Wedding Video Privacy

Wedding Video Privacy 1

Understandably commissioning a professional wedding video may raise issues for some couples about privacy. We live in a media saturated society where social media encourages us to share our images and videos with an increasing network of contacts. However it’s quite understandable that not all clients will want details of their celebration seen by others.

It’s an interesting situation, because on the other hand many talented film-makers (just like writers, artists and musicians), will be keen to exhibit the creative work they have done for you – in many cases it will be essential for their portfolio and obtaining future work. Similarly it makes sense if you hire an artist expecting them to do their best for you, they may lose some of their motivation if they are told it can’t be seen by anyone.

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So, with two sides to this issue, how does that affect wedding video producers?

At Bloomsbury Films we have worked our way through such issues throughout the last 10 years. Essentially, our view is the client is the ‘Executive Producer’ and in that regard they have the ultimate say of how a film can be shared. However, it’s important to prevent knee-jerk reactions and to openly discuss what each party needs. We always agree a level of privacy that suits each party.

Firstly, to put things into context neither we nor our clients believe the films we create should be used as ‘entertainment’ to random strangers. Consequently, in our contract it is agreed that neither party will share any film or clip with the mass media (i.e. broadcast TV, theatrical films or advertising) without specific discussion. This assures our clients that clips from their wedding won’t end up as say stock footage on national news! It also assures us that clients won’t sell their wedding films to specialist channels for profit..

Furthermore, our position is that the full-length films we make for clients are intended for private use. We don’t use clients’ full-length films as samples online or send out copies on DVD to anyone. Only the client and their relevant agents (e.g. planner or venue) receive this film and so only they decide who to share it with. Frankly, the only instance in which these full-length films may be seen by a third party is if we are hosting a private consultation at our studio (or similar) and we wish to demonstrate some aspect of the DVD authoring or our film-making work.

As a bonus to the main film we also offer clients a free highlights trailer. This version is really intended for sharing and at 2.5 mins duration it is the sort of length people are willing watch online. It’s popular with clients who want to share the best moments of their day with a wide group of friends and family. It is also supplied in an electronic format so they can download it to a Smartphone or post onto their Facebook etc. However because this is provided free of charge it comes on the understanding that we can also use this film as a sample on our website or social networks.

That ways it’s simple: if clients want complete privacy they can have it. We don’t make a highlights film and that way there is built in protection it cannot be abused. We are fine with it. However, in practice I would say only a handful of clients each year invoke this because we are clear about how and why the trailer will be used. Specifically:

1. Highlights films are intended to demonstrate our film-making work. As such they are only presented in situations where the viewer will likely be planning a wedding or event and considering hiring us.

2. Sample films are also essential in our business for clients who may wish to see our competence at dealing with a certain culture or religion. Similarly they may wish to see our experience working at a certain venue or location.

3. Any films we do use as samples are not tagged with information that could easily identify them through a web-based search. i.e. they are not tagged with full names, dates, private addresses etc.

4. Our samples are regularly rotated as new work is completed. It stands to reason we want to show our latest work, so any films that are used tend to have a specific ‘shelf-life’.

5. We don’t syndicate our highlights films with any third party for general entertainment. i.e. they are not provided as free content to video channels, gossip sites, hair and beauty, etc. Indeed, the only third party likely to feature our films would be in a blog article by a professional wedding planner.

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Given that our use of highlights films are clearly for professional use to a specific audience, most clients feel that the exchange for a free highlights film is well worth it. However, on a few occasions we have been asked by clients wanting complete privacy if they can still commission a highlights trailer from us, but for private use only. The answer to this is yes and for this we charge a nominal fee of £500. In these instances the trailer will not appear anywhere on the web unless posted by clients themselves. The electronic version comes with a security password to ensure this.

We hope this article has been useful. We hope that in sharing our policy it will provide prospective clients with a proper chance to reflect on the matter and consider the options. Also as market leaders in an industry that is still relatively young, we hope that by sharing our policy with the wider industry we will help other companies to offer better choice to their clients.

Top 5 Wedding Video Complaints

Bridezilla 2

As industry leaders we receive calls and emails every week from couples disgruntled with another videographer they have booked asking us for advice or if we can re-edit their film. Sadly our industry attracts many inexperienced videographers who come and go leaving a trail of disappointed clients… Indeed a common pattern for start-ups is to build a website and charge low prices that don’t support a sustainable business model. They only look to cover their wages rather than allow sufficient investment for proper business management. Naturally these prices attract cash-strapped couples who believe they have found a bargain. But in reality most clients are so unfamiliar with film & video production that they are unable to question their videographer’s workflow and business management. Therefore to help couples (and aspiring videographers) to avoid the pitfalls that surround commissioning a wedding video, we have put together a list of the top 5 complaints we have come across over the years. In each case, we have tried to give a balanced view of the situation and possible remedies.

1. Lack of coverage – a common complaint levelled at all event photographers and videographers is that coverage of some aspect of the people, details or event is missing or insufficient. To be fair, its impossible to cover everything on a live event without a BBC TV budget, so it doesn’t necessary mean your videographer has been incompetent. However the level of coverage you should expect ought to be a reflection of the resources you booked. Frankly, most weddings need 2-3 skilled camera crew to capture the different angles, guest reactions, simultaneous elements and all the fine details. Possibly more cameras if your event has multiple locations and/or over 500 guests. Therefore if your videographer is working alone or with minimum resources don’t be surprised if some things don’t get covered. You get what you pay for!

2. Usage rights – a widely misunderstood aspect of intellectual property law is that any photographer or videographer covering your event automatically retains the copyright to their work. However usage of this material is something you should negotiate with them at the point of commissioning. In practice, the wishes of each party are quite simple; the couple naturally want the freedom to share their images and video however they wish with their family and friends. The creator will only be concerned to restrict the client from sharing them with a newspaper or broadcaster without their consent. On the other side of the fence the creator may want to use images, clips or highlights of their material later on to show prospective clients. This can be a sticking point for some clients who want absolute privacy. If this is the case, then you should agree this privacy up front. However do be aware that your photographer or film-maker may be more incentivised to do a good job for you if they know they can show it to other prospects.

3. Where’s my film? – quite understandably every client wants their film as soon as possible after their event. However the reality of the situation is that editing a film professionally is V-E-R-Y time-consuming and there may be a lot of footage to sift through. On top of that remember wedding videography is very seasonal, so its normal to have a backlog of editing once the Summer is over. Realistically we reckon our films take 3-6 months to deliver, so we forewarn our clients and encourage them to avoid further delays by providing their music preferences, credits and balance payments promptly. However we’ve heard of some film-makers taking over 12 months to deliver films, especially in the Asian wedding market which is notorious for multiple day celebrations resulting in epic length films! As long as your film-maker communicates with you regularly, you shouldn’t worry. However silence is usually a bad sign they’ve something to hide! If you suspect your film-maker is being evasive, then its imperative you obtain the original footage as a safeguard. You can then consider further action such as seeking arbitration through any association they belong to (eg The Institute of Videography). Failing that you may have to issue court proceedings to recover your money and pay someone else to edit it.

4. Our videographer has let us down! – last Summer we received about 25 phone calls from people who had been let down by their videographer at the last minute, despite booking well in advance. This is a common problem with one-man outfits; our understanding is many of them take on a more lucrative booking for a certain date and naturally want to get out of a heavily discounted one they might have taken previously. Although its morally scandalous, the problem is that most weddings take place on Saturdays between July and September, in practice only about 12-13 days. So the temptation for the videographer to drop a low value booking in favour of a bigger one is huge. To avoid this happening to you, first make sure you have a proper contract which doesn’t have any unfavourable cancellation clauses. Of course, any one-man outfit may suffer illness, so you should always check what their alternative coverage arrangements are in any case. At Bloomsbury we employ 12 camera crew so have cover for all our bookings, but its indeed a risk with smaller operations.

5. We don’t like the edit – we frequently get contacted by couples unhappy with the edit another videographer has provided. The usual question they ask us is ‘can you re-edit our film?’. Unfortunately not, we simply don’t have the time to edit other film-makers work and frankly don’t want to risk ‘opening a can of worms’. However there are some important issues here that need understanding. Firstly the quality of the edit will be partly dependent upon the time spent. Hence if you’ve paid a modest amount for your film, then its only fair your film-maker might spend say 2-3 days editing it. By contrast our films take about 7-10 days each, but our charges are more at the higher end too. If you are unhappy with your edit, most videographers will be prepared to make changes if you ask nicely. Avoid depreciating their work by telling them what you like about the film first and then saying what you’d like to change. Don’t write a long ranting email as it will only generate animosity! Be specific about the changes, list them with simple instructions and a timecode for each. If possible obtain a copy of the raw footage so you can see what is realistic (although for many this can be bewildering). If the film-maker wants to make charges, check the provision in your contract. It may be that you do need to pay for them 9if you make more than one set), so agree the charges in advance. Most film-makers are very conscientious, so if you are reasonable, you will come to a happy conclusion!

How Long Does It Take to Edit A Wedding Video?

Wedding Video Editing

We’re often asked by clients and prospective clients how long it takes to deliver a wedding or event film. I understand that immediately after a big occasion like this, there is a huge desire to re-live it all again. However film-making is not an off-the-shelf product, but rather a painstaking creative process that demands a considerable amount of professional time, thought and attention. Furthermore, to maintain our high standards, we don’t rush projects through the studio or hire inexperienced temps. Rather we give each project all the time it requires.

This means we usually deliver our films about 3 to 6 months after the event depending upon the time of year. Of course, our business is very seasonal, so it does mean we get bottle-necks with Summer bookings and a few may take a little over 6 months. However, we firmly believe the wait is worth it as our client testimonials clearly demonstrate. We believe the film we are making for you will become a piece of family history and the pleasure it will bring will soon overshadow the waiting.

That said we understand there are occasions when a film might be required by a specific deadline, such as to coincide with a special event or a second wedding abroad. For this we have a handful of ‘Express Edit’ slots which we offer clients at an additional cost. The surcharge is to cover the cost of overtime and weekend working to complete the project within 1 month. We only have 4-6 slots per year as we do not want to over commit ourselves – or fall into the trap of rushing a job that might then fall below our normal standards. Frankly, an Express Edit is not something we recommend, unless you really can’t wait!

However the are some ways in which clients can minimise the waiting time. Firstly, bear in mind we edit projects in the order in which they are ready for editing, not the order in which they were filmed. This is because some clients cause delays by not providing the necessary information to commence the project (eg their music preferences or credits) or have an outstanding balance. In these instances, the 3 to 6 month wait only begins when we have everything in place. Therefore, it important to settle such matters before the event (as we encourage clients to do) or immediately afterwards. Another tip it to consider hosting your wedding outside July, August or September when resources are most stretched. In our experience, April and May can be just as dry or sunny, whilst October, December and January are all very atmospheric months for weddings and are under-appreciated.

Of course, whatever happens you can be sure of our complete attention and commitment – we love making films and always want to do our best for you!

Top 10 Wedding Venues 2013

Cliveden HouseAs one of the UK’s leading event film-makers, we have an eye for a great venue. Over the years we’ve had the privilege of working at more venues than most people might see in a lifetime. So to help expectant brides and grooms find the ideal location for their special day, we’ve put together our own Ten Best Wedding Venues for 2013.

We’ve selected these places based on their superb facilities, great client service and the ability to charm when captured on film. Here they are in alphabetical order:

Brympton D’Evercy, Somerset
Described in Country Life as ‘the most beautiful house in England’, Brympton House on the exclusive Brympton d’Evercy country estate is known as the South West’s leading luxury venue. It is perfect for an intimate fairy-tale wedding with its wonderful stone architecture and lush grounds.

Bloomsbury Films ® | Vita & Joachim’s Wedding from Bloomsbury Films ® on Vimeo.

Cliveden House, Berkshire
Opulent Cliveden House has been host to sumptuous events for over 300 years. It is set in 376 acres of stunning National Trust Gardens within the gorgeous Berkshire countryside. The House boasts magnificent panoramic views over the River Thames and is one of the finest luxury hotels situated conveniently near London and Heathrow Airport.

Four Seasons, Hampshire
Set in 500 acres of idyllic countryside yet located not far from London, the Four Seasons in Hampshire is not only renowned as a beautiful venue – it also has a reputation for delicious cuisine and a luxurious spa (perfect for the bride to rejuvenate before the Big Day!).

Gravetye Manor, Sussex
Surrounded by superb gardens and situated just 30 miles from London, Gravetye Manor is considered to be one of Britain’s greatest and longest-lived country house hotels. Built in 1598, the outstanding 1,000-acre estate continues to delight guests with its unhurried calm and excellent service.

Bloomsbury Films ® | Olena & Spencer’s Wedding from Bloomsbury Films ® on Vimeo.

Heythrop Park, Oxfordshire
This luxurious rural retreat boasts 2 hotels brimming with features within its 440 acres of beautifully kept grounds – visitors have the choice of a charming 18th century manor or the chic, contemporary Crown Plaza. Set in the stunning Oxfordshire countryside, Heythrop Park Resort also offers easy access to both London and the Midlands.

Natural History Museum, London
Not many people are aware that the Natural History Museum is one of the most fabulous wedding venues in the UK. The iconic setting includes the grand steps of the Waterhouse Building, food served in the magical Central Hall and the legendary Earth Hall which houses a giant globe sculpture and vast celestial wall map.

Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew
Magnificent Kew Gardens is London’s only 300 acre UNESCO World Heritage Site – it is famous for its outstanding landscapes and glasshouses, as well as its fascinating history which spans 200 years. There are few venues in the UK that could boast such a legendary and lovely setting.

Bloomsbury Films ® | Ravi & Rina’s Wedding from Bloomsbury Films ® on Vimeo.

St. Pancras Hotel, London
This superb 5 Star establishment in the heart of central London features a fairy-tale exterior with magnificent entrance hall that leads down a grand staircase fit for Royalty. Visitors to St. Pancras Hotel then discover a blend of Victorian splendour and contemporary style, with the hotel also having a respected culinary reputation.

Syon House & Gardens, Middlesex
Landscaped in the mid-18th century, the gardens at Syon are famous for their glorious beauty – they are registered as Grade I landscape in the Gardens of Historic Importance in England. The luxurious Great Hall in Syon House is perfect for civil ceremonies as it can accommodate 120 seated guests, while post-ceremony drinks can be held in an enchanting inner courtyard or the gardens themselves.

Bloomsbury Films ® | Harpreet & Tim’s Wedding from Bloomsbury Films ® on Vimeo.

The Roman Baths & Pump Room, Bath
Known as one of the most superb historic buildings in the country, this unique venue in pretty Bath is renowned for its charm and architecture, as well as being famous for the spa water that flows from a fountain overlooking a natural hot spring. The Roman Baths & Pump Room is also known worldwide as a sumptuous restaurant that can be privately hired for a wonderfully elegant event.

While there is a wealth of wedding venues in Britain to choose from, our experience has allowed us to narrow down the search with our current Top Ten picks of places we’ve filmed at. I hope our footage demonstrates that these locations truly have the ‘wow’ factor.

Choosing Asian Wedding Videographers

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The ever-evolving British Asian wedding is now an institution that attracts mainstream suppliers of all capacities and sizes. In recent years, the Asian wedding market has seen an influx of talented non-Asian wedding cinematographers, or videographers as we often refer to them, who are able to offer just as good, if not better, services. As consumers we benefit from the introduction of new styles and methods, competitive prices and variety of service. But are they any less able to provide a culturally aware service than their Asian counterparts?

Cultural awareness
Some issues are cultural, for example, you might expect an Asian supplier to be a little bit more understanding when the bride turns up an hour and a half late. Of course the ‘Indian timing’ thing is a massive generalisation, but it’s fair to say most Asian weddings still require a degree of flexibility with timing. Additionally, you may have concerns that your supplier will fail to observe the correct decorum during religious ceremonies.

You may assume that hiring an Asian videographer will save you the trouble of having to address these issues, but in truth you should be discussing all of these things with any supplier before you book. A schedule of events, details of the ceremony and charges for over-running, are standard points of discussion regardless of whether your videographer is Asian or not.

Andrew Cussens is a Director at Bloomsbury Films, the UK’s multi award winning cinematographers, who cater for a wide range of cultural backgrounds including Jewish, Asian, Persian, Arabic, Chinese, African and many more. He rightly states that ‘everyone is concerned about cultural understanding, not just Asians. Yet we have succeeded in every market. This is because cultural understanding accounts for only a tiny part of the skill needed to make good films.’

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Skills
Nowadays, it’s no longer the ‘done thing’ to have a wedding video that shows endless footage of various ceremonies. We want videos that are creatively shot and meticulously edited so viewers can experience the ‘best bits’ rather than having to sit through and watch the entire actual wedding. Half the task, if not more, in producing an engaging wedding video requires good editing skills. In-depth knowledge of what happens at an Asian wedding is not a necessity as you will more than likely be involved in this process, engaging in numerous dialogues with your chosen service provider.

The other half of the task is shooting the actual wedding. The visionary skills required in taking the right shots from the right angles to film competently bears no relation to whether or not the cameraman has an Asian background. As Andrew from Bloomsbury Films puts it; ‘rituals can easily be learned and understood, creativity is much harder to acquire.’

In some cases, select venues have an approved list of suppliers (including videographers) that they would rather you use for any event at their premises. Many couples are put off by this because they feel that the lack of an all-Asian supplier list will take something away from their wedding. Remember that these videographers will be experienced at shooting on the site and would be able to capture the best possible footage of your wedding day. Bloomsbury Films are recommended by many venues, including Savill Court in Surrey (see below)

Bloomsbury Films ® | Nehal & Sam’s Wedding from Bloomsbury Films ® on Vimeo.

Communicate
Regardless of how limited or generous your budget, don’t shy away from spending time discussing your exact requirements with potential videographers. You should have detailed consultations with all your suppliers before your wedding. Agree to meet for a consultation and provide your videographer with an itinerary of your wedding day and check in with them during the editing process. And remember, there’s every chance that your videographer has attended more Asian weddings than you have, regardless of whether or not they are Asian themselves, so their knowledge and understanding of your key events will be sufficient.

[Originally published in Entouraaj, July 2013]