Claus Martel
Wedding and Event Videography
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Frequently, Infrequently, and Sometimes Very Stupid Questions Asked

Q: I want to book you... what do I do now? How does this work?
A: Great question. First, make sure you've review my free demo DVD. Next, determine that the date you want is not taken (go and check my availability). Next, pick a package or ask for a modification of a package. Next, email me details of which package you want. I'll work up a contract and email it to you. Next, you'll fill out the contract and mail it back (as in United States Postal Service). Once I have the contract and deposit, your date is booked. Just inquiring about my services does NOT mean you're booked for your day.

Question: I'd like to see the demo DVD. Also, send me the contract for XX August 20XX and let me know what the deposit is.
Answer: I get a LOT of these. They say they LOVE the website and blah, blah, blah... do not ask for a contract if you haven't seen the demo. TRUST ME: the demo will give you a REALLY good idea of what you're gonna get when you book me. Look at the "Customer Feedback" page. Want to know why there are all those great notes? Because they actually WATCHED the demo.

Q: Hello again....I know this is a crazy, but I just wanted to let you know that my wedding will most likely take place at 6:00 pm on May 15 in Florence. I know you are already booked but maybe that other wedding is during the day and you just want to work overtime? Ha....just trying one more time to get the best videographer I know!
A: My answer was (again) sorry, I can't do it I'm already booked. I did two weddings in one day ONCE and learned a valuable lesson. If I'm booked, I'm... (I'll give my 'Bama buddies a few seconds to figure out the answer...) - the answer is "I'm booked!"

Q: We were wondering if you chapertized each segment. In other words if we did the package with the bride getting ready, the ceremony, and the reception, would they each have there own chapter on the DVD menu screen?
A: Another great question (something that I never thought to explain) that got this questioner (now client) $50 off her wedding package. Yes... each segment of the day has a chapter on the final DVD (ie. rehearsal dinner, pre-wedding activities, the ceremony, reception, etc.).

Q: I don't get it! How can you offer hi-def bluray video for no extra charge! This is a trick or something.
A: Someone recently asked a similar question. They wanted to know if I was shooting SD (standard definition) and "upconverting" with software tricks. Nope. I'm shooting and delivering high definition. The BIG question is how can I offer this and not charge outrageous fees charged by others. Here's the dirty little secret - it costs me about $1.20 extra. Period. Standard DVDs are fairly cheap. I use Taiyo Yuden WaterShield DVD-Rs for my standard DVDs. I don't use labels that can come off. And for Blu-Ray DVDs I use TDK Blu Ray Discs.

Q: I saw something on another videographer's website where they said that wedding videos are ALL they do and don't use someone who does it only part time... like you!
A: Great question - first, video is something I do about 60+ hours a week. Granted, working on stuff that is about weapons for the Department of Defense is nothing related to weddings (or is it?). My prices reflect the fact that I don't have to pay for health insurance, retirement, etc. to make my business work. I just enjoy what I do and want to do it better than anyone else. It's the only job on the planet where you get to meet people who are getting ready for the best journey in life. Honestly, I think that if I HAD to do this to survive (make a living), I probably wouldn't do it.

Q: You'll have to excuse me because this is probably a stupid question, but what does it mean that you deliver the ceremony uncut?
A: Brides are often concerned that the actual ceremony will be edited or cut by one of us video yahoos. They are afraid that we’ll whack a prayer or song or something else. I don’t do that! I recently saw another videographer’s demo where he actually edited the ceremony, cutting out big chunks. So, the multi-camera ceremony is edited in the sense that there are shots taken from multiple angles and the video changes to different cameras but I don’t “CUT” or edit or delete anything from the ceremony. Hence, “ceremony uncut.”
Put another way, if your ceremony lasts 58-minutes, you'll see 58-minutes of ceremony on the final DVD. If the ceremony is 12-minutes... you get the picture. I think the only thing I ever "cut" was I shot a full mass wedding (I'm probably butchering the official title) and there were a couple of hundred people there. Most took communion when it was offered. The mother of the bride instructed that I shorten that part and don't put on the final video every soul receiving communion.

Q: I am wondering if it is at all possible to capture still photos from the video?
A: I'm shooting all weddings in high definition. The stills from video come out well. Getting good photographs should be the job of the photographer. Getting great video is my job. Unfortunately, I am still working on getting clients "THE Shot" that the photographer missed.

Q: Can you make me prettier and get rid of any smudges or should I check my makeup every 5 seconds?
A: How can I mess with perfection?

Q: I basically want to meet you in person and just talk about the whole plan and all that good stuff. I figured we might as well meet. We may hate each other. Who knows?
A: Good question that comes up often... should you (the client) and I actually "meet" before the wedding. If you live 300+ miles away, the answer is generally "no." If there's a place we can meet should you have this burning desire to meet me, we can work something out. In the case of the client's note above, she hated me but still booked me. Go figure!

Q: How do you work? Like, what style do you usually use when making a video; cinematic, documentary, or a mix of both? What type of lighting do you use?
A: This great question from my client Abbi from Auburn got her a $50 discount on her wedding package. My style is primarily documentary because of my day job - an historian/documentarian for a large US Government agency. I don't like doing cheesy stuff. I've been known (if I think it works) to do little short cinematic features. I don't walk around bothering people. I treat people at a wedding the way I would want to be treated... I want to enjoy the wedding and be left alone from the hired help. I don't walk around during the ceremony. If a camera can be placed in an inconspicuous place near the front of a wedding, I'll do that. Lighting for the ceremony is ambient. I'll use an on-camara light at the reception if it's dark.

Q: How ugly are you?
A: Pretty ugly...

Q: Why don't you show clips of your work on the website? What are you trying to hide? Are you part of that vast right-wing conspiracy?
A: No matter how high the quality of the clip on the web, it's no substitute for the sample DVD. There's no obligation for the free demo DVD! And to answer your questions about a vast right-wing conspiracy...

Q: Your prices are too low! That must mean that the quality is low! My dad said I should just get a family member to shoot it for that much.
A: I have virtually no overhead. I shoot video because I enjoy it, not to put food on the table. But, what the heck, listen to your dad... get Uncle Buck to shoot it. 

Q: What stupid names for packages! What gives? "Package A, " "Package B," etc. My grandmother is more creative! I want a videographer with clever package names!
A: I gave this a lot of thought. I didn't like the names the other video yahoos gave, like "Golden Memories." I have a golden retreiver and I didn't want to think of my dog while shooting your wedding.

Q: I like some things on some of the packages but don't want everything. Can you give me a quote for a custom package?
A: Probably 80% of every contract I sign is a custom package.

Q: How long does it take to edit a wedding video?
A: If I worked straight, it would be between 18-22 hours.

Q: That's not what I meant when I said how long to edit, you moron! When will I get my video!?!?!
A: A-hem... sorry. In about 45 days.

Q: What's the square root of 38?
A: 6.164414 (My thanks to Jackie in North Carolina for the answer. Jackie and his bride Kat HAD their first child!)

Q: How far will you travel?
A: Pretty far! Let me know where you're at and we'll work something out. I have YET to charge for travel (it gives me quality time with the I-POD and no one to tell me to turn it down). If the wedding is anywhere on the coast of Alabama (from Mobile to Gulf Shores), I do charge $50 extra (to defray lodging expenses). I've traveled as far as California, Tennessee, Ohio, Florida, New Jersey (UGH), Georgia, Mississippi... I'm probably forgetting some places. I've shot in Germany, too.

Q: I want the high definition package but I want candle light for my wedding. Will that work?
A. If your guests will be required to wear night vision goggles to see your wedding because the lighting will be set for "mood," high definition is not the way to go. If you're planning a subdued lighted wedding ceremony or even so subdued that you're planning on using candles to light the area, high definition is not the way to go. The lighting requirements are more than standard definition video. A normally lit sanctuary or building will accomodate high definition. It does not require bright, blarring lights (though it doesn't mind them - the brighter the venue, the better a high definition video will look).

Q: Do you do windows?
A: Yes.

Q: So how good are you?
A: Approximately 87.3% of all my work are because of referrals, not first time contacts or advertising.