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


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Old March 15th, 2006, 03:31 PM   #16
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im w/ you peter......We are a two man team(partners) but when we hire a third shooter or if we need someone to "replace" one of us because of emergency or such...we pay 300.00 to 350.00 for the day(8 to 10 hrs)....some of the low ball quotes i am hearing is crazy. we would never expect to get someone to shoot all day for such low pay. you cant justify the pay to ratio of what you charge.....if you are charging a low price for your services...and require a 2nd shooter, your rates should be higher to begin with....that is smart business. i guess if you can find a sucker to work all day for you at 100 bucks or so...go for it but that is just not fair in my opinion. here's a good way to accomodate the 2nd shooter siuation....."network" with other videography companies. we do it....and if the other video company is not booked on a date you need help.....call them first. its better to have someone who shoots weddings(and they are good at it) to help than someone off the street.....and same goes for you helping them in time of need. photographers do this stuff all the time, they help each other out. often times when we are booked on a particular date....we refer the client to a few really good wedding video companies that we respect....point is, we would rather see the client have a reputable company shoot their wedding than some "jokers".....and they have referred clients to us in the same manner. It makes sense to do this since you cant double or triple book weddings when you are a one or two man show....you can if you contract all of your shooters but thats not most companies.

you should pay your help a decent wage.....it will keep them happy to work for you and will most likely get you quality second shooters.






Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Jefferson
wow dude, thats cheap..

when i shoot for my competitor (who are friends of mine) i charge no less than 1100 inc GST AUD for a full day coverage with my own gear.

with their gear, i charge $750 AUD

when i charge people to choot for me, its usually anythign between $350 to $650 if theyre good.

One thing though.. when hiring someone (whether your doublebooking or jsut needing an extra hand) make sure they at least come to a couple of training sessions.

I learnt the hard way, but one thing i can say for sure is that if u ever hire anyone, ensure that you see their footage before u give them the job. by seeing their work, u can then justify how much your willing to pay them.
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Old March 15th, 2006, 03:31 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Travis Cossel
Right now I pay about $20-40 for a ceremony, depending on experience (usually requires an hour of their time)..
I don't want to offend but $20 - $40???? Good grief, you cannot expect anything for that.

The going rate around here for second cam operator is $300. More if they stay for reception.
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Old March 15th, 2006, 03:40 PM   #18
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I think the difference lies in experience and skill levels. You guys are talking about a cameraman who has experience and skill, and particularly even wedding experience. My 2nd shooters are generally hobbyists with very little experience or skill.

Also, if I charge $1450 for a wedding and then pay 1/4 to a 1/3 of that fee to my 2nd operator (who only spends an hour with the project), that doesn't leave me enough money to make a worthwhile profit (when I'm spending more than 100 hours on the project). I could raise my prices, as you suggested, but my market wouldn't bear that. I average 6 weddings a year with my packages, and for my market I'm the best quality AND the best price. I increased my rate this year so I could add new services, buy new software, possibly increase wages for my operators, etc., and my number of bookings dropped to 4.

You guys must be charging $7k for a wedding if you're paying a 2nd operator that much. My market won't have that. Not yet at least.
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Old March 15th, 2006, 04:08 PM   #19
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Hey Travis, I see what you are up against. 6 weddings per year is not much to begin with. 100 hours per wedding project at 1,450 is a bit excess in my opinion unless you are really new to editing, you should be able to complete these much faster. have you tried using craigslist.org to get cam ops? it may be helpful to you. also...even if your using "hobbyists" as 2nd cam ops....perhaps you could work with them prior to your wedding shoots, to make sure they know how to compose a shot....focus, etc....all the stuff that is expected with camera dept. also...it gives you a chance to fill them in with all the wedding protocols such as dimeanor, etc.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Travis Cossel
I think the difference lies in experience and skill levels. You guys are talking about a cameraman who has experience and skill, and particularly even wedding experience. My 2nd shooters are generally hobbyists with very little experience or skill.

Also, if I charge $1450 for a wedding and then pay 1/4 to a 1/3 of that fee to my 2nd operator (who only spends an hour with the project), that doesn't leave me enough money to make a worthwhile profit (when I'm spending more than 100 hours on the project). I could raise my prices, as you suggested, but my market wouldn't bear that. I average 6 weddings a year with my packages, and for my market I'm the best quality AND the best price. I increased my rate this year so I could add new services, buy new software, possibly increase wages for my operators, etc., and my number of bookings dropped to 4.

You guys must be charging $7k for a wedding if you're paying a 2nd operator that much. My market won't have that. Not yet at least.
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Old March 15th, 2006, 04:27 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Monte Comeau
I don't want to offend but $20 - $40???? Good grief, you cannot expect anything for that.

The going rate around here for second cam operator is $300. More if they stay for reception.
Weddings aren't my thing, but i totally agree with your sentiments.
20-40 dollars !? this is 2006, not 1906. 20 dollars is someone's lunch allowance.

no offence intended at all, but it's really no wonder that as you say people you pay this to are demotivated and disinterested. Total cost of a wedding these days is i hear around USD20,000 so if you need to hire 2 extra shooters then just pass on the extra money to the clients. If a shooter shots bad footage, then the clients won't be happy, word gets around very quickly and you find that people may hire someone else - thru no personal fault of your own.

Just my opinion on it.

rgds
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Old March 15th, 2006, 04:54 PM   #21
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Joe:

It takes 100 hours for our largest package ($2,350) because we edit video for rehearsal, rehearsal dinner, girls getting ready, guys getting ready, sometimes guys golfing or whatever, bride getting ready, 3-camera ceremony, 2-camera reception, personal messages, highlight video and deleted scenes (and sometimes photo montages).

I'm a pretty experienced editor, but that is just a mountain of footage to edit, especially when you're timing clips to music for multiple edits. The smaller package $1450 was just introduced this year because of the lack of brides willing to spend decent money for a quality wedding video. For that package my 2nd shooter only needs to be present for the ceremony. This generally requires 30-60 minutes of their time, and I think it would be way overkill to pay them $300 for an hour or half-hour. My goal is to be making $40 an hour or better (doesn't usually happen), so I don't think my 2nd camera operator should be making $300/hr, you know?

If I had someone shooting that was comparable to my skill and experience level, that would be a different story. That's hard to find, though.



Stu,

Most of my 2nd shooters are college-age, so $40 for an hour's worth of easy (standing behind a camera on a tripod composing shots isn't that difficult) work seems fair to me. Where else can a college kid make $40 an hour? I don't even make that on a video when it's all said and done.

Also, I don't think my 2nd shooter's are holding back their talent because they aren't getting paid enough. For example, one of my shooters I started out at $75 for a day, completely unexperienced other than what I was able to show and teach him. I've raised his salary over the past 2 years and he hasn't improved noticably at all.

I think it's a matter of finding people who are truly passionate about capturing great video, and weeding out all of the people who are in it for quick cash or an easy gig. That's easier said than done.

I mentioned earlier that I have someone who might be the most skilled and experienced 2nd operator I've met to date. I haven't had him on a project yet, but if his skills are up to the task, then I would pay him more. I wouldn't expect to make the average computer programmer's salary if I was just starting somewhere and didn't have experience and skills.
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Old March 15th, 2006, 05:31 PM   #22
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Don't forget that it takes more than a hour of someone's time to shoot a wedding. They must prepare, drive, setup an hour in advance, and drive home. Shooting a 30-minute ceremony takes the better part of someone's afternoon. $40 for an afternoon (half work day) is the equivalent of $20k US per year with no benefits. At two weddings a day giving $80 per workday and 250 wordays a year, it computes. I doubt anyone could shoot more than two weddings a day. A professional can not live on such a wage.
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Old March 15th, 2006, 06:02 PM   #23
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My 2nd shooters don't have anything to prepare, I do the setup, and what other job is going to pay you for the time you're driving? I've never had a job that paid me for getting my clothes on and brushing my teeth, or for driving there and back.

Don't get me wrong, I know where you're coming from. There's more to shooting 30 minutes of tape than just recording 30 minutes of tape. But for my 2nd shooters, there isn't much more than getting dressed and driving.

I should also point out that none of my 2nd shooters are 2nd shooters for their full-time jobs. They work other jobs, just like I did when I was starting out in the business. Since weddings are almost always on weekends, it's just extra cash in the pocket and no time off from the real job.

I totally agree that a professional with adequate experience and skill who is shooting for a living would require more than $40 for a ceremony shoot if all their work was weddings. But again, if my client is paying me $1450, and I take a 1/3 of that and give it to an assistant that helps out for 30-60 minutes, that leaves me with around $1,000 to market my business, meet with couples, shoot for them on two different days for a total of at least 5 hours of shooting (both of which require planning, preparation, setup and driving for me), transfer the footage to my computer, edit the footage, output the footage to DVD, design packaging for the DVD's and cases, and deliver the DVD's.

If I were paying myself the low-end of same wage that has been suggested here for my 2nd shooters (say $200/hr), then I would only be getting paid for my 5 hours of shooting time, nothing else. So if you look at it that way, why should a 2nd shooter expect that level of compensation? They just show up and shoot, nothing else.
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Old March 15th, 2006, 06:27 PM   #24
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Travis- perhaps you should think of it like this.....you're not just paying them for an hour of work but rather for a "job" that requires only an hour or so of time. Those second shooters for just the hour of time you are requiring should get atleast 100 bucks for the "job". you can justify it how you may but they are worth the 100.00 for what you need, not a cent less. if i were only making 700.00 on the entire shoot and needed a 2nd shooter for an hour....I'd still give the 100.00 with no hesitation. i would be willing to eat the costs and make it worth someone's time in order to make the final product look that much better. so what if they made a hundred bucks an hour and you make an "average" of much less.....that is not how you should look at the big picture here.





Quote:
Originally Posted by Travis Cossel
My 2nd shooters don't have anything to prepare, I do the setup, and what other job is going to pay you for the time you're driving? I've never had a job that paid me for getting my clothes on and brushing my teeth, or for driving there and back.

Don't get me wrong, I know where you're coming from. There's more to shooting 30 minutes of tape than just recording 30 minutes of tape. But for my 2nd shooters, there isn't much more than getting dressed and driving.

I should also point out that none of my 2nd shooters are 2nd shooters for their full-time jobs. They work other jobs, just like I did when I was starting out in the business. Since weddings are almost always on weekends, it's just extra cash in the pocket and no time off from the real job.

I totally agree that a professional with adequate experience and skill who is shooting for a living would require more than $40 for a ceremony shoot if all their work was weddings. But again, if my client is paying me $1450, and I take a 1/3 of that and give it to an assistant that helps out for 30-60 minutes, that leaves me with around $1,000 to market my business, meet with couples, shoot for them on two different days for a total of at least 5 hours of shooting (both of which require planning, preparation, setup and driving for me), transfer the footage to my computer, edit the footage, output the footage to DVD, design packaging for the DVD's and cases, and deliver the DVD's.

If I were paying myself the low-end of same wage that has been suggested here for my 2nd shooters (say $200/hr), then I would only be getting paid for my 5 hours of shooting time, nothing else. So if you look at it that way, why should a 2nd shooter expect that level of compensation? They just show up and shoot, nothing else.
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Old March 15th, 2006, 06:41 PM   #25
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Joe,

That's definitely a good way to look at it. I think we're actually on roughly the same page here.

If I had a 2nd shooter with good experience and skills, I would gladly pay more than $40 for a simple ceremony shoot. My problem, as I listed earlier, was finding suitable applicants that fit that mold. It's not a problem of me advertising a working rate and only getting inexperienced and unskilled operators. I don't advertise my rates for shooters anywhere. It's just hard to find someone that is worthy of $100 for a simple ceremony shoot.

As an example, you wouldn't pay a friend $100 to run a camera for 30 minutes if your friend had virtually no experience or skill would you? Maybe you would. In that case, we would have different philosophies of compensation I guess.
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Old March 15th, 2006, 06:55 PM   #26
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travis...I hear ya- but read some of my other posts earlier, cuz they may help you find qualified help, i gave some examples on how to find such, i know its not easy......in los angeles, i can place an ad for one over the internet and receive tons of replies, but many of those replies....just by the way they speak via email I wouldnt hire them. its hard to find good help in any trade let alone wedding videography....but it can be done. good luck to you!





Quote:
Originally Posted by Travis Cossel
Joe,

That's definitely a good way to look at it. I think we're actually on roughly the same page here.

If I had a 2nd shooter with good experience and skills, I would gladly pay more than $40 for a simple ceremony shoot. My problem, as I listed earlier, was finding suitable applicants that fit that mold. It's not a problem of me advertising a working rate and only getting inexperienced and unskilled operators. I don't advertise my rates for shooters anywhere. It's just hard to find someone that is worthy of $100 for a simple ceremony shoot.

As an example, you wouldn't pay a friend $100 to run a camera for 30 minutes if your friend had virtually no experience or skill would you? Maybe you would. In that case, we would have different philosophies of compensation I guess.
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Old March 15th, 2006, 07:02 PM   #27
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Thanks! I'm going to look into those options you mentioned. Hopefully this guy I discovered a week or so ago will work out as well.
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Old March 15th, 2006, 09:49 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Allen Rosenberger
im w/ you peter......We are a two man team(partners) but when we hire a third shooter or if we need someone to "replace" one of us because of emergency or such...we pay 300.00 to 350.00 for the day(8 to 10 hrs)....some of the low ball quotes i am hearing is crazy. we would never expect to get someone to shoot all day for such low pay. you cant justify the pay to ratio of what you charge.....if you are charging a low price for your services...and require a 2nd shooter, your rates should be higher to begin with....that is smart business. i guess if you can find a sucker to work all day for you at 100 bucks or so...go for it but that is just not fair in my opinion. here's a good way to accomodate the 2nd shooter siuation....."network" with other videography companies. we do it....and if the other video company is not booked on a date you need help.....call them first. its better to have someone who shoots weddings(and they are good at it) to help than someone off the street.....and same goes for you helping them in time of need. photographers do this stuff all the time, they help each other out. often times when we are booked on a particular date....we refer the client to a few really good wedding video companies that we respect....point is, we would rather see the client have a reputable company shoot their wedding than some "jokers".....and they have referred clients to us in the same manner. It makes sense to do this since you cant double or triple book weddings when you are a one or two man show....you can if you contract all of your shooters but thats not most companies.

you should pay your help a decent wage.....it will keep them happy to work for you and will most likely get you quality second shooters.
Thats exactly it mate. Her ein aus, the market is relatively large for teh percentile of the market penetration, so business can get thin during the quiet times.
I dont doublebook anymore, its just too much work, and like Joe said, if u refer the couple to a respectable business, then they remember that, the couple AND the business.
In return, they will refer you. I do this with alot of Photographers and ive also had talks with afew competitor mates of mine and weve considered networking to create a "niche" group of video producers (like 6 different companies) and we all share the advertising rates, studio space, workload and bookings. Bit like a centralised Video Production centre where u have 6 different companies al working under the one roof so if they dont like one style or one of the guys, they just go to the office next door. Or if im booked, i an pass that onto one of the other guys.
Right now though, were all at different lvels of production, some shoot in HDV but know nothign about it, others are still in their ol mentality of "this is how it shoudl be done" and so clashes like that dnt help business.

Instead its easier to jsut refer the WHOLE job to a couple of reputable comapnies and let the client decide. Sure u might lose the job coz u didnt doublebook, but the risk vs profit is too thin a line to gamble

Find good people, pay tem well, and they will look after you. If u cant do that, hook up with some other companies and offer to refer bookings to them if u cant take it on.
Im lucky in the sense that being a supplier i come across ALOT fo producers and know who i can trust and who i cant. I also know that aot of these producers may even undermne the contract, so theres that fact too.
Ive hired shooters rfom other coapnies and all they did at the shoot was try to sell themselves to my clients guests, so now, everythign is under contract in writing.

In business, irressepctive of how much u think u know the person, you cant afford to risk this type of behaviour.. so make sure u have everything in writing if you plan on hiring someone to shoot a wedding for you if u are not going to be there.

If anyone needs a hand with that kind of agreement, let me know ill post up some clauses here.
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Old March 15th, 2006, 10:41 PM   #29
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Just to clarify, I don't EVER double-book. I never have, and never will. When I speak of 2nd shooters, they are there WITH ME to operate a 2nd camera.
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