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

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Old August 10th, 2010, 09:29 AM   #16
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I use to offer draft copies as well for their approval. But one client made me remove that clause. Can you change the text? Can you remove her, don't know why we invited her in the first place, rather than using pictures can you shoot some flowers and use that as a background? The Bestman speech is too long can we cut it? Can I sit in while you edit? It is was not very often but a client like that will come eventually.

My 2 cents
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Old August 10th, 2010, 10:14 AM   #17
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I give a seven day approval period. If during that time they discover a technical fault or a speeling mustake (sic), or anything that they really couldn't live with I will correct it. I have built into my price a half day to re-MPEG and burn a second disc.
However I do make it absolutely clear when they sign my agreement that anything other than that, such as a change of music, is to be paid for on a quotable basis with a minimum charge of 100. That is clearly shown on my agreement form next to the final payment due.
I think I've been asked a couple of times to make some minor changes but in the main they are happy with what they get. Those who are demanding, and I have had them, are soon deterred by the thought of an additional payment, and if they did want to pay I'd be happy to do any additional work for them and take their money.
My philosophy is to have happy customers so I try to give them what they want. Happy customers bring more customers.
A happy couple can't wait to show their DVD to their friends. An unhappy couple won't wait to denigrate you name amongst their friends.
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Old August 10th, 2010, 10:48 AM   #18
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George you make a great point.
I have no problem making a change if the customer is truly unhappy but I feel offering a "first draft" or a "proof" is inviting criticism and changes that the customer wouldn't otherwise request.
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Old August 10th, 2010, 11:29 AM   #19
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Just to clarify, I don't present it to the couple as a draft or preview, To all intents and purposes it is the completed work.
I tell them at the booking stage that that I will keep it on my system for seven days and during that time if they spot anything they should let me know (I am very careful but not invulnerable to missing something).

On one occasion I attributed the wrong name to one of the bridesmaids another was a BCU of one of the bride's ex boyfriends waiting at the church. She didn't mind him in the background but not in close-up. I had no way of knowing who he was. She even offered to pay for it to be removed so why should I cause her to be embarrassed every time she watched it when I could easily snip him out and make her happy. As I said I have an extra half day built into my price so I'd rather have any mistake pointed out to me when I can rectify it rather than months later when it's long gone off the system. I make it clear that once off the system no changes can be made so I know it won't be coming back to me months later when Aunt Bessie gets to see it and complains about the way she looks.
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Old August 10th, 2010, 07:06 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Philip Howells View Post
This is developing into an interesting thread. One thing I'd be interested to know, especially from Chris, Don, Travis school (and I use the term as one refers to the Dutch school of painting etc) is whether their approach in which they have total control tempts or lures them into or towards formulaic production.
I can't speak for anyone else, but we're generally trying to push into new territory with every wedding. That said, we're aren't trying to reinvent the wheel with every wedding. We do still have a basic plan for how we are going to shoot, edit and produce the final product. But for each wedding we do tweak certain aspects here and there to push our creativity and stay inspired.

So to answer the question on your mind, the production our couple receives is going to be somewhat different from what they previously saw in the studio. However, it's not going to be so different that they feel like they are receiving a different product altogether. For some couples here and there we've really done some things differently, but that's because we knew in advance that those couples would be open to it. So getting to know our couples really helps us know where to go with their production.

Hope that was somewhat enlightening. d;-)
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Old August 10th, 2010, 11:41 PM   #21
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So the trick for you then Travis is to make your "differences" minor "wow" factors for the clients. I'm quite gee'd up by this response in view of the minority of one I felt I was becoming within the respondents here.
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Old August 11th, 2010, 02:49 AM   #22
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The way I always look at making a wedding "unique" without straying too much from what the bride is expecting is during the shooting process rather than at the editing process. I always do a short photoshoot prior to the photographer taking over (that's when I head for the reception and do guest interviews) During my photoshoot I will then look for opportunities to make that part of the wedding unique especially rather than trying to tweak ordinary footage in post.

Are you guys talking about creating a "wow" factor in post from what would otherwise be mundane footage or do your creative juices also take control during shooting.????

I purely mention the "photoshoot" segment because it is a period where you don't have any time restraints or running sheet to follow...At least during this segment I have the time to get the stedicam vest on and get creative cos you know that nothing "ceremonial" is likely to happen!!!

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Old August 18th, 2010, 07:40 PM   #23
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I hope no-one will mind if I extend this thread a little because the time is approaching when I can easily change my terms and I'm being persuaded towards the "final package" solution.

Alec refers to the style the clients have seen in his samples and others have described people buying them because of their style.

This for me raises the first question of how many samples do you show each new client?

Secondly, presumably these are complete wedding videos so how many DVDs do you provide for each potential client to see?

Finally, what in your experience do the really expensive producers offer - their pick or complete client choice? If the first, how do they justify the top price or is it just a matter of having the "chutzpah" to double last year's price??
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Old August 18th, 2010, 11:30 PM   #24
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I encourage couples to view the sample highlights on my website. About half the time, this is enough to satisfy them. If they want to meet and view some full films, I generally show them selections from two or three weddings until they're happy with what they've seen. Most of these meetings last between 30 and 60 minutes.

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Old August 18th, 2010, 11:41 PM   #25
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I don't offer draft for customer to review. It's just too much footage that will take forever to turn around. I also make it clear up front when we first met that there is no review process. I'm their wedding movie director so I will decide what goes to the final cut. If they don't trust my professionalism, they shouldn't hire me in the first place.

I then further explain to the customers. The DVD they received is final. However, if there's something obviously my mistake, I will take them back to re do the edit. I also tell them these 2 real stories happened.

Story 1
After receiving the final DVD, the bride asked me to re-do the edit to take out her mother-in-law footage as much as I could. It is obviously she has a problem with the mother-in-law. It is not my mistake. So I turn down her request.

Story 2
A bunch of groomsmen were acting silly in the church court yard (groping each other). I thought it was funny and put them in the bloopers. The bride told me her parents are serious catholic people and they will consider that offensive. That's a total legit concern and I took back the DVD to edit those out.

After that, my customers are gladly accept the fact there is no review process. =)
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Old August 19th, 2010, 12:36 AM   #26
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There was a similar discussion back in April. Here is the link:

From that discussion it was apparent that there were some regional differences and also differing business perspectives and differing experiences.

I work in a rather rural area where very nearly all of my customers want a multi-camera documentary style of wedding video. Because of this, I see no need for "draft" copies for most customers. The term that I use is a "proof" copy which is for the couple to review for things like spelling errors. They have two weeks to review the DVD for those kinds of corrections and then the balance of the contract price is due.

I go with two weeks for review because most couples in my area are either going away for the week after the ceremony or else they have come up here (a resort area) for the wedding and won't be where they can review the DVD for a week or so.

I get so few requests for changes and most of them are so minor that I'm actually pretty loose about making them. Maybe a guest or relative has told an off-color story in an interview during the reception. Maybe there's a moment of unguarded horseplay as Taky described. These are things that seemed funny at the time. Some couples want these moments left in the video (particularly things that one or both never got to see.) Others may have second thoughts about these items. No problem cutting short clip out and re-doing the DVD. Once.

However, when it comes making substantive changes such as re-editing sequences to change views, etc., my contract also says that I charge for my time on an hourly basis. The contract also says that the clients can work with me on the editing but they will pay hourly for doing so. (This is over and above what would be my usual charges). Re-edits have to be done as my schedule permits.

If a client wants to rent me and my editing studio for days, I'll take the money. That said, in sixteen years of videoing weddings up here, I have never had anybody want to do this with a wedding video.

The only time I will actually call something a "draft" copy is when a customer is is paying for a "highlights" or "day movie" segment. There is not much call for that kind of thing in my area; most folks in my area have a distinct preference for the documentary style of DVD and a professional video is usually a budgetary after-thought, anyway. For the few people who want a highlights "movie" these are such highly personal things and I've found that it may take a couple of tries to get the video to the exact personal style and shape the customer wants, rather like corporate work that somebody mentioned above. I charge for this kind of work on an hourly basis and work out a budget with the customer beforehand and make that part of our contract.
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Old August 19th, 2010, 12:48 AM   #27
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so good to see this thread growing.
I've already changed my contract to the 'no changes' era. I had my first two pre-wedding meetings with couples this week and they signed the contract quite happily. No questions asked about the 'i will be deemed correct' point.

Thinking about what most people have been saying in here, the changes is a more psychological thing. If you send a draft of their film in a DVD-r for them to approve they will feel that the product is not good enough therefore they will try (or force themselves) to find changes. If in the other hand, the first thing they receive is a beautiful package with their printed cases, Blu-Rays inside, etc.....then they will love it....or force their brains to love it.
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Old August 19th, 2010, 11:43 AM   #28
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Two points - Taky, neither of your two examples were your fault yet you took diametrically opposite views about changing them. If referrals are our best adverts leaving a bride angry that her wishes regarding her mother in law wouldn't be met merely creates an unsatisfied client hardly likely to give you a 100% referral.

Secondly, I don't regard any edit as draft - we adhere as strictly as possible to the wishes expressed in the Client Questionnaire - which would have picked up the m-i-l issue. Most of our edits are accepted at first offering - some 80% - and the changes needed are rarely big ones, so why not let the client think they're in control?
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Old August 19th, 2010, 11:49 AM   #29
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Philip.. I would think the groomsmen situation is my fault, as I should be more sensitive and find out what is funny and what is not. Lesson learned, now for questionable material like that, I will consult the birde first to see if it's appropriate to go to the DVD or not.

two other stories,

story 3:
For some reason, the bride either her boobs got smaller that day or the dress got bigger. She keep pulling her dress up all day. So I put together a montage of her pulling her dress up. It was quite funny. So I asked the bride if it's okay to include that in the final DVD. She said as long as she's pretty go ahead! Also it would be fun to show her grand child she was a hot bride.

story 4:
I interviewed guests at wedding ask them to say some blessing. One couple (the wife) said, "I don't think you guys will work out. But you can try anyway". She was serious, not joking. So I asked the bride about that. She told me that wife was a bitter person.. and she could have crush on the groom, who knows. So she informed me not to include that footage in the DVD.

It's good to communicate with the customers =)
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Old September 1st, 2010, 01:02 PM   #30
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This really has been an interesting thread and I was pleased to see the opinions given.

As for me:

1. No clients in the edit - absolutely fatal - you'll be there till dawn next Christmas.
2. I am being hired as a video producer to produce an edited artistic representation of the days events.
3. Edit errors (having been reported within 30 days of the event date) will be corrected free of charge and new DVDs supplied.
4. Requests for additional footage will be considered in the "Bonus Feature" section and will be at the discretion of the producer (my goodwill section).
5. No previews, drafts or viewings. In essence, you're inviting them to make changes and can if you're not careful open the floodgate, can of worms, add in your own metaphor.

I am not their friend (meting out concessions) but a friendly professional providing them with a service - our relationship is on that basis.

Essentially, they hire me on the basis of knowing my past work and experience and want to see something similar - and if it deviates from the formulaic that's all to the good, as new inspiration comes along quite often. As a result 9/10 clients say job very well done, with the remainder asking if you do this... add that... change this... of whom are referred to the terms and conditions of our agreement.

If I charge over 1,000 for my services then perhaps I would add in more concessions, but I don't, so I don't.

This is a business: your charges, the margins and the clients you hope to attract based upon what you offer, therefore you have to decide fairly early on what concessions you will make in order to help meet your financial objectives in what is a high capital cost industry.

Yes I love my work, but let's face it - there are some very obsessed brides out there who will want to relive their wedding through every re-edit and additional piece of bonus footage, seemingly desparate to avoid the prospect of the marriage. My coprorate and non-wedding clients are much more cuddly.

Women don't hit harder, they just hit lower!

Last edited by Claire Buckley; September 1st, 2010 at 01:11 PM. Reason: typo
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