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


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Old July 30th, 2014, 11:54 PM   #1
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Length of long version

Hi, wondering if you promise brides a specific length for the long version (assuming you make one).

Up to 90 minutes? Up to two hours?

If so, how do you deal with the scenario where the material they want you to include exceeds that quota? Eg: Indian ceremony that chews up two hours, or Serbian people who want to see everything, or lots of entertainment at the reception they want to see in full. Do you charge them extra?

Conversely, what about a situation where you're very light on material to get near the quota? Eg: it was only a ten-minute civil ceremony, and people gave 30-second speeches at the reception.

I've never promised a specific length in the past. But lately I've felt that giving a number makes things clearer with clients, and makes them appreciate the editing more...
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Old July 31st, 2014, 01:28 AM   #2
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Re: Length of long version

Hi Adrian

When they ask me "how long will the video be" I tell them "How long is a piece of string" ..You can sorta calculate some of the events but sheesh ..how do you calculate speeches .. I had a wedding with 10 speeches that were all over in 15 minutes (I expected an hour) and then I had a bride's father who went on for 37 minutes non-stop (my record) However based on a 20 minute ceremony and 5 speeches around 5 minutes each at a standard Western wedding I usually tell them it's between 80 and 100 minutes and that is for both bridal preps and up to the first dance plus a bit of dancing (around 3 songs)

The better way to do it is to always give them a 2 x DVD set ... that normally keeps them quiet and sounds a good deal even if the content only barely makes 50 minutes of edited footage.

Chris
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Old July 31st, 2014, 03:55 AM   #3
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Re: Length of long version

When ever I'm asked how long will it be I reply with the following:

1) How long will the ceremony be?

2) How long will the speeches and toasts be?

Add those together and then add some. As said above, most people can take a guess at the ceremony but not the speeches.

My shortest ever ceremony was 1 minute 57 seconds and shortest speeches about 1 minute 40 seconds for all three. So, how do I make a 90 minute video from that ? I managed 26 minutes - no bride / groom prep to use either.

Longest ceremonies (combined) 4 hours, longest speeches just over 2 hours (yawn). How do I make a 90 minute video from that?

Most of them fit in to 90-120 minutes, so are a little shorter (70-80) very few are longer. The long form doesn't get watched that many times either.
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Old July 31st, 2014, 03:57 AM   #4
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Re: Length of long version

I stopped making separate long versions, now I do a 20 minute highlight version and have a paid option where they can get the ceremony from beginning to end, or the speeches or acts performed by friends. So they have the short 20 minute version they can show family and friends and when they get bored they can look a at the entire ceremony separately or look at speech 1, speech 2, act 1 and if they did a special dance routine during their first dance I"ll also have that as a separate continuous clip. parts from those separate clips can also be found back in the highlights but there I do cut back each part considerably so it all fits in 20 minutes.
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Old July 31st, 2014, 09:52 AM   #5
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Re: Length of long version

I used to mention that my long form is usually around an hour, maybe 90 minutes... then we filmed a Catholic wedding, full mass, and the bride wanted everything included, even Communion. Just that ran 87 minutes, nevermind getting ready, establishing shots, speeches, and dancing. The full length video ran 2 hours and 46 minutes.

Our contract reserves editing and such to our pleasure, but really I only exercise that with our 15-20 minute highlight film. With the long form, I simply ask them what they want, and don't want, even afterwards. As I pointed out with one future client: sometimes at the Catholic weddings, the singer is from the church, so maybe that doesn't mean anything to you. We still film it, but AFTER the wedding, they get a little questionnaire asking about that kind of thing. It usually only has 1 or 2 items on it, though.
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Old August 1st, 2014, 02:24 PM   #6
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Re: Length of long version

3 minute trailer (serves as intro to the film, eventually, too)
15 minute highlights
90 or so minutes of "running footage", chapterized, which they can watch as desired.
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Old August 1st, 2014, 03:11 PM   #7
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Re: Length of long version

90 to 110 minutes tops. Over that, I charge in increments of 10 minutes at $125 each. Extra time is more work and more work is money. They are made aware of that before they sign. It is written on the contract. If they want a separate full ceremony version , they get the non edit copy of it for $100. If they want non stop dancing, they can have that too at $250 extra. There is a price for everything, just like a food menu in a fancy restaurant. Try getting away with free coffee and dessert, are you kidding....
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Old August 1st, 2014, 04:56 PM   #8
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Re: Length of long version

I do like Arthur's approach. Firstly, it's realistic from our point of view. We should charge properly for our time instead of just saying "90 extra minutes? No problem. You can have that on me."

Secondly, brides don't always understand things like the use of a second videographer ("Is there really a difference?"), but they do understand numbers. After all, they'd complain if you promised them a 15-minute "feature film", and only supplied 10 minutes. So they know that time is money, and they won't begrudge you the extra cost.

What makes me uncertain, though, is that charging extra for the long version if it exceeds a certain length is a sort of "hidden cost" that's in addition to a package agreed upon upfront, and it may move into the territory of re-editing. So, you might submit a video to the bride that's longer than 110 minutes, and charge her extra for it, and she might say, "No, no. Please reduce." Or vice versa -- "This is too short. Please add more. I'll pay for it." Just seems messy to me. But I suppose it's down to clearer communication with client before doing editing you're not going to be paid for, or burning a DVD.
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Old August 1st, 2014, 10:10 PM   #9
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Re: Length of long version

In this business communication and a clear understanding of what the client will get for the price agreed upon is what will prevent headaches and lawsuits down the road. This all starts out at the contract signing level where options pricing are laid out and discussed. The fine print is also made aware to them this way they cannot act ignorant to the terms. How many times have you heard the bride say '" Oh, I thought you were gonna film the whole reception and all, what happened ? you only filmed 5 dances, where are all the rest ?"
Now I can clearly point out to them that that extra $250 option was not purchased by them. That was on line 5 of the options fine print which has been pointed out to them.
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Old August 1st, 2014, 10:40 PM   #10
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Re: Length of long version

This is interesting actually because even the bride doesn't know if her Dad (the major culprits) will keep his speech to 5 minutes or drone on for 45 minutes about his darling daughter. A couple of those sort of speeches and the video can easily exceed the "offered" length.

I must admit I never offer a specific length nor do I surcharge the bride for longer than normal speeches because if I take my average video length over say, 10 weddings, the longer ones often are averaged out back to normal by the shorter ones. I've had a groom speech that lasted 30 seconds and that included him walking up to the podium and back again ... bonus for me!

I'm only specific about what I cover so it will be in the latter part of the evening, the speeches, the cake cutting, the first dance and 3 songs after the first dance..then I'm outa there!

Isn't it getting a bit messy by starting to penalise the bride over length ? and if we say anything over 100 minutes will be $100 per 10 minutes, what are the chances she will also want to know if it's LESS than 100 minutes will she get a price reduction? Surely we are at the venue anyway and if the speeches are scheduled for say 8:00pm and the cake/first dance at 9:00pm, if the speeches finish at 8:30 instead of 8:55 we still have to hang around for the next event ..??

Chris
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Old August 2nd, 2014, 11:41 AM   #11
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Re: Length of long version

I make absolutely sure that their video is at least 90 minutes long, even if it means filming guests hanging around the bar a few times doing nothing or having to get every individual candidly at the tables. I don't want to introduce the possibility that she may complain about being given a shorter job than contracted for. Yes, there were speeches that last forever but that is not the norm and only happen about 1% of the time around these parts. In those cases, I just include them without regard to overtime fees. Most speeches only total around 10 minutes or less. If speeches were over 45 minutes, then there is no edit work on my part for those and would gladly leave them in. Ever notice when a speech is over 5 minutes long the guests lose interest and start talking to each other or start going to washrooms or the bar ? Believe it or not, I often suggest to the couple to have the speeches shortened down. There is nothing more embarrassing to the speecher when most lose interest and he still has another 3 sheets to go.
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Old August 2nd, 2014, 11:56 AM   #12
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Re: Length of long version

I remember saying this in another post, but here goes:

For me, the 90 minute version is an easy include (since I have to edit through it anyway, to create the trailer and highlights). Why not include it? Nothing to charge more for. The "running footage" comes first for me in the edit. (Sorting through it, labeling trailer/highlights material), and by the time I've done that, I have for them their documented footage to include, chapterized, on their discs.

I guess it's just the workflow that works best for me. And I try to film in such a way that there is minimum "clean-up" needed for that running/doc stuff. Takes about 3-5 hours of editing the "running footage". The rest of the time is trailer and highlights (the bulk), then final discs/covers.
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Old August 2nd, 2014, 07:33 PM   #13
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Re: Length of long version

I agree, you can not tell until the end, however it is also depends on what kind of wedding, long ceremony or short. American, East Indian or Middle eastern Mine are about 60-80 minutes most of the time.
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Old August 3rd, 2014, 11:11 AM   #14
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Re: Length of long version

Tim, I like that, taking like 3-5 hours for the main edit. Exactly like I do it.
The highlight or trailer part is what takes up a lot of my time but I have a charge for that extra 5-10 minute footage. If they want that it's another $200 on the tab. I do not push for it as I prefer to do as little editing as possible, but there are many that purchase it anyway, and if they do go for it I get paid that extra up front before doing any work. That will add a little extra time to the finished product and that is why I limit my videos to 110 minutes + 10 for the highlights to keep it under 2 hours for DVD disc. I recently had a couple that initially booked for $1400 but later decided on extra time and highlight as well as full ceremony coverage with full reception dances along with the groom's prep and also following the photog to the park, all totaling more than $2500. That is not including the extra $100 charge for having to put it all on 2 BluRay copies.
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Old August 4th, 2014, 10:08 AM   #15
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Re: Length of long version

I've not done too many weddings, but for a full wedding, from bride preps to disco, will give them about 40 minutes, with each part of the day edited into little 5 minute sequences. Most of the time the edit comes closer to 60 minutes, so as long as I'm not delivering less than 40 mins I think its fine. I normally specify that speeches, regardless of length, will be cut down into 5 minutes of the best bits but they have the option of buying the unedited footage on a hard drive if they really want to watch all the speeches in full. I may start putting the speeches in full with minimal cutaways to bulk up running time, but who really wants to watch them more than once?
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