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


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Old March 19th, 2007, 07:34 PM   #1
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Are your wedding clients ready for HD...?

When you're making a living from wedding video and you think about HD, do you ask yourself; Is buying 3 x HD cams (one for backup) & a new NLE system going to give you a return on your investment or are you satifying a lusty desire for the latest toys?

I don't know about other parts of the world, however in Australia most of the couples we visit can't even setup their TV/DVD to display 16:9 correctly let alone getting into the difference between 50I & 25P. I just don't see potential clients paying more money for a wedding in HD - 2 more years from now though and it could well be a different story!!

If doing wedding video was a part-time hobby and I had minimal financial commitment in it, I probably would already have a HD cam.

I'm interested in other ppl's philosophies.

Feel free to take this topic wherever you want (it's a free thread)

PS: If this topic has been discussed before who cares!?! Remember, not every one has time to read all posts or do extensive searches.
Rehashing old subject matter has a way of turning over new information by involving new people into the mix which keeps the spirit of community alive; lest forums become just another archive library.
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Old March 19th, 2007, 07:48 PM   #2
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Hi Paul,

I find couples in Australia don't really seem to care about HD, the biggest
request we get are cheesy effects, or photomontage type intros requested.

I Shoot in BetaSP still, and couples are still amazed at the quality of our cams.

Cheers
Sean Morris
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Old March 19th, 2007, 08:07 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Sean Morris View Post
Hi Paul,

I find couples in Australia don't really seem to care about HD, the biggest
request we get are cheesy effects, or photomontage type intros requested.

I Shoot in BetaSP still, and couples are still amazed at the quality of our cams.

Cheers
Sean Morris
Interesting!!

I have a friend who works at HP Aust and after coming back from a recent sales conference & workshop where they spoke about video editing. He told me that the crux of the discussion was how HD was not the saviour of the video production industry but actually cinematography was!!

Yea we get a few that ask for cheesy staged stuff too. Hopefully we try to make them see that there is a better way to do this stuff - you can't please everyone though.
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Old March 19th, 2007, 08:48 PM   #4
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Hey Paul,
I film primarily Quinceaneras here in Maryland and I'm seeing more and more clients have HDTV's. None of them have a HD-DVD or BDR player. I went HD for the purpose of giving a widescreen product to my clients. I have no intent to deliver HD for a minimum of at least 1 more year. They really appreciate that a lot. They do comment on how everyone looks the right size and not over weight (^_^).

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Old March 20th, 2007, 02:54 AM   #5
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u really want me to start rambling? LOL

when i get a free moment i'll write up my thoughts...

in a nutshell, what you have stated about setting up TV's is correct. In addition, many dont understand the fundamental differences of camera form factors and reason for using said camera, codecs used within those cameras, delivery options such as 16:9/4:3, Dolby Digital (im refering to licensed Dolby, not the "oh we do surround sound but cant prove its quality" but actual TSA licensed Dolby format deliveries, They also dont know much about the differences in HD 720p/1080p.. they also dont understand the PS3 is their doorway to HD viewing.. (ill explain that more later.. but think about it.. its the ultimate boy toy... and you can use that factor as a selling point for HD.. )

BUT...
in all this, about a year ago i put up a post at a well known bridal forum..
I asked them if they were happy to pay extra for High Definition....
for today, they are not prepared to pay for it..

Asked if it were to be the "standard" of tomorrow, which requires a complete refit of the respective studio, (cameras, NLE's, storage, lights, TIME) in tunr this refit increases costs...
Nope not that either..

They werent too pleased about it and many claimed that if it was "standard" why should they pay extra.

After explaining the differences in workflow, plus the addition delivery options of BD/HD DVD, inclusive of SD DVD for those without HD, they still werent prepared to accept the point of the need to pay for this additional product.

In addition, many complained about the existing prices of video.... as video isnt seen as an artform as photography is.
So theyre happy to pay 6k for photos and an album and 1 photog for 5 hours... but their loath to pay over $2500AUD (inc GST) for a video package which covers all locations 2 cameras, full edits and slideshows..
Hell, they hate the idea of paying 330 to have a projection at their wedding, let alone paying a grand for an SDE

Ive noticed tht many heresee video as being second rate.. its an afterthought..
One of the reason s i invested in some Canon DSLR gear was becuase of this attitude..
Despite my efforts and the way I conduct myself, it dont mean anything until i whip out the 5d... its then that people take notice and actually have some respect for what i do.. then they see a DVX or Z1 strapped to my side then it dawns on them that im serious about this...

Its sad but true.. many of us who work from home are also considered substandard considering we dont "have a shop" but hey.. i have a 20square foot theatre/office kitted to the nines.. and STILL that didnt change the attitude.... fair enough people booked, in fact 99% of people i meet book, but thats not the point.. when you tell them its a home based studio, and its a decision we make to alleviate costs for them, they dont care..
BUT even with this lack of caring, they STILL dont want to pay those premums for a good product..

SD is hard enoough to sell, HD is going to be a nightmare..
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Old March 20th, 2007, 05:32 AM   #6
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u really want me to start rambling? LOL
Ha ha ha!! Hey Pete, I knew that would get you going. I've just taken my first break after a 4 hour editing session and if I hear Etta James' "At Last" any more tonight I'm gonna scream!!!

(I haven't read your post yet.)

Actually, the other day I was listening to a WedVidTalk Podcast from 2006 where Al & Kathy were talking with the infamous David Robins and he was telling them that his decision to go to HD was quite rash. I think he said he bought a Sony FX1 & Z1 and sold his DSR300 & DVX on Ebay. I wonder how he's going with them...?
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Old March 20th, 2007, 08:40 AM   #7
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We do this full time and I sold the Sony cams and grabbed 3 XHA1s with an HV20 on the way as a backup. As we shoot with a minimum of three cams, it was quite a large investment to switch everything over. Regardless of whether couples want or care about HD, in my opinion, these cams are far superior to the Sonys. I find 16:9 to be a big feature, the picture customization to get different looks, the advantages when shooting in bright conditions outdoors, the aperture ring is very helpful plus theres more. Yes, the low light ability is not quite as good, but it is good and can easily be worked with.

I chose all of the non-HD advantages of these new cams over the price advantage of the SD cams and their low-light advantage. To me, HD is just another plus. Now, when I start showing HD highlights in our meeting room, I think my answer will be drastically different and couples will start wanting and will pay more for HD. It is hard to sell something without being able to really show them the difference in an actual video.

In the meantime, I have gotten one to two of our largest bookings because they really loved our work and we could shoot in HD, so that has been a factor for a select few couples looking at higher end packages.


Patrick
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Old March 20th, 2007, 09:15 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Paul Nguyen View Post
Actually, the other day I was listening to a WedVidTalk Podcast from 2006 where Al & Kathy were talking with the infamous David Robins and he was telling them that his decision to go to HD was quite rash. I think he said he bought a Sony FX1 & Z1 and sold his DSR300 & DVX on Ebay. I wonder how he's going with them...?
Put it this way, if hes doing these huge high profile jobs, i would definately recomend NOT use these cameras.. Im not a know it all, but consideirng the clientelle... then again i dont knwo how much he's charging.. so...
XDCam at the minimum.. actually with the current offerings I wouldnt hasten to say HPX and a HVX as backup/2nd unit but that would be me if i was in that position, which im not and im not him..

Each to their own i guess..
Me, well if nothings done about the P2 capacity soon enough, i'll have no choice but jump ship and go the A1.. Ive only heard good things about it, from what ive seen of it, im impressed I havent had a chance to dive right in coz the units that come my way are out the door before i can get my hands dirty with it...

as for editing. im cutting a preshoot piece which is blended with a slideshow... to be projected saturday nite.. and ive got a highlights to deliver by monday so yer.. and with 2 meetings this week i really CBF'd doign anythng... need sleep..
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Old March 20th, 2007, 10:49 AM   #9
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some replies from Brides...

"As a consumer - who will probably only ever get one thing professionally video-ed ( the wedding) then i'm not much interested in the technology behind what is being provided/offered.

Its more simply for me (us) ...about style.

Its not quite the same for photography because i guess i can 'proclaim' to know more about that because its a more widely used/accessible technology and i'm more 'into' it as a person anyway."
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Old March 20th, 2007, 02:28 PM   #10
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Just as brides/grooms need to be sold on videography itself, they also need to be sold on HD, as they wouldn't see the advantages without the salesmanship. To me, HD is a conviction. SD will not be the standard for their children, which is really what wedding video is about -- it's generational. It's also unavoidable; every one of us will shoot HD four years from now, so it's more of a question of when we can be ready. I think that larger city videographers will have to switch sooner than smaller town videographers.
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Old March 20th, 2007, 02:33 PM   #11
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To me, HD is a conviction. SD will not be the standard for their children, which is really what wedding video is about -- it's generational. It's also unavoidable; every one of us will shoot HD four years from now, so it's more of a question of when we can be ready.
Some may not agree, myself included, with your statement about what wedding video is 'about'. If we don't agree with your premise, the rest of your argument doesn't hold.
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Old March 20th, 2007, 06:35 PM   #12
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For me...I sell "content" and not "how I get the content", I'm sure once I go HD, I will let the world of brides know that I am HD a bit more than I let them know their wedding is shot in DVCam.

I wish the transision from SD to HD was over and done with but unfortuately its not......and until the dust settles more, I will stay with my current gear I guess. I'vce seen some really nice HDV material out there.....but I am reluctant to jump on the bandwagon just yet. When I know the delivery options are solid as a rock or close to it.....and this WILL be the mainstay format for a while, I will then jump ship from SD to HD.

I think everyone's rates should increase once or if they go HD. It is too large of an investment to simply "give" this to clients at current rates.

Currently, I still have yet to have a bride be concerned whether the videos I produce are done in HD. They will eventually I know....but for now they are more than happy with SD. Also, for me.....brides are near 90% or so the decision maker when it comes to their wedding vendors.......grooms are extremelt vacant in a lot of the wedding planning process.
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Old March 20th, 2007, 07:10 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Paul Nguyen View Post
Ha ha ha!! Hey Pete, I knew that would get you going. I've just taken my first break after a 4 hour editing session and if I hear Etta James' "At Last" any more tonight I'm gonna scream!!!
So that is where that song came from. Hated it following the first phrase. What? My apologies. I have a clean brain. Nothing stays around long enough to gather dust.
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Old March 20th, 2007, 07:42 PM   #14
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were getting old mate.. lol

the entire argument of what/how really does relat to current demand and costs for that demand..

many videograpehrs here in aus cosnider HDV to be "true" hd.. with text blurbs plasetring their sites etc etc

then there are others (and i'll quote one well known compnay) "HD is a scam"

those that dont want to make the investment are still pumping SD, and theres nothign wrogn with that, those that are trying to bignote themselves are claiming that "thier gear is newer and more reliable' many MANY companies are using HDV as a selling point, but there not charging any extra to shoot in that format.. let alone deliver...
Me, i go the other way. I dont like HDV compression and i make it known to my clients, in addition if they want a HD version shot of their wedding, i tell them its either DVCPRoHD or XDCamHD. One main reason being is that the audio compression is on teh verge of compromising my licensing with Dolby Labs
Also, her in aus there are bridalk associations which once u pay them a grand or so, you can plster their badge on your site.. thing is, theres no regulation.. either by these bodies or the government itself.. so anyone can pretty much do anything they like

the point im making is that until demand for a product is a valid argument for purchase and demand for said product is valued at/or more than the cost of produciton of said product, then, and only then shoudl the argument be considered as a business model restructure.
Each to their own.. i myself am a tech geek and i have gear envy.. i have to at least mess with everything i cna get my hands on.. from the old days of synths and samplers, to cameras used today... im still this way, and i was an early adopter of the Z1 and regret it more than i could possibly describe.

Noone cared for what it could do.. its as simple as that.. people care about style and the way you conduct yourself at their wedding, they dont care what you use so long as your discrete enough to not piss anyone off and that you get teh shots you need without havign to stop the world to get them.
Its basic common sense, but in the end, fair enough WE know that its the future, BUT they dont care about that.. right now, ehir primary concern is having the budget to pull this wedding off without going into a second mortgage
And this is where lowballing comes into play...

the issue we face is that a precedent is being set for HD delivery.. irrespective of the acquisition, be it DVCProHD, HDV, XDCamHD, people dnt have the means to watch this material jsut yet.
They see HD DVD and BD as being the "next" DVD.. and fair enough it might.. but only when authoring tools are provided.. for now though here in aus, PS3 is the only means we have to deliver this content and not everyone is willing to invest in this technology, let alone a HD panel and sound system to view it accordingly

like i always say.. when HDDVD/BD is available on teh rental shelves, thats when i'll really start to worry about it
But for now, it seems im spending more time educating and coordinating clients as oppposed to getting any actual filming and editing done.
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Old March 22nd, 2007, 11:59 AM   #15
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Peter,
I think your first post was dead on. You're from AUS, I'm shooting in Boston, US and it's amazing how the public perceptions of video are about the same. Recent statistics I found here indicate that brides are hiring videographers around 50% of the time, but they are paying 64% more for photographers. Like you said, I think it's the perception that photo is an artform that explains the premium they get paid.

But we're not just competing against ourselves and photographers but also the venue, caterer, entertainment, florists and everyone else who gets a piece of the bride's limited budget.

That is why I'm having such a hard time justifying an anticipated $15,000 HD upgrade. As you said, SD is hard to sell so how am I going to compete by raising my prices to recover upgrade costs? Everytime I look at one of those on-line wedding advertisers to see who's out there, I find a new list of people offering wedding videos for under $1,500 and even well under $1,000. The wedding video market just seems to be saturated around here and that just makes it more difficult to attract quality clients.

I've seen enough HD to know the technology is compelling. But, we have to think in business terms. The same stats I mentioned also showed only a 2% growth in weddings through 2012. But wedding costs are projected to go up 39%. How much of that 39% would go to video is anyone's guess but as cynical as I am, I'd say very little.

So, I have a negative but I think realistic business impression that HD is an exciting and evolving technology that will get more affordable but will remain difficult to sell over the next few years. As I've mentioned before, I'd sell my PD-170s yesterday, if Sony announced they would sell a native 16:9 version.
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