Wedding video questions
I'm primarily a still wedding photographer, but have done some wedding video on occasion. I really like shooting and editing video. Seems like the next logical step after shooting images that don't move. I have thought about making movies and music videos and commercials (I have a couple of commercials in mind for the limo company I work for).
I do some work for another wedding studio (primarily stills, but some video). At one time I was going to eventually take over the studio for the owner who wanted to retire, but because of philosophical differences between us, it most likely won't happen. He has asked me to shoot video for him on occasion over the years and I have enjoyed it. He was using Sony Hi-8 cameras and had a hodge-podge of decks and mixers and title makers, etc. He says he could edit a one or two camera shoot in ten hours without anything fancy. Fifteen if he got creative. Then I convinced him to go digital. We got a Canon XL1 and a dual G4 Mac w/2GB of ram and a 750 GB hard drive space(4 drives) and FCP 3.2. I just recently shot a video and have started editing it. I have spent over 10 hours just capturing to hard drive. Log a few clips and batch capture.....
I guess my questions are these:
How long should it take to edit a one to one-and-a-half hour final video (using three hours of tape from two cameras)?
And the BIGGIE:
What should this cost??!! His video coverage starts at $895 for a one camera shoot with minimal editing (don't recall what it goes up to). He plans on paying me $600 to shoot and edit it. He wants to make this a business to go along with his other wedding photography. I was talking to a friend that used to do wedding video. He said he would take about 40 hours to edit his videos. This included the time it would take to watch the video to see what he had. If you take that time plus the up to 10-12 hours to shoot it, the phone calls to brides to book and then show the final, etc., that's a ton of time. If it's a total of 60 hours (just for the sake of argument) that $600 translates to $10 per hour. I'd almost rather work at Walmart and not have the responsibility of possibly messing someone's wedding for that money. I don't shoot enough weddings (video, anyway) to be a fast and efficient editor and I probably don't shoot properly either (at least with editing in mind). But can I shave about
This is what I have found to be the biggest problem with video in general. I've been at this for over 20 years and people still don't want to pay me much more. It is much easier to work at Walmart!
Computers don't really make things faster. If you want to spend less time editing events, start by SHOOTING smarter.
In any case, at the end of the day if you can't make at least $25 an hour, forget it. You'll just burn yourself out. And your equipment, too.
In my opinion, a wedding video shot with two cameras, edited digitally, and authored to a DVD, should be priced at $2,000 or more. I even did a spreadsheet analysis on this once.
As for time, editing seems to average 40-60 hours. However, some videographers have the workflow down to a science, and claim 10-12 hours, not including capturing.
If you're logging and batch capturing, you can speed things up a lot by simply capturing the entire tape to disk, without logging. Once it's on disk, then chop it up much more quickly in your NLE of choice.
After 5 years I am finding what Nick says to be absolutely true.
I do a lot of weddings and agree with Doug to. Less than 2,000 and it is hard to see any money.
If you go the low budget option you need to shoot very smartly, do most of your editing in camera, and spend one day tidying up the footage. This is a service principally for people who just want a record of the day. If you want to do something you feel proud of, and want to use to generate more work, and don't want to work for peanuts, then charge a decent amount (as suggested above). If your work is good enough, and you have a marketing campaign to match, there should be a place for you in the market.
I've been in the biz for over 10 years and agree with what's being said here. $875 is a crazy price for a full video. You understand the time involved, plus the level of skill and technical knowledge to do a good job.
Our videos are usually around $1500, a little less than the going rate in the bigger cities but I'm a fairly quick editor so it works out ok. I see ads for people doing $500 videos - I don't get it, that doesn't cover the cost of the videography plus tape stock (let alone "stress pay") for the day. Charging the extra to cover your editing time will produce better videos and you'll get way more referrals then just being the cheap guy in town.
Would it be an option for you to rent the camera equipment from this co-worker of yours and then you charge your own rates - you can look after the contract and all the paper work, and the owner gets a rental fee he probably wouldn't have gotten without you anyway. Just an idea.
Don't be afraid to raise your prices if your work warrants it. Apart from your skill & experience to pay for, there's also the point to consider that offering cheap rates doesn't help to set the standard for videographers as professionals. Many videographers have more "artistic skill" than some of the bad photographers who often get paid way more than we do, for bad looking photos!
Hope this helps some.
All the best