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Old March 20th, 2013, 08:19 PM   #91
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Re: Are we becoming obsessed with quality?

I don't see why you should think all these percentages are crap! Nigel has stated that the figures in the UK may suggest that only 10% of weddings have a videographer. I'm not trying to give answers, just stimulate open debate, but if you are running a business and 80-90% of the market is not interested in your product then we all have an image problem.

As I have said several times in this thread, I am looking at my best year ever, but if more video companies are looking at sharing that small and possibly shrinking market, then I am interested in what I can do about it. I have already taken steps in my own business to get a greater share of the wedding market and increasing the percentage in my favour. That means offering something new and thinking a little laterally, both to increase the return and outsell the opposition.

For those that are perfectly satisfied to continue what they are already doing, then great, but I am not convinced that the wedding video market generally is particularly healthy at the moment. If less people have a video, then the less people will see it as a requirement.

Roger
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Old March 20th, 2013, 08:30 PM   #92
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Re: Are we becoming obsessed with quality?

Hi Roger

Percentages will vary all over the world...In Perth we have a HUGE following of marriage celebrants so a massive number of weddings are conducted privately in a back yard or public park...there are no "registry offices" here so a big majority of weddings won't even make news! (My very own 2nd wedding was at a friend's house with family only and from the street it would have seemed nothing was going on)
We have over 1200 registered celebrants here that do marriages constantly that we never even see.

The figures for 2009 in our state was 11,000 for the year! Divide that my probably 20 at best videographers doing 30 -40 weddings a year and the percentage is tiny and on analysis seems not worth the effort to even do weddings. Yet, like you, I'm busy (I do around 35 per season which is all I want to do!) and I'm sure others do much the same and we are all happy with business.

Chris
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Old March 20th, 2013, 08:36 PM   #93
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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 will only speak for myself since everyone has a different approach but to me, as long as I get the bookings that I want, I don't see the need to try and make my service accessible to the entire population. I seek quality and take pride in what I do because it is what I'm passionate about and what keeps me fulfilled. I want to attract couples who value my work and hire me because they care about their films as much as I do.

Is my service something that most people can afford? Probably not. But in a world where the majority of the population would look for discounts on Ebay and eat at McDonald's, there will still be a sustainable percentage of people who shop at Louis Vuitton, drive luxurious cars and enjoy fine dining. I only need to make sure that they are aware that I exist and that my work is appealing enough for them to consider my service when they get married.

If other companies around me would rather shoot lower end weddings and cater to the 80%, I'm happy with that too. Because it means that I have less competitors to worry about when selling my service to my target brides. I also don't limit myself to local brides only. I try to market myself internationally and would gladly accept commissions anywhere in the world as long as couples are willing to fly me over to shoot their wedding.

Last edited by Long Truong; March 20th, 2013 at 09:25 PM.
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Old March 20th, 2013, 08:50 PM   #94
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Re: Are we becoming obsessed with quality?

Long,
That's what I'm saying. Carve your own space. Your strategy makes perfect sense.
Al
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Old March 20th, 2013, 11:46 PM   #95
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Re: Are we becoming obsessed with quality?

Al,

So since I live in a small, remote town in Alaska (no road access, only way in or out is
by airplane or boat), the value of your referral system only goes so far. In fact I am
actually the only full time video production company in town. I have a little competition
from some weekend warriors, but they are doing it for extra spending money as they have
other full time jobs and I don't try to compete with their prices as I'm in a whole different
situation. Thus I get a very large percentage of the local weddings in which the bride
wants a video. Many however don't even think about doing video for whatever reason.
But they almost all hire a wedding photographer. This is where 'sucking up' to
photographers and wedding planners helps. See, I can't close a deal in which a bride
never even calls because she doesn't think of doing video. But as she is making wedding
plans with other vendors it helps if other vendors mention your service, now the bride becomes
aware and thinks about the possibility of doing video. Also, I would guess that maybe 75% of the
weddings here are tourist 'destination' type weddings. Those almost always are going through
one of the local wedding planners or such. For example one owns a B&B and couples book
her as a place to stay for the night after they get married by her. So she is a good person
to know as she will get me more work than referrals from happy brides in my town will.
The entire population of our town is less than the number of tourists that visit here in
one day in the summer. I do have a website so far I get 1 or 2 weddings a year where a
bride finds me online and calls to hire me as she is planning her destination wedding.

When I started my video business about 11 years ago, there were 4 or 5 other video companies.
They have folded or moved down south. The local PBS TV station manager who has ran the
TV station in town for a long as I can remember (and gave me my first job out of college)
told me that I am the longest lasting video production company that he has ever seen here,
I must not be making the most horrible business decisions ever.....
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Old March 21st, 2013, 05:20 AM   #96
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Re: Are we becoming obsessed with quality?

This is a very interesting debate. And something I really need to think hard about to be honest.

Im with 'Long Truong' here wanting clients that VALUE my work for it's creativity & story because im passionate about being creative.

Problem is, if I want to make this my day job and source of primary income. I need to cater to everybody ... I have had family tell me the same also. Saying you need to consider lowering prices and offering to shoot films doc style where you simply keep the camera still. Record things as it happens and may be inbetween the moments capture one or two creative shots if possible to throw in to the mix.

I have also had family criticize my existing work saying they don't understand the value of my 'creativity' questioning why this is out of focus, or why that is out of focus. The family that have said that are my grandparents and the older folks. The younger generation love the new 'film style' craze.

I still believe the market has completely changed since pro's had access to the likes of the Canon 5D MK2 with it's large sensor. OR everybody would still be offering documentary style films.
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Old March 21st, 2013, 06:09 AM   #97
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Re: Are we becoming obsessed with quality?

@Long- i don't disagree in any way with your method of working or your point that there will always be those who will pay more for the highest quality. I am not trying to persuade anyone to change their way of working or to only take bookings from the 80% who wouldn't otherwise bother. Rather I would like to raise the profile of wedding video generally so that 100% of the potential market are seriously considering it. You and others would still carry on filming for the same type of clients, but there would be less chance of Video being seen as an expensive niche market if there was more choice available across the board.

@James -documentary style doesn't mean keeping the camera still or not using imaginative shots, it is more about capturing the day as it unfolds, rather than with carefully arranged shots or manipulating situations for the camera. Personally I think that it takes as much skill and experience to capture doc style well, as it does to produce artistic and cinematic styles. Doc style tends to use less equipment and needs the videographer to be able to work very quickly and efficiently, and have the confidence and skill to know how to get the shot whatever the situation.

Roger
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Old March 21st, 2013, 08:06 AM   #98
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Re: Are we becoming obsessed with quality?

Quote:
And for those who think the economy is hurting your business, statistics actually show that there are more weddings in hard times then good
In the UK marriage has actually been in steady decline over the last thirty years. The peak was in 1972 when there were 426K & numbers declined year on year till 2009 when there were only 231K. There was admittedly a slight increase to 241K in 2010 which is the most recent year where the statistics are available. The decline in numbers is despite the rising population so the incidence of marriage is actually declining even faster Marriage rates in the UK | News | guardian.co.uk

What is even more dramatic than the decline in overall marriage numbers is the decline in church weddings since the introduction of the 1994 Marriage Act which permitted venues other than register offices to hold civil wedding ceremonies. Twenty years ago over 50% of all weddings were religious ceremonies now it's about 30%.
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Old March 21st, 2013, 08:30 AM   #99
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Re: Are we becoming obsessed with quality?

James, I can't speak for the UK but I promise you that here in the USA there are far more people doing doco style than cine style but in reality most are doing some sort of combination style. Doc with some cine thrown in at certain areas of the video; IE Prep, photo shoot, highlight. I'll also state that shooting doc style has not hindered my ability to garner business over the last 30 years and it certainly hasn't hindered my income or creativity when I need to add it in. Don't knock the style, it paved the way for cinematic style wedding videographers and that is what we are isn't it?
Style and quality have nothing to do with one another. You can do doc style and do a lousy job of it as easily as you can muck up a "cinematic" style job and as was said before, doc style doesn't necessarily mean 1 camera although for many of us that is how we learned and for the better. I still to this day shoot as if I have the only camera running even if I'm using 2, 3 or more. Things can happen to the other if they're unmanned so why chance it. Shoot like there are no other camera and you will always get good footage, so quality shouldn't be an issue. Now it becomes style.
Different strokes for different folks.
BTW again as I've stated, over the last 30 years taking all the numbers in, good years, not so good years...I've averaged about 50 weddings a year and have had years years that were way more than that. None of the number coincided with the economy. GOOD economy, BAD economy, it didn't make a difference. People still got married and I still did my share.
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Old March 21st, 2013, 09:05 AM   #100
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Re: Are we becoming obsessed with quality?

Completely off topic Don.

But doing 50 weddings let alone more scares me to death. So I have to hand it to you - bravo!

It takes me a good two-three weeks to produce a Cinematic style film. Because I usually finish a first draft myself, which I re-visit after a while when my mind if fresh with new ideas.

How long are you spending on average to produce a doc style film for your client?
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Old March 21st, 2013, 10:52 AM   #101
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Re: Are we becoming obsessed with quality?

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Originally Posted by Roger Gunkel View Post
@Long- i don't disagree in any way with your method of working or your point that there will always be those who will pay more for the highest quality. I am not trying to persuade anyone to change their way of working or to only take bookings from the 80% who wouldn't otherwise bother. Rather I would like to raise the profile of wedding video generally so that 100% of the potential market are seriously considering it. You and others would still carry on filming for the same type of clients, but there would be less chance of Video being seen as an expensive niche market if there was more choice available across the board.

@James -documentary style doesn't mean keeping the camera still or not using imaginative shots, it is more about capturing the day as it unfolds, rather than with carefully arranged shots or manipulating situations for the camera. Personally I think that it takes as much skill and experience to capture doc style well, as it does to produce artistic and cinematic styles. Doc style tends to use less equipment and needs the videographer to be able to work very quickly and efficiently, and have the confidence and skill to know how to get the shot whatever the situation.

Roger
Hi Roger,

I understand what you mean and I am not trying to persuade anyone to change their ways either. I also don't want to start offering cheaper packages and attract budget conscious brides because I have enough work at the moment to keep doing what I do the way I enjoy it. The truth is, if most brides would value my work and pay for my service for what it's worth, I would gladly shoot any wedding. However, not everyone does and it seems like only the more fortunate ones or the ones who really care would hire me. But as long as I still have enough business, I can't complain too much.
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Old March 21st, 2013, 11:00 AM   #102
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Re: Are we becoming obsessed with quality?

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Originally Posted by James Manford View Post
This is a very interesting debate. And something I really need to think hard about to be honest.

Im with 'Long Truong' here wanting clients that VALUE my work for it's creativity & story because im passionate about being creative.

Problem is, if I want to make this my day job and source of primary income. I need to cater to everybody ... I have had family tell me the same also. Saying you need to consider lowering prices and offering to shoot films doc style where you simply keep the camera still. Record things as it happens and may be inbetween the moments capture one or two creative shots if possible to throw in to the mix.

I have also had family criticize my existing work saying they don't understand the value of my 'creativity' questioning why this is out of focus, or why that is out of focus. The family that have said that are my grandparents and the older folks. The younger generation love the new 'film style' craze.

I still believe the market has completely changed since pro's had access to the likes of the Canon 5D MK2 with it's large sensor. OR everybody would still be offering documentary style films.
Hi James,

I think it is important to have a clear mindset about what we wish to accomplish and where we want our business to be. If I want to offer a specific type of service and attract a specific type of clients, I want to make sure that my entire business model and marketing strategy go in the same direction.

To go back to my initial analogy, I can't open a fine dining restaurant and then offer hot dogs on my menu or have ugly decorations and dirty dishes. Everything has to make sense together for it to work. My films have to be good, my packaging needs to be nice, my website and business cards need to be well-designed and when I approach my clients I need to be confident about the value of my product and service too.

It's not about being superficial and trying to trick clients into buying my product. It's about making sure I don't confuse them and allowing them to know exactly what type of experience they are getting involved in if they ever hire me.

Now if you want to go full blown documentary like Chris Harding or Don Bloom because that's what your style is about, then by all means go for it. But make sure your brides are aware of it and know what to expect from you as well.
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Old March 21st, 2013, 11:08 AM   #103
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Re: Are we becoming obsessed with quality?

James,
When I did do cine style I would spend about 50 to 60 hours on the edit. Anymore than that and frankly IMO it was too ling if you figured out dollar per hour. I didn't rush it, I just knew what I wanted it to look like in my head before I started editing it. Didn't always work and then I would redo the edit before it left my hands and got to the client but in many if not most cases it worked and I never had any complaints so I guess it was OK.
Doc style, I spend about 20 hours for edit. Sometimes a bit less, but keep in mind that very little is cut from the ceremony. Full Mass Catholic ceremonys that run about an hour in real time might be 45 minutes in video time, cut the air, cut the communion of the masses (no one wants to see 200 people go up for communion). I generally have between 3.5 and 4.5 hours total footage including B camera at the ceremony and obviously a bit more when I have 3 or 4 cameras going at the ceremony. Receptions are all done with 1 camera. Have there been times I wish I had 2 or 3? Sure but by and large I have done just fine with 1.
I've done well over 60 in some years and this year (my last in weddings) I'll end up with 20. I know guys around here that would kill to do 20, for me, it's a bad bad year. Except for the fact that it was my choice to keep it at 20. I'm doing enough other work to keep the money coming in and have had about all I can take with weddings. At some point in time, everyone reaches that place and I did about 4 years ago but finally decided now is the time. I'll let the young guys take the weddings from now on. Hell, this last week alone I passed on 3 for the end of this year. I guess I'm finally serious about it! ;-)
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Old March 21st, 2013, 11:37 AM   #104
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Re: Are we becoming obsessed with quality?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Gunkel View Post
the photographers that I know are all telling me that they are seeing fewer videos being taken at weddings

Roger
I call photographer BS. This is a way for them to claim superiority. If anything I've noticed a trend for the weddings where the couple took a short cut with photo because there are so many pseudo-photographers out there with a $600 camera.
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Old March 21st, 2013, 11:38 AM   #105
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Re: Are we becoming obsessed with quality?

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J...but keep in mind that very little is cut from the ceremony. Full Mass Catholic ceremonys that run about an hour in real time might be 45 minutes in video time, cut the air, cut the communion of the masses (no one wants to see 200 people go up for communion). )

You say you deliver 45 minutes of video to your customers, just for a Catholic ceremonys and than the rest on top of it?

Good Lord! How long are your films?
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