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Old March 15th, 2013, 12:33 AM   #16
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Re: Are we becoming obsessed with quality?

Hi Roger

A well know videographer in California once wrote a blog called "That's good enough" and it is so true that there comes a time when you just have to stop and say "That's good enough"

Although I have overwhelming admiration for the guys who spend 60 hours or more just on editing a wedding.. (we have a local guy who said he spent nearly two full days on a 2 minute sequence getting it perfect) that's dedication for you but I think people who overshoot normal edit time foget that they are running a business and you CAN by all means put 60 or even 100 hours into an edit BUT can the market stand a costing of $7500 (and that's without travel time and fuel and the actual shoot itself!)

Kudos to the guys who can get huge fees for their services and if the bride is paying you $10K for your services then even with 2 weeks of editing you are still coming out on top.

For us lesser mortals who have to work in our market confines of maybe $1500 - $2000 ...we have to make sure that our edit time is proportional to our charge and that means not obsessing over days of colour grading and making things perfect and we just have to get to a stage and say "That's good enough" otherwise we simply will not make a living.

Chris
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Old March 15th, 2013, 01:07 AM   #17
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Re: Are we becoming obsessed with quality?

I know nobody likes to admit it but what are you guys charging for these multi camera 60 or more hours of editing projects? Is there average shot getting that much money where you make more than $10 bucks an hour after expenses?
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Old March 15th, 2013, 01:30 AM   #18
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Re: Are we becoming obsessed with quality?

This will be really stretching the boundries of the thread's topic, so my apologies up front if anyone feels I took the topic out too far.

Rodger's last post reminded me of what I was seriously considering before realizing physical limitations wouldn't allow me to do weddings.

When I did my market research, albeit not scientific, I determined that in my area far fewer than 20% of the brides had professional videos done. After getting the percentage estimate, I found out how many wedding a year there were and determined I would have to carve out my sales from the probable number of buyers. My sales would come at the expense of some other videographer, I determined.

When I looked at the number of brides that most likely would NOT buy a video, that number was HUGE, compared to those likely who would. My assumption why those brides wouldn't be buying, hinged on a video's cost, compared to the rest of the wedding budgets here.

So I was sitting here thinking "do I fight the other guys who are already established to steal buyers from them? Or do I try something different, and carve out a business by EXPANDING the number of brides who would buy SOMETHING, but maybe not an entire traditional video?"

I ran this past a few people and got good feedback on the idea. My assumption was, in my area 80+% of the brides already had said NO to $1500 and up, but maybe they'd spend $200-$800 to get just the parts they wanted most. So I was seriously considering going with a "build a video" model and let them choose what they wanted "ala carte".

Where this ties into the threads theme, quality of shooting and audio capture would be there, but post production, as Chris states, would have been minimalistic, to reflect the low cost. This business model would be comparable to the cell phone videos friends would grab, but done more professionally in types of cams, supports and audio capture. Because of the minimalistic nature, a trained novice second shooter with my gear set up, could be the one doing the work. If one had some reliable second shooters, doubling or tripling of dates would be a possibility, if you had enough gear.
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Old March 15th, 2013, 02:04 AM   #19
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Re: Are we becoming obsessed with quality?

Hi Al

You would make more flipping burgers if you only make $10 an hour!! Sheesh..I cost out at $75.00 an hour and that covers everything including shoot and edit time... Then again my edit time is lightning fast cos I would rather create a simple edit that only takes me a day and be able to cost at a decent rate because I know that if I took 60 hours to edit the only thing that would suffer would be my rate and IF I had to work at $10 an hour I would sit home and watch a movie.

Chip? The biggest issue with super low cost shoots is that you still have a "worthwhile" cost...eg: Is it worth my while to drive 20 miles to a wedding venue/ bride's house and shoot for an hour and then drive back home and edit the footage?? It sounds easy but is it worth your while to get off your behind, pack up your gear and drive to a venue for $299.00?? Business wise a short shoot (like a civil ceremony only) here would be under an hour's work as they last for around 20 minutes BUT you still need to be there an hour early and still have to get home and edit it so the 1 hour shoot combined with travel and edit time at my current rate that would give me an effective 4 hours to do everything including sign up the bride get to and from the venue and edit and produce the DVD's ... Now make that price $599 and you are starting to get a bit closer to reality ($599 / $75) gives you close to 8 hours in all which would be practical in actual time spent!

If one could get the bride to book on-line, pick up the end product and limit the venue travel to your city limits only then maybe $299 might have a chance...I'm sure there is a market out there!!

Chris
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Old March 15th, 2013, 03:10 AM   #20
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Re: Are we becoming obsessed with quality?

As you may have read, I have only been doing wedding films for just over 2 years now. Initially I started off charging very less to get a website and portfolio but over working myself severely and offering a lot more for a lot less.

HOWEVER, I have found regardless of what you charge ... 200 or 1500. The brides expect the SAME content and same level of work.

Now you have to ask yourself. What would you do differently if you were to charge much less? Not use a slider? not use a tripod? not use a monopod - just run and gun?

Well to be honest. Using the above tools is just my style and helps me capture the emotion of the day. I can't see myself NOT using those tools because I don't know how to shoot any differently.

Either way, the bride or groom will expect you to cover ALL the content going on in their big day regardless of how you do it. And if that means not using a certain equipment ask yourself, will this degrade the quality of your work? if it will, is it really worth it ...

The bride isn't going to tell her friend who watches it, she only paid 200. She's just going to tell them I used this videographer and this is what he produced ... so that's your reputation on the line if it isn't on the same level as your other work.

My aim is to create quality work and leave a lasting impression. So when extended family and friends see it, they consider me when it is their turn.

We have no repeat business from the same person, so why ruin it by doing cheap weddings.
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Old March 15th, 2013, 03:54 AM   #21
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Re: Are we becoming obsessed with quality?

Hi James

I think you missed the point here..we are talking about just an hour's shoot as opposed to a 12 hour shoot..basically just a single camera so the bride at least has a record of her wedding ceremony. It is feasible to do and I suppose I might do one or two in a year where the bride only wants the ceremony recorded and nothing else. Obviously if you are booked out it's not for you but there are bride's out there that simply cannot afford 1500 like you are charging so rather than do nothing it's not a sin to do a short simple shoot for a lower price if that what's the bride wants... it's their wedding and maybe she simply wants to have the ceremony recorded for overseas family.

On occasional shoots like those my stedicam also stays at home!! Funnily this season they have all requested full coverage so I haven't done a "ceremony" only at all over the 2012-2013 period!

Just for interest what do you cover for 1500 quid?? and how long does it take for the end result (editing and packaging hours)

Chris
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Old March 15th, 2013, 04:01 AM   #22
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Re: Are we becoming obsessed with quality?

I don't think the original poster was suggesting deliberately offering an inferior product. I think the question is are we buying equipment to please the clients or ourselves. Case in point, I've recently added a Voigtlander lens to my kit at a cost of 800. It could be argued that the quality of this lens and it's low light performance will be wasted on my clients and its addition isn't going to get me more work or kudos from the Brides. I maybe pleased as punch to have it, but no one else is. However if running a successful business and making a ton of cash was my only aim, I'd become a plumber, like the one who charged me 80 just to look over my water boiler and tell me it was beyond repair.
Like any filmmaker we're creating videos as much for ourselves as well as our audience (clients) and really the end result in order to justify my hard work and time spent has to please me as much as the bride and groom; because if I'm just churning out videos I think are crap all for the sake of making money I might as well be a plumber.
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Old March 15th, 2013, 04:17 AM   #23
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Re: Are we becoming obsessed with quality?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post
Hi James

I think you missed the point here..we are talking about just an hour's shoot as opposed to a 12 hour shoot..basically just a single camera so the bride at least has a record of her wedding ceremony. It is feasible to do and I suppose I might do one or two in a year where the bride only wants the ceremony recorded and nothing else. Obviously if you are booked out it's not for you but there are bride's out there that simply cannot afford 1500 like you are charging so rather than do nothing it's not a sin to do a short simple shoot for a lower price if that what's the bride wants... it's their wedding and maybe she simply wants to have the ceremony recorded for overseas family.

On occasional shoots like those my stedicam also stays at home!! Funnily this season they have all requested full coverage so I haven't done a "ceremony" only at all over the 2012-2013 period!

Just for interest what do you cover for 1500 quid?? and how long does it take for the end result (editing and packaging hours)

Chris
I only charge 1500 at expensive Asian weddings but I hire a helper. (hence why I state on my site, ask for a quotation - when they give me the location of the event etc I do a bit of googling and check out venue prices etc and get an idea). Every asian wedding I have done they have money to burn and always splash out big time ... (i've done a total of 5 so far, the last 2 had a fleet of super cars hired out just for the Groom to arrive in style!) Church weddings my Cinematic cost is more or less 950 give or take.

But what I have found is, regardless of what you charge. They expect the same.

However if you CLEARLY tell them you will just cover an hour of filming. Just the ceremoney etc then I guess it's fine.

But I don't see myself getting any business doing that ... people want you to cover everything at the best price possible.
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Old March 15th, 2013, 05:01 AM   #24
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Re: Are we becoming obsessed with quality?

My thoughts on this was to compete with the cell phone/Uncle Bob and his camera videos.
Uncle Bob and those cell phone are not going to have any support, as Uncle Bob and the cell phone users, have no clue that "stabilize that camera" is the first rule of video.

So set up would be:
1. Place mic on camera
2. Place camera on tripod
3 Turn on and then stuff recorder in grooms pocket
4. Place lav on grooms lapel.

At this point you are way ahead of Uncle Bob and the cell phone shooters for grabbing some quality. Set up time for all of this, realistically, 20 minutes tops. Tear down even less.

You grab some footage of her coming down the aisle. After that you shoot what she wants up to the entire ceremony. Grab some footage as they come up the aisle, knock down go home.

Sync audio with video clips via Plural eyes, clean up front and back of each clip, stuff a title and some transitions in, render out. There is no menu on the DVD, she puts it in and hits play. Entire post production, less than two hours.

Meeting personally with the bride is going to increase sales, so you do that if you have to. Delivery...that's what the US Mail is for, they go everywhere for about $5.

When I did my market analysis, if I just got an even slice of the projected brides who would buy video in my market, I would have gotten 8 jobs in the years time. That was assuming everyone who was doing video here got the same percentage. With me being brand new in wedding videos, that assumption would have been unrealistic. If I was an established company and was filling most dates, doing this would be a bit foolish, unless I hired out the shooting.

But the ratio of brides in this market who will NOT buy a traditional video compared to those that will is about 8-1. There were a lot of guys already competing for the 1, but no one was trying to convert any of the 8 into AT LEAST buyers for SOMETHING. She already has said no to the traditional "full ceremony" someone else wanted $599 and up, for. She's not even considering a $1000-$5000 video either.

That "micro ceremony", could you sell that to one of those 8 and give her: her march down the aisle, the high points of her ceremony including her vows and a march back out on a DVD with good audio and get her to pay $299 maybe?

This goes back to the thread theme, as your competition for this is Uncle Bob with his camera and her girlfriends and their cell phones. If she was going to be satisfied with that quality for free, how much more quality do you have to give her, and at what price point, to turn her into a buyer for SOMETHING?

This is just discussing the ceremony, which IMHO, most non buyers might spring for, if they bought anything. But my intentions were to carve up an entire traditional video into sections, price each individually and let her pick and choose what was important to her. Does she want you at her house for an hour while she runs around in t-shirt and pajama bottoms? Or does she really just want that neat slider shot of her dress, her shoes and her bouquet ??? Does she want the whole reception, or just her first dance with her new husband ???

When she buys her prints from the photog, she is picking and choosing what she wants. But the traditional wedding video seems to be a "take it all or nothing" proposition and my analysis says 8 out of nine are saying "nothing".
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Old March 15th, 2013, 05:13 AM   #25
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Re: Are we becoming obsessed with quality?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Gunkel View Post
There is no reason why a two tier business couldn't offer 'Reality Weddings' alongside their upmarket products. Clients don't get your expensive cameras, gliders, cranes etc, they just get a guy with a camcorder who follows the action, keeping the editing to absolute minimum and doing it for a knockdown price. How many times have you been asked if you can show the ceremony to the evening guests? I normally politely refuse, but with SD card scene recording and one camera, it would be simple. To be honest, if you keep it that simple, you could even take a laptop, and in the evening sit down and do a simple edit, adding titles you prepared earlier. Give them a copy, maybe on a usb stick and the job is done.
The problem with this scenario is that it's still a day of your time when you could have booked an upmarket wedding. The wedding video market is rather inelastic as most weddings are on Saturday so you need to maximise your income on that one day. There are weddings mid-week but they tend to be more modest affairs where they might still hire a photographer for a few hours but are unlikely to hire a videographer.

A 'Pile it high & sell it cheap' business model can work for wedding photography where the couple just want a record of the day & aren't worried about the 'art'. There are companies who will book wedding photography at 299/399/499 & then send out one of their team of part-time photographers who get 100-200 beer money for shooting the wedding. If the volume is high enough then you can make a good living. I don't think that you can find enough reliable part-time videographers who will work for beer money & produce an acceptable product.

The Shoot It Yourself model where you get the clients to do the shooting & you just do the editing is an interesting & innovative approach to the wedding video market & does get over the problem of how to increase the number of weddings that you can cope with when you can only work on a Saturdays.
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Old March 15th, 2013, 06:55 AM   #26
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Re: Are we becoming obsessed with quality?

I actually offer re-editing old wedding films.

Transferring VHS to DVD, and giving it a fresh make over using one of the software suites I have.

But guess what? I have done it twice out of the two years in business.

It's just not popular enough ... if people can shoot a wedding, they more than likely can use Windows Movie Maker to cook up something half decent and watchable.
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Old March 15th, 2013, 06:58 AM   #27
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Re: Are we becoming obsessed with quality?

All this talk about 'fast-film like fast-food' is making me worried that wedding videographers will change the brides perception of wedding films.

We need to stick together and regulate it. Keep the prices high enough to make it a worthwhile job for us. Keep brides expectations up that films cost a lot of money and it doesn't come cheap BUT it is DEFINITELY a worthwhile investment.
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Old March 15th, 2013, 08:14 AM   #28
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Re: Are we becoming obsessed with quality?

Hi James

Sadly that won't happen as the "beer money" guys will always do it for less with their handycams..sure they don't last long because it's simply too much effort but there is always a disallusioned but enthusiastoc amateur ready to step into his place.

Best not to worry about them ..they come and go and are always around and the "normal" quality minded bride is not stupid and will pick a pro regardless of the extra cost. Yes there are brides there who have to "scrape the bottom of the barrel" to afford a $299 wedding but most won't skimp and your wedding films are safe from being compared to what amateurs produce so stop worrying!!

Every market has cheap and nasty products but as long as your are good value for money you have nothing to fear. In fact I was with a bride and groom an hour ago and she wanted the works and never questioned price because "it's only going to happen once and I want good memories"

Chris
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Old March 15th, 2013, 08:35 AM   #29
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Re: Are we becoming obsessed with quality?

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Originally Posted by James Manford View Post
All this talk about 'fast-film like fast-food' is making me worried that wedding videographers will change the brides perception of wedding films.

We need to stick together and regulate it. Keep the prices high enough to make it a worthwhile job for us. Keep brides expectations up that films cost a lot of money and it doesn't come cheap BUT it is DEFINITELY a worthwhile investment.
This sounds like a throw back to the 1970s with trade demarcation and unions resisting the use of new technology to protect their member!s jobs. If you try to club together to maintain higher prices and higher 'quality' you are in very dangerous territory. You can't dictate a technology based market, you have to follow the flow or you will end up sadly waving your banner while the world bypasses you.

There will always be a market for high quality, carefully crafted and pricey videos, but I am suggesting that it is us as videographers that are enthusiastic about the quality of our work and equipment, while the brides just want a record of their day to show friends and family.

In days gone by, couples would buy furniture for their new home when they got married, or families would buy it for them, and it would be an expensive hand made item that they would keep sometimes for life, even passing on to children. These days those who can afford it can still buy expensive hand made furniture, but perfectly acceptable mass produced furniture is now bought by most young couples because it is cheap and does what they want.

In my opinion we are craftsmen in a quick fix youtube world where, as Chip has succinctly pointed out, 80% of the market don't want to pay for what we are offering. We can choose to ignore that fact, or club together to protect our craft, or alternatively offer new affordable products. These don't have to be 'crap' as some have suggested and there is no reason why they should be, rather than a total rethink to offer a good low budget product that embraces the lost 80% of the market.

Nigel pointed out that if you take 1 low budget on a Saturday, you have killed the chance of a high budget one. I agree to some degree, but 40% of my work this year is non Saturday. Can we honestly also all say that every single Saturday is fully booked? Great if it is, so offer a low cost reality wedding for midweeks only, or how about doing what many large wedding photography companies do and sub contract in a videographer that has enough basic skill and equipment to cover your requirements. You can still cover your big wedding whilst paying perhaps 100 for your reality camerman and making 200 for a couple of hours editing. The are plenty of camera people out there that would jump at the chance to just turn up with their camera for a day, film the wedding and hand you the footage, easy money for them.

You could even badge it as a partner company:- 'Joe Blogs Bespoke Wedding Films', and 'JB Reality Productions'. That way you can maintain your desire to produce high income quality work preserving your reputation, whilst also catering for the 'youtube Crowd'.

Roger
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Old March 15th, 2013, 09:20 AM   #30
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Re: Are we becoming obsessed with quality?

Quote:
Originally Posted by James Manford View Post
All this talk about 'fast-film like fast-food' is making me worried that wedding videographers will change the brides perception of wedding films.

We need to stick together and regulate it. Keep the prices high enough to make it a worthwhile job for us. Keep brides expectations up that films cost a lot of money and it doesn't come cheap BUT it is DEFINITELY a worthwhile investment.
I can't speak for other areas of the world but I can say on good authority that around here...that ain't gonna happen.
One of the freedoms we all have regardless of the country we live in is the freedom to decide how much I'm going to charge for a certain bit of work and if that's less or more than others might charge, oh well, my choice.
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