Screwed in Chicago at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > Special Interest Areas > Wedding / Event Videography Techniques

Wedding / Event Videography Techniques
Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old July 24th, 2015, 08:00 PM   #1
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 51
Screwed in Chicago

My regular videographer already had a gig so I had to hire someone new to video a wedding for me while I focused on the photography. Here in Chicago, there's just not a lot of good video freelancers, not who shoot in my style, more cinematic, more motion. I'm just not into slapping a camera on a stick with three legs and falling asleep while it rolls.

So I find these two 21-year-old kids who have invested into their equipment, come across as mature yet fun. He's 15 minutes late to our initial meeting, but stuff happens, I get that. We talk about him shooting the wedding for me and I really don't have anyone else that's close to them. He seems to have a lot of energy, he's excited about the biz, so I go with him. We also talk about my need to hire someone to edit my wedding videos and he agrees to do one at a standard rate.

He shows up 15 minutes late to the wedding gig, but otherwise is professional, engaged, and seems to do a good job. I hand over a hard drive with the other unedited video on it, and say edit it, and put all the footage from today on it as well. I know, huge mistake. If you hand them cash, you've got to have the footage.

He doesn't edit in the timely manner we talked about. I had given him a completely edited wedding of mine so he could replicate my style, but it's pretty easy. Color correction, use dissolve transitions, unless the music or whatever calls for hard cuts, and to put the reception details before the grand entrance, and wrap up with a dance montage of the guests dancing. I provide music for the detail montage and the dance montage.

After more than a month, he finally gives me a date that he'll deliver. I write an email asking what time we'll meet, no response. I write again a few days later asking simply for the footage from the wedding, and he says he's got the wedding edited. We meet and I write him a check, and he gives me the hard drive.

As it turns out, all the footage from the wedding is on there. But the edited video isn't really edited at all. The cuts are there, but no color correction, no dissolves whatsoever, no editing. There was supposed to be a highlights sequence, a ceremony sequence, and a reception sequence. There is a reception and ceremony sequence, but no highlights.

I contact him and he says it must be a PC vs Mac problem. He says he's running Windows 7 (isn't that outdated?) and used Premiere Pro CC trial version to edit it. I'm on Yosemite 10.10.3 and have the whole Adobe Creative Cloud programs. He said I must have lost the sequences. I said, what? I've been dealing with wedding videos since 2001, I know my way around these programs. I asked him to send me a project file and he said he couldn't find it.

When I asked him to fix what he sent me, he said I was questioning his professionalism and he doesn't know what I did with the three videos (sequences) that he edited in full for me. He said he would fix these "asap" as a courtesy to me. Since then, it's been radio silence. He didn't respond to my email this morning simply asking when it would be done ("asap" can mean different things to different people) and I'm now late on delivery to the clients. I simply need to communicate to them when they can expect the video.

So I'm at a loss as to what to do. Presuming this is the last I hear from him, do I sue him in small business court just on principle? Or do I just walk away from this, and wonder how many more people he's going to screw along the way?
Ron McKinney is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 24th, 2015, 08:19 PM   #2
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Perth, Western Australia
Posts: 8,222
Re: Screwed in Chicago

Hi Ron

I think the old advice of "if you want something done properly then do it yourself" rings true here but assuming you have simply no time to edit then unless you have supplied a detailed written point by point edit instruction to the guy you don't really have a case to take to court as editing is more a creative thing. You gave him the footage and he put it together so technically he did his job ...maybe no the way you asked him to but he did do it so you have no real option but to move on and look for a decent editor that knows your style and what you like?
Chris Harding is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 24th, 2015, 09:24 PM   #3
Major Player
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: New York City
Posts: 317
Re: Screwed in Chicago

Amateurs never deliver. Like you I needed a crane operator and I hired a guy (amateur like your guy) because it was cheap. All he had to do was moving the crane as everything was preset. Result? after 10 minutes I turn around and I see him dancing with the guests. I mean.. yeah.. dancing.. I said "what happened?" and he said "oh.. the monitor shuts down so I left". Like in your case it was entirely my fault because I supposed to hire a professional. Simple like that.
Anthony Lelli is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 24th, 2015, 10:08 PM   #4
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 6,609
Re: Screwed in Chicago

Sounds like a guy I knew slightly sometime ago. He screwed a good friend of mine and before that he screwed a bunch of brides on his own. I don't even remember his name but I think he got out of the biz (thankfully) a couple of years ago.
If it were me, I'd let it go. Like Chris says, technically he did his job. Frankly, IMO it's not worth the trouble of going after him in court.
__________________
What do I know? I'm just a video-O-grafer.
Don
Don Bloom is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 24th, 2015, 10:57 PM   #5
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 51
Re: Screwed in Chicago

I was hoping you would see this, Don, as you're the guy here in Chicago. He's unlikely to be the guy you're thinking of, as he just turned 21. Hate to think he's going to continue getting jobs here in Chicago and just do a crappy job, if at all.

It's funny. Nobody really wants to work at getting really good in this industry anymore. In 2001-03, when I first started doing wedding videos in Phoenix, man... there was a group of us that would climb walls.... work 24 hours straight... edit until all hours of night (then let the machine render the rest of the night while we slept)... we busted our balls to get good and earn a good paycheck. These days, everyone wants to just buy a camera and have everything handed to them. A lot of ppl talk like they're work their butts off to be successful, but they don't actually do it.

Okay, rant over. Thanks for listening. Back to editing the job I paid the guy to do. :-)
Ron McKinney is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 24th, 2015, 11:02 PM   #6
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 51
Re: Screwed in Chicago

Thanks, Chris. I did give him instructions, he did take notes, and then he simply ignored them. And it really wasn't very comprehensive. I just broke down how the reception video should be put together: details/entrance/cake/toasts/formal dances/bouquet and garter toss if done/guests dancing montage. Pretty simple. I just asked for dissolve cuts unless the situation/music called for hard cuts.

The thing is, I have my way of doing things so I wasn't expecting a completely finished project. I just wanted everything together, color corrected, and then I'd wrap it up.

He did put together most of it, so yeah, you're probably right that I wouldn't probably win in court. My hope is that he wouldn't show up and I would win by default. :-) Letting it go... Thanks for taking the time to comment.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post
Hi Ron

I think the old advice of "if you want something done properly then do it yourself" rings true here but assuming you have simply no time to edit then unless you have supplied a detailed written point by point edit instruction to the guy you don't really have a case to take to court as editing is more a creative thing. You gave him the footage and he put it together so technically he did his job ...maybe no the way you asked him to but he did do it so you have no real option but to move on and look for a decent editor that knows your style and what you like?
Ron McKinney is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 25th, 2015, 02:52 AM   #7
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Belgium
Posts: 9,068
Re: Screwed in Chicago

I think you should have checked before you paid, not sure if you could have taken a laptop with you and connect the harddrive through a docking station? You maybe also could have asked if he could also render out what he edited into a format ready to build a blu-ray or dvd so you could have quickly spotted he didn't do it right before you paid.

I have hired a freelancer a few years back who also messed up but during the shoot, he had a gopro which was used in the car of the weddingcouple and he lost that footage because his mac laptop apparently crashed, why the other footage remained intact is a mystery :)
Noa Put is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 25th, 2015, 06:13 AM   #8
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 6,609
Re: Screwed in Chicago

Ron,
I think the problem is anyone can buy a camera to do video with. Few bother to hone their craft. BAM! All vidguys suck! Look at this garbage, plus he left the reception after only 14 hours! It only takes a couple of bad ones to ruin it for everyone but that's true in many professions. You're right, this wouldn't be the guy I knew back a few years ago. This guy is probably 8 to 10 years too young but the song remains the same.
I know everyone has to start out somewhere but I always felt that they should learn on someone elses job not mine and IF I was going to hire you I want to see some work that you shot. Not edited, but RAW footage and then the edited version.
Well, in this case, you unfortunately learned the hard way hopefully it won't cost you too much.
Good luck to you!
Since I'm retired now, I doubt I'll be seeing you around except for here. ;-)
__________________
What do I know? I'm just a video-O-grafer.
Don
Don Bloom is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 25th, 2015, 06:37 AM   #9
Major Player
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: Liverpool
Posts: 495
Re: Screwed in Chicago

Did the guy have any footage to show you of his work previously?
Did he not wish to work for free, given that he had literally no experience at all?

If he's just starting out, I think you have to look at his limitations. If he's not very good in Premiere for example (given that he had a Trial version), he may have found this really difficult to edit if he's a novice. That would explain his long turnover time, as well as his frustrations with you when you didn't seem pleased.

Sure, there's a lie or two in there as well... who knows his reasons for them, but what you may deem to be a lack of editing, may just be a lack of understanding and ability on his part.

E.g. "Do you know how to colour grade?"
"Yes" *I think that's when you change the under or over exposed shots to look exposed*
"Brilliant. You're hired."
"Thanks" *I hope I'm right*

I'm not making excuses for the guy, but there's definitely a lot of long-serving videographers who turnover work that is point and shoot, so not all novices and experienced pros are equal.

The reason I mentioned pay is because I did my first three weddings for free. I'm sure others would have done the same... so maybe he should have been taking on this job for free with a view of working with you next time on a paid gig.

As for youngsters wanting to get paid easily, I think that largely depends on the person and it's unfair to lump everyone together. I am in my twenties, spent two years worth of wages accumulating my gear, and am just now about ready to begin shooting weddings full time after watching courses, learning here, and watching as many wedding videos as I can... if it's your passion and goal, it'll come through in your work ethic. This guy might just be passionate about his toys...
Craig McKenna is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 25th, 2015, 07:25 AM   #10
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Perth, Western Australia
Posts: 8,222
Re: Screwed in Chicago

I would never send my footage out to an editor because he/she wasn't there at the wedding so all he has is a bunch of footage. I might film an important cutaway during say, speeches that I cannot get to while the speeches are happening "Thanks to Aunt Hilda for making such a beautiful cake" ..Ok I can grab a shot of Aunt Hilda smiling but the cake is behind 3 sets of tables so I miss it and grab a shot after the speeches. I know it needs to be dropped in during speech 4 when the groom is talking about the cake but on the footage it might be 20 clips later. Is an editor going to figure that one out?? I doubt it!! I know what I want to use in my edit and if need be, for convenience, I might film stuff totally out of sequence ..I know which way they need to go but an editor wouldn't ... How do you get around that ... I could see running timecode on the main track and then giving instructions insert clip 0045 at 15:21:43 and clip 0049 at 16:27:01 but if you have to do that, why bother with all the extra work and just edit it yourself ..the end result is already in your mind as you shot it and it way easier for you to do it anyway!

I don't get the external editor thing at all at a wedding ..where are the advantages???
Chris Harding is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 25th, 2015, 07:45 AM   #11
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 51
Re: Screwed in Chicago

Chris,

I mainly do photography these days, but I started out in wedding videography, so I continue to offer it. But if I spend all my time editing, I'm not out there networking, marketing, shooting, building my business. I now am set up where I have a photo editor but unfortunately am still looking for a video editor. :-)
Ron McKinney is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 25th, 2015, 07:52 AM   #12
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 51
Re: Screwed in Chicago

Craig, you make some good points here. It's not his shooting that is an issue, other than their inexperience with weddings. They wanted to set up a tripod in the aisle, and the guy shooting the procession set up to the side. I explained to him that when the bride comes, everyone will stand and he won't have a shot. So he came next to me on the aisle where he belongs, but he still had his tripod. Had to laugh at that.

I just... made a freaking mistake hiring these kids. Paying for it now. Like you said, I did my first gigs for free, too. This wasn't their first gigs, though. But apparently, they hadn't learned as much as I'd hoped.

They were also misleading in what they had for their equipment. They said they had a long lens, but they didn't, that's why they had the tripod halfway up the aisle.

I think I'm just venting/rambling. Back to work now...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig McKenna View Post
Did the guy have any footage to show you of his work previously?
Did he not wish to work for free, given that he had literally no experience at all?

If he's just starting out, I think you have to look at his limitations. If he's not very good in Premiere for example (given that he had a Trial version), he may have found this really difficult to edit if he's a novice. That would explain his long turnover time, as well as his frustrations with you when you didn't seem pleased.

Sure, there's a lie or two in there as well... who knows his reasons for them, but what you may deem to be a lack of editing, may just be a lack of understanding and ability on his part.

E.g. "Do you know how to colour grade?"
"Yes" *I think that's when you change the under or over exposed shots to look exposed*
"Brilliant. You're hired."
"Thanks" *I hope I'm right*

I'm not making excuses for the guy, but there's definitely a lot of long-serving videographers who turnover work that is point and shoot, so not all novices and experienced pros are equal.

The reason I mentioned pay is because I did my first three weddings for free. I'm sure others would have done the same... so maybe he should have been taking on this job for free with a view of working with you next time on a paid gig.

As for youngsters wanting to get paid easily, I think that largely depends on the person and it's unfair to lump everyone together. I am in my twenties, spent two years worth of wages accumulating my gear, and am just now about ready to begin shooting weddings full time after watching courses, learning here, and watching as many wedding videos as I can... if it's your passion and goal, it'll come through in your work ethic. This guy might just be passionate about his toys...
Ron McKinney is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 6th, 2015, 09:48 AM   #13
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Rolling Meadows IL
Posts: 51
Re: Screwed in Chicago

hey!

I'm located in Chicago .

hit me up sometime....

trheberling@gmail.com
Travis Heberling is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 6th, 2015, 10:15 AM   #14
Trustee
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Crookston, MN
Posts: 1,353
Re: Screwed in Chicago

Ron, if you're ever in a spot again, my wife and I would love to come down to Chicago (from Minnesota).
Robert Benda is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 6th, 2015, 10:23 AM   #15
Trustee
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Deep South, U.S.
Posts: 1,386
Re: Screwed in Chicago

Seems like your expectations were pretty high for someone you did not know much about. Live and learn but I bet there are some folks there who would do good work. Look for an older person. You are just going to have to dig deeper. Also, his being late is a good indicator not planing properly and no desire to provide a positive image.
__________________
Mark
videos: http://vimeo.com/channels/3523

Last edited by Mark Williams; August 6th, 2015 at 11:07 AM.
Mark Williams is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > Special Interest Areas > Wedding / Event Videography Techniques

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 07:35 PM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network