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Old May 21st, 2014, 03:59 AM   #1
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Do you charge for rehearsals?

I seen to have more churches than civil weddings so far this year and with 2 church rehearsals this week I'm wondering how many people charge for this.

I'd say each rehearsal on average takes about 3 hours (at least an hour to get there, 30 or 40 minutes at the church and then home) and as I have 2 this week that equates to the best part of a day's work, and then there's the petrol costs.

I justify it to myself by saying it makes things easier on the day and I've agreed with the priest where things are going etc, but then again I've turned up at churches without the benefit of a rehearsal and it's gone fine, even churches where they've opened up with less than an hour to go!

If I had to charge it at the same rate I charge for extra filming/editing then it would add pretty much 100 to each of my packages - not keen to do that the moment.

Thoughts?
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Old May 21st, 2014, 04:36 AM   #2
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Re: Do you charge for rehearsals?

Quote:
but then again I've turned up at churches without the benefit of a rehearsal and it's gone fine, even churches where they've opened up with less than an hour to go!
Never go to a rehearsal, not even sure if that is something that is done here, I usually have between 5 to 15 minutes to set my gear up when I enter church and sometimes when I walk into the church the couple is already arriving at the front door with their car, good planning and some improvising is key, I put all my recorders in record mode and lock them before I leave to church, the groom gets his recorder (a yamaha c24 with clipon mic) as well before I leave to church and I now just take one light tripod and lightstand with me and one backpack that fits all my videogear and one small bag that contains all audio gear which I can all take with me in one go. I secure the most important first, one camera on the tripod with the lens set wide and pointed at the altar and lectern and a lightstand with a tascam dr05 pointed toward a soundspeaker. Only if time allows I clip a mike onto the lectern an altar mike (a zoom h1 and a small sony recorder, both with lavs that I clip onto the church mikes.) If there is live singing and if I have even more time I connect to their soundsystem with a tascam dr40 and otherwise place the tascam on a minitripod in front of their soundspeaker.
With my main cam I shoot handheld now all the time, used to have a tripod for that as well but it was just to cumbersome to drag all that gear in. Since I use sony cx730's I get very stable handheld shots.
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Old May 21st, 2014, 04:59 AM   #3
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Re: Do you charge for rehearsals?

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Originally Posted by Peter Rush View Post
If I had to charge it at the same rate I charge for extra filming/editing then it would add pretty much 100 to each of my packages - not keen to do that the moment.
I don't charge extra for going to rehearsals as such, but my Church + Venue packages are 100 more than a single civil venue where there's no rehearsal and everything is all in one place.

It's partially because of the rehearsal, which like you say can easily be 3 hours door to door, and partially because it's typically more effort to film a church wedding than a civil wedding and of course you have two locations, more travel time, mileage etc etc. In reality it's no different than charging more for going to both bride & groom's house for prep vs doing it all at the civil venue.

If it's all very local then I'm flexible, but if I have to drive 30-40 miles to a rehearsal, do the same again next day for the ceremony and then on to a reception venue 20 miles away from the church then there's a cost associated with it.

If they don't want to pay for this then I'm OK with them not booking me.
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Old May 21st, 2014, 05:16 AM   #4
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Re: Do you charge for rehearsals?

I already charge a little extra (50) for a church vs civil wedding as you do Dave but I'll be reflecting on this when I up my prices, which I'm due to do at the end of this season.

Pete
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Old May 21st, 2014, 05:37 AM   #5
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Re: Do you charge for rehearsals?

I tell the couple, "If I can, I'll attend." But no guarantees. I wouldn't think they'd pay me extra to attend if I raised the question. And, in the interests of keeping my prices as low as possible, I don't build the cost of attending into the packages.

I do, however, like attending them, and the ceremony does go more smoothly if I do... And not just the ceremony -- you build a stronger social connection with the couple and the parents and other people involved. And you've got the opportunity to film some extra footage, if you deliver an end product (eg a short form video) that can incorporate this.

But, most of the time, I'm going in "blind", and it's a case of rock up to the church 30 minutes before showtime, and run around like a headless chicken, particularly if it's a church I haven't been to before.

In another thread, people were talking about how they enjoyed the challenge of weddings. Well, from that perspective, the heart-racing period between leaving the bride's house and ceremony kick-off is part of the adrenaline-junkie fun of weddings... Perverse to say it, but I kind of enjoy that -- though maybe more after the fact, reminiscing with my second shooter about how we once again miraculously survived the event, than during...
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Old May 21st, 2014, 06:05 AM   #6
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Re: Do you charge for rehearsals?

Adrian at least you have a second shooter to help set up in that 30 minutes - I'm flying solo!
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Old May 21st, 2014, 06:25 AM   #7
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Re: Do you charge for rehearsals?

That's why I always attend rehearsals if they have one, especially in a new Church..it's 30 minutes max but worth attending and it's built into my costing too.

It just makes the ceremony part go easier cos I know where the bride will be stopping in the limo and where I'm allowed to be in the Church ...it's quite professional I think to meet the priest and tell him/her that you will not disrupt the ceremony and are there to record the ceremony not try and be part of it. That goes down well and usually puts me above the photog who rarely will bother to attend!

I even do civil rehearsals! Our Church weddings here nationwide have now dropped to an all time low of 23%!! They simply are very pricey for the bride ($1500 compared to a celebrant at $400) and I prefer civil weddings anyway ..much easier and less formal AND if you can't make the rehearsal it's no big deal compared to missing a Church rehearsal.

Chris
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Old May 21st, 2014, 06:29 AM   #8
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Re: Do you charge for rehearsals?

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Originally Posted by Adrian Tan View Post

But, most of the time, I'm going in "blind", and it's a case of rock up to the church 30 minutes before showtime, and run around like a headless chicken, particularly if it's a church I haven't been to before.
30 minutes, boy, I wish I had that luxury of time with every wedding I do :)
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Old May 21st, 2014, 06:39 AM   #9
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Re: Do you charge for rehearsals?

In the UK it could be pretty tough to turn up to a church blind and expect to do a great job. I use the rehearsal to negotiate with some Vicars where cameras and microphones can go since if I just turned up on the day I'd likely get the "one camera only, stand at the back" routine, which I'd like to avoid at all costs.

In addition, at quite a few rehearsals you'll find out new information, like some one will stand here and sing (which needs a microphone placing) or two readings will be done here and another over there (so now you need to place two mics in different places).

You may find out there will be a choir, where before you thought there would be none, or perhaps some other event will happen that you didn't know about and would have been totally unable to capture if you weren't prepared.

While these things can happen during civil ceremonies too, they are usually a little more relaxed about the videographer having to move to capture something whereas some Vicars would just throw you out!

I've never yet covered a church wedding that I couldn't attend the rehearsal for and have in fact turned away bookings where I know that would be the case.

In terms of keeping prices down, I can fully understand that, but honestly, I'm done playing that game now because it's just a constant downward spiral ending up at silly prices no one can make a living at. Prices are where they are if you want me and if you don't want to pay them there's plenty more around ready to discount the bottom out of a jam jar just to get your business. But, promise me one thing...... you won't come back crying afterwards asking if there's anything I can do to fix the mess they left you with.
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Old May 21st, 2014, 06:49 AM   #10
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Re: Do you charge for rehearsals?

Ouch Noa

You have a tight schedule! If I'm not doing bridal prep then I do a casual arrival at the Church nearly an hour before the bride arrives ..that way I also catch the guys arriving 30 minutes before.

If I'm also doing prep then I tell the bride she MUST be in her dress 30 minutes before the limo picks her up so I can do final shots of jewellery being put on and then I'm out the door and at least 25 minutes ahead of the limo so I have that extra time to set up and then sit quietly on the kerb waiting for the limo.

There is nothing worse than trying to break speed limits getting to the ceremony and as you arrive, there is no parking and the limo has already stopped and the girls are getting out! Not a good scenario!!

Chris
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Old May 21st, 2014, 07:22 AM   #11
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Re: Do you charge for rehearsals?

spot on chris yep thats me..
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Old May 21st, 2014, 08:00 AM   #12
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Re: Do you charge for rehearsals?

Hey Steve

I only took one mistake of actually having the limo in front of me and myself covered in sweat trying to convince the bride to wait in the car while I set up cameras. I never did that again!!

I would much rather sit on my backside waiting for the limo, cool calm and collected knowing everything inside is ready to roll ...even if I sit for 20 minutes waiting it's a good feeling knowing you are ready!

Chris
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Old May 21st, 2014, 08:23 AM   #13
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Re: Do you charge for rehearsals?

I always feel the need to capture the bridal car arriving and as you all know it is impossible to predict - I used to get one of the bridesmaids (or even the bride herself) to call we when they'd set off but invariably they forgot. So even though I am usually set up in good time I always have the dilemma of when to spend that 5 minutes running round turning everything on - too early and I end up with massive files (3 cameras) and too late and I might miss her arrival :/
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Old May 21st, 2014, 09:16 AM   #14
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Re: Do you charge for rehearsals?

Hi Pete

As a solo operator like you I film the limo arrival and the bride walking up to the Church entrance and then the bridal party spend a minute at the entrance "composing" themselves which is a perfect time go down the aisle and turn on the main camera and make sure it is still framed correctly then the GoPro gets turned on and started. My third cam on my shoulder is already in standby from the bridal arrival so that's ready to go and I do turn both wireless mics on prior to going outside as the batteries will run for supposedly 6 hours so they are on 15 minutes early. I then turn around with the second EA-50 and wait for the music to start cue and when that happens the main cam runs (I also make sure it's actually recording) then wait for bridal entry on the second EA-50 whilst the first has a wide shot of the guys waiting so on the actual video I can cut nicely between the 2 EA-50's and the high mounted Gopro..

The only thing I physically miss is the bride walking into the Church entrance where she waits for the music.

Chris
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Old May 21st, 2014, 10:18 AM   #15
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Re: Do you charge for rehearsals?

My clients seldom if ever ask about rehearsals. If I do attend its really for my benefit rather than theirs to save me valuable thinking time on the day for when I'm figuring out the equipment placements - I aim to go to churches whose interiors I am unfamiliar with. You can of course also look at the wedding galleries of photographers who have shot there to get a feel for the layout and the rules.

It can be invaluable for smoothing the way with otherwise awkward celebrants as well.

You probably earn brownie points with the clients as well if you offer to attend without them asking, so more recommendations may result.

The rehearsal is also an opportunity to discuss the timeline and events for the day which I'd have to do by phone and email anyway.

I always have the dilemma of when to spend that 5 minutes running round turning everything on - too early and I end up with massive files (3 cameras) and too late and I might miss her arrival

I don't worry about file sizes any more particularly now that 3TB external hard drives are under 80 each. Usually I set the cams etc running in good time then stop and restart them if there is an opportunity to do so just before the actual start. The AVCHD files are in convenient 20min chunks anyway so quite often I can dump entire files from the start and the end. And GoPro in 17 min chunks of course.

I download the AVCHD files direct from the cards as is without joining the segments up by downloading in an NLE. I don't worry about the slight loss of audio where files should join as I have separate recorders for that anyway.

Pete
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