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Old August 3rd, 2015, 05:39 AM   #1
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Asked to film for another company

Having had a late night last night, my breakfast was broken by a telephone call asking if I was free to film a wedding this coming Friday. After looking at the diary, I confirmed that It would be possible, assuming it was a last minute wedding video enquiry.

The youngish and slightly pushy sounding voice on the phone said that he films weddings all over the UK and had been let down by 'One of his guys' and was ringing me as I was only about 10 miles from where the wedding is being held. As he is based about 150 miles away I was surprised that he was going to film in my area. He asked what my hourly rate was and I told him that I don't have one as I don't film for other companies, only for my own business. I asked him what he was offering and was told that he pays the standard national rate the same as the BBC- 40 per hour. I said that as it would also involve an extra hour of travelling, parking (not easy there) setting up, breaking down and getting back, thanks but no thanks. It would also involve me supplying my own cameras, audio gear, cards etc., plus getting the footage to him.

He then seemed to be quite offended by my refusal and asked me where I got my work from as he had only found my funny little 'old school' pink looking website, so thought I must get word of mouth only! I laughed and wished him luck.

Thinking about this, I remarked to Claire that I have recently had a couple of odd texts, just asking me my prices, with no other details. Makes me wonder if I was being searched out as a videographer in a particular area for just these sort of last minute filming offers.

Having now looked at his website and found that he offers 4 hour wedding shoots for 349 I can see why he doesn't want to pay more. He also offers another wedding service at over 1500, maybe he decided to take one of those instead. I would have thought that if he was having that difficulty finding someone to film, he would have just asked me to take it on, which is what I would have done in the same position. I was a little concerned that he offers 'BBC Broadcast Quality High Definition Cameras', a personal service and direct consultation and discussion with the client, but was perfectly happy to offer the job to someone he has never met, knows nothing about and hasn't a clue what equipment they use.

I can see why David Partington. has decided to give up weddings if people are perfectly happy to book something just based on a price on a website and a load of cleverly worded sales patter. Perhaps I am mistaken in thinking that my thirty+ years in filming and editing weddings is worth a bit more than 160, or that an honest up front approach to clients is worth while. Perhaps the idea of taking on as many weddings as possible at whatever it takes to get them is what it is all about now. It does seem that for the vast majority of weddings, video is secondary, the couple's haven't a clue what to expect and they will accept almost anything you tell them if the price is right.

My new business plan is simple, weddings start at 200, arrivals and ceremony highlights, cut to one piece of music. I have a list of unemployed people that can point a camera and stop and start it, who get paid 50 cash in hand no questions asked. Takes me about an hour to edit and I can take on as many weddings a day as I can get. I also offer a 1900 package that I do myself for clients that have money and taste.

Roger
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Old August 3rd, 2015, 07:40 AM   #2
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Re: Asked to film for another company

Hi Roger

160 quid equates to a mere AUS$342.00 ..that's hardly worth getting into your car for! I'm cheap and a ceremony only package (seldom requested anyway) is a minimum of $599 for 2 hours work!!

We have a few of these guys over here too ... set yourself up as a wedding videography company and then hire a couple of uni students for a tiny price and reap in the profits. However the end results are often a disaster too. We had one guy doing this over on our East Coast who had many brides after his blood when their precious ceremony involved a student waving a camera mostly at the guests and the sky. He quickly shut up shop and his fancy website stated "We are currently not taking any bookings" after the local Consumer Protection body, along with the 60 minutes TV crew hunted him down!!

Like you if there is a wedding to be shot, I will consult with the bride, we will shoot and edit it and deliver it too...the bride deals with the same person from start to finish including during the actual wedding. I often wonder how photogs get away with sending out a freelancer to a wedding instead of doing it themselves. We actually have one local guy, extremely popular who has been nominated by the bride as "our photographer" at quite a few weddings when I was doing video only ... I never met the guy! It was always someone else hired at the last minute.

From a business point of view it can quite easily work however ! Have a nice office, have a bunch of students on call and a few people happy to edit and you can do multiple weddings on a weekend without lifting a finger!! Just think what you could do with your scheme if you employed a few homeless people with cheap camcorders!!

No thanks! I would rather not have angry brides on my doorstep ...when I get a booking the buck stops with me and Val and myself handle everything ... I also have had a few calls to shoot someone elses wedding booking but politely refused!!

Chris
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Old August 3rd, 2015, 07:51 AM   #3
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Re: Asked to film for another company

I think you're over-reacting Roger. Personally I'd have taken the job if offered to me. 160 for 4 hours filming. Not a bad earner. Sure if it was 10 hours it would be better income, but if you're free, only a 10 hour drive - surely better than sitting at home earning nothing for 4 hours. I've afforded a 1000 lens from doing several of these smaller jobs. I'm not too proud to accept them nor feel I'm worth x amount of money.

I'm sure his business model differs greatly from yours. Just as much as yours differs from mine. As you frequently say, as long as the clients are happy. For some, they neither have the money or value the video enough to pay the high prices. Doesn't mean there's not money to be made from them
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Old August 3rd, 2015, 09:05 AM   #4
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Re: Asked to film for another company

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Originally Posted by Steve Burkett View Post
I think you're over-reacting Roger. Personally I'd have taken the job if offered to me. 160 for 4 hours filming. Not a bad earner. Sure if it was 10 hours it would be better income, but if you're free, only a 10 hour drive - surely better than sitting at home earning nothing for 4 hours. I've afforded a 1000 lens from doing several of these smaller jobs. I'm not too proud to accept them nor feel I'm worth x amount of money.

I'm sure his business model differs greatly from yours. Just as much as yours differs from mine. As you frequently say, as long as the clients are happy. For some, they neither have the money or value the video enough to pay the high prices. Doesn't mean there's not money to be made from them
Thing is Steve it's not just filming for 4 hours is it. It's also charging up batteries, getting equipment ready, parking charges, preparing files to send to the video company etc. All the additional things add up to perhaps another couple of hours. If you are someone with little income and experience but had some equipment, then maybe you can make a case for it. Let's be honest Steve if you were to hire a couple of decent cameras, tripods, sound recorders and SD cards for 4-6 hours, how much would you expect to pay? If someone hires me, they are going to get properly filmed footage, with good visual flow, imaginative shots, good sound etc. That comes from years of experience with weddings, a big investment in equipment and a good business reputation. Why should I make that available for the cost of an amateur, when that same time won't be spent sitting at home earning nothing, it would be spent editing existing productions that can be got out and paid for.

On top of that, it is quite possible that as the wedding is in my area, there may be people at the wedding who may know me or have seen me at wedding shows. If the company concerned does a bad editing job or doesn't supply what was expected, that could reflect back on me. The Bride and Groom could even be someone who saw me at a wedding show and decided they wanted something cheaper. They then tell their friends who are getting married 'If you book xxxx cheap videos, you will get the same bloke that tries to sell his own business for a lot more'! They won't see what the differences are between what I am selling and what their cheap alternative is offering.

Roger
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Old August 3rd, 2015, 09:16 AM   #5
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Re: Asked to film for another company

Steve, forgot to say that I agree that there is money to be made from these cheap productions if you are the business that is offering them. I have years of skill and knowledge and have invested lots of money in my business and equipment and if it reaches the stage where I have to give up a Friday to earn 160, because I need it, I would rather sell up and do something else.

It's also worth remembering that if you are prepared to do this sort of work in your own area, then you are giving companies that charge those sort of prices the opportunity to undermine your own business.

Roger
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Old August 3rd, 2015, 10:25 AM   #6
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Re: Asked to film for another company

Roger I hear your arguments. However I find some flaws in your reasoning. Charging up batteries - really how long? Mine charge overnight, takes me a minute to slot 4 batteries into chargers plus 8 AA batteries into its re-charger. Equipment ready. Tales me 15 minutes to clean all my primes (7 plus 2 zoom's), check audio recorders and cameras and slot in SD cards. This time of year, equipment is checked regularly, so it needs no more than that - I'm a dab hand at it. Copying files can be done overnight or during next days breakfast. 4 hour shoot, how many cards will you be using. Honestly the work you describe is more 30 minutes than 2 hours. Parking fees should be added to the bill. I agree if the guy refuses this then that's a point against him.

40 an hour is hardly an insult. How much do you charge for your services, tot up all the hours you do, home visits etc, and how much per hour are you actually making. Unless you charge well over 1000, I'd say there's little difference in price per hour when you factor in marketing, emails, pre-discussions, editing, DVD Production. None applicable for this job.

I'm not sure the people recognising you is a valid argument either. I mean if you work hard on the day and they see that, it counts in your favour I think; and as for Post production, how many will see a finished video. Does the guy do trailers? Plus as the package is limited to 4 hours, that's hardly a competitor to you unless you offered the same. Does it include Photography which you also offer. Different type of clients - different expectations. Would their friends want the same package, if so your refusal will hardly have them coming to you anyway.

I agree it can undermine your own business; I mean I can see the insult - the couple goes to this guy, get you instead and he gets the credit. You get 160.

I have equipment and skills too; I'm just rather they be put to use than sitting at home. 5 hours with travel on a Friday is no great loss - I've wasted that some days playing on the internet when I should be working. Putting that skill and equipment to use is a return on that investment, no matter how small. That's how I see it, but I admit others may feel that return needs to be larger to warrant getting into one's car for a bit of work.

That said I can understand your reasoning that these smaller charging companies are a potential threat and to help them is self defeating. For that reason alone, I think its fair to turn the work down. From my perspective, I tend to do such work for Corporate, which I'm not so big on in my business.
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Old August 3rd, 2015, 10:51 AM   #7
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Re: Asked to film for another company

Shouldn't this be moved to the private room? I would share in there, but I'd be reluctant to do so given that anyone can read what we write here and we're under our real names - I have a few stories from recent times - will email you if not, Roger!
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Old August 3rd, 2015, 11:55 AM   #8
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Re: Asked to film for another company

@ Craig, I agree that for more detailed information it could be moved to private, but by all means feel free to email if it doesn't get moved.

@ Steve, I suppose it depends on how you value your service and time. I consider that if I offer a competitor my skills and equipment that I have developed over the years, then I am devaluing my own business and worth. If I was just a freelance cameraman I may feel differently about it, but running my own business in the same field as this other guy, is offering part of what sells my business and is not up for cheap hire. 40 per hour on the face of it sounds a pretty good hourly rate, but it is not just an hourly rate as I see it. It is also a contribution to all the costs that go into purchasing equipment, vehicle, running costs and everything else necessary to be able to do the job properly. I just don't see that 40 per hour for the equipment hire and a skilled operator is great. Also If you can get your equipment prepared, loaded, get to the venue, find parking, setup, get packed up brought home and downloaded in 1 hour then you are a better man than I sir :-)

Roger
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Old August 3rd, 2015, 12:17 PM   #9
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Re: Asked to film for another company

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Originally Posted by Roger Gunkel View Post
Also If you can get your equipment prepared, loaded, get to the venue, find parking, setup, get packed up brought home and downloaded in 1 hour then you are a better man than I sir :-)
Okay I wasn't factoring in travel. That said 10 miles - 20 minutes each way. I could just about do it in an hour with all the extra tasks you mentioned. Setup I'd include in the 4 hours filming as the days events unfold. I admit I'd probably give myself some leeway and not rush it. I once had short notice for filming - in London. Within 20 mins of the phone call I was out of the door, all dressed, gear checked and ready. 60 mile drive to Richmond, parked, walked to train station, Train to Waterloo, then tube to Oxford St Station, 10 min walk to venue - arrived and setup 2 cameras all within 3 hours of that phone call. This jobs a doddle compared to that. And it was only 200 plus expenses. Mind you it was a damn good job that paid in other ways - I grant you that. And not a Wedding, which I value differently to Corporate.
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Old August 3rd, 2015, 01:06 PM   #10
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Re: Asked to film for another company

I could probably do the 10 miles in 20 minutes but unloading and finding somewhere to park would add another 10 minutes to that, then checking the filming positions and setting up would add more to it. I would never cut it close to the bone, so would certainly add more emergency time. The 4 hours doesn't include setting up time, so if you relate it to driving into the middle of Salisbury next Friday, you wouldn't be far off the mark and would probably give it a miss.

I would certainly do it for a corporate client if there was the potential of building contacts for future work for my own business, but not to promote another video company. It's all academic anyway, but makes for interesting discussion :-)
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Old August 3rd, 2015, 01:13 PM   #11
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Re: Asked to film for another company

I'm willing to bet he's just a middle man. His business is booking as many weddings as he can, then trying to find someone to do the actual work.

We have a fair number of them in the U.S. Often they are impossibly generic and national looking. Always with cheap pricing. As a DJ, I've gotten a couple of calls over the years from these kinds of companies looking for a sucker to do the work.

Yes, I'd call the people who work for them, by and large, suckers. These are the folks trying to drive pricing down and take a cut without doing any of the actual work. Oh, and of course they tend to not put any thought or concern into the quality of work. its all about volume. (of course, there may be exceptions, but let's not kid ourselves).
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Old August 3rd, 2015, 07:20 PM   #12
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Re: Asked to film for another company

I had done (very reluctantly) a couple of weddings supplying raw footage only which essentially is what this job would be. The big issues I had was bitter complaints that the main ceremony camera and 2nd cutaway camera were not synced ... "Ummm it's raw unedited footage..what did you expect" They seem to expect no wobbles so essentially often what is referred to as "unedited footage" still means that you ate expected to at least top and tail each and every clip and keep them in order (one bride expected the unedited footage to be just one single clip for the ceremony and one for the reception)

Unless you are sent blank cards and they are picked up the next day without you having to touch them at all then you have to also start adding time for downloading the footage onto your computer and then off again to a suitable delivery device and all this takes time ... so if your 4 hours turn in 6 hours your rate does drop somewhat!! It's important to make sure exactly what the client wants or expects otherwise you might end up working for a lot less than the original rate!
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Old August 4th, 2015, 12:34 AM   #13
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Re: Asked to film for another company

Chris, does your computer require some kind of manual handle that you have to constantly turn every time you download footage. Downloading footage is as easy as popping cards into the drive, I assume you have a multi USB port to download more than 1 at a time; select all the files and copy across. Then leave it to do something else; have a bite to eat, answer some emails, watch a bit of tele, nice nights sleep. For similar jobs I just copy to my computer for backup and post the original cards. 4 SD 32GB cards takes 15-20 mins to download. I have plenty of them, so its no trouble to send the original cards. Quite effortless and quite nice to occasionally do some filming without having to edit it all.

And I think there's a big difference between a Bride wanting raw footage and another Wedding Business. The Bride is asking for RAW footage as a final product whereas I imagine the 4 hours of footage would be edited by this other company. In fact if anything they would be aghast if you top and tailed each clip. Anyway it's all academic as Roger said no.
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Old August 4th, 2015, 01:47 AM   #14
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Re: Asked to film for another company

Hey Steve

I guess you don't have a mechanical computer like me where I have to pull the lever and the little balls roll out as footage ..you should get one ..it's like playing the slot machines.

I can copy my clips (the whole folder actually) to a 16gb drive in a few minutes and pop that into the mail. That's NOT the issue at all ...the issue I get is "But I expected ......" If they ask for raw footage they get my clips that each camera created all in a folder and it's up to them to sort out what goes where. OK, probably someone you shoot for expects to get that sort of delivery but any couple that have asked for footage have a totally different idea of what raw footage is? I simply don't deliver it any more! They seem to expect a file covering say, the ceremony neatly topped and tailed with all the cutaways dropped into place AND in a format that their computer can handle too. Give them B-Cam clips that total about 100 +++ and they say "What are these" ...they seem to expect one file for the ceremony and one for the reception all neatly put together so they can do some simple cuts and say "Ok that's all edited now"

I certainly wouldn't offer to do a shoot only until the "editor" was 100% sure about exactly what they expect to receive and most don't so it always ends up as "I cannot fathom out all these files so you had better put it all together as "raw footage" !! For me raw footage is what's on the camera card untouched and copied onto a USB drive ..it's up to you to sort it, grade it, cut it and sweeten the audio too ... maybe the term "rough footage" should be used where the clips are made up into one but not tweaked.
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Old August 4th, 2015, 01:59 AM   #15
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Re: Asked to film for another company

Years ago I offered my assistance as a favor to a videographer who send me several of his double bookings before, since he gave me extra work I offered my help for free once, a bit later he comes back if I can help out again as second shooter but this time I want to be paid, I tell him "just pay me whatever you pay your second shooters and thats fine by me" and then he pays me an amount which I won't bother mentioning how much it was because I"m sure you all will have a laugh at me. I accept the money and don't complain.

After that he calls me several times again to act as second shooter but I decline all his requests just saying that I"m busy. Like Roger I was insulted by the fact that I got paid for a full days work (17 hours on location) to shoot with my own equipment on the other side of the country (2 hour drive one way) and got the same amount what I normally would charge for kilometer allowance.

I didn't complain because I got what I asked for and I did owe him a favor but it was clear he saw a great opportunity of hiring a cheap experienced videographer, what started out as a favor ended in taking advantage of a person just for the sake of making money.
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