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


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Old October 26th, 2006, 12:39 PM   #1
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How much time do you spend editing?

My wife and I shoot weddings and events as a side business. We've done about 6 weddings now, and a handful of school and church events. But I've been wondering lately about whether it's viable for us to keep doing it.

My biggest concern has to do with the amount of time I spend editing, along with the necessary color-correcting, finding the right music, DVD authoring, etc. I had expected this time spent to go down as I got more comfortable with the editing software (I use Premiere Pro) and better at filming, but the reduction in time has been slight, if anything. Undoubtedly the finished product has gotten better each time, and with every wedding our price tag goes up, but if I calculated the hourly rate I'm getting, I'm sure it would be pretty low. Factor my wife into the equation, and it looks hardly worth the time.

I don't have an exact number on the time it takes us, but since it's all in our spare time, the norm seems to be that it takes about 2.5 to 3 months to finish. So it's also limiting the number of projects we can take on.

So I'm interested to find out, am I just slow? Am I an anomaly, or is this an issue for most people relatively new to the trade? My editing style tends to be fairly cinematic and detailed, but changing styles or trying to be less of a perfectionist feels like it's not the right answer.

Can someone shed some light here? I like shooting weddings, but I'm becoming a doubting Thomas about whether I can keep doing it.

Last edited by Seth Nickerson; October 26th, 2006 at 12:52 PM. Reason: misspelling
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Old October 26th, 2006, 01:16 PM   #2
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from loading up the tapes to burning and printing the dvds and cases I run at about 40-60 hours per project. The variation is dependent on the footage and what I'm looking to accomplish in the short edit. Since I do short form (40-55 minutes) and an archive copy of the ceremony and reception without effects or anyother type of fixes except perhaps audio if needed, it adds a little time to the project. Now having said that, although I work full time in th ebusiness, I also have clients to meet with, jobs to shoot during the week, offices things that have to be done etc, so it's not like I sit on the computer 60 hours straight and work at editing. I might have to drop a corporate job in while doing a wedding edit, so I tell all of my wedding clients 12 to 14 weeks but usually get them done in 8 to 10. Backlog can kill you. I do 40 to 60 weddings a year and every year the backlog stays the same. I guess if you're doing it part time that 2 to 3 months isn't bad at all. After all there are other things in life that are going on. Perhaps limit the number of weddings you do to a number you feel you can do without putting yourself into a hugh backlog and extending the edit time and yet still make some money.
Everyone is different, a friend of mine edits out in about 20 hours BUT it's long form and nothing fancy, basically a doco of the day. Thats fine but not my style so it's different strokes for different folks.

Good Luck,
Don
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Old October 26th, 2006, 03:06 PM   #3
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All I can say as new comer to this craft this board has been a tremendous help.

I have a full time job as a graphic/web guy. So that leaves the rest of the evening/weekend to pump out the edits.

I converted my Garage into a Studio and opened shop in Apr 06. I hit the tutorials hard, but came up short on actual event shoots. I did a freebee for my boss's retirement ceremony in Aug. I believe I had about 1.5hr of footage.

Working FCP about 1-2 hours per day, and about 6-8hrs on the weekend I finished my first edit in about 80hrs. It was a tremendous boost when I received an email from him thanking me and how happy he was with the DVD. He mentioned he watched it three times back-to-back :-)

I then took on another freebee for a friend that was doing a backyard wedding starting at 7pm in Aug. The setting sun and only torched lighting presented a big challenge for a noobe with only a few hours running the Camera. We did a love story, Well-wishes and I put together an Out-takes segment on the DVD. This time it took me 40 hrs to complete. I had more technical challenges than I can mention, but when I get my workflow down I'm sure I will be able to concentrate more on crafting the footage. I sent the DVD to the client two day's ago, and they were ecstatic. Her mother who could not attend her wedding saw the video and it was all Niagara Falls from there. I guess you can say the money shot came later :-)

My kids are all above 18yrs old and that leaves room to practice the craft. I just have to keep in mind not to alienate myself and make sure I do the checks and balance thing.

So keep at it, I'm sure it will get better in time, and the rewards of hearing clients overjoyed only tells me that I'm on the right track if I continue seeking knowledge from those that came before and putting my butt in the edit chair.
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Old October 26th, 2006, 04:32 PM   #4
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Like Vince above, my time is more about loving to work with this stuff than making iy as a business. I do occasional make something but its just put back into equipment.

I've done 4 weddings, all for one family, my sister's girls. Started the first one with a measly 8mm view cam from Sharp, to a Digital 8 and the last one was done with the VX2000 and Panny GS120. With help of my wife, I shot digital stills too. That's overdoing it, but thats what I did. I am also doing occasional events, like a recent musical review at a local theater, and school events for grand kids.

Most recently, I did a two camera shoot with my VX2000 and FX1, at a grammer school musical play. The point of that is that using Premiere Pro 2.0, I finally took a stab at Multi Camera editing. I had never tried it because the idea of treating it like a live production was new to I left cameras runing through out the entire play, and was able to match up footage after capture, and in using the Multi Camera function, was able to quickly cut back and forth between cameras. Actually worked quite nicely. And it saved a lot of time over my old way of cutting and pasting clips on a time line.

If I was doing a two to four camera shoot at a wedding, I would not hesitate to use it as much as possible to save edit time on the ceremony, at least, if not other section of the wedding that I was doing documentary style. Of course that won't help in the "love story" themes we all tend to do in doing a wedding DVD.
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Old October 27th, 2006, 05:34 AM   #5
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easy calcultion

1hr recorded footage = 10 hours post production.
THis include

Capture
review footage and trash the crap (i review footage AFTER its captured.. this way i have everything and i dont have to go back)
fine trim clips
multicam ceemonies and speeches
sync requried elements to music
add filters, effects & transitions where needed
review sequence and retouch clips/filters etc etc
Add title sequence and title overlays
get second person to review title sequence ensuring spelling and placement
master audio mix
render video
render audio
extract stills
transcode video to mpg2
design dvd layouts and menu system
create and author dvd
master and burn dvd copies
design DVD SLipcases
print slipcases and cut with guillotine (surprisingly this takes a bloody long time)
Print burnt discs
insert discs and slipcovers to their cases

all the while answeing emails, running accounts, paying bills, collecting bills, meeting clients, delivering to clients, editing, having a lunch break, answering calls, checking out the competition, touching up my packages, followig up on older queries, liasing with other businsess, liasing with suppliers, and mos importantly, trying to live a life...

by the way, i do this full time with an average of 40-60 weddings per year, depending on the seasons and how much work i feel like doing and how much cash is in the coffers...
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Old October 27th, 2006, 06:17 AM   #6
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A few years ago I added up the numbers and it came to 1 hr of work to produce 1 minute of finished video.

Now, "work" includes everything — initial meeting w/clients, all drive times, time actually taping, capturing to the computer, editing, creating the m2v file, burning disks — and so on. Of course, I can be doing other things, like sleeping, while some of that, such as creating the m2v file, is being handled unattended by the computer, but it's still time spent to create the product.

Anyway, that ratio of 1 hr to produce 1 min was so depressing I haven't recalculated since then. My guess it's now on average closer to .5 -.6 hr to produce 1 min. For me, a real time killer used to be scanning + correcting photos & converting Super8 film for use in the Life Story. Now a good percentage of submitted photos are digital and video is on videotape, so that has eliminated a good bit of time I used to spend with that.

Of course, I'm faster editing than I was, and my computer is, well, a whole lot faster than the computer I was using back then. Gobs of time formerly needed for rendering has been eliminated. I can't remember when was the last time I had a computer crash while editing.

This is not my sole source of income, but even at 1hr work : 1min finished video, it still pays 'way over minimum wage and it's something I enjoy doing. So for me it's worthwhile to keep at it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seth Nickerson
.....finding the right music...
Save yourself time — that's a client job IMO.
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Old October 27th, 2006, 08:40 AM   #7
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The people here are seriously great. Peter, your outline of your process is good to know. And the ratios of raw footage or finished video to total working time are good guidelines to have as well.

The last wedding we shot was the first to use three cameras, and we probably had about 8 hrs. of footage total, and I can definitely see it taking at least 80 hrs. to complete. We have just started to offer two different packages, but for the ones we've done so far, we include the entire ceremony and all of the speeches at the reception and do multicam edits on those, and then set most of the other segments to music and present them in a more stylized format.

We do ask clients to provide music, but in almost every instance their choices have fallen short I thought, such as providing all down-tempo sappy ballads, and I have a section that needs something more snappy. So I usually augment their choices with a few of my own, and nobody has complained so far.

Thanks for the support, guys.
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Old October 27th, 2006, 10:45 AM   #8
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Ahhhh yes, the contentious issue of Music

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seth Nickerson
We do ask clients to provide music, but in almost every instance their choices have fallen short I thought, such as providing all down-tempo sappy ballads, and I have a section that needs something more snappy. So I usually augment their choices with a few of my own, and nobody has complained so far.
Clients rarely have any idea of what good music is (pop doesn't count?) unfortunately. I start off tell my clients that I pick music (first off) that isn't going to sound "so yesterday" on the video. The truth is, it will sound so 1700s, 1800s, early 1900s because I use almost exclusively classical music.

I haven't had a client yet complain when I show them my previous videos. As it is, editing, pacing, and framing the music is hard enough, let alone finding the right classical music piece. It helps to be very familiar with most of the great classics. A few times I saw the footage and knew the song I needed (ie a winter themed weeing HAD to have Vivaldi's Four Seasons, Winter 2nd movement and not just because of the namt.... that song just fit!).

jason
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Old October 27th, 2006, 02:14 PM   #9
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"""print slipcases and cut with guillotine (surprisingly this takes a bloody long time)"""


Perhaps these folks have a product to help.

http://www.prolabel.com/dvd_case_inserts.htm
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Old October 27th, 2006, 07:07 PM   #10
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Peter is Right On!
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Old October 27th, 2006, 11:25 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vince Lucena
"""print slipcases and cut with guillotine (surprisingly this takes a bloody long time)"""


Perhaps these folks have a product to help.

http://www.prolabel.com/dvd_case_inserts.htm
good idea viiince, but heres teh doozy..

with perforations, u must fold at least 3 times before pulling apart.. lets say 15 to 30 seconds on doing a CLEAN fold...

the other option i have, is to print my covers with a grey dotted line outline... line it up and slice the page.

several seconds here and there isnt a problem, but when your doing hundreds of covers for school concerts, it can really drive u mental.

Anotehr element to consider is paper alignment in teh printer.
If your paper is pre-perforated, u MUST print within that area, however, on photopaper, if ur paper is slightly askew, it doesnt matter as your image/cover is still intact
that in itself is a timesaver, as sometimes when using bubblejet printers for bulk work, they can misalign the paper by afew mm...


good idea though
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Old October 28th, 2006, 09:32 AM   #12
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I believe another cool feature with the above product is that they print on 8.5 x 11.0 paper allowing full bleed with the preforation within the bleed area.
But your right-on regarding large quantities, onezee-twozees would be idea for this appplication..... I have been scoping out sourcing to these folks: http://store.chicagodigitalpost.com/products.asp?cat=22
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Old October 28th, 2006, 09:36 AM   #13
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Takes me 10 days to two full weeks to edit wedding shot on two cameras.
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Old October 30th, 2006, 08:14 AM   #14
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There's also this: http://www.jewelboxing.com

Although I don't think they would be a time saver, since there are so many pieces to design and print in the system. Plus, they're expensive! They do look nice, though.
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