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


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Old April 21st, 2006, 11:04 PM   #1
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Wedding Demo Reel Contents

Hello, Everyone

Believe it or not, I have to create a demo reel for the first time. My past clients didn't require me to have one but now I ran into my first client who is asking for one.

What would I include from past weddings? I know.. I know...it sounds like common sense but I'd like to hear from others who produced demos to show off your work.

I searched under this forum but I didn't see any demo reel subjects.

Any help would be appreciated....
Thanks!
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Old April 22nd, 2006, 08:46 AM   #2
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hm..
well i have a demo reel which i DONT send to clients, and it has about a dozen or so highlights clips on one disc, on the other disc, i have about 3 short form edits. If they want to see a full version of a full feature length edit, then they need to ask me before they come into the studio coz it does take aot of time, but to me, my time isnt as valuable as protecting my work.

you will get lots of people asking for demos, be aware that plagiarism and copyright infringement is rampant in this industry, so be aware of WHO youre sending these demos to.
Dont just toss them around willy nilly, u gotta remember, your originality is what sells you, and if the guy down the road decides to copy your originality after he sees and analyses your demo, then youre potentially screwed

what i would recommend would be to collate 5 to 10 minute clips of several previou works, going over different styles, techniques and looks,
this will give a good roundabout representation of teh kind of work you do.

Also i ALWAYS tell the clients that these demos only show what is POTENTIALLY possible for their wedding DVD. Every wedding is different, and its easy to say "Oh i like THAT!! I want that in my video too. " But if that particular shot was done at 5pm, as the sun was setting, and your atop a mountain with the suns flare is pinching through the clouds... and THIS particular person has their photos at 2pm.. there is no way you can do THAT shot given the logistics...
We "sell by sample" Being that in this business, were selling things based on samples of our product. TO protect ourselves, we must advise the clients that every wedding is differnt, and this affects the finished product in general.
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Old April 22nd, 2006, 09:54 AM   #3
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Hi Peter,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Jefferson
hm..
you will get lots of people asking for demos, be aware that plagiarism and copyright infringement is rampant in this industry, so be aware of WHO youre sending these demos to.
Dont just toss them around willy nilly, u gotta remember, your originality is what sells you, and if the guy down the road decides to copy your originality after he sees and analyses your demo, then youre potentially screwed
I couldn't disagree more. I give out as many sample DVDs as I can to anyone I come into contact with that has the potential to be a future customer. I've even exchanged discs with local videographers. The only way this industry is going to grow is if people see what we can do today. Too many have seen the wedding videos from the 90's and have the opinion that they don't want a wedding videographer. They need to see what were doing for the word to spread and for us to get beyond the stage were at now, which is an add-on. We should be a necessary part of every wedding's budget, but won't be if people don't know what they are missing.

I carry a bunch of demo DVD's with me everywhere I go. I give them to friends, relatives and every single wedding vendor I run into at every event. I offer the caterer a disc, the photographer, the limo driver, the hall manager, the hall receptionist, the guests I'm sitting with at the reception, the DJs, the wait-staff, the bartenders - they all get a disc. A business cards gets thrown away, but a DVD will most likely get watched. If you're doing captivating work your phone will ring. Your competitor's phone will ring also, because you'll have an overflow. In my area only between 10% and 20% of weddings have a professional videographer. There is more potential in this industry than most people realize and more than enough work to go around if that percentage rises. It won't rise if we keep our work private.
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Old April 22nd, 2006, 03:59 PM   #4
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Joel,

Similar with the question starting this thread, I'm curious as to what you put on your demo DVDs, is it simply a copy of one couple's wedding DVD, several clips from throughout the day or do you have a highlights reel from several different weddings? We have been thinking about bringing a pile of our photo and video work to receptions this year and having them set up somewhere so the guests or staff feel free to take one home. Have you ever tried anything like that, and if so any luck, or do you find you need to go directly to the people and offer them one?

Patrick
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Old April 22nd, 2006, 06:07 PM   #5
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Hi Patrick,

My demo has as much as I can cram on it without sacrificing the quality, which for my eyes is about 1:45:00. I've actually thought about expanding it to two discs. I have 3 or 4 examples from each part of the day - prep, ceremony, post-ceremony, reception, highlights etc. The ceremony and reception sections are abbreviated. The clips are tied together at the front with a menu that allows people to jump to whatever they are interested in. I'm definitely not doing what most people say to do - just put out a short demo and sell to the customer in person. I hate sales. I really just want the work to sell itself. They get the demo and have it to keep while looking around - they can come back to it and make comparisons. Its also helpful when I send a contract with 'coverage undetermined' on it. With the demo in their hands they can refer to it and more often than not they go with a more coverage than they anticipated because of the exposure to the content.

As far as leaving them out I think the only way that would be effective is if you've done a same-day-edit and they are outwardly excited about what you're doing. I always thought advertising in any other way, like the photographer leaving business cards at the place settings and the cake maker spreading cards out on the cake table, is tacky. I don't want to come across as overtly hunting for work.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick Moreau
Joel,

Similar with the question starting this thread, I'm curious as to what you put on your demo DVDs, is it simply a copy of one couple's wedding DVD, several clips from throughout the day or do you have a highlights reel from several different weddings? We have been thinking about bringing a pile of our photo and video work to receptions this year and having them set up somewhere so the guests or staff feel free to take one home. Have you ever tried anything like that, and if so any luck, or do you find you need to go directly to the people and offer them one?

Patrick
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Old April 22nd, 2006, 06:51 PM   #6
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While we don't often do the same day edit, we do rather creative reception presentations with interviews, love story footage and childhood photos and at least for this area, they seem to be quite novel for the viewers and get quite the reaction, so that may be a good time to leave out some DVDs.

I hadn't thought about the abbreviated portions of sample clips on the DVD, that seems like a great idea. I remember from a previous post that you edit in FCP, I'm curious on how you store your projects so that you can trim them in the future for demo reels and such. Perhaps, if you wouldn't mind, I could PM you with a couple brief questions, rather than taking over this thread.

Thanks again.
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Old April 22nd, 2006, 09:34 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joel Peregrine
Hi Peter,
I couldn't disagree more. I give out as many sample DVDs as I can to anyone I come into contact with that has the potential to be a future customer. I've even exchanged discs with local videographers. The only way this industry is going to grow is if people see what we can do today. Too many have seen the wedding videos from the 90's and have the opinion that they don't want a wedding videographer. They need to see what were doing for the word to spread and for us to get beyond the stage were at now, which is an add-on. We should be a necessary part of every wedding's budget, but won't be if people don't know what they are missing.

I carry a bunch of demo DVD's with me everywhere I go. I give them to friends, relatives and every single wedding vendor I run into at every event. I offer the caterer a disc, the photographer, the limo driver, the hall manager, the hall receptionist, the guests I'm sitting with at the reception, the DJs, the wait-staff, the bartenders - they all get a disc. A business cards gets thrown away, but a DVD will most likely get watched. If you're doing captivating work your phone will ring. Your competitor's phone will ring also, because you'll have an overflow. In my area only between 10% and 20% of weddings have a professional videographer. There is more potential in this industry than most people realize and more than enough work to go around if that percentage rises. It won't rise if we keep our work private.
I hear what your saying Joel, but realistically this approach to giving out dvds to almost everyone i make contact with doesnt work simply because its seen as being pushy.
Here in aus, theres a level of etiquette that you dont conduct business while your actually DOING business for someone else. Its just plain rude and is seen as drumming up sales when i should be shooting.
If somoene asks for a demo, i grab their details only and take it from there. If they see the way i work, and they like my approach, then people will come up to me. one time i had a line up of about 6 people come up to me at the end of the night. Of those, all of them booked after i had taken the time to meet and talk with them AWAY from the environment which we were in at the time of first contact.
Id love to also be able to give out demos this way, but as i am supplier and trainer here ive seen some pretty terrible behaviour from so caled professionals. The worst was when a guy came into the (supply) shop asking me how a specific look is created, I asked him what he meant and he said he had a demo he could show me.. lo and behold, he whips out a demo DVD with my Video sompany name on it.. little did he know that what he was holding was my own demo.. As i supply and train my competition here i try not to let my own video business interests interfere with that side of the business. but since that time, i havent sent any demos to anyone.
The Von Lankens have also had a similar issue whereby their videos from thier own trainign videos were being leached and used as demos for someone elses own work.

Im all for demos, but im also one for protecting my business interests
Our maret here is so flat it isnt funny, and i agree that if we get our work seen it may change afew minds, however, until the Professionals here get thier acts together, then keeping ones work to ones chest might lose afew customers, but in the end, those losses are made up by the fac tthat my work is still MY work.
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Old April 22nd, 2006, 10:30 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick Moreau
I hadn't thought about the abbreviated portions of sample clips on the DVD, that seems like a great idea. I remember from a previous post that you edit in FCP, I'm curious on how you store your projects so that you can trim them in the future for demo reels and such.
I used to dump clips I thought may end up on the demo to an external (firewire) HDD. When I felt I had enough new material built up I'd re-do the disc. Now I'm archiving on ATA hard drives, so instead of having a folder full of clips for the next generation demo I have a list of clips that I'd like to use. Then its just a matter of importing the weddings I need and replacing the weaker material with the newer material. In this way the demo just evolves over time .

Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick Moreau
Perhaps, if you wouldn't mind, I could PM you with a couple brief questions, rather than taking over this thread.
Absolutely. Anytime.
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Old April 23rd, 2006, 07:19 AM   #9
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Peter, I couldn't agree more. When I have customers asking for demo or for any specs about my work I tell them to stop by my place and see for themselves (and id try not to say the price, too, 'cause they could be paying the same price for different style or service, you know). And it is right to inform them ahead that to have the same wedding video as demo (i mean exactly the same) they should have the same schedulle, weather conditions, style of the wedding (maybe the same couples?). Anyway It is right to protect your work as much as you can.

Cheers,
Andrey Sherbina
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Old April 23rd, 2006, 11:54 AM   #10
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Peter,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Jefferson
keeping ones work to ones chest might lose afew customers, but in the end, those losses are made up by the fac tthat my work is still MY work.
Let me ask you this - do you watch the samples offered on this board? Do you search out online samples from others you believe you can learn from? Do you incorporate any of the samples you see into your work. Is your work totally unique and completely you?
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Old April 23rd, 2006, 07:24 PM   #11
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One suggestion would be to stick your logo on a corner of your video, that would make it a little difficult for anyone to steal from you.

Eric Hansen
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Old April 23rd, 2006, 07:57 PM   #12
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Hi Eric,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric Hansen
One suggestion would be to stick your logo on a corner of your video, that would make it a little difficult for anyone to steal from you.
Good point. I do have my work watermarked, although that is more for brand recognition than a worry about someone showing the work as theirs. I think Peter is more concerned with intellectual copying.
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Old April 23rd, 2006, 08:02 PM   #13
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ya I understand, it's kinda great how it serves two purposes, I think if you did it right it would really make it difficult for someone to steal your work (by ripping it) and as far as getting ideas from your work goes, I have to agree with you as much as my ideas are "mine" I know that I learn from others that I've seen, and I think it's great, if it wasn't so the industry would be pretty stagnant in my opinion. I mean how many people get on here and look at postings from others, why do they do it? because the want to get new ideas so they become better at what they do, I think that as an industry goes, this is how wedding videos will become a higher priority on a brides list, if they never change from the "80's" then we'll all be looking for new jobs... and heck, if you don't need to pass out demos to get jobs, then more power to ya! I know I do, but that's because I'm still pretty new at this.

Eric Hansen
www.ehansenproductions.com
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Old April 23rd, 2006, 10:35 PM   #14
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Slightly O.T.

Speaking of ripping, I just used a little utility called Streamclip to pull some clips off of a DVD. Outrageously easy to demux the audio from the video and even use the files for editing in their native .m2v format with no loss of quality (as long as you're not rendering anything). Or you can rip it to DV25. Multi-platform and free too:

http://www.squared5.com/
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Old April 23rd, 2006, 11:04 PM   #15
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I think that's the kinda stuff that Peter is talking about.

Eric
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