clients want the full ceremony and speeches - so that's what they get - for church weddings I always ask if they want the hymns/sermon etc to be edited but usually they want the whole thing - for speeches I can't understand why they would want to watch an abridged version :/
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Old February 20th, 2013, 03:03 PM   #5
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Re: Do you offer full service and speeches?

Given I'm fairly close to Peter it's unsurprising that we have similar requests from people.

Almost everyone wants the FULL ceremony (with possibly the hymns omitted or shortened) and FULL speeches.

We've end up making those separate things on the disc though so that they have a 15-20 mins highlights film tat they can watch over and over, which typically includes Bride arriving, vows, rings, first kiss, maybe some register (depending on church layout and how grumpy the vicar is ;)) and then leaving married.

Brides tell me the whole point of getting their wedding videoed is because they WANT the entire ceremony and speeches 'as a record' of the day. Yes they love the highlights video afterwards, but initially their idea is they want the ceremony & speeches as a record. However, these tend to be more of the budget bride than the ones looking to spend more money on a really good film.
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Old February 20th, 2013, 03:23 PM   #6
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Re: Do you offer full service and speeches?

Speaking as another UK videographer, I have been videoing weddings for over 27 years and have never delivered one that didn't include the full ceremony and speeches. Surely the whole point is that it is a wedding, and the ceremony is the part where they are getting married! How can you cut most of it out when it contains so much emotion for them. The same with the speeches, every word that is said is an important part of the day and also captures the emotion, the nerves and the little looks between people.

I am constantly intrigued by those who supply only heavily edited weddings where they cherry pick what they think are the bits of the ceremony and speeches that are worth including. What you may find trivial and boring may be an important part as far as the families are concerned. In my opinion, too many wedding video producers are obsessed with making a highly stylised and slick movie based on what they think is interesting. My experience is that every moment of a couple's wedding day is something highly personal and they want to see it all. To other people not involved, weddings video are basically very boring, but for the families and the B&G particullarly, every word and every look is something to hang on to, as are the clothes that people were wearing, the little comments in the backgound and a multitude of other things.

All purely my own opinion, but I have seen so many wedding video companies come and go especially in the last couple of years. Much of the work I have seen from these companies is very modern and slick, but totally lacking in emotion. The feedback that I get from potential clients tells me much the same thing, with tales of multi cameras, staged shots and pre wedding rehearsals and briefings. If it works for you then good luck, but I have just begun my 28th year of weddings and I already have enough contracts to make it my best year ever.

Roger
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Old February 20th, 2013, 06:31 PM   #7
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Re: Do you offer full service and speeches?

Hi Roger

I would love to know how these guys, especially in the USA can get away with just a 15 minute "wedding film" ...I have always also done the full ceremony and all the speeches and my end product is seldom less that 100 minutes or so if you take into account that a normal ceremony (civil or church) is around 30 minutes and 5 speeches at 6 minutes each picks up another 30 minutes and you already have an hour just for those!

Surely if you are at the venue for 10 hours and produce a 15 minute "masterpiece" surely the bride would feel she isn't getting a lot for all that time and money...besides ceremony and speeches are un-repeatable events too so they really should be recorded.

Chris
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Old February 20th, 2013, 06:57 PM   #8
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Re: Do you offer full service and speeches?

Totally in agreement Chris, I consider that I am not trying to make an art film but to capture an emotional experience for the couple and their friends and family.

I recently filmed a Baptiste ceremony which was over two hours long, with a band, several soloists and personal blessings from many of the congregation. The couple would have been livid if I had shortened it in any way. The speeches were also very long and the whole wedding was on 3 DVDs.

I have also had two weddings in the last year where there were 3 speeches at each, one set of speeches lasting for 75 minutes and at the oher wedding 77 minutes. Both were full of funny jokes and amusing anecdotes and one of them included a 15 minute comedy singing competition involving guest participation. I've also had a speech including a quizz for the guests on their knowledge of the B&G that lasted for nearly 30 minutes. It was absolutely hilarious and of course had to be filmed in full. At the other end of the scale, the shortest ever time I have had for 3 speeches, was 3 mins and 27 secs including introductions.

Most Asian weddings are also extremely long and the familiy's expectation is usually for many hours of video. I know of one Asian video company that specialises in those weddings and frequently supplies the wedding on 6 dvds to cover all the events.

Maybe it is just a cultural difference and US wedding video expectations are much more about style, fashion, and high paced glossy movie images.

Roger
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Old February 20th, 2013, 07:19 PM   #9
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Re: Do you offer full service and speeches?

Hi Roger

That's one culture I try to avoid as they normally require CCTV footage of the entire reception as, as you say, a 6 DVD pack. As a solo shooter that's just too much work for one person and two cameras plus I find that they also seem to want to pay far less than what you get for a "normal" wedding. Wow!! my longest ever speech was 37 minutes and during that one guest actually dozed off!! I try and get brides to limit speeches to between 6 and 8 minutes if they ask for suggested times but most here have already told guests that speeches need to be short and sweet.

Do you charge extra for weddings where they want everything filmed all the time desite the fact you might be there for 10 hours and at a standard wedding only grab around 3 hours of footage maximum?? I guess with long stuff all you can really do is "top and tail" the clips? Imagine having to watch 6 DVD's!!!

Chris
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Old February 20th, 2013, 10:17 PM   #10
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Re: Do you offer full service and speeches?

Wow, this goes to show how cultures around the world have very different definitions of speeches.
For me my average is about 3 to 5 minutes each but I have had up to 30 minutes and as short as 30 seconds.
I once heard the best definition of a speech; anything under 90 seconds is a toast, over 90 seconds and it's a speech
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Old February 20th, 2013, 10:33 PM   #11
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Re: Do you offer full service and speeches?

Mine are the same Don

Shortest was also 30 seconds ..the groom walked up to the lectern and said "Thanks for coming, have a good night" so technically his speech itself was about 15 seconds!! The rest was getting there and back.

You forgot to add to your definitions ...anything over 8 minutes is likely to be a sleep inducer!!!

Chris
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Old February 21st, 2013, 02:16 AM   #12
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Re: Do you offer full service and speeches?

Wow - Interesting to hear the views on here. Pretty much agree that the full service and speeches should be standard. But I may start asking clients if they want anything cut out. I just editing a mass in a service that took 25 minutes.

I was checking out a company the other day (it may have been someone from here - oops!) who offered a finished DVD of 40minutes max, at 1500. In fairness, their highlights are fantastic but still, it seems to be putting too much priority on the artisticness of the videographer and neglecting the requirements and needs of a client.
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Old February 21st, 2013, 03:24 AM   #13
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Re: Do you offer full service and speeches?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post
Surely if you are at the venue for 10 hours and produce a 15 minute "masterpiece" surely the bride would feel she isn't getting a lot for all that time and money...besides ceremony and speeches are un-repeatable events too so they really should be recorded.
The photographer will produce an album with maybe just 60-70 images which is analogous to the video highlights. However there will also likely be another 300 images delivered on disc which is more akin to delivering the full speeches & ceremony.

We deliver the full speeches & ceremony as separate chapters. We are filming it anyway so it's not difficult or time-consuming to just drop all the footage on the timeline then synch it up & produce a multicam edit. It's not like there has to be much thought or creativity involved.
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Old February 21st, 2013, 04:53 AM   #14
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Re: Do you offer full service and speeches?

Nigel, you say its not time consuming. Are you actually watching it through and choosing when to switch camera angles at appropriate times and checking for camera nudges or view blocks?

I find that even rushing through a service takes at least the length of the service and close to double. To me that is rather time-consuming.

But I guess I'm not doing it full time, so my time is tighter.
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Old February 21st, 2013, 05:54 AM   #15
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Re: Do you offer full service and speeches?

Forgetting the extremes, which are always good for anecdotes, I would say that for me, a typical finished wedding dvd would be in the 80-100 minute range. I would be at the wedding for 8-10 hours, church ceremony about 30-40 minutes, perhaps a bit longer for a Catholic ceremony, shorter for a civil one. Traditional speeches for Father, Groom and Best man 15-30 minutes in total. The rest is general follow the flow of the day shots and of course first dance and any extras that may be asked for or just happen.

I always charge the same price no matter what the length, unless there are other factors such as an overnight stay or hen and stag nights. Editing Ceremony and speeches is no more difficult long or short, although as I edit these in real time it might increase the editing time by a few minutes. If I am using two cameras, they are just paralleled on the timeline then I change angles in real time as I edit.

I do love filming weddings even after all these years as every couple and family are different, and it is fascinating to watch the interaction between people. I do get bored though during the speeches and frequently have to stop myself groaning when I hear a downloaded wedding joke for the 1000th time!!!

Roger
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