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

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Old April 2nd, 2019, 04:26 PM   #16
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Re: How do you protect your wedding clients?

Paul, I've a mix of several types of video work every year, from concerts, to music videos, to Promo videos, filming seminars and Weddings of course. Weddings take the longest to edit. They are by far the hardest work and require the most time. What makes it worse is that 75% of my years work is from filming done April to September.

As for delivery, a typical Wedding for me is

A 2 minute Trailer
A Full Length Video that can be anything from an hour to 4 hours long depending on the Wedding.
A 40 minute version of the Wedding Video
A Highlights Video
Plus some bonus videos for some customers like Marryoke, Video Messages, Guestcam.

Couples also get multiple DVDs with custom menus, and covers. Plus a USB.

I also film in Log profile requiring some colour grading.

If you think I can get all that done in a week, baring in mind admin work, filming time and the fact I will often have in the Wedding season anything from 2 to 4 Weddings a week, depending on peak periods; then I would welcome your advice based on your experience handling similar work....

As for being well paid, cost per hour and ease of work, my non Wedding work is better paid, needing considerably less hours, much like yours, film, edit and deliver quickly and being considerably less stressful. They are also quick returns. I can be booked, do the work and then paid for in a matter of a few weeks. In contrast, Weddings are booked over a year in advance in many cases, so you're committing to a workload long before you are dealing with it. I have over 40 Weddings confirmed for next year already and who knows what my situation will be then. One illness or family issues and my delivery schedule, which couples ask me about on booking, is best advised as a few months just in case.

I admit there are some Videographers who do charge a lot for minimal return and take ages to deliver. I am not one of them. I do not enjoy a leisurely pace. My summer season can be brutal. A schedule of work that can be almost impossible at times.

Yes we do complain. Who doesn't about the work they do. I've read your complaints too about your own work when you come here and discuss it, and have smiled at them myself. I smile even more at the thought that whilst I've dipped regularly into non Wedding work, probably not to the same extent as yourself, your Wedding work experience is limited to say the least. And yet you feel you know enough to judge the Industry. I feel such knowledge though, comes from reading forums like these, which paints a very narrow and distorted picture of it all.
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Old April 2nd, 2019, 07:11 PM   #17
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Re: How do you protect your wedding clients?

and you guys wonder why I changed my weddings to a far more simple live broadcast?? Most are ceremony only but for me it's 30 minutes to get to the venue then set up film a 20 minute ceremony pack up and go home ..done and dusted apart from copying the live edited footage from the PC to a USB drive and pop it in the mail.

You don't realise how nice it feels, even if you are doing the reception as well, to pack up after the reception around 9pm - 10pm and know that you are finished .. no frustrating days of editing at all.

When people talk about 2 to 5 cameras I wonder if the bride appreciates that?? I found no difference just dropping from 3 cameras to 2 so when we were still doing traditional video it was 2 cams and the ceremony bridal entry and speeches and just a single camera for prep, and all other reception events. Makes editing a LOT easier Some guys here talk about taking 60 hours to do an edit!!! Seriously ??? I wonder if the long edits actually are cost effective ... I used to charge $75 an hour and to stay competitive I had to be able to edit and deliver a wedding in pretty much two days.
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Old April 3rd, 2019, 01:24 AM   #18
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Re: How do you protect your wedding clients?

Chris, you want the easy life. You're the sort to let the boulder run down the hill. I'm the sort who likes pushing it up. :)

And what's wrong with editing? I love editing and especially love seeing a finished video ready to be sent. I wouldn't get the same job satisfaction doing a live feed. I like being creative and live broadcast doesn't give me that IMHO.
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Old April 3rd, 2019, 05:52 AM   #19
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Re: How do you protect your wedding clients?

It's not that at all Steve!! I'm getting a bit old in the tooth to still be pushing boulders up hills!

I turn 73 this year so I really think I deserve to slow down a bit now? I have been doing this full time for 26 years now so it's really time to downsize ...my days of leaving home at 9:00am and getting back at 1:00am the next morning are over ..I still enjoy shooting weddings but I want some time for myself!!
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Old April 3rd, 2019, 06:34 AM   #20
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Re: How do you protect your wedding clients?

Fair point Chris. Still you'll forgive me for waiting till I reach that age before following your easier life. :)
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Old April 3rd, 2019, 06:38 AM   #21
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Re: How do you protect your wedding clients?

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Originally Posted by Paul R Johnson View Post
I understand your position Roger, but your workflow seems pretty similar to mine - and I can keep up with the editing. I just don't see why wedding editing timescales appear to go on for weeks, and sometimes months.
I agree that the workflow on the day may well be similar with what you do, but the differences between editing a wedding and a music show are huge. I first started video recording and editing when I had my recording studio as an add on to the audio recording for bands and still record the occasional music video now. I also record 10-15 theatre and schools shows every year which are usually covered with 3 cameras and 2 audio recorders. At this moment, I currently have two weddings and one 80 minute stage production to edit. They will all end up at a similar finished length, but the stage show will take a small percentage of the time needed for each wedding, with me taking no more than 1 or 2 days to edit the stage show, which probably ties in with your own expectations.

The reason for the difference in editing time is very simple. Stage shows and music productions involve linear filming with multi cameras and sound. So once the cameras and audio are synched, much of the multi camera edit can be carried out in real time, with some specific shots having more time spent on them for maybe cropping, post production zooms or zooms from 4k etc, but the basic edit is pretty straight forward. Even colour matching is a matter of balancing each camera for the whole show, so pretty quickly achieved. Once the main edit is finished, picking out particular sections and adding graphics if required is straight forward.

With weddings however, the ceremony/speeches are similar with linear multi cameras, but the rest of the day is a collection of different shots that can have completely different lighting for every clip, unpredictable sound levels and background noise, plus situations that are far from optimal and require quick compromises on the day and rectifying ensuing problems in post. Each clip has to be checked for consistency and edited to the required length needed for visual flow.Then of course there are the Brides preps and the Grooms, at different places and on different cameras, which need time shifting to create a visual flow with venue details, guest arrivals etc, etc. Then comes the evening with dances, evening guests, abysmal lighting, unexpected sudden requests like a last minute bouquet throwing, fireworks, sparklers etc, then unannounced singing waiters appear from nowhere, wandering around the tables and we are expected to capture it all professionally with absolutely no rehearsal.

All of this has to be assembled in a way that keeps it visually attractive with a natural flow, good colour matching and good quality audio. It is a long and sometimes painful process which we enjoy, but takes a lot more time than the other work we do. You could argue that the time involved doesn't reflect the financial returns and you would probably be correct, but charging higher prices based on an hourly editing rate is likely to price us out of the market. What we are interested in is achieving a comfortable nett income from the work we do. We could take an easier route, film and edit a wedding in two days and get 400 for it, which at 200 a day isn't bad, but if that results in a 400 a week turnover, it is a major problem. I would rather put in a lot more hours and earn 1000+ per week for it.

You set your stall out for what you want to earn and cut your cloth accordingly.

Roger
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Old April 3rd, 2019, 06:48 AM   #22
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Re: How do you protect your wedding clients?

I've read all the comments, and have to say I think I misjudged the kind of work you guys are doing. Perhaps I'm jealous that you get the money in the bank early and this colours my perception. I did my quarterly VAT return yesterday and perhaps that also didn't;t help - having to pay tax on money I haven't actually received yet, then reading about the big deposits and money in full, then delivery in maybe the next quarter? That's great for cash flow, mine isn't!

I didn't mean to imply anything in my comments - perhaps just mega grumpy at how the wedding industry seem to be walking in the roses compared with my struggling through the mud. Yep - I think jealous probably is the thorn in my side here. Sorry guys.
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Old April 3rd, 2019, 08:17 AM   #23
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Re: How do you protect your wedding clients?

Before you apologise Paul you have to remember that the wedding industry can also change quite quickly. In the old days few could afford the $25,000 cameras that were used then but nowdays any idiot can walk into a doscount camera store and voila, he or she is now a professional wedding videographer and also photographer with little capital investment, still working full time too so can work for "beer money" which isn't very good for the market!!

It can be quite demoralising when I bride books a videographer that she says"will do it for half your cost" and you know she is going to end up with a lot less than you can give her but she will book the cheap person anyway.

The industrial market still pays fair rates but wedding jobs can sometimes be totally ruined by "weekend warriors"
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Old April 4th, 2019, 03:05 AM   #24
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Re: How do you protect your wedding clients?

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Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post
Before you apologise Paul you have to remember that the wedding industry can also change quite quickly. In the old days few could afford the $25,000 cameras that were used then but nowdays any idiot can walk into a doscount camera store and voila, he or she is now a professional wedding videographer and also photographer with little capital investment, still working full time too so can work for "beer money" which isn't very good for the market!!

It can be quite demoralising when I bride books a videographer that she says"will do it for half your cost" and you know she is going to end up with a lot less than you can give her but she will book the cheap person anyway.

The industrial market still pays fair rates but wedding jobs can sometimes be totally ruined by "weekend warriors"
I think the weekend warrior is hardly a new phenomenon and I have to admit back in 2005 I was one such weekend warrior, taking on my first Wedding with 2 consumer camcorders. One borrowed, the other my own. Affordable video cameras were around before then.

If things have been more competitive, its down to several things. First the Internet has been areal game changer in how we market and conduct our Business. Its now easier for the Bride to find Videographers and for weekend warriors to market themselves to them. Things like Google, Facebook and Social Media have allowed greater comparison of Services, Prices than would have been possible before. The Internet has made the whole Business landscape very much more competitive and its not just Videographers who face issues because of that. A lot of major Businesses have struggled or even collapsed competing with the online platform. They failed for much the same way, not adapting to change.

Secondly, its become easier to edit video. I recall the issues I had editing my first Wedding back in 2005, the constant crashes, failures to render - the tears and tantrums. And I was using a University PC where I worked to edit the video files, which were only SD in AVI Codec. These days I am editing 4K in 10 bit and RAW, Log profile with a PC that probably allowing for inflation, cost a similar amount to the one I used back then.

On the plus side, the Internet has meant that quality can be more freely shared, so expectations can rise amongst customers.

Editing a Wedding Video also does take a long time. Its put off many Photographers I have met who have thought about dabbling into Video before a session of editing has made them change their mind. Weekend Warriors can charge little, but their enthusiasm soon diminishes when faced with 20 to 40 hours of editing work. My first Wedding in 2005 took me ages working between my main job to finish it and I didn't take on another Wedding till 2009 as I felt it wasn't worth the money I charged.

I feel Photography suffers more from weekend warriors - its a more popular hobby and those who are interested in Video are more like to be indie movie makers on a budget than turn to the stress and strain of doing a Wedding Video. Sure there are companies out there, but not nearly enough and when I have had to turn down a booking due to unavailability, the Bride has begged me for any contacts I may have of someone who could film her Wedding. Hardly a measure of a crowded market.
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Old April 4th, 2019, 03:44 AM   #25
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Re: How do you protect your wedding clients?

A "weekend warrior" hard at work:
https://www.ashtonlamont.co.uk/100/1...803-03_hmm.jpg

Ha ha! I couldn't resist. You know who you are :- )

Pete
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Old April 4th, 2019, 04:00 AM   #26
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Re: How do you protect your wedding clients?

No need to apologise Paul, the grass often looks greener etc! Most of my clients haven't a clue how much work goes into producing their wedding video, I'm sure they think we just film it and put it straight onto a usb/dvd for them.

I don't know how the other guys work, but we never get money in the bank early, we don't take any payment until ready to deliver.

Roger
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Old April 4th, 2019, 04:42 AM   #27
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Re: How do you protect your wedding clients?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Riding View Post
A "weekend warrior" hard at work:
https://www.ashtonlamont.co.uk/100/1...803-03_hmm.jpg

Ha ha! I couldn't resist. You know who you are :- )

Pete
Hi Peter,

Ha ha, yep that was me. In fact that was my 3rd ever Wedding - I was nervous as hell that day. I did my 2nd one in February 2010 (not 2009 as I said earlier) and then that was June or July I think after I decided to start up a Business following the February one. To be fair, I had upgraded to an HD camera at least for the February shoot and in fact I still use it as a Guestcam camera. Its easy to use.

That said, I was even worse than a Weekend Warrior. I did it for travel costs only to gain experience. I did a few of those along with paid work that year. By the end of the year I got a large Professional Sony camera which I used for a bit, but really it was the Canon 60d that took my work off in 2011, followed soon after by by shift to Panasonic in 2012 with the GH2 and GH3. ;)

Still it was a nice reminder you sent me Peter of my early days. I'll keep the photo if that's okay, since you're happy to share it. I was a weekend warrior till February 2014, when I finally went fulltime, so guilty as charged. We all have to start somewhere. I met the couple again, when filming either a relations or friends Wedding a year or two later in London.

So I assume you were the Photographer I worked with on that Wedding then. I didn't realise we had met in person. I am terrible with names so if you told me, I do apologise for forgetting it.

I do remember the Wedding well, being one of my earliest ones and also being in Oxford. My only time I have filmed a Wedding there. If I recall I made a bit of a mess of the white balance on my fixed camera on the balcony in the Ceremony. There you go, we all make mistakes. ;)
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Old April 4th, 2019, 04:49 AM   #28
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Re: How do you protect your wedding clients?

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Originally Posted by Roger Gunkel View Post

I don't know how the other guys work, but we never get money in the bank early, we don't take any payment until ready to deliver.

Roger
What about a deposit??? Any money before the Wedding??? I'd think it too risky to take full payment on final delivery. I have enough hassle getting song choices after the Wedding, which is why I ask for them before the day. Let alone money.

To be fair, there's merits in both systems, and if my prices were really high, I might adopt a 50% before and after policy. But I think my prices are low enough (a bargain) to be a gesture in themselves without splitting it even further.
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Old April 4th, 2019, 08:53 AM   #29
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Re: How do you protect your wedding clients?

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Hi Peter,

Ha ha, yep that was me. In fact that was my 3rd ever Wedding - I was nervous as hell that day. I did my 2nd one in February 2010 (not 2009 as I said earlier) and then that was June or July I think
To be fair, although they'd booked me for all day with big Graphi album plus parent albums etc they had asked me to recommend a videographer at short notice. I linked them to an established guy that I had known for ages - he used to be based in the Turks and Caicos Islands. But the clients didn't want to pay anything much at all for the video so no-one established was being undercut. If I remember rightly that bride was heavily into long distance running and didn't look a picture of health having run that morning; I've had that a few times.

I've shot at that church a few times since including full-on video last summer that went on to Blenheim Palace. They had two photographers and they were a complete nightmare, they didn't have the first idea of how to conduct themselves at weddings. I produced some private video grab shots to laugh with some friends about how bad they were. They should never be let out in the wild :- )

Pete
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Old April 5th, 2019, 03:37 AM   #30
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Re: How do you protect your wedding clients?

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Originally Posted by Steve Burkett View Post
What about a deposit??? Any money before the Wedding??? I'd think it too risky to take full payment on final delivery. I have enough hassle getting song choices after the Wedding, which is why I ask for them before the day. Let alone money.

To be fair, there's merits in both systems, and if my prices were really high, I might adopt a 50% before and after policy. But I think my prices are low enough (a bargain) to be a gesture in themselves without splitting it even further.
No, don't bother with a deposit, the booking isn't confirmed until we receive a signed contract back which gives us good protection in the case of a cancellation. The problem with deposits is that there can be grey areas with the legality of retaining a deposit in the event of a cancellation if the client wants to insist on having it back. I also don't like receiving money for something I haven't done.

Roger
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