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


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Old October 30th, 2014, 11:00 AM   #46
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Re: Any one only offering highlights?

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why do you assume no one except the B&G and their parents want to watch the video? We post our 15 minute films online for them to share, and average is 125-175 views, though a few got 250 or so. That is just too many for it to be politeness. I have had a few tell me they haven't watched their full length.. its too long. One with Catholic mass, full speeches, ended up being over two hours long.
How far are you drilling down into the stats to see whats really going on? A click-through on its own is meaningless, you really need to ascertain not only how many unique visitors there were but how many watched for several minutes. I think you can do that with vimeo, not sure about the current level of data available with youtube or facebook. I would be impressed if a significant proportion of those numbers are viewers watching more than as much time as is needed to see if they are in it and what they looked like :- )

Video is more popular in Roberts part of the world than in the UK - a heck of a lot more popular, but even so I would be surprised if the "true" viewers are in large numbers. My own opinion is based on ooooooh billions of consultations with primarily photography enquirers in which we talk about what they are looking to have. Quite often they mention friends wedding they've been to, not in a complimentary way as regards the choices of vendors etc.

I meant to add in my earlier post that I think if you are to have a highlights reel as well as longform, then the highlights one needs to be unique in its own way not just a shorter version of the longform with bits chopped out. But to capture for these different styles at the same wedding introduces its own set of challenges; extra kit and extra set up and breakdown times, a 2nd and even a 3rd shooter. That in turn bumps up the cost plus risks changing the ambience of the day from wedding to an on-location film shoot with all the scripting storyboarding repeating etc that this brings.

I'm not really sure whats so daunting about a one hour or even a two hour wedding video for the client. I insert lots of chapter markers (using Vegas Pro then into DVD Architect Pro). I've just finished one for a 38 minute church ceremony. There are 16 chapter markers within it which the client can cycle through in nano-seconds using the chapter buttons on their DVD remote to find whatever part they want e.g. the bride making her vows, exchange of rings, 3 separate readings. If they play an MP4 on a computer or tablet of phone they cannot generally use chapter buttons but they have a scrub-bar instead to rapidly skip to the part they want. I don't do DVD menus as such any more. Really who ever uses a menu on a DVD? Really? Are your wedding menus cheesy? Be honest. Yes you. Just skip around with the chapter buttons :- )

I quite understand why a client would not want to feed her friends a one or two hour epic. But is she having it for her or for them?

Pete
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Old October 30th, 2014, 11:13 AM   #47
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Re: Any one only offering highlights?

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Originally Posted by Peter Riding View Post

I meant to add in my earlier post that I think if you are to have a highlights reel as well as longform, then the highlights one needs to be unique in its own way not just a shorter version of the longform with bits chopped out. But to capture for these different styles at the same wedding introduces its own set of challenges; extra kit and extra set up and breakdown times, a 2nd and even a 3rd shooter. That in turn bumps up the cost plus risks changing the ambience of the day from wedding to an on-location film shoot with all the scripting storyboarding repeating etc that this brings.

Pete
This is the approach I've been taking lately - shooting for two completely different types of videos during the day.

Long form documentary is my main deal because that's what clients in my area seem to prefer.

But, I hire "creative specialists" as I call them, to come in and use their DSLRs - Steadicams/Ghosts and Sliders to get that "beautiful footage" as best they can.

So far it's worked out awesome. They do their thing and I do my thing.

I use most of their stuff for the vimeo highlights and then the majority of my stuff for the long form edits. So it ends up being two completely different products and the shots in one generally don't appear in the other.

The last highlights reel I put on vimeo had over 400 hits in 3 days! I was pretty impressed by that. I definitely want to keep doing the short highlights because it really gets the name out there.
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Last edited by Kyle Root; October 30th, 2014 at 11:17 AM. Reason: wrong number
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Old October 30th, 2014, 01:22 PM   #48
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Re: Any one only offering highlights?

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Originally Posted by Peter Riding View Post
How far are you drilling down into the stats to see whats really going on? A click-through on its own is meaningless, you really need to ascertain not only how many unique visitors there were but how many watched for several minutes.
No one will show us how long they watch the video, so this past week's posting, I finally wised up and sent the bride a link to a page on my website with their video embedded. That way, I can use Google Analytics to see how long someone looks at the page.

So, early results show 21 unique people clicked on the page. 18 clicked on the video.
I don't know how many finished it, but I can see that the average time watching the 16:06 minute video is 13:41

Not too shabby. It will be interesting to see how that shapes up over time, with more information. This one was a small wedding. The few I'll be posting were not.

Page in question:
Jill & Andrew’s Wedding Film | RNB Weddings by Robert & Nomani Benda
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Old October 30th, 2014, 01:28 PM   #49
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Re: Any one only offering highlights?

I agree with Pete that a full length video doesn't need to be daunting. There is often a perception from those that specialise in highlights that the long form is boring and friends wouldn't want to watch it. I would have to agree with Pete that proper use of chapter markers makes it very easy to skip through, so that those that don't want to watch it all don't have to.

I like options, and I like my clients to have the option to watch as little or as much as they want. A shortform gives no options at all, they get what you choose to give them. I would be mortified if I spent ages putting together a carefully crafted shortform, only for the Bride to say 'What happened to Grandad's speech?' Who am I to decide what is important or not to the family.

This thread has been very interesting and made me think that the term Wedding Video is really no longer a catch all that is appropriate. What is better, a sit down spread or a buffet, A chocolate family or a sweet trolley, a band or a disco. The answer of course is that they are all different and none is better than the other. Perhaps it is time to just go in different directions with a documentary of your wedding day or a fun summary, neither being mutually exclusive and both being totally different products. I suppose that nobody who really wants a summary would choose a documentary instead, and vice versa, but they may well want both ;-)

Roger
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Old October 30th, 2014, 03:10 PM   #50
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Re: Any one only offering highlights?

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Originally Posted by Roger Gunkel View Post
There is often a perception from those that specialise in highlights that the long form is boring and friends wouldn't want to watch it. I would have to agree with Pete that proper use of chapter markers makes it very easy to skip through, so that those that don't want to watch it all don't have to.
I think that perception comes from personal experience/preference as swell. For me, I would be bored sitting through a friend's wedding documentary. If they had a short form video then I would be much more likely to watch it and stay engaged.

I also think there's a huge difference between chapter markers and being able to watch the parts you want and a well crafted short form wedding. The short form will/should have a great flow to it that skipping around won't have.

Someone earlier mentioned how much a video someone actually watches. If you use wistia then it does give you analytics that show when people tune out, what they skip, etc. I used them for a couple months, but eventually found it too expensive. Interestingly, a majority of the people who watched my highlight films would skip the ceremony/vows and would watch the rest.
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Old October 30th, 2014, 05:15 PM   #51
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Re: Any one only offering highlights?

I am a corporate event guy, not a wedding guy. But no one ever posts about events here so I read about all your wedding stuff. As an outsider my view might be a little different so I donít post a lot here. Let me tell you something. I donít do weddings because what you guys do is damn hard to do. I have nothing but respect for you. I think about doing weddings but every time I read what you guys post I get discouraged about it. This thread alone made me wonder how many old school, pure documentary wedding shooters have given up rather than keep up in recent years.

I love keeping up with technology and change, but not everyone does. Am I right in thinking that just in the recent years your now competing with DSLR guys that donít even know weddings the way you do but they come in and shoot a few minutes of ďflash, bang, wizĒ and are gone. And that could have been your gig? And you guys essentially edit two complete films, a long and a short. You tell the whole story in both. You deal with brides, parents, drunks, and music rights. You write complex contracts. Many of you are SPC and you still go out with sliders, stabilizers, multi-cameras, and full audio kit. You work primarily on Saturdays. For many of you it is seasonal so you must do all you can when you can. There is nothing about that business model that sounds fun to me. I know most of you find it satisfying, I might, Iím not sure. But I do know for sure it is not easy! You have my respect!

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Old October 30th, 2014, 06:12 PM   #52
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Re: Any one only offering highlights?

@Daniel- I'm quite sure that you wouldn't want to sit down and watch a friends full length documentary wedding, but then if the friend wanted that style of video, your requirements would be totally irrelevent. As regards analytical stats, they only give information on what people watch on websites, which in my experience is just getting an idea of what is on offer. Nobody is going to sit and watch an hour of someone elses wedding on line if they can skip through it. Unfortunately people get fixated on meaningless stats and I would rather know what family and friends of my real clients actually like watching.

@Steven- as a long term documentary wedding producer, I have no concerns whatsoever that the new DSLR quick video guys are taking my gig. If I was being asked if I could film cinematic shorts and was turning them down, them I may be worried, but the fact is I am not being asked. The surge in highlight videos seems to be mainly in the US, but if the enquiries come in, I can offer the service. I find that the documentary style really takes no longer to film as I am there all day anyway and it doesn't take me any longer to edit, it is just a different technique. I just happen to feel that doc style is a much more valuable record of their day, that will grow in personal value as the years go by.

Roger
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Old October 30th, 2014, 06:30 PM   #53
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Re: Any one only offering highlights?

Roger, just to be clear, I do deliver both. I figure the full length video is for the bride/groom, and their immediate family, maybe a few close friends. The 15-20 minute video is also for them, repeat viewings, but also for sharing with a wider circle.

The other way I explain it is... the full length is what actually happened. The 15 minuter is more about how it felt.

I decided that by delivering both, I offer maximum value for the client.
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Old October 30th, 2014, 08:26 PM   #54
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Re: Any one only offering highlights?

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Originally Posted by Roger Gunkel View Post
@Daniel- I'm quite sure that you wouldn't want to sit down and watch a friends full length documentary wedding, but then if the friend wanted that style of video, your requirements would be totally irrelevent. As regards analytical stats, they only give information on what people watch on websites, which in my experience is just getting an idea of what is on offer. Nobody is going to sit and watch an hour of someone elses wedding on line if they can skip through it.

Unfortunately people get fixated on meaningless stats and I would rather know what family and friends of my real clients actually like watching.
Zing!

Roger, I was responding to your assertion that the short form guys have this notion that friends wouldn't want to watch a documentary film. I'm agreeing by adding that it also comes from personal preference. If that friend wants a documentary film or not is a different topic.

I don't know what you're stats you are talking about. Wistia shows you that data on the video that you put online, so the stats that come from those videos is mostly friends and family. It's good data to see when people tune out, etc.
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Old October 30th, 2014, 09:22 PM   #55
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Re: Any one only offering highlights?

I always had the notion that wedding videos whether short or long form fell into the same category as when the wife says "George, set up the projector and show our guests our holiday slides from the last 3 years"

To be perfectly honest if I was visiting somewhat who recently got married and they hauled out their wedding disks I would make a hasty excuse to leave.

I'm sure the bride might watch her video (or just the highlights) a couple of times until it's put away on the shelf and maybe only dragged out years later for the grand kids. The groom probably watches it once (under duress) and that's about it!

The answer here is so simple really! Just give the bride what she likes and move on to the next wedding. If brides in your area scramble for a short form style then give it to them or if they want "absolutely everything that happens" then simply oblige! Regardless of style we still have to been on site the same amount of time so does it really matter which style is "better" ??
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Old October 31st, 2014, 04:29 AM   #56
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Re: Any one only offering highlights?

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To be perfectly honest if I was visiting somewhat who recently got married and they hauled out their wedding disks I would make a hasty excuse to leave.
Yeah Chris, you and I might if we went alone, but wives tend to want to see how the bride and bridesmaids looked in their dresses and, for some reason, usually want to see the cake! Ha! A bit like fancying a beer and looking at a picture of a pub instead methinks.

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Old October 31st, 2014, 05:11 AM   #57
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Re: Any one only offering highlights?

Daniel-regarding stats, I was referring to stats in general as I am not convinced that many people in the UK are uploading 90-120 minute videos and expecting anyone to sit down and watch all the way through. So stats are unlikely to tell me anything useful about that type of video. I never upload my client's videos, so Wistia is just a name I have seen on here but as it appears to be a video hosting site, I would assume that stats it supplies are only related to subscribers to the service. If it is something that you have a use for then great, but not for me.

Chris- I would agree that I am really not interested in watching a friends wedding video as the family would mean little to me, however if it was a close family member's wedding that I had perhaps attended, I would feel totally differently about it. I often come across previous clients and a few months ago filmed a wedding where there were five previous client couples. I took the opportunity of asking them about their video and whether they still watch it. They all surprised me by telling me it comes out once every few months and always on wedding anniversaries, plus kids sometimes get it out. They also interestingly all agreed that the photo album just sits in a cupboard gathering dust. 2 of the couples hadn't looked at the album in the last 6 years but had seen the video quite often. I asked them why and they replied that it is always the same, whereas with the video there always seems to be something that they hadn't noticed or heard before. I find that a very common reaction from previous couples.

Dave- you are absolutely right, the women always want to see the different shoes and outfits that the girls were wearing and of course the cake. The girls also seem to like to hear the general comments and conversation, probably because they are more emotionally involved than the guys.

Roger
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Old October 31st, 2014, 06:40 AM   #58
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Re: Any one only offering highlights?

Hi Roger

I certainly don't watch more than a few minutes of an online clip and most bridal forums seem to convince me that neither do brides. They might watch a 2 minute or even 3 minute trailer but then they move on! It's like window shopping! You take a quick look and if you like what you see you make enquiries if you don't like what you see you look for others.

The advertising gurus have the right idea. You need to get your message across in under 30 seconds to keep the client interested ..in fact according to the ad industry you have a mere 30 seconds to make an impression so a trailer with establishing shots of trees and flowers and fancy titles probably won't hold a bride's attention for more than 30 seconds so if you are not into the hard core stuff of the wedding by then you have lost!!

Dave?? It would take more than one beer for me to have to sit down and watch 2 hours of wedding video but then again to incur the wrath of the wife might be worse. I must admit I watch a bit of someone elses wedding video to see how the videographer handles it. In fact I do the same with Hollywood movies too which is why my wife doesn't take me any more! She has tears in her eyes and I'm freaking out about the poor camera movement or continuity!
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Old November 23rd, 2014, 12:05 AM   #59
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Re: Any one only offering highlights?

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About 2 weeks ago, I had lunch with another videographer in the next town over, about 30 miles away.

I'm trying to build out my "rotation" of guys because we're all pretty busy and it never hurts to have 4 or 5 people you can call if you need help.

He charges about what I do ($2,000-$5,000) and only does the highlight reel. He offers the ceremony as an upgrade.

I've been doing "long form", keeping it to about 45 minutes to an hour on average.

The appeal of doing the short ones is, it's easily shareable and watchable on vimeo I've found. I've gotten incredible responses and emotional responses from friends of the couple who have watched my 4-5 minute highlights. I think that's just as important as delivering the full length stuff... so I'm doing both.

Hi Kyle,

I had tried to contact you via private message but then I read that they are disabled on this site, so I'm guessing it did not go through. I'm wondering if you can give me some advice as to how you got to the point where you're able to book weddings for $2000-$5000. I'm in Charlottesville, VA and there are tons of weddings in this area, but I'm not making nearly as much as I'd like per wedding. Here is my website for reference: Silver Streak Weddings - Charlottesville Wedding Videography and Cinematography My top package (The Orchid Package) is $1895 and while I've booked 7 weddings for 2015 only two have booked the Orchid package. The rest have booked either the Daisy Package ($1295) or the Lily Package ($1695).

Do you have any advice for how I can get to the point where I can book weddings where the brides are paying me closer to what you're making? Do you think that it's wise to simply raise my prices and see how it goes? Or have you raised your prices a little bit each year until you got to the point where brides are willing to pay $4900?

If you don't mind sharing, how many weddings do you typically book each year? Do you advertise on Weddingwire or other sites? Or do you mostly get traffic through referrals?

Any help would be appreciated as I really would like to make more money for all of the hard work that myself and my crew put into each wedding video.

Thanks,

Mike Silverman
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Old November 23rd, 2014, 03:33 AM   #60
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Re: Any one only offering highlights?

I guess it depends in what part of the world you live, I charge 1800 dollar and that is about as high as you can go here as most another videographers in my country are around that price, often cheaper. 5000 dollar for a wedding would be unthinkable, at least not if you plan on making a living out of it.
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