My First Wedding Videographer Job! Help!

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by superspiffy, Aug 13, 2007.

  1. superspiffy macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2007
    #1
    I just got a job as a videographer for a wedding! :D I really want to break into this pro film making world so this is a very important step and not to mention I'm finally making this $2500 machine pay for itself. But apart from editing home videos on FCP I've never done anything close to professional work so I'd like to ask those of you in the business for your words of wisdom.

    Some concerns I have:
    -I'll be working with the Canon XL 1 or XL 2. I've never worked with an HD pro cam before and I'm afraid the jump from my Elura 100 would be quite a shock.
    -I've never learned how to professionally film. How should I worry about lights? weather? cam settings (ISO? aperture? *gulp*) etc...
    -How much space do I need to have for two hours worth of wedding footage?
    -Any advice at all with working with HD footage?
    -Would working with a Firewire400 external hdd be enough or should I be thinking about something faster?
    -I have FCS 1, is this enough for pro editing and authoring of wedding films?
    -The deadline is around a week. Does this seem reasonable?
    -I'll be charging 500 for a flat labor fee but 15 per DVD copy. Is this fair?

    I welcome any advice. Thanks!
     
  2. alFR macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2006
    #2
    So, what you're saying is you're going to film the most important day of two people's lives with a camera you've never used before and don't know how to use, then edit it on a system you don't know if you've specced correctly using software you've never used to edit a "proper" film before, all in a week.

    I hope you're joking. But, if not, be afraid. Be very afraid.
     
  3. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    Jan 11, 2002
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    Los Angeles
    #3
    Not to sound like a dick but I think you should turn down the job and if you want to get into this business find a post/production company in your area and see if they are hiring entry level help.

    Considering you have absolutely no experience what so ever I think you are over charing by about $500 not to mention the major risk you are taking of mauling the documenting of what is supposed to be the most wonderful day of the bride's life.


    Lethal
     
  4. Cromulent macrumors 603

    Cromulent

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    #4
    Final Cut Studio 1 will be fine.

    Spend some time getting used to the camera and all the functions that it offers. Go and film some birds or something for a bit and then edit the footage. At least that way you will get an idea of the workflow involved and how to get the best out of the camera.

    I'm not a professional so I'll leave the advice about lights and things to them :).

    Edit : The above two posters do make good points though.
     
  5. superspiffy thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #5
    The job is suppose to be for a family friend who knows me and my capabilities. I already told him that I've never handled any kind of professional work before but he reassured me that this is OK. Going into this, I don't know what to expect but if he turned to me knowing what I can do (or what I can't do) his standards must be reasonable.

    Having said that, I guess what I was asking if it's reasonable to expect a smooth transition from hobby level to professional work.
     
  6. 2jaded2care macrumors 6502

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    Jun 13, 2003
    Location:
    Atlanta
    #6
    The Canon XL1 and XL2 are SD. The HDV Canon is the XL H1 (or XH A1 or XH G1).

    Assuming you are committed to this, I would google "wedding video tips" or some such. That'll get you things like:

    http://www.greatdv.com/business/wedding.htm

    Definitely consider using a second camera (if you're shooting SD) for coverage, you'll need it. Use a tripod when possible. (A second HD camcorder probably isn't a likelihood, I assume.) You'll probably have to shoot in "Auto" mode, a wedding isn't the time to try to learn all the functions of a camcorder.

    Lights and a couple of wireless mics would be useful, but obviously you'll use what you have.

    Not in that biz, so I've no idea about turnaround or price. I do know I'd like more turnaround time myself, but I don't know how much time you plan to spend on it.

    Good luck.
     
  7. alFR macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2006
    #7
    From knowing people who've done the same sort of thing (with still photographs) that can all be quickly forgotten when things go bad, leaving you with an ex-friend. I just don't think that a high-pressure, one take only situation like a wedding is a good first pro job....
     
  8. 2jaded2care macrumors 6502

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    Jun 13, 2003
    Location:
    Atlanta
    #8
    I think the problem most people are having here is that you're charging a significant amount for your first job with relatively little experience. No customer's going to complain if they pay you and things turn out well, or conversely, no one's going to complain (much) if they don't pay you and things turn out well or not.

    I do recall seeing several threads on this or other sites where people trying to break in have done their first few jobs as "freebies". Since you aren't doing that, try your best and good luck.
     
  9. superspiffy thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 6, 2007
    #9
    Yeah you might be right. I'm still on the fence on this one and I haven't consented yet. I don't want to swallow more than I can chew but at the same time the opportunity of doing something "professional" for once is exciting.
     
  10. superspiffy thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 6, 2007
    #10
    I only have a vague understanding for the market prices on these things apart from checking craigslist. I suggested 500 due to the cost of the camera rent and the wedding travel/prep, etc... and then I asked this forum if that price was reasonable or not. If it's not, then I thank you for your input and now I know better.
     
  11. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    Jan 11, 2002
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    Los Angeles
    #11
    You are asking such basic questions that I think this is definitely biting off more than you can chew, IMO, especially since it's a wedding and if you mess something up you can't ask, "Hey, could you do that 'now pronounce you man and wife' thing again I was adjusting my focus." You also have to keep in mind that there's never a second chance to make first impression. If you do this and do it poorly it will make it that much harder to get work down the line because you could be known as "that guy that FUBAR'd Bob and Becky's wedding."

    Like I said in my first post, if you are serious about taking this to the next level see if any video places near you are looking for entry level help (full time or part time). Offer to volunteer your time if you have to. Get your friends together and make fan films or fake trailers. Those little projects are where you practice and learn how to use lighting, and mics, and proper camera technique. Go to sites video/industry sites such as dvinfo.net, creativecow.net, and dvxuser.com and just read. At first it will all just look like this massive wall of information, but after a couple of months you'll start to wrap you head around things and the info will start to make more sense.


    Lethal

    EDIT: As far as rate goes, it depends on your location, your experience, the type of job, and how well you can negotiate. Craigslist isn't a very good guide to judge pricing and lowballing (charging significantly less than the going rate) is likely to piss off the established pro's in your area.
     
  12. revenuee macrumors 68020

    revenuee

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    #12
    I remember the first wedding video i shot

    i knew my equipment but then ALL types of things i could of never imagined that you learn on the job happened to me.

    then when i was editing things that i didn't notice filming were causing me stress.

    it took me 50 hours of editing to do a 60 minute video -- AND that was already having done LOT'S of editing using my system

    i'm not going to say don't do it ... BUT i am going to say be prepared to sweat ... a lot ... and feel like you're going to throw up, all day

    and then relive that when you sit down in front of your computer to edit.

    and i charged 180$ for my first video :) -- oh man --

    i hated wedding videos, and general events videography -- one take opportunities are no fun -- i like to be able yell cut, and say "let's try that again"
     
  13. -DH macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2006
    Location:
    Nashville Tennessee
    #13
    -I'll be working with the Canon XL 1 or XL 2. I've never worked with an HD pro cam before and I'm afraid the jump from my Elura 100 would be quite a shock.

    As stated above, the XL-1 and XL-2 are both standard definition DV cameras - they do NOT record HD in any form. With ANY new camera, it's always a good idea to shoot a few hours of footage to get to know the camera's capabilities and weakness before you shoot an actual paying job with it.


    -I've never learned how to professionally film.

    A one-time-only event is hardly the place to start. Since you're charging for this make absolutely sure your client knows your capabilities and limitations. To protect yourself, it's always good to put these things in writing (a contract) so both parties know what to expect.


    - How should I worry about lights? weather? cam settings (ISO? aperture? *gulp*) etc...

    Video cameras don't have ISO settings. But they do have aperture, iris, shutter, gain and other settings. Learn how those settings function on the camera you'll be shooting with well before the shoot.


    -How much space do I need to have for two hours worth of wedding footage?

    DV footage requires about 13.3gb per hour.



    -Any advice at all with working with HD footage?

    See above - you won't be shooting HD with the cameras you mentioned.


    -Would working with a Firewire400 external hdd be enough or should I be thinking about something faster?

    Firewire 400 is sufficient.


    -I have FCS 1, is this enough for pro editing and authoring of wedding films?

    Yes ... and far beyond. Many feature films and tons of network television shows have been edited with FCP. It's more than enough for a wedding video.


    -The deadline is around a week. Does this seem reasonable?

    No. Not unless you're an experienced editor or you plan on doing a sloppy job ... or you don't plan on sleeping much at all during the week.


    -I'll be charging 500 for a flat labor fee but 15 per DVD copy. Is this fair?

    It's extremely cheap ... I'd consider it an insult or the result of ignorance if someone asked me to shoot a wedding for $500.00. But considering it's your first paying gig and you've already said you don't know what you're doing, it's probably way too much.


    - I welcome any advice.

    OK ... advice:

    • Never use auto focus.

    • Use proper micing techniques for everything that is meant to be audible. That may include a combination of wireless and wired mics and an audio mixer. A typical wedding will usually need 4 to 6 mics. Coordinate any wireless frequencies with the venue BEFORE the event. The rehearsal is a good time for that.

    • Do not become a distraction at the wedding. Choose your shooting locations before time - go the the rehearsal to see exactly where everyone will be standing, where the readers will be, where the vocalists and musicians will be, etc, etc. Do not use any lighting during the ceremony without OK'ing it with the couple and the officiate beforehand.

    • An on camera light is OK at the reception, but use what's appropriate for the event - don't blind everyone with a sungun. Always be courteous to the families and guests.

    • If at all possible, use a second camera during the ceremony. It will give you the freedom to get plenty of creative shots with the main camera. Don't zoom in and out too much. It's a sure sign of amateurish video.

    -DH
     
  14. huntercr macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2006
    #14
    Alot of other people have responded here, but I think I have a somewhat unique perspective. I edited my own wedding video with about the same experience level as you ( I'm guessing anyway ). I was very lucky and had a access to some very good resources ( multiple cameras and people to man them ) and talents that helped me produce a good video.

    OK I'll lay it out flat: You should give this to the bride and groom for free. Make sure you get their permission to use it as a demo for yourself later, but you don't have any professional experiance. You are doing them a disservice to charge them. What if it totally bombs? And with one camera you're just asking for it!

    Don't shoot on a camera you're not familiar with. The Elura is just fine, if you a really are good at it. What's more important is your talent. If you're asking lighting qustions I don't think you've through this through too much. I'm sure there's a famous quote here... it paint doesn't make the artist, or something like that.

    A wedding is an event, and events are difficult because they can't do retakes, they (often) can't have special lighting, and you are not in control.
    I recommend you at minimum have one fixed camera and one semi-mobile for the ceremony ( I had 5 fixed for mine )
    Plan your shots in depth before hand. Remember, you are unlikely to edit much at all out of the ceremony. The bride is going to want every second of it. So you if you only have one camera your options are pretty limited for setting up a new shot.

    Also, research your location: don't think you're going to be able to run around the sanctuary ( or whereever they are getting married ). Most churches won't allow it, and many churches require cameras to be stationary.

    Seriously, especially if this is a friend, you've got to do some things that will be considerate for the bride and groom. They may say they don't care or that they trust you or whatever, but mark my words here: The wrath of a new bride who's wedding video sucks will never end.

    Also, remember you're a videographer here... you're going to tell a story. What's your style? How are you going to pace this? Are you going to do inverviews in the reception? Will there be an integrated slideshow or anything else in the video? ( gather childhood pictures from parents ) Do good research on the locations, the time of day you'll be there, and especially what the bride and groom's expectations are. What things are going on in the reception? Make a note of it to be prepared. Lighting and microphones are going to be a big deal at the reception. I am not a professional so i don't know what to recommend for lighting. One area where I screwed up bad on my own reception is that when filming candid interviews, I did not instuct my 2 mobile cameramen to take people to a quiet area for all interviews. While they got some amazingly good footage from the interviews, I really had to work hard in post to get anything useful out of the audio for some of them because they interviewed people to close to the dance floor, and the music blew them away.

    I honestly fear for you man. It's cool that you're wanting to do this, but I think you ought to decide if it's a gift or a profession. If it's a profession, I don't think they should hire you. Don't be offended...You just don't have the experience.

    As for edtiing... if you don't have a day job, 1 week will be fine. When I did my own wedding video I spent no less than 6 months ( probably 2 hours a night maybe, but I had some terrible learning curve problems with multicam stuff in Final cut ). That probably translates into 180 hours give or take. Granted this was my *own* wedding video, so I was alittle bit of a perfectionist, and I had a huge learning curve. I'm sure I could do the whole thing in 60 hours now.

    Remember, especially for the reception, make this interesting. You can only edit as good as what is shot. I hope some other people have some better advice, because I am not a pro by any means, but consider this.

    1. Give it to them for free.
    2. Don't get the XL-1, Get a 2nd Elura and a friend to help. Set for the ceremony, one close, one medium. Experiment with placement and mobility options beforehand. This will not only give you a better quality ceremony to work with, you will have a backup camera if one of them bites it.
    3. Plan plan plan plan what you are going to want to get at the reception.
    4. Don't charge for the DVDs either. Only give DVD's to the bride and groom, parents of bride and groom, and the wedding party. No one else will really care that much.

    And since you're going to be nice and do it on the cheap, here's a good tip for you: Adobe Illustrator 30 day trial. Works wonderfully for DVD covers. :)


    P.S. If this works out and you want to do this in the future, I *strongly* recommend taking on a few clients with smaller projects and doing it for free or for very cheap with the understanding that you are learning the craft. Go out and shoot a kids birthday party or something and really go overboard on the production of it all for yourself. It will give you extremely valuable experience.
     
  15. ClassicBean macrumors 6502a

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  16. superspiffy thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 6, 2007
    #16
    Thanks for all the good helpful remarks. Trust me they're not falling through deaf ears! To let you know, I'm not going to work on a wedding anymore (phew) but I accepted to film a show. A kid's show. As in lil kiddies on stage with their parents as the audience. So nothing to have a heart attack for. I will still be working with that Canon XL1 or XL2 (don't know which one yet.) And I think I'll bring along my Elura 100 incase I need multi angles.
     
  17. iCheddar macrumors 6502a

    iCheddar

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    South Dakota
    #17
    Be prepared to do ALOT of work in post if you plan on using such radically different cameras.

    I'm assuming you're renting, so I would recommend two XL-2s. You'll find a HUGE amount of difference between the XL2 and your Elura, one shot will look fantastic, the other will look like crap in comparison.

    Always use identical, or same family cameras. An XL1 + XL2, or dual Elura setup would be fine, but two cameras that aren't alike at all will be bad. Very bad.
     
  18. scamateur macrumors member

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    Feb 26, 2007
    #18
    I really thought the OP was joking...

    ...but what a bunch of great advice he got! The excellent posters on this thread have saved his life!

    Good job, y'all!
     
  19. iCheddar macrumors 6502a

    iCheddar

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    #19
    I think this is the first thread I've seen actually where an amateur asking questions didn't get ripped to shreds by everyone.

    Seems like all the posts were....nice.:p
     
  20. juanm macrumors 65816

    juanm

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    #20
    Not this one... :D

     
  21. mintlivedotcom macrumors regular

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    #21
    I fondly remember using this as a child. I should check eBay...
     

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