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Old March 20th, 2013, 06:13 AM   #76
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Re: Are we becoming obsessed with quality?

I read this thread with some interest and it seems to me that it's not about quality...it's more about style! Give less than good and you won't be getting any work. I'll tell you the story of the guy here who started off with low prices, going gangbusters, then got so much work he couldn't keep up, either with he new clients he kept taking or the old clients that he didn't deliver to. Stopped answering emails, phone calls etc... Not only did he get slammed on the wedding websites but he got taken to court. Gave us all a bad rap!

Just because I do a long form doc style doesn't mean the quality is anything less than any of the "cinematic" edits I've ever seen and we all need to keep in mind that market dictates style as well as pricing more than anything else. If you're in a market where the majority of work done is cine style at say a $2500 price range and you come out at $5000 you probably won't get too much work, you will then either have to lower your prices or get out of the business and I've seen both. Go the other way and charge too little and 2 things happen. One is you get so much work you can't keep up and Two, people are suspicious of your pricing an don't book you.
Regardless it just seems to me that this thread is more about style not quality and since style doesn't dictate quality (at least no to me) it's gotten way off track.
Since I'm at the end of my wedding career and only have 20 booked for the entire season (down from an average of 50+) and all but 1 came from referrals or family repeat business (sisters, brothers, cousins) I don't really care except for the one thing that every wedding I've ever done, long form, short form, cinematic or documentary style share and that is while the style may be different the quality is always the 110% best I can produce each and every single time.
Like I was taught many years ago and tried to pass on to my own kids, "there's never enough time to do it right the first time, but there's always enough time to go back and do it again" except there isn't! Anything but the best quality you can produce under the circumstances is unacceptable. The style however is a different thing!
Just my $.02 worth from doing the few weddings I've done.
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Old March 20th, 2013, 06:21 AM   #77
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Re: Are we becoming obsessed with quality?

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As far as the "$8K is a pipe dream" comment goes, we are once again falling into a pointless debate about "MY market vs YOUR market" which always ends up with a "good for you, but it doesn't work like that here where I live" type of comment which, once again, is completely irrelevant depending on who's looking at it.
Traditions in a countries are difficult to change and from a outsider that's hard to understand, especially when they live in a country where there is a videoculture. Just the fact that people think there is no difference between Russia and Belgium is a good example how little is known about traditions in Europe. So I wouldn't say pointless but rather realistic, it just becomes pointless when people continue to say you don't know what you are talking about.
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Old March 20th, 2013, 06:41 AM   #78
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Re: Are we becoming obsessed with quality?

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Originally Posted by James Manford View Post
I don't make enough money to live off weddings alone.

I have other jobs to get me by (not video related).

The whole reason I got in to weddings 2 years ago was because I just happened to do a family event ... and after everyone loved it, I started reading up on the topic even more and now offer my services and have invested a considerable amount on equipment. Near enough 5000 with lenses, camera, tripod/slider etc.

I think I would have to do what you guys do. Offer documentary style long form edits, and at reasonable prices to take on more work. At the minute, I have a glossed up website. But my prices aren't affordable enough. And to me it isn't worthwhile making the effort for anything less ...

1 out of 15 enquiries is a booking.

I think that says a lot about cinematic weddings.

On the other hand, if I actually bothered doing documentary style filming I might get more work. But problem is, I have no examples on my website. So im terrified, if I accept work for less, on the basis im providing a documentary style edit. The clients expectations will still be high as they only see cinematic style work on my website.
James with regards to bookings - when I started 5 years ago I always used to respond to enquiries via email with a quote etc and had about the same conversion rate as you - then i started to offer a home visit and now 90% of people book after visiting them. The personal touch really works!

I work documentary style - long form edit with other sequences (arrivals of guests/photoshoot etc) set to music and a little more 'artistic' but not really cinematic - and this is exactly what my couples want - a no-fuss recording of their day as it actually happened - not how I think it should have happened.
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Old March 20th, 2013, 07:15 AM   #79
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Re: Are we becoming obsessed with quality?

Noa ,
What's pointless is that no one can tell you that you're wrong because you're the only Belgian. So, it's pointless to tell you that you can have brides that pay more and appreciate video as much or more than photography because of your whole culture is against video. So I'm done with that argument. I think Dave framed the argument perfectly but it saddens me that so many of us have constructed this box that we must live in. I'm not sure what's so scary out there but the world ,the whole world is your oyster. Go get it.
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Old March 20th, 2013, 07:21 AM   #80
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Re: Are we becoming obsessed with quality?

It's pointless discussing with people that don't know what they are talking about yet persist on knowing they do. I do wish you guys luck though .
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Old March 20th, 2013, 07:45 AM   #81
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Re: Are we becoming obsessed with quality?

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Originally Posted by Noa Put View Post
I wouldn't say pointless but rather realistic, traditions in a countries are difficult to change and from a outsider that's hard to understand, especially when they live in a country where there is a videoculture. Just the fact that people think there is no difference between Russia and Belgium is a good example how little is known about traditions in Europe.
Hi Noa,

You are right, we all live in a different part of the world and are faced with different sets of challenges. That is the exact reason why I think it is rather pointless to try and argue about business concepts. It is very easy for some people to knock on other people's ideas and say that they "don't make any business sense" simply because it doesn't apply to THEIR OWN personal situation.

Every single time there is a discussion about business approach, there will always be someone that needs to come out with the "good for you" or "too bad for you" comment. And that can come from any side. Can't we just stay open-minded and share ideas and concepts and take them as they are without judging each other's business model? If there is something interesting we can take from certain ideas, then it's absolutely great. But if some of them don't apply to you, then just leave it.
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Old March 20th, 2013, 07:51 AM   #82
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Re: Are we becoming obsessed with quality?

Hi Guys

Again a sensible and practical explanation from the great Don Bloom. A few weddings Don?? Yeah right ..you must be well over the 2000 mark by now and still threatening to give them up next year.

Quite correct this topic has drifted way off course and now has become a heated debate between the high end shooters and the low end shooters and little has been said about actual IQ which is what the original post was about in the first place.

Simple answer?? Brides have no idea what resolution is and videos a few years back that I have reluctantly submitted to brides where I was definately not happy with IQ (tons of back lighting, awful venue for speeches, no space and it all goes on and on) I expected some serious complaints but the bride was over-joyed with her video and "cried the 10 times I watched it" ..She also referred me to two new clients ..thankfully that was my only bummer for the year!!

Conclusion? Give them good content and stay in focus and they will love you for it regardless of the IQ!!

Chris
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Old March 20th, 2013, 08:11 AM   #83
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Re: Are we becoming obsessed with quality?

Agreed Chris. IQ is irrelevant to brides. I did, however see a great presentation by Michael Wong at Infocus in 2012 about removing distractions from your edit. I think we can engage our audience more, whether it be short or long form if we remove distractions like color balance issues, shake, messy backgrounds, etc. We are attempting to do this and not always succesful. I think those distractions can take away from the impact but as far as resolution, pixel depth, dynamic range, they don't know and they don't care. Show them a story. Don't spend(and I have to keep telling myself this) $6500 on a C100 just to get more dynamic range. It won't make you more money. I do rely on my mkIIIs high ISO to make things easier on me. I don't have to worry as much about darkness, and I remove at least a little bit of the headache in post. Although we disagree about markets, we agree about IQ. Doesn't matter.
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Old March 20th, 2013, 09:05 AM   #84
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Re: Are we becoming obsessed with quality?

As I've said for years. No matter the style of product (I am talking only about weddings) if you give solid stable, well composed properly exposed footage you're golden. IOW get the real shot first then play with your dutch angles, filmic look, reality TV shaky look, sliders gliders and steadicams. It's all good but if you don't have the ONE solid steady well composed properly exposed shot and all the other stuff looks like crap (pardon the expression) you're stuck. Remember you can't edit what you don't have. Style doesn't matter if you haven't got quality. Please keep in mind that we ALL have used shots that have less quality but have a high value but that might be 1 or 2 shots in any given wedding or it might be none for 20 weddings and then we get zapped with 10 in a row where we need to decide, high value and less quality or nothing at all. I would be surprised if too many of our clients noticed the slightly shaky or slightly out of focus BANG shot that we used for a total of 3 or 4 seconds. they see the shot, we see the shakiness, or the slightly out of focusness (is that a word?) or the slight discoloration...sometimes we worry too much about the technical end and forget we're there to capture the events of the day first and foremost.
Chris, YES....This is my last year doing weddings. I'm already doing more other types of work than I have in the past few years (gotta make that HM700 pay for itself) and I'm loving it. Promos, webamercials, legacy videos...heck I just listed my PDs on Ebay. I feel like 2 of my old friends have died but...Anyway, yes, this is it!
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Old March 20th, 2013, 11:01 AM   #85
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Re: Are we becoming obsessed with quality?

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Originally Posted by Long Truong View Post
Hi Roger,

Please forgive me if If I'm not fully understanding the message you are trying to get across. When you say "at the expense of a much wider field of opportunities that are also out there", are you suggesting that people who care about delivering high quality product are missing opportunities because the type of brides they cater to are part of a minority in the large market scale? If that is the point of this discussion, I think that the idea of "missing opportunity" could go both ways, depending on how you see it.

Whether you decide to drop quality to keep your cost low and cater to the mass market or you want to raise your standards and target a higher end clientele is your personal choice. There is absolutely nothing wrong with either business model as long as you are able to reach the target brides YOU want to cater to and make the type of films YOU want to make.

The problem only occurs if you are not getting the weddings you want to book or you are not feeling fulfilled doing the work you do. If that is the case, there are SO MANY things you need to consider on top of the "quality obsession" question.
Perhaps I am mistaken in thinking that the thread topic was quite clear, but I am certainly not trying to get a message across, rather setting a question I had for general discussion and opinion. i don't want to continually come back to the same point, but it was basically that in the quest for higher and higher technical quality and incredible artistic interpretation, are we missing the fact that 80% of all weddings don't have a videographer at all because they can't afford it or don't like what they see. Is this killing the market in some ways by putting the wedding video out of reach of many people?

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Old March 20th, 2013, 12:47 PM   #86
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Re: Are we becoming obsessed with quality?

********************Perhaps I am mistaken in thinking that the thread topic was quite clear, but I am certainly not trying to get a message across, rather setting a question I had for general discussion and opinion. i don't want to continually come back to the same point, but it was basically that in the quest for higher and higher technical quality and incredible artistic interpretation, are we missing the fact that 80% of all weddings don't have a videographer at all because they can't afford it or don't like what they see. Is this killing the market in some ways by putting the wedding video out of reach of many people?******************************

Roger, I'm not sure what we are supposed to feel from this 80% statistic? When i was doing weddings I had more business then I desired and that statistic was the same or worse. 20% of the market is huge. On the other hand the reason photographers have that 80% is their market is more saturated with budget vendors. Much more than the video market. Who gives a crap if only 20% of brides get wedding video as long as I have all the business I need? If someone was really dumb enough to care about that statistic, you would hope they would be dumb enough to remedy the situation by switching to photography. You could get in a lot cheaper and immediately be a part of that 80%.

The problem for most wedding videographers is that that they follow trends rather than set their own model. I got out of weddings in 2004. Living in New Orleans a typical ceremony last 40 minutes, or 1 hour for Catholic. A reception is a maximum of 3 hours. I would typically get back to my studio with a max of 2 1/2 hours of footage. I know you guys spend way more time and shoot much more raw footage. For me the thinking was if you shoot it, you have to deal with it in post. I din't wan't that. I know you guys hate to put your coveted prices out but I'll tell you what mine was. I shot single camera ceremony and reception for $1500. This is 2004 and before. In my market there were 2 videographers that were higher, one was very good the other just had a slick marketing plan. But for all the rest, and there were many, those were the multi-camera, brides house, love story, you name it all included in a much lower price. Granted , I offered these things but at substantial extra cost. about 50% of my clients took the add ons and I wish they wouldn't have. The added time and expense didn't do much for my bottom line nor my quality of life. Quality of life is something else usually not factored in. I actually made more money with the straight up $1500 shoot and had far more time to pursue other projects, like my girlfriend.

I'm not sure if you guys still do this, but do you remember when wedding videographers would put the titles for the whole wedding party in the video? Well I do, and I remember the day I quit, everybody in my local association said brides wouldn't go for it. Once i started charging $200 bucks for it, nobody missed it. And I got no backlash about it.

I shot a wedding last Saturday for a friend of a friend of a friend. At my 2004 price of $1500 for 1 camera. I captured it on Sunday night (Sony EX1r) and they are picking it up this evening. The will get the edit plus the raw footage. When I say that I mean they own it from that point. I don't want to keep raw footage , masters or anything else. I wipe my drive afterwards. I know that's not typical, but HAPPY IS HAPPY RIGHT?

So 20% is a huge market, it's just a matter of where you want to be. Create your own space in that market, stop following trends, consider your bottom line and how it relates to your quality of life.
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Old March 20th, 2013, 01:36 PM   #87
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Re: Are we becoming obsessed with quality?

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Originally Posted by Roger Gunkel View Post
80% of all weddings don't have a videographer at all because they can't afford it or don't like what they see.
How many of those 80% wouldn't have a video at any price because their impression of what a wedding video is has been so coloured by what they have seen in the past. By the way I am pretty sure that 20% of weddings in the UK don't have a video. Friends who just do photography tell me it's less then 10%. We have to ask ourselves why the vast majority of traditional weddings where the bride has a big white dress & the groom hires a suit will have a professional photographer but won't have videographer & it's not because they can't afford it.
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Old March 20th, 2013, 01:56 PM   #88
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Re: Are we becoming obsessed with quality?

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Originally Posted by Roger Gunkel View Post
Perhaps I am mistaken in thinking that the thread topic was quite clear, but I am certainly not trying to get a message across, rather setting a question I had for general discussion and opinion. i don't want to continually come back to the same point, but it was basically that in the quest for higher and higher technical quality and incredible artistic interpretation, are we missing the fact that 80% of all weddings don't have a videographer at all because they can't afford it or don't like what they see. Is this killing the market in some ways by putting the wedding video out of reach of many people?

Roger
I think it's an interesting question, but I think you are oversimplifying the answer. From my
experience there are many reasons brides ignore the wedding video. Price is the reason for
some and not liking what they see for others. But there are many other reasons. And many
brides don't even think of wedding video. I looked at the 'to do' list from several wedding
planners. Things like when to buy the dress, hire a photographer, rent the site, get a DJ,
find your caterer, and so on. Less than 30% of the coordinators I surveyed even mentioned
a videographer. So not only do we have work to do to even get in the brides conscious thoughts,
but to be in the thoughts of the events planners. I have tried to make friends with as many vendors
as possible. Almost every one of the few weddings I do get, is because of a referral from the
photographer, DJ, or event planner that I have made friends with. It helps coaching youth sports
as I've had all their kids on my teams :-)
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Old March 20th, 2013, 02:23 PM   #89
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Re: Are we becoming obsessed with quality?

Gabe,
I think that's a great point. We need to be on the mind of the wedding planners and the brides. We need to make sure the planners can use our video to sell themselves to future clients and thus help them out. Our marketing is one of awareness and not necessarily pushing what we do. That 80% is an awesome target market. Don't target the 20% target the 80%
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Old March 20th, 2013, 07:15 PM   #90
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Re: Are we becoming obsessed with quality?

[QUOTE=Gabe Strong;1785520]I think it's an interesting question, but I think you are oversimplifying the answer. From my
experience there are many reasons brides ignore the wedding video. Price is the reason for
some and not liking what they see for others. But there are many other reasons. And many
brides don't even think of wedding video. I looked at the 'to do' list from several wedding
planners. Things like when to buy the dress, hire a photographer, rent the site, get a DJ,
find your caterer, and so on. Less than 30% of the coordinators I surveyed even mentioned
a videographer. So not only do we have work to do to even get in the brides conscious thoughts,
but to be in the thoughts of the events planners. I have tried to make friends with as many vendors
as possible. Almost every one of the few weddings I do get, is because of a referral from the
photographer, DJ, or event planner that I have made friends with. It helps coaching youth sports
as I've had all their kids on my teams :-)[/QUOTE

Gabe,
While networking is a good approach it's only a small part. You have to build your own business and make a name for yourself, just like the people you want to network with. It didn't just happen for them either. In your words you say the "few weddings that you get" as if it weren't for others you wouldn't have any. Let's say you've done a few weddings. Then you already have the best referral system in the world. Usually when I do one bride, I do her friends, relatives and the like. You do a good job for them and they advertise for you. I have done entire wedding parties. Why is that not working for you? You have no one to blame.

If you are at the same wedding as a given photographer that means you guys are already fishing in the same pond. But yet you need him to bait your hook? Why? All these percentages are crap, it has nothing to do with you.

It pays to be professional, quality certainly pays, but above all it pays to be friendly, likable. Who wants to work with someone they don't have a feel for. I built many extremely close relationships with clients. I've been invited to parties and BBQ's long after the wedding is over.

I also know there were brides who came to me sometimes and I knew instantly I didn't want to work with them. So I guess they feel that way at times too.

And for those who think the economy is hurting your business, statistics actually show that there are more weddings in hard times then good. Consolidation becomes a good idea.
If you want to spend time sucking up to photographers and others so be it, but it could be better spent improving the totality of your own business.

Building a wedding business is not the rocket science some seem to portray it as. Good work and satisfied clients will bring other clients ten fold.

Al
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