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


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Old August 4th, 2015, 02:08 AM   #16
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Re: Asked to film for another company

Like I said before, different worlds in the same place.

Forty quid an hour to walk in walk out. Plenty of people will take this and not object to charging a battery! Plenty of my friends have twenty grand worth of camera and glass on their shoulder and have finance plans on it. Not using it is bad business, so would take the money. Sitting at home watching countdown, or a few hours shooting it? If work is thin and the diary empty, I would take the job, and do. If you consider the amount demeaning, don't do it. Please remember that some of the people who are sneered at as being useless may actually be extremely skilled studio or location guys. Have you ever tried doing broadcast? Freelance guys might get one contract paying five hundred quid a day, and next day be working for one fifty. This has nothing to do with their quality or professionalism and skill. Freedom of work is a right, and if you say no that's fine. Wedding prices are in their own bubble. Nothing wrong with it, but it is NOT reflective of the video industry in general. Forty quid an hour is a lot of money. I suspect weddings may have drifted into one days work equals a week elsewhere. Good business. Today will be probably thirteen hours for me with a big production and will probably be 240. The six people working with me will get between 100 and 180 for their contribution. They pay for their own travel and food. Tea and coffee is supplied! Wedding people would not be my first port of call because they'd be disgusted with the money. Three of my crew are VERY experienced and competent people. We have five days of this. They consider it a good deal!
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Old August 4th, 2015, 02:39 AM   #17
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Re: Asked to film for another company

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Today will be probably thirteen hours for me with a big production and will probably be 240
You are more or less getting the same as what I get for each wedding, remember that a wedding is not one day work, it's a week work including the editing where the actual shooting day can be counted as a double shift with an average of 16 to 18 hours on location.
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Old August 4th, 2015, 02:43 AM   #18
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Re: Asked to film for another company

Paul whilst I agree with some of your points raised, it still goes back to the level of work involved when covering Weddings. What I charge for Corporate and even theatre jobs differs greatly from Weddings; mainly as the latter is so much more stressful than the former. Its hard to explain to anyone not familiar with the days work, but trying on your own to deliver tv and movie quality shots at the pace of live news reporting is extremely challenging; not at all like the many times I have worked as part of a team covering some Fashion Shows, Theatre productions and Corporate events. It demands a level of skill not called on when you're working within a team and the expectations of pay often goes hand in hand with it.

Those in the Industry I frown on or criticise may be highly skilled in their field, but if they're entering mine, I would expect some comparable skills to myself. Same as if I was to go into Broadcast, I would be expected to deliver to its standard of work, or else stay out of it.

That said, I do agree that the high prices of Wedding work, which does take into account pre-production and post production can blind one to think that 40 an hour is indeed a poor wage. Have there been times when I have felt exploited, yes; but I just don't work with that company again.

From Roger's perspective, I can see the issue - you're offering your skills, equipment and experience to a company that is potentially your competitor. I would ignore the other arguments such as time to charge batteries, SD Card downloads as this time is arguably negligible. Travel time could be a factor, but to be honest, it's not one I consider except for the cover of fuel costs.

I don't think the guys offer was so bad; I may disagree with his Business plan and 4 hour package, but he was offering in my mind a fair wage for the work. Would I take the job; I don't know. It would rather depend on how much a threat his business was to my own.

Last edited by Steve Burkett; August 4th, 2015 at 03:40 AM.
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Old August 4th, 2015, 04:19 AM   #19
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Re: Asked to film for another company

Paul, I think you are being a little disingenuous here. You said you are getting 240 for what could end up being a 13 hour day, but then you follow that up with saying that you have 5 days of it. In my eyes, that amounts to 1200 for 5 days work which is somewhat different to 160 for a few hours work competing with myself. If I could end up getting 1200 for a wedding I would be delighted.

I'll also repeat my earlier comment that 40 an hour is not a lot of return for the massive investment in time, equipment and experience that goes into being in a position to carry out the work. There are other considerations as well, one being that you can break it down as 40 per hour, but it is actually a days work as you would be unlikely to be able to take another job on the same day. It may sound a lot compared with what the UK minimum wage is, or what an average weekly wage broken down into hours would be, but that is only relevant if you are doing it for a whole week, plus there is the addition of the equipment that is being hired along with the operator. However, give me a camera, take me to a venue and pay me 40 an hour dry and I will be quite happy to film all day for you.

Have you seen what plumbers charge, how about car repairs, electricians, drain cleaners, or anyone that has specialised knowledge and equipment. Then of course you can try going to a solicitor if you really want to see huge hourly rates, or an accountant, medical specialist and others with years of experience.

I think this is becoming more of a thread about how we value our services and clearly many undervalue it. There are undoubtedly many who are able to point a camera and get ok footage that would be worth paying a minimum amount to, but there are many who I would consider experts who are worth much more. To be able to work in the rapidly changing environment of a wedding, coping with the unexpected, constantly changing lighting, audio problems, and fast action all as a matter of course while producing highly competent footage, coupled with high quality equipment, is not a service to be sold cheaply. Of course if you are sitting on your backside earning nothing and need some money to pay the bills, then anything is better than nothing. Fortunately I am not in that position and would rather sell up and do something else than denigrate what has taken years to build.

Roger
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Old August 4th, 2015, 04:58 AM   #20
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Re: Asked to film for another company

I think its not that we undervalue our work; its more to what level of pay we don't mind working for. Last minute call up for a job - 160; if I was offered this 3 months in advance, I'd say no, but with a few day, how likely would I get other work for that day. And I've tackled a couple of 3-4 hour jobs in a single day. Requires a bit of juggling, but I've combined a few Weddings where I'm starting 1pm with some work in the morning.

Personally I feel Plumbers, Electricians, Car Mechanics and especially Solicitors charge far too high. They've created this niche, where because it's not a luxury expense, people have to pay it. Video is in most cases an expense some couples can cut out, therefore this does limit the prices. Why do you think Photographers can charge more, its because its seen as more essential to Weddings than Video.

I think if you feel in a position to be able to turn down work, then that's a good thing. Maybe you feel that with x number of years experience, you deserve more to warrant taking a job. Fine, but there's money to be made in these smaller jobs. You shouldn't begrudge those who are prepared to take them or even those who offer them.
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Old August 4th, 2015, 05:11 AM   #21
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Re: Asked to film for another company

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Originally Posted by Steve Burkett View Post
Why do you think Photographers can charge more, its because its seen as more essential to Weddings than Video.
You cannot put a wedding video on permanent display, although it may need more effort to produce, from a buyers perspective, you may watch it once or twice and that's it.

My wedding video (ok vhs...) is still on the shelf, my wedding photos are still on the mantelpiece..
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Old August 4th, 2015, 06:32 AM   #22
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Re: Asked to film for another company

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My wedding video (ok vhs...) is still on the shelf, my wedding photos are still on the mantelpiece..
You are right about that permanent display, it's something we never can achieve and a client always has take extra effort to watch their weddingfilm again. But times are changing and I see a 4-5 minute trailer as one the most important parts of a weddingday because they can easily share and watch it whevener or wherever they please, they can look at it on their tv, their tablet and smartphone and have it with them all the time, just like their wedding photo's. The time it takes to show some photos to friends they meet in a public place is the same time to show the trailer, they just take out their smarthpone and show your carefully crafted 4 to 5 minute summary of their weddingday.

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Why do you think Photographers can charge more, its because its seen as more essential to Weddings than Video.
I don't agree anymore though that photographers are paid more then videographers because their work is valued more (I used to because I live in a country where weddingvideo always has been undervalued), I see a clear change in how people value video, especially because it's so easy to share these days, I"m planning to stop shooting weddings as soon as I am able to but I am currently charging the same price as high end wedding photographers where I live, I don't get nearly as many booking requests as they do but considering I still do get requests means people are willing to pay the price if your work is good enough and I expect to see that changing more the next years.

This year for instance I also got a few couples with me that wanted to book me and asked if I could recommend a good photog, something that hardly happened in the past because the photog was also hired first, that for me is also a sign peoples opinion on videography is changing.
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Old August 4th, 2015, 06:48 AM   #23
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Re: Asked to film for another company

Noa, the word I used was essential rather than valued. I still hold to this, though agree times are changing. How many couples hire a Photographer compared to a Videographer. How many Weddings lack a Professional Photographer or even someone handling Photography vs someone handling video or Professional video. That to me suggests Photography is viewed in some way and form as an essential requirement of a Wedding. Couples will have the conversation - we need a Photographer, but many won't even consider video. My last Wedding was a case in point; booked late, the couple never considered video till a friend of theirs that I filmed their Wedding for, persuaded them.

As you say times are changing and mainly because our work can now be viewed by people wider than the immediate family; at least for those Videographers who offer online videos. Many of my videos, no doubt like yours get new views on the couple's Wedding Anniversary. In fact one got more views on the anniversary than it did first time round.

Daniel's point about the mantlepiece is fine, except I have some photos I took 10 years ago on display, when I was heavily into Photography. They're there, but how often do I really look at them - hardly ever. They're just in the background. Whereas a video of a recent holiday I've got on youtube I've viewed more as it's so accessible to so many of my devices.
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Old August 4th, 2015, 08:00 AM   #24
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Re: Asked to film for another company

Odd, I got a call similar to this back in April. The caller ID was a Texas ph#, but googling the # didn't find anything. The caller said his shooter cancelled on him, and he neededa video shooter for a wedding nearby tomorrow (He called me on a Friday). Only thing is my cousin was getting married that evening, and as a guest, I wanted to have my turn in the fun, not taking it easy & thinking about the next days last minute shoot.

He didn't seem like he was calling from a big box company, which there's a couple of in the US, just seemed like a guy with a bad business model & trying to expand & accept gigs too fast. I never asked the rate, as I didn't want it to sound like 'Oh, that's all, I can't do it', since I really wanted to pass on it anyway. But the guy sounded desperate, so I gave him a ph# of another guy I know who shoots them. I called him a few days later, and he said it went well, shot it, edited it, got paid a decent rate. So I'm not sure if that's what the guy was originally paying his videographer, or if he knew he needed to jack up his rates in the final hour to book somebody, and myb he just wanted him to edit it to just be done with it.

Anyway, the whole thing struck me as odd. While it would be great to try to massively expand & run a business model of finding cheap video & photo available at the last minute and book mass quantity weddings, the stress of things like this would make it not worthwhile for me. I guess some people shot a few weddings and feel like they'd rather run the business end of it, taking the bookings & outsourcing the crew. Not ideal, especially when you got a bride & groom relying on you for your big day.
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Old August 4th, 2015, 10:10 AM   #25
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Re: Asked to film for another company

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Originally Posted by Daniel James View Post
You cannot put a wedding video on permanent display, although it may need more effort to produce, from a buyers perspective, you may watch it once or twice and that's it.

My wedding video (ok vhs...) is still on the shelf, my wedding photos are still on the mantelpiece..
I do wedding photography and wedding video and have spoken to a large number of previous customers. I find that almost without exception, those that have both, watch the video far more often than they look at the photos. They may well have a picture on the mantelpiece, but I am frequently told that the photo album gathers dust where the video is looked at on their anniversary, the kids often get it out etc, whereas the photos are just a still image frozen in time. The video captures their laughter, emotion, tears and so much more.

Whenever I see a previous customer, I always ask them if they ever look at their video and/or photos and it is always the video.

Roger
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Old August 4th, 2015, 10:30 AM   #26
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Re: Asked to film for another company

I don't believe that wedding photography is seen as essential and a video as non essential. I see the photography as traditional and the video as non traditional. Photography has been around as long as the modern style of wedding, which is about 150 years. It's traditional in the same way that the dress is traditional, although the dress also is certainly not essential.

As more and more people have a video over the years, the more will see it and want one. It's a slow process but in another twenty years will probably be as common as photography. At the moment, when I am doing a joint package, I often take a really good frame from the video that wasn't taken as a still and now with two 4k cameras, I will be doing a lot more frame grabbing. I can see over the years that stills will be more commonly taken from video and certainly as 8k eventually arrives as it certainly will, it would be logical to use video and lift whatever frame is the best, not bothering with a stills camera at all.

From a cheap wedding viewpoint, things will change as it will be easy to use one camera and crop the video to get the closeup, with perhaps another for a different angle. All stills could be lifted from the video, with the only differences being the need to pose groups and romantic shots. It's basically how I work now on a solo joint shoot, but no doubt there will be companies subcontracting in operators as the accuracy of the footage will be less critical when you can crop from 8k, or even 4k at the moment.

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Old August 4th, 2015, 10:46 AM   #27
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Re: Asked to film for another company

My wedding video is on Betamax, and I can't play it anymore, not that I have even tried, dating back to 1980, but some of the photos are still in frames. I guess they're just different products.
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Old August 4th, 2015, 11:15 AM   #28
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Re: Asked to film for another company

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My wedding video is on Betamax, and I can't play it anymore
Send it to me, I still have a betamax player here so I can put your weddingfilm on dvd. Actually, there are many who provide betamax or vhs to dvd tranfers but maybe you don't want to be reminded how old you actually got. :)
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Old August 4th, 2015, 11:17 AM   #29
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Re: Asked to film for another company

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I don't believe that wedding photography is seen as essential and a video as non essential.

As more and more people have a video over the years, the more will see it and want one.

I can see over the years that stills will be more commonly taken from video
Okay I'm thinking along those lines, I just used the word (misplaced maybe) essential rather than traditional.

I don't think frame grabs will replace or limit true Photography. They are 2 disciplines despite some combining them. Shutter rule which I feel becomes more relevant with 4K limits quality with frame grabs, not to mention nailing focus with moving subjects and besides most Photographers are frequently shooting portrait throughout the day. Things become fashionable and yes frame grabs may have their time, but not necessarily at the expense of Photography. There's too much skill in great Photography to simply be replaced with a video camera still. I agree for budget Weddings it will be become more an option and there will be companies capitalising on it. However when those stills are competing with guests taking Photos themselves, some on expensive dslr's, those frames will have to be HQ to be seen to compete. You can't fire a flash whilst taking video.

As for accuracy of the footage being less critical if you crop from 4K and 8K; I think you need to shoot a whole lot more of 4K before making that statement. Accuracy is if anything even more important with 4K. The slightest and I mean slightest out of focus and I can see it clearly even on my 720p screen. At some point a small external monitor will be an important investment for me if I wish to one day shoot 4K to be seen as 4K.
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Old August 4th, 2015, 12:07 PM   #30
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Re: Asked to film for another company

As I read through all this, I see that Paul mentions that he would rather work for less on a day when he wasn't working, because at least that way he is making money. However, isn't the supply/demand supposed to dictate the price? Meaning the supply of videographers not working (probably few if it is in the heat of wedding season) with a high demand, should be more money, not less?

To me, I've been shooting music videos, concert videos, corporate stuff for the past 3 years and only entered into weddings this year so maybe I don't understand.

I just recently had a potential music video client ask me to shoot them a video for their song, literally two days after I heard the song for the first time. He then wanted me to shoot this short notice video at my usual rate, to which I told him it wasn't going to happen. I told him I could shoot the video but because of all the planning that was involved in a music video, even if it is just a "performance" video, and the editing (since the turnaround was a week later), I would have to put other projects off to finish it in time, and therefore he would have to pay a premium price if he wanted the job done on his time frame. He wasn't interested so I wished him well and went about my day. Did I make money that day? No. But I also didn't devalue my product or my other products in order to make a few extra bucks.

Bottom line, you get to choose between good, fast, and cheap, but you only get to pick two, and I refuse to make anything that isn't my best work.
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