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I am presently in the process of altering my approach to shooting and producing wedding video. I’m in the outlining and resource generation stage and it will be a bit before I’m ready to commit on web site and promotional literature – brochures, flyers, etc. That being said…
…this is what I HAVE been doing for the past couple of years, and where I am going with it in the very near future.
Pre-change – general style is journalistic/documentary, shooting lite (say 3, or less, MiniDV tapes per camera – usually a portion of 3rd tape), and capturing the “meat and potatoes” of the event. This includes ALL the ceremony (one camera continuous, 2nd unit run & gun, pick & choose) from procession to recession, a few seconds of establishing shots, cutaways, and guest shots pre-staged (set up, directed & shot prior to ceremony whenever possible); lite shooting of guests during transition between recessional & reception (wine & cheese, portrait session, etc.) or a few shots outside the ceremony venue.
Pre-change – Two-camera shots (one wide, run & gun on monopod, one tight & steady on tripod) of bridal party introductions & main dances: B&G, B&D, G&M, bridal party & exhibition dance if any. Some two-camera of toasts for cuts to reactions – main cam on persons giving the toasts. Two cam on garter & bouquet toss (one on couple or B or G); one cam on cake cutting.
I use an arsenal (currently 4) of Zoom H2 recorders for primary audio; wireless on one camera during vows & rings; ambient sound on second camera (during ceremony) and during any other portion of shooting that camera produces. I incorporate these sources in the best way to improve or maintain audio quality & value.
I rarely remain for the send-off, rice, rose petals and will usually never shoot more than three party dances per camera, alternating dances and sometimes if the dance is particularly visual and fun, both cameras will go – one medium, one tight.
This will be pretty much the same process when I make the change, but shooting will be even MORE selective and tighter, keeping to two tapes or less, and new fees will change from a basic, all-encompassing $1,500 starter & six hours coverage, to a three-level range starting at $1k, $2k, $3k. $1k will be live vows/rings, everything else highlighted with music montage treatments and maximum length will be 30 minutes or less.
The $2k increases to 4 hours & additional shots; the $3k increases up to 7 hours & additional coverage. These two levels will break out of the music/montage treatment and utilize primarily native audio for the events captured or represented.
These will average 1 hour, maybe 1.5 hours, and have NO embellishments, special FX, beauty shots, etc. They will simply include more of what happened, heavier photo session representation. All gigs include two cameras, while the $2k & $3k will include two cameras and two operators.
Another category will also include three levels, with focus and emphasis on beauty shots, beauty passes, broad cinematic strokes, specific sequences obtained and B&G cooperation solicited to generate special footage for SFX, bridal elegance and related production. It will be referred to as “cinematic” production, and include 2, 5 and 8 hours. Price will start at $2,500, going to $3,800 & $5k for a highliy treated production that includes the intensely edited and treated “cinematic” production and what will essentially be a documentary production on a separate dVD.
I do not intend for the base cinematic production to go longer than 45 minutes; the second tier to go longer than one hour; or the combination extended top level to exceed two hours.
All this is based on standard definition acquisition & delivery. High Definition production steps in the last quarter of ’09, and prices may or may not change.
Being a broadly and highly diversified production company I am not all that worried whether or not I do ANY weddings, but this will be what I offer, what I charge, and what I do – no negotiation beyond establishing acceptable payment plans for folks who want it but cannot afford to go there without breaking their payments up into smaller chunks. Like the old layaway formula, they do not get the product until the outstanding balance has been paid in full.