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Old August 25th, 2014, 02:25 AM   #1
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Sending samples and getting turned down

First time. I got asked to send out an example DVD. I did so. The couple got back to me and said they felt the editing and audio quality wasn't to the standard they hoped.

It is not a pleasant experience.

But it probably does serve to remind me that I can't be complacent or get comfortable.

I'll address both their issues - firstly audio.

Truth is, I shouldn't have send that particular dvd - but i was in a rush and it was the easiest one at hand to burn a copy of. Truth is, the bride arrived early and I didn't get a chance to turn on my table top recorders. The grooms lav audio also was missing when i went to edit. It turned up in a different couples folder a few weeks too late! I hold me hands up - shoddy!

Truth is, even when I have all my recorders set - I probably can't advertise that my audio is crystal clear. It just can't be in a large stone reverby church without putting a lav mic on everyone who breaks breath.

Is it worth putting a lav on the officiant/priest? I'd really rather not have to ask them this. For readings and prayers, most lecturns have those flexi mics - I'd be tempted to put a lav mic on the end of the lecturn mic rather than just setting the recorder on the tabletop. Good idea?

The problem I have is setup time - I am supposed to be filming the groom and guests arriving - not doing a 20 minute technical production setup! Should I just bite the bullet and tell clients that pre-ceremony footage will be secondary priority to getting the setup right.


Moving on - poor edit quality...

In the service and speeches I alternate between my two CX730s and my DSLR footage in realtime. What more could I do??

The rest of the dvd is effectively all my shots strung together with any bad clips removed. Theres no fancy transitions, and its all soundtracked with some instrumental music with the real audio coming through also. Its pretty straightforward in terms of skill, but to date my goal has been quantity of footage, rather than crafting a really slick edit.

Perhaps the client was expecting something more like my highlights - but thats not realistic whilst keeping the dvd length close to two hours.

I've been debating offering an more cinematic package side by side with my current. The price will stay the same. The workload will remain the same. My product will be 30 minutes highly crafted as opposed to my current 2hours basic edit. There seems to be a demand for it - I believe its what this client would have opted for if the choice was there for them.

Anyone else find themselves draw to creating a more cinematic but shorter feature film to reach these kinds of client?
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Old August 25th, 2014, 02:46 AM   #2
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Re: Sending samples and getting turned down

I switched to making a 20 minute edit that includes all the highlights of the day and offer the full ceremony and speeches as an option, they always pay extra for that, the ceremony and speeches I render out separately so on the dvd they can watch at the highlights but if they want they can watch the ceremony separately from beginning to end, same for speeches, I"ll include speech 1, speech 2 etc. In the highlights I include small bits from every long recording.

So I would only show these 20 minute highlights to the client, I infact have a few on my vimeo account with a password that I show them, saves me the time to make a demo dvd and costs to send it to the client. This is only for clients that live to far from my place and prefer to talk over skype, then I show them a film on my vimeo account before we speak on skype.
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Old August 25th, 2014, 03:09 AM   #3
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Re: Sending samples and getting turned down

Noa, sounds good!

This is the new package I was thinking of offering.

- HIGHLIGHTS 3-5MINS
- SPEECHES - UNCUT
- 30 Minute Feature (features clips from the entire day with full vows and full first dance)
- ALL TIMES APPROX

Do you think 30 minutes (with no footage from speeches) is too much work? Would you recommend 20 minutes?
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Old August 25th, 2014, 03:31 AM   #4
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Re: Sending samples and getting turned down

You forgot the ceremony uncut :) In my 20 minute edit there are excerpts from every speech, usually the last few sentences before they finish their speech, trying to cut down the entire wedding day that includes every highlight to 20 minutes is actually a good exercise in editing. You know what they say: Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away. :)
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Old August 25th, 2014, 04:01 AM   #5
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Re: Sending samples and getting turned down

First rule of video.
Never, ever, give out any material that is not 100%. Clients have no idea about the production process, so to judge your work they compare it to what they see on TV and similar items from other businesses. Nothing bad whatsoever must be in material of this kind.

I'm also confused by your workflow comments. If set up takes twenty minutes it takes twenty minutes. If this means you cannot be in two places at the same time, then you are undermanned. Your choices are simple, more people or less setting up. You cannot have both without compromising quality. We don't do weddings, and our set up time is likely to be an hour or two and probably three people. This is always in the contracts, worded "we require access to the venue from ......." If there's a problem, we find out early.

There is nothing that says the example you provide is exactly the same as you gave the other clients, so a re-edit, and tweak can save the day. Nothing to stop you using cutaways from other weddings to cover any bad bits.

Audio
If the audio you capture is bad, it's bad and needs sorting. There is no excuse for bad audio. Sure, big churches sound like, well, big churches, but it's your job to use equipment that will produce decent audio, and that means multiple mics, close in and proper planning.

My experience of working in Belfast is very positive, I love the place, and am returning in November for ten weeks on a long project - BUT the people talk straight and are not used to compromise. If you promise things, you better deliver what they expect. I like that.

I like the idea of not providing an example, but creating an example DVD in stages, using material from different weddings. Easily explained nowadays by using rights. Explain that the complete video belongs to the client and although you have permission to show clips, you cannot show the complete package, which is actually true in most cases.
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Old August 25th, 2014, 04:12 AM   #6
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Re: Sending samples and getting turned down

Clive, don't beat yourself up over one negative response, you have no idea what they were measuring your work against or their expectations, though I'd be more careful about sending work that you know has flaws.. I'd be happy that they have taken the trouble to tell you why they reject it, many would never get in touch again and then you have no idea what they thought of your work..

What I would add is that you only ever show prospective clients work that you're absolutely certain is work that you are fully happy with. Clients do not want reasons or excuses to explain why what you presented is not your best, but remember even your very best work may still not be what they are looking for. Have you never compared products or services and had to reject the ones that you don't like.

If you are still struggling with getting your recordings right then accept that others may pick up on that when they watch your work. Having recently retired from weddings after 25 years I can say that in all that time the absolute 'perfect' wedding alluded me. There was always something that I'd have preferred to be better, be that acoustics, lighting or even the people. My main concern was that the clients had realistic expectations of what I'd do for them and that I was happy that I'd done the best I could under any given circumstances.
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Old August 25th, 2014, 04:16 AM   #7
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Re: Sending samples and getting turned down

Clive, I'd always mic the priest as well as the podium. Then you've got everyone who says anything except the father of the bride. Won't take you 20 min, especially if you have everything connected in your bags ready to go (microphones or receivers hooked into recorders, etc).
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Old August 25th, 2014, 04:27 AM   #8
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Re: Sending samples and getting turned down

Thanks for the comments guys!

Adrian - What are your priests like in Australia? I would feel rather uncomfortable asking a priest here in Ireland to put a lav mic up through his gown and the recorder in his pocket. I would expect quite a few point blank refusals truth be told.

On this occassion - the audio was poor in the ceremony and I forgot about this until the sample was already sent. I guess I knew it wouldn't go down well.

In fairness, I started a few months ago asking for facebook reviews and ratings. 10 reviews all giving 5 stars out of five.

I guess it is down to what the clients expectations are.

But truthfully - the more footage you include (which i do), the less impressive the edit will be... Am I wrong?

I know that I could blow clients away with a 20/30minute film. But up till now I've been doing well off clients who seem to prefer just having a good amount of coverage to sit through.
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Old August 25th, 2014, 04:34 AM   #9
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Re: Sending samples and getting turned down

DO NOT BEAT YOURSELF UP OVER THIS

Couldn't say that any clearer !! You will have absolute gems in your collection and weddings that you know could of gone better if so and so happened on the day.

That's the nature of the business.

It's good you sent a video with a few flaws ... these clients that were honest with their feedback are obviously after perfection. So let them go elsewhere and possibly pay much more for it. May be a company with multiple camera crew etc.
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Old August 25th, 2014, 04:36 AM   #10
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Re: Sending samples and getting turned down

Hi Clive

I always try and send them online so they can look at sample clips. If they want a DVD then what they get is a whole bunch of menu based clips that show at least 5 or 6 different weddings so they can see my style and quality.

I wouldn't beat myself up over this bride at all. If she feels that your edit and audio is not up to par then write her off. I'll bet the poor sucker she books will end up with a bridezilla and back and forth complaints so I would thank my lucky stars she didn't book you. A bride like that can only cause you many headaches after the wedding ... If she simply didn't like you she just wouldn't have come back to you BUT she did and told you what she was unhappy with etc etc

I'm a firm believer in not sending brides my very best, perfect sample cos THAT's what she will expect and better! At least if she sees a couple of "normal" weddings and likes them you know she is not going to be a super fussy perfectionist and there will be no nasty surprises after the wedding. How do you know it won't be raining, or things might go wrong that are out of your control???

Thanks your lucky stars she never booked you!!

Chris
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Old August 25th, 2014, 04:37 AM   #11
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Re: Sending samples and getting turned down

Quote:
Originally Posted by Noa Put View Post
You forgot the ceremony uncut :) In my 20 minute edit there are excerpts from every speech, usually the last few sentences before they finish their speech, trying to cut down the entire wedding day that includes every highlight to 20 minutes is actually a good exercise in editing. You know what they say: Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away. :)
Na, If I offered a 30minute film - that would include the processional, recessional, welcome, vows and some readings.

There would be no uncut ceremony. Even in my current package the ceremony isn't uncut - I omit some hymns, mass, sermons etc....
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Old August 25th, 2014, 04:49 AM   #12
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Re: Sending samples and getting turned down

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul R Johnson View Post
We don't do weddings, and our set up time is likely to be an hour or two and probably three people. This is always in the contracts, worded "we require access to the venue from ......." If there's a problem, we find out early.
I sympathise with Clive here - I too work alone and church weddings are a challenge to say the least - usually the church is only opened an hour before the ceremony - I have it in my terms and conditions that I need access to a venue 2 hours before to allow me to setup but it rarely happens - a few weeks ago the verger arrived to open up 45 minutes before the ceremony! the groom and lots of guests had already turned up. It's a stress setting up when you feel you should should be filming but I can do it now in 10 minutes. I set up 2 CX730 cameras on lightstands, one usually in a balcony, one lav mic on the lecturn for the readings, a Zoom H1 up by the high alter (if the couple are going up there) and another H1 hidden somewhere near the ceremony itself and, if it's within reach, a Zoom H2 near a church speaker (I don't wasts time tring to tap into the church PA) I then turn on my Olympus recorder and keep it in my pocket ready to give the groom. I then go and film as much as I can and about 15 mins before the ceremony go around and turn everything on.

If the church is one of those that is open through much of the day I get there really early to get the nice cinematic indoor/outdoor architecture shots but that's a bonus.

Regarding sending out samples - don't! Have enough online samples to give a fair representation of your editorial style and when you get an enquiry always offer to meet the couple where you can show more of your work. I used to respond to enquiries with an email saying I was free for their date and here are my prices etc and about 2 in 10 would book. Now I arrange a meeting with them it's 8 in 10 - works wonders.

Pete
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Old August 25th, 2014, 04:55 AM   #13
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Re: Sending samples and getting turned down

Quote:
Originally Posted by Clive McLaughlin View Post
Na, If I offered a 30minute film - that would include the processional, recessional, welcome, vows and some readings.

There would be no uncut ceremony. Even in my current package the ceremony isn't uncut - I omit some hymns, mass, sermons etc....
I never edit the ceremony - I always give it to the couple in full - I can usually edit a ceremony with 3 camera tracks and 4 audio sources on my timeline in not much longer than it takes to watch it so it's no biggie. On the rare occasions I've edited it down for time the couples have commented 'can we have the ceremony in full please?"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Clive McLaughlin View Post
I know that I could blow clients away with a 20/30minute film. But up till now I've been doing well off clients who seem to prefer just having a good amount of coverage to sit through.
Then do that Clive - Produce a showreel and send them that - I don't do showreels any more but what I have found works is to upload a 2/3 minute highlights for each wedding to my blog (with the couples agreement and royalty free music) the week after the wedding, and then let the couple know it is there and they can freely share it on facebook etc - That has generated a lot of work for me so why not try it?
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Old August 25th, 2014, 05:01 AM   #14
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Re: Sending samples and getting turned down

Clive, the priests here (of all faiths) are usually quite willing. Been turned down a few times by grumpy old ones, but generally they're used to it. If not, just say you want to make sure the couple hears them clearly and that the sound is no good otherwise.

But look, I empathise. I get at least a little upset every time a couple goes so far as to meet me, and then decides to go with another company. Any sort of rejection isn't nice.

For what it's worth, I've enjoyed the videos you've posted. Mainly thinking of the A7S test video. You've got an eye for it and skill, at least in my opinion.
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Old August 25th, 2014, 05:14 AM   #15
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Re: Sending samples and getting turned down

You need more time at the church to setup. Telling the bride it was her fault for turning up early is never a good way to go.

We ALWAYS without fail arrive at the ceremony 1 hour before it starts. That gives us 30 mins to setup, negotiate position and then the last half hour filming guest arrivals. If this means not filming the bride getting into her dress then so be it. We also NEVER film the bride leaving, its just a shot of her backside getting into a car in a dress she's never worn before so is just awkward. There is also two of us as I just cannot see how to get everything you need with confidence with just the one. Hats off.

For church ceremonies we mic up the groom, one on the lectern for readings (or lav for each reader if no lectern), tap into the priests wireless if he's got one or mic him up and then a H4 nearby as a worst case backup.

Now the edit, looking at your online samples and how you describe your full films there is a disconnect. Your showing them a polished, time shifted edit and giving them a realtime documentary edit.

Shortform isn't for everyone. We get some clients who love what we do and want the 2 hour epic in that style. we tell them its simply not possible to have the same tight narrative and refer them to someone who does the longer stuff.

This will be the problem you face if you offer both. You will then get annoyed when people choose the longer edit. It's for this reason we stopped the choice and just went with the shorter edit only.

To move to short form you will need to make quite a few changes to the way you edit and shoot. You will need cutaways to allow you to move the story along. Understand the power of the j-cut and l-cut to make that jump through time.
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