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Old December 22nd, 2016, 12:38 AM   #31
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Re: Do My Wedding Packages Make Sense?

Being a single shooter has these benefits:

1- You are in full control of all aspects of the shoot/product. Never argue/disagree with shooters during
and/or after the shoot.
2- You get no surprises like shooters being late or lost, believe me it has happened often.
Unless, of course, you all travel together.
3- More equipment=more chances of malfunction ( Murphy's Law) and also more likely guests will stumble,
trip or run into/get hurt by gear especially jibs and cranes.
4- Unobtrusively goes out the window.Especially when there's 3 shooters.
5- Again, more time at the editing desk = less leisure time. Unless you hire an editor = go to #6
#6- Added production costs which lowers profits. See also #9
7- More cost to bride and groom for providing more meals ( they have brought that issue up often enough)
Unless their venue is at McDonald's.
8- The venue manager will love you ( perhaps even recommending you).
9- Don't have to reimburse tolls, gas, parking to shooters. It adds up fast throughout the year.
10- The priest, minister, officiant will love you too.

I know, I know
The video is going to look like crap compared to a multi cam/shooter production.

Merry Christmass and Happy New Year to all !
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Old December 22nd, 2016, 01:02 AM   #32
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Re: Do My Wedding Packages Make Sense?

Arthur - your points can so easily be countermanded.

Multiple shooters are invariably charging more to cover the costs. I know a guy charges on average 2000 per Wedding, does approx 18-20 a year and has 2 shooters per Wedding. Couples paying that out aren't going to be too fussed over an extra meal. Photographers come in pairs all the time and the couple will pay for their meals.
Plus editing 18-20 Weddings a year must take a similar or I'd wager less time it takes to edit yours and mine 70 Weddings a year.

The big advantage of a 2nd shooter is

1) You can't be in two places at a time - you can't film Groom Preps and Bridal Preps at two different locations to the same standard.
2) Extra support.
3) Greater production value

Find the right 2nd shooter and there are clear advantages over a solo operator.

As for your Point 3; more gear means more safeguards. I have 4 cameras filming a Ceremony; if 1 goes down, I still have 3. What would happen if your 1 camera were to fail. Plus I've never had guests stumble over my gear. Most of my cameras are so small, I can mount them to a clamp. Tripods are placed purposely to avoid obstruction.

As for the Priest loving single shooters more. Well that depends on how you behave. A 2nd shooter working quietly at the back and a first shooter positioned discreetly at the front is going to be loved more than a single shooter armed with only 1 camera leaping into the aisle every now and then to vary his shots. This example comes courtesy of 1 such Vicar who told me how a single Videographer had behaved this way. I assured him my multiple cameras meant I didn't need to move. I've seen Venues and churches object to a single Photographer yet loved a 2 person team; it comes down to attitude, courtesy and behaviour, not number of people in my experience.

Finally I am oddly enough praised for being unobtrusive, despite my hefty gear. However I employ such gear leniently for certain shots. My own Jib shots tend to be exterior and interior shots of the venue; ditto my slider. Plus a DSLR on a gimbal is no more obtrusive than whatever camera you're carting around - I imagine not a DSLR.

Again back to an earlier post I made, of perpetuating myths to justify a position. I speak as a primary solo shooter, but that doesn't mean I can't see clear advantages of dual shooters. Not to say there aren't risks, but then what if I became ill, what if my car was to break down. There are business risks to a single shooter too, so its not as clear cut as you may like to think.

Oh and a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you too. :)
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Old December 22nd, 2016, 02:51 AM   #33
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Re: Do My Wedding Packages Make Sense?

Solo shooter doesn't mean solo camera which is quite important. Steve has already said he can use extra cameras and extra gear without an extra person. We often will have 3 cameras where needed.

My issue has always been the 2nd shooter. I have tried and tried and despite them blabbermouthing about their 5 years at Uni and their incredible skills the bottom line is all the ones I have ever hired have sucked. Yes and some had incredible experience but still failed to deliver so I stayed solo !

We often do bridal prep of the guys and girls ..we simply do the guys first (they have an option to drop the suits if they want to afterwards) and then the girls. Never had an issue with doing the guys early either!

My feelings about 2nd shooters is simple ..if they are as good as me then why are they not working on their own already or are they just using me to get into the industry? Nope I can do without them thank you and not having a second shooter keeps my production costs nice and low which means more profit!
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Old December 22nd, 2016, 04:57 AM   #34
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Re: Do My Wedding Packages Make Sense?

Ah, finally some fun discussion :)
I have shot weddings for 6 or 7 years solo with one camera only before turning to a multicamera setup and a few times working with a second camera operator so I do have some experience to know the pros and cons
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arthur Gannis View Post
1- You are in full control of all aspects of the shoot/product. Never argue/disagree with shooters during .
It's important that if you decide to use a second shooter that you work with someone who is a) professional or b) is your permanent shooter for every wedding. Professional shooters don't argue/disagree, they might present you with alternatives but in the end it's you who has to call the shots. If you work with the same shooter for every wedding each of you will eventually know what to do but still, there can only be one person leading and that's also the one who will be doing the editing. If you run into trouble with a shooter messing up then it's because you hired the wrong person for the job.
Quote:
2- You get no surprises like shooters being late or lost, believe me it has happened often. Unless, of course, you all travel together.
You don't mention the largest disadvantage of shooting solo, what if you are late, lost, sick, get in an accident, do you have a equally experienced backup that can take over who is just a phonecall away? If you work with a second shooter you always have a back up that can take over.

Quote:
3- More equipment=more chances of malfunction ( Murphy's Law) and also more likely guests will stumble, trip or run into/get hurt by gear especially jibs and cranes.
Using more then one camera during a ceremony is actually a better protection against malfunction, what if your main camera malfunctions during a important moment, can you switch to a backup camera in an instant? What do you do to cover up the part that you missed while you get your backupcamera (considering that you have one) Having multiple camera running simultaneously can save you from such a disaster. Important is again to shoot with your main camera as if it was your only camera, all other extra camera angles are just a added bonus for different angles or for safety reasons.
Jibs and cranes can apply to solo shooters as well if they have that gear with them, I at least never use it.

Quote:
4- Unobtrusively goes out the window.Especially when there's 3 shooters.
When I was shooting solo with one camera only I had to move around more to get enough b-roll shots, having more camera's or even working with a second operator means moving around less so being less obtrusive.

Quote:
5- Again, more time at the editing desk = less leisure time. Unless you hire an editor = go to #6
That depends, if you don't shoot more then needed it's hardly extra time added, even with a 2nd shooter if they know exactly what to cover.
Quote:
#6- Added production costs which lowers profits. See also #9
Depends again, if you charge accordingly you make the same amount of money but your production value rises. You could do less wedding every year with 2 shooters while making the same amount of money as you do now shooting solo and in the meantime increase your production value so you can attract higher end clients that are willing to pay extra.
Quote:
7- More cost to bride and groom for providing more meals ( they have brought that issue up often enough)
At least over here couples don't care, my last wedding 2 weeks back that I shot with a forum member there where also 2 photogs and the entire band (about 6 people) that came to perform live singing got a main meal in the evening, it's also not an obligation to feed us so if they would object I would just bring my own food.

Quote:
8- The venue manager will love you ( perhaps even recommending you).
As long as you let the venue personal do their work and if you communicate in a professional way with the venue manager they won't care if you are with 2 or 3 shooters.
Quote:
9- Don't have to reimburse tolls, gas, parking to shooters. It adds up fast throughout the year.
I just have one fixed price which covers all costs, I don't bother the client with a few euros parking costs.

Quote:
10- The priest, minister, officiant will love you too.
They would love me even more if would show up with multiple shooters and camera's, that would mean we hardly had to move around to get all shots, priests only care that you don't walk around during their homily, it's usually the photog that gets the evil eye for not remaining still.

If you shoot solo with one camera and do 70 weddings a year or shoot with a team of 3 doing 20 weddings a year, if you charge accordingly you could make the same amount of money with less effort, like Steve said, I can easily make a counterargument towards solo shooting for every point you made, I would like to permanently shoot with a second shooter but I have not been able to find anyone in my own country that has the same gear and experience so I shoot alone, sometimes with one camera only because I like to challenge myself, usually with multiple camera's because it does give me more options and every now and then for fun with a forum member here who especially flies over from the UK to help me out and we never disagree or argue and at some moments he has even better shots then me :)
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Old December 22nd, 2016, 05:03 AM   #35
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Re: Do My Wedding Packages Make Sense?

I usually work as a solo shooter, both for video, photography and for the joint video and photography package. I always use an FS1000 for 4k main camera, an HD cam as a B cam and a GoPro or clone as a C cam. If I am also doing the stills, I carry a DSLR aswell so that I can maximise my options. I also caryy 2 pocket audio recorders and a wireless mic.

Claire has exactly the same equipment for solo work. If we only have one wedding on, we will frequently work together, but this is more to lighten the work load than add more variety. It gives time to take the occasional rest and help each other with setting up and breaking down. We don't have a problem shooting both Bride and Groom's preps solo,as the girls usually take all morning whereas the guys are pretty quick. It is straight forward to break the time into appropriate slots without missing anything important. If we are doing photos, it saves a bit of time if one of us sets up the poses whilst the other takes the shots and we interchange very easily on that.

As Chris mentioned, finding an affordable and expert second shooter is extremely difficult and unreliable and a gopher, although useful, can be a liability if put on a camera. I am probably in a better position than most here, as my wife is highly competent in video, photography and every aspect of the business, so it puts us in an ideal position, but that is not a luxury available to everyone.

Roger
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Old December 22nd, 2016, 08:49 AM   #36
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Re: Do My Wedding Packages Make Sense?

All things being equal two manned shooters yield a better video. But there are a few caveats some have been mentioned.

1. Finding one that is good, dependable and affordable. Yeah it stinks when you're editing and there is something wrong with the shot you were depending on 2nd shooter to get. I know some people use head sets to make communication clear.

2. It adds $500 to hire an experienced shooter for the day. Then at least $200 for the extra editing time. For a total of an extra $700+ nearly doubling the cost which many clients will balk at.

3. Two places at one time like groom and bride prep not possible. During the ceremony you can stay in position and not be distraction because you have the second shooter covering the other angle. At the reception you can have one person film the person giving the speech while the second does bride/groom/parent reaction.

There is so much going on and usually in short bursts of time that a second shooter is really invaluable. Unmanned cameras are fraught with many problems. You use as backup or something you cut to but are risky to depend on.

Look I get the whole solo deal I've done it myself but lets not kid ourselves that it's on par with multiple shooters. I just filmed a live event that really needed multiple shooters I missed a number of shots because I couldn't get into position I needed to be in. Now I'm going to have pay the price in editing to try to make it work.
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Old December 22nd, 2016, 10:42 AM   #37
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Re: Do My Wedding Packages Make Sense?

I knew this was gonna happen. Anyway am I doing something wrong by shooting solo and booking an average 60+ weddings a year, with a $1500 fixed one package offering ?.
Yes, I do have backup gear in case of camera malfunction. I used my backup only twice in 30 years due to the video heads (as usual) clogging up. Yes, I missed a few key shots here and there because I didn't have a second shooter shooting. Yes, my backup gear is very close to me, actually it's in my pocket ( and it's not a phone). No, I am not running around being obtrusive at the venue or at the ceremony, I got to be a very good sniper type over the years. If I had a suit camouflaged with flowers you wouldn't even know I'm there. My clients at the price they pay and at my little fine print just above where they sign agree and understand that it MAY NOT BE a perfectly executed shoot as I cannot fully control the weather/people/attitudes/latenesses of makeup/hair lady/traffic/flat tire(s), people in the way or in the background i.e.. shooters/children crying in church/etc.etc. I make absolutely sure my clients understand that and that my only responsibility in case of a lawsuit stemming from a breech of contract as a consequence of unforeseeable or uncontrollable circumstance(s) shall be limited to the reimbursement of the total of the deposits paid. I only had to refund once as a result of severe dropouts on mini DV tapes with Sony VX1000 after which I licked my wounds and brought a spare.. That's one refund in roughly 2000
weddings since VHS days of 1979.
I am sure there is a place for single shooters like me in this business. When a client just cannot afford a multi cam shoot where else do they go.?
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Old December 22nd, 2016, 11:23 AM   #38
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Re: Do My Wedding Packages Make Sense?

Quote:
I knew this was gonna happen.
You mean that there are people that might have a different opinion as you? Welcome to the internet. :)
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Old December 22nd, 2016, 12:14 PM   #39
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Re: Do My Wedding Packages Make Sense?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arthur Gannis View Post
7- More cost to bride and groom for providing more meals ( they have brought that issue up often enough)
Unless their venue is at McDonald's.
My last wedding of the year I go to eat and there's only 2 plates there, and the 2 photogs are eating. It was in the contract for me to have a meal, it was pretty apparent the 2nd ate my meal. I wasn't that upset, they were good to work with. What bugged me tho is I had a 2nd shooter for that wedding (last one of year, plus I had one the day before so I was nervous about keeping up, didn't charge the couple but did ask if its ok), and their out time was after intros/1st dance/toasts. I paid them enough a meal wasn't a dealbreaker for them. I've mostly seen photogs do the same. No reason for 2 photogs to shoot dance floor footage imho. The lead seemed newer, and the 2nd was more experienced, so I think she was a little unaware of letting the 2nd split earlier in the night. Anyway they admitted that 'Oops, I think he took your plate' well duhhh! The venue did come by & gave me a plate once they confirmed they had some leftover. .

Oddly, my 2nd was a photographer I know. She had told me she went to Uni (Temple) for film & Video, but migrated into wedding photography. I think a big issue was lugging that much gear around. Admittedly she did a great job, esp for her 1st video shoot. Nailed alot of the groom prep shots, def had a good eye for composition. Just fwiw.

Arthur I'm almost always a solo shooter, it's fine. There's a market for it, and my rates surely don't warrant paying a 2nd person, and the couples know this ( i did it twice, for a photog friend who recommended me, and my last one of this year just to do it up). I've heard from a photog that "alot" of videographers are working in tandems now. TBH tho they were a pretty pretentiontious husband & wife team, seemed to be a bit judgemental of me all day.

Last edited by David Barnett; December 22nd, 2016 at 01:10 PM.
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Old December 22nd, 2016, 02:03 PM   #40
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Re: Do My Wedding Packages Make Sense?

Most of my weddings are multi camera solo shoots and if I am asked about the number of people I use, I simply state that one is usually sufficient but if it requires extra personnel, that will be down to me. I always suggest that they look at my work and the work of others before making any decisions.

To me it is of no consequence whether there is one or ten shooters, providing the couple get what they want within a price they are prepared to pay. I've seen great video from multi shooters and others that I would have been embarrassed to supply as a solo shooter. You set out your stall and it is up to the couple to make their choice.

Roger
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Old December 22nd, 2016, 06:55 PM   #41
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Re: Do My Wedding Packages Make Sense?

Hey Arthur

You don't need to even concern yourself whether there is a place for you as a solo single camera shooter ..you have proved there is already purely by the number of weddings you have done.

Why on earth change your operation and style if it's working for you? What you do is simple and effective and it makes you money and brides keep booking you. As Murphy's Law says " If it ain't broke don't fix it"

I think we often forget that we tend to get wrapped up in new technology and get to the stage where we are giving some brides what we want rather than what they would be happy with. Sure if you can add a second cameraman along with 3 extra cameras and a stedicam and slider and make $3000 per wedding instead of $1500 it might be worth a look but again all the hassle might still not be worth it!

What you do works so keep on doing it
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Old December 22nd, 2016, 08:21 PM   #42
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Re: Do My Wedding Packages Make Sense?

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Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post
Hey Arthur
As Murphy's Law says " If it ain't broke don't fix it"
That's incorrect Murphy's Law is "Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong."

I don't get why people get so defensive. No one here is trying to convince people not to solo shoot if that's what they prefer. The whole point was to give the original poster guidance on packaging and what are the main factors that effect it one being amount of coverage and the other being manned camera operators.
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Old December 23rd, 2016, 12:48 AM   #43
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Re: Do My Wedding Packages Make Sense?

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Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post

I think we often forget that we tend to get wrapped up in new technology and get to the stage where we are giving some brides what we want rather than what they would be happy with.
Wedding Videography must be one of the few professions where to go above and beyond what is expected of you is seen as a criticism and not a positive. What I want is to deliver a Professional looking video that covers the key moments of the day from multiple angles, has good clear audio, well composed shots and which leads to a Professionally edited video the couple can enjoy in the years to come. Is there some reason you think my clients would not be happy with that. Sure some of my clients are pretty clueless on what a Professional looking Wedding Video can look like and I could exploit that to lower my standards, but is that how I really want to work.

I'm sure Arthur's approach works well for him. To me it's old school. A single camera works well for shorter videos, but the moment you're delivering uncut Ceremony and Speeches of say 40 minutes a piece, multicamera becomes an invaluable tool.

I've edited single camera videos, where during the Speeches, the camera had panned to a group of tables at the back of the room whilst the audio suggested a lovely reaction from the Bride to something 1 of the Bridesmaids had said. Of course by the time the camera had panned back, the moment was gone. Will the couple be happy with such a video, sure, but they never get to see what might have been to compare.

That said, no two clients are alike. We all talk about what Brides want as if it's a commonality shared amongst them all. Yet what a Bride wants differs from person to person. Yesterday's Bride wanted a Marryoke and no Reception coverage. Just Ceremony and Speeches and a bit of dancing. This contrasts with another Bride who wants a 3 hour video with everything included, with natural audio throughout. Another Bride who wants only natural audio in the Ceremony and Speeches and then music used elsewhere. Then I have couples who much prefer the shorter videos.

Any Business market requires diversity as people's needs are equally diverse and whether offering multiple packages or a single package, cinematic or documentary videos, you'll find clients are going to have a preference. Some will want you to keep it simple, others even if given as many as 4 Package options will ask for a 5th.
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Old December 23rd, 2016, 02:44 AM   #44
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Re: Do My Wedding Packages Make Sense?

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Hey Arthur you have proved there is already purely by the number of weddings you have done.
Arthurs keeps repeating how many weddings he does and what he charges as if that would prove his point, it only proves it works where he lives. If he would live in my country he'd have to lower his price to around 1000 and he would struggle to get or handle 30-40 weddings every year, forget about shooting weddings back to back because you are expected to shoot at least 16 hour weddings over here meaning you'd have maybe 2-3 hours sleep before you need to prepare for the next wedding, last wedding I did I had to get up at 4 in the morning and got home at 3 at night. Try to do that weeks in a row, the wedding market is a lot tougher around these parts.

Quote:
Why on earth change your operation and style if it's working for you?
No-one here is saying he needs to change the way he works, only you imply we do. Arthur wanted to make a list of the benefits of being a single camera shooter but he turned it into a list of disadvantages of a multiple camera shooter instead so that's why he got this discussion started, it's only too bad he is not open to other opinions, there is no right or wrong here, just different ways of shooting and delivering a wedding and I know because I shot many, many weddings and I charge a lot of money for them ;)
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Old December 23rd, 2016, 03:43 AM   #45
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Re: Do My Wedding Packages Make Sense?

Thanks Noa

Well I wouldn't like to shoot in Belgium that's for sure! 16 hours? seriously? I'm half dead if I have to go to 8 hours!! I guess if you have brides lined up and they are all happy with a quick shoot then that's what you need to do ...One simply couldn't do 70 weddings a year here either as most brides want the Saturday and I only get a sprinkling of Friday or Sunday weddings and they are often low budget, Arthur obviously has a great market where he is!
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