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Old January 6th, 2017, 06:25 AM   #1
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Some thoughts on small company streaming

I have been looking at ways of offering more updated services for my wedding and schools video production, to bring it in line with the rapidly increasing move away from DVD viewing to streaming in many households.

I have noticed over the last 12 months particularly, far less interest in DVD as a finished product, and a marked reduction in our DVD sales of school productions. This has been matched by observation when visiting potential wedding clients, of the lack of DVD players. For weddings, I have been delivering on both DVD and USB for some time, to give a full HD option for the clients smart tv, however it's impossible to ignore the fact that film and music streaming has become the norm for certainly most under 40s.

So how can the convenience and cheapness of DVD supplied content be matched with an alternative that gives the same margin for profit without increasing the selling price significantly? It would certainly be possible to continue filming and editing as normal and supplying the finished product on USB for viewing and long term storage safety and also uploading to a streaming service for easy and convenient viewing. The problem then becomes one of increased costs for not only supplying USB rather than DVD, but more significantly the cost of the streaming service. There is also the possibility of live streaming, which is offered at the moment by members of this forum, with Chris in Australia offering a greatly reduced price for live wedding streaming with a USB copy of the streamed video,

I would be very interested in live streaming weddings, but I am struggling at the moment to see how doing this at a reduced price would enable income levels to be maintained. The argument as I see it is that live streaming of the event means no hours of editing afterwards and I would certainly relish that side of it. But if I look at, for example, a conventionally videoed Saturday wedding at let's say 1000, then that would include the time taken for editing etc. That may take a few days, so let's say 400 to film it and 600 to edit (put in your own figures). If we then say that there is zero post editing in a live streamed production, so we can sell it for 500, we have that return for one day's work, but our income for the week has dropped by 50%.

Even then that is ignoring the cost of the extra equipment needed to be purchased to enable the live streaming and the cost of a subscription to the hosting company plus their hourly broadcast rate. As I see it at the moment, live streaming would be highly attractive to the client, but would only be profitable if offered as an add on or alternative to a traditional coverage at a similar price for live only and at a premium as an add on.

Any thoughts generally would be welcome, plus some ideas of the equipment needed for let's say a 3 camera live streamed shoot and the sort of costs offered by streaming host companies plus restrictions and requirements. I have been looking at Vmix and Livestream, but suitable multi camera capture cards/boxes and even basic streaming packages seem fairly expensive to start experimenting with.

Any Input appreciated.

Roger
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Old January 6th, 2017, 08:13 AM   #2
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Re: Some thoughts on small company streaming

Hey Roger

I had better put in my 2 cents worth since I was mentioned in your post. Yes, you are correct about total source income. Let's say you do a wedding shoot of 8 hours and then spend 16 hours doing the post edit work and media creation (just thumb suck figures) .... OK lets take the total time of 24 hours to create the end product and cost it at say $75.00 per hour and we have a wedding production cost of $1800.00

Now you have been paid for 3 days work (approx 8 hours a day) and earned $1800.00 ..If you only charged for the shoot you could still maintain your hourly rate and charge just $600 for your efforts which is just 1/3rd of the average $1800 price ...same hourly rate BUT you earn less money (but have 2 days free to do nothing OR do another job) Securing 3 jobs instead of one is more effort so it's really not worth it, is it?

However IF you double your hourly rate to $150 and do an 8 hour job you make a lot more per hour and are STILL below your competitors. In real life you could compare it to - shoot wedding on Saturday, edit on Sunday and create media on Monday and make $1800. Get a wedding on Friday, Saturday and Sunday you still have worked 3 days but have made $3600 and have sold your packages at 2/3rds of your competitors price.

Over here the market has gone to pieces .. celebrants who used to charge $500 have dropped prices down to $300 just to get jobs ...we are getting more and more weddings that are just a ceremony and then they have dinner with friends ..no reception at all!! I can do ceremony live streams for $250 an hour (that's all they take..often more like 30 minutes) ....If I do a conventional video I still have to go back home, edit it and make the media so $250 an hour simply doesn't make me competitive enough.

I think the whole scenario of whether to do a live shoot or a edited shoot is covered by the phrase "work smarter not harder"
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Old January 6th, 2017, 09:59 AM   #3
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Re: Some thoughts on small company streaming

HI Chris,

I get your point and the hourly rate is very attractive, but I tend to work on how much I can earn a week or a month and if I reduced my price down to 2/3rds the cost of my competitors (and there aren't many round here) I may pick up a few more bookings, but would pretty quickly not be able to pay my bills. On top of that, I still haven't been able to arrive at the real cost of streaming live with all overheads included, to start on a profitability analysis.

I noticed on your ads, that you do a streaming package at $299 which equates to about 156 before costs and expenses. So presumably if you took one of those, you wouldn't then be able to take on a conventional $1800 dollar booking. $299 might work out to a great hourly rate, but if it stops you earning $1800 is it financially viable? Unless you have other income, I can't see being able to convert that into a liveable income without several teams out at the same time. If the wedding video industry collapses here to the point that I have to drop my prices that far, I would quite simply have to stop doing it. Convince me I'm missing something here :-)

At the moment, Claire and I can both take on a wedding on the same day that earns the best part of 1000 for each one. Ok we have to edit them, but the money is there when we have finished. If we live streamed them and dropped down to 400 each, there would be far less work involved, but we would need 5 weddings in the same period that we do 2 and that is extremely unlikely. If we used your ceremony only $299 model, we would need 14 weddings in the same period, which would be more hours than we would need to edit 2 conventional ones. I can certainly see offering streaming as an add on option to a conventionally videoed wedding to start working on and really want to start working on that as soon as I can.

As always though I want to consider all possibilities and the difficulties that I see at the moment might be easily avoidable.

Roger

EDITED TO SAY that I rechecked the AUS$ to GBP conversion rate and your $299 package equates to 176 so I was a bit out there, but it means 13 weddings rather than 14 to bring the same income as my 2 conventional ones.

Last edited by Roger Gunkel; January 6th, 2017 at 10:06 AM. Reason: Correcting the conversion rate
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Old January 6th, 2017, 10:35 AM   #4
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Re: Some thoughts on small company streaming

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Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post

However IF you double your hourly rate to $150 and do an 8 hour job you make a lot more per hour and are STILL below your competitors.
The problem with this approach might be that clients would ask why not pay a bit more and get a full day coverage with a nicely editing film? Another question I would ask myself is if there is enough interest in this type of coverage, I can imagine where Chris lives distances can be hugh and not all family members can join or maybe there are a lot of couples from abroad who want to let their family on the other side of the planet be a part of their ceremony but in the UK that might be totally different, where I live mainly the Turkish community would be interested in live streams but that is a market already taken in by Turkish cameramen.
Doing this live stream weddings would only be interesting if you either want to be free the rest of the week doing some gardening or if you have extra film jobs during the week so your Saturday shoots don't cause any backlogs.
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Old January 6th, 2017, 12:50 PM   #5
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Re: Some thoughts on small company streaming

Some interesting thoughts Noa and I think that you are probably correct regarding the huge area of Australia and the interest in being able to remotely view. I do think though that streaming is becoming normal for a lot of viewing and I feel that adding it on to what we do rather than providing it as a substitute, would be more in line with how I would like to develop it. It would also mean that income can be maintained whilst giving the clients the opportunity to view on line.

Maybe a good compromise could be having the main manned camera during the ceremony being live streamed in addition to a normal multi camera edit and more traditional delivery. I can also see post wedding streaming of the edit being quite attractive to clients if it can be incorporated in a sensible pricing structure.

I am sure that there is a fair proportion of prospective clients who are not interested in a documentary all day record, or a highlights only video and would prefer a transient live broadcast only, but I don't want to fragment the market into lots of different types of coverage if it means more companies doing a lot less work overall.

Roger
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Old January 6th, 2017, 07:36 PM   #6
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Re: Some thoughts on small company streaming

Hi Roger

I think I already mentioned your necessity to earn a fixed amount and yes I can see your point if you need $XXX every week to pay the bills and have the opportunity to harvest that amount in one big job rather than than multiple small ones it makes sense to take the big job. Our low rate packages are also very short too ..mostly under 30 minutes filming and no editing ..not huge money earners BUT useful when the bigger jobs have dried up. I think it's often been said here that doing 5 high end weddings at $10K a pop is a lot better business wise than doing 50 low end weddings at $1K each. I think your choice is really simple here since you have no competitors in your area, is to simply keep on doing what you are doing. We have the sad situation here where every school leaver with a discount warehouse DSLR is now a wedding videographer and photographer so creating a niche market that all these idiots cannot offer is a good idea.

Now, whether you feel that doing a wedding or school event (for the same price as you charge) as a live edit is easier for you than doing post editing is really up to you. I would also look at doing shoots as live edits (the way big studios do concerts) without live streaming them ...Just mix and edit on site and record back to the computer HDD ...that way you have "ready to go" clips on your hard drive and all you need to do is copy them onto media. You can still use the method without actually broadcasting it.
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Old January 6th, 2017, 08:44 PM   #7
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Re: Some thoughts on small company streaming

At one time or another all three of you guys have said to me "but you don't do weddings". This topic has little to do with Roger being a wedding specialist, it is about products offered so I am going to throw my opinion into it.

Offering live streaming as an additional option to your wedding services is just that, "an additional product". You should be charging more and making more for doing it. If it reduces your time in post then so be it, that makes it even more valuable to you. There is nothing that says you must cut your rates for it, it works the other way around.

Chris has been very informative about his transition into streaming and we have all followed it. As he said he is in a very competitive market. His fees have never been on the way high end. He is streaming to give himself a competitive edge and is doing it in a very basic way to keep his own costs and the clients down. A quick doco style simple shoot, hand off a URL and BAM he is done. He is making it work for him so more power to you Chris! I came by those statements from ALL of your posts Chris, please correct me if I'm wrong.

You guys don't have to think about streaming like SPC Wedding Specialists. Think of it as a product enhancement and CHARGE MORE for it, not less. The real question is how good do you want to make the product? It can be as simple as a Livestream broadcaster on a single camera or it can look like broadcast TV. Quality costs money, how good do YOUR clients want it to be? How good do you want it to be? What will your market bear? Think more not less.......

Kind Regards,

Steve
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Old January 6th, 2017, 09:20 PM   #8
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Re: Some thoughts on small company streaming

Hi Steve

Very useful comments and much appreciated too. I think we often get stuck in a routine way of doing things so to make them more productive can only be good. The issue has always been .."this is the way you shoot a wedding so everyone needs to do it that way" We have a market here for quick and easy wedding ceremonies and the usual $3K 12 hour wedding videographer doesn't have a hope in hell and doing them as they are a no reception thing ..just a 30 minute ceremony on the beach or in a park (some of our celebrants even have "wedding chapels" in their own gardens. A huge amount of what the UK people call "registry weddings" or "courthouse weddings" are performed over here but don't have to be performed by a registry official. We work in with civil celebrants and provide an hour of photos and video for around $500 for both services and 3 or even 4 happen in a day so it's a viable market and we can zip off 3 in a day without missing dinner and make the same as a conventional wedding. I think the UK especially still have a lot of traditional Church based weddings so I guess they have to be filmed in a traditional way.

With our setup we can, of course easily film seminars and product launches too without any extra gear and more importantly the clients get results instantly. Brides I think resign themselves to the fact that they will have to wait many weeks, if not months before they even see their wedding video. With a couple of cameras and a software based switcher we can edit live, record to the HDD and stream out all at the same time so it is an efficient way of doing things! It even has great results at weddings here as a lot of people have overseas family that cannot attend and watching a ceremony "as it happens" is always well received.

Just for the record we don't "only do weddings" and being able to offer TV studio style graphics for commercial jobs and instant results opens a lot of doors that a conventional wedding videographer would never have! Thanks again for the positive approach!!
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Old January 6th, 2017, 11:32 PM   #9
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Re: Some thoughts on small company streaming

Forgot to mention that this topic does not apply to creative wedding films...it's for real time doc style wedding videos. Where one shoots a top end wedding with cranes, sliders, stedicams and all the rest and then spends many hours creating a creative masterpeice that justifies the higher price then the sculpting of tons of raw footage into a stunning wedding film is a different market completely
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Old January 7th, 2017, 01:10 AM   #10
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Re: Some thoughts on small company streaming

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Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post
Forgot to mention that this topic does not apply to creative wedding films...it's for real time doc style wedding videos. Where one shoots a top end wedding with cranes, sliders, stedicams and all the rest and then spends many hours creating a creative masterpeice that justifies the higher price then the sculpting of tons of raw footage into a stunning wedding film is a different market completely
Chris, This is where I could not disagree with you more. This topic applies to every post you have made in the last year as you transitioned into streaming services. What you choose to do with your new streaming skills is up to you. The limit is the sky, not your perceived market limitations. If I have followed your posts correctly in the last couple of years you have progressed in a HUGE way. You not only have added streaming to your weddings, you are seeking other options and clients to sell that service to. I am trying to encourage you say the sky is the limit! If you approach anything and say "I can do that and I don't charge a lot, you will get paid a little". You have gained new skills and abilities, go out there and have someone pay you very well for that lifetime of talent and new skills you are always working on. It is an attitudinal thing Chris, your a progressive rock star on the edge of great technology you are making it work. Make new clients pay you what its worth.

Kind Regards,

Steve
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Old January 7th, 2017, 04:38 AM   #11
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Re: Some thoughts on small company streaming

Chris I can completely see Your point of view and the logic works for the market you are in. From what you say here and in posts over the last few months it is quite clear that the general market in Oz is much different to the UK and probably elsewhere. Certainly with backyard and park weddings that would be illegal in the UK. It sound as though weddings down under can be a much more affordable affair and the market for a short budget streaming service should be pretty good and as you say if that leads to doing more than one in a day I can see how you would make that work, something that would be pretty much impossible in the UK unless quick weddings become more common. As Steve says though, you have put a lot of work into getting the streaming up and running and we have been following your progress carefully, but I also agree with Steve that your service is adding value and if you are finding it popular and easy to sell, you may well be undervaluing it yourself. Perhaps as a pioneer or early adopter of the wedding streaming service, you should capitalise on the lack of competition at the moment rather than reducing your prices. Just a thought.

It will also be interesting to see how you will grow the streaming service in other areas of your business such as the real estate work that you also do at the moment.

Steve, I agree with you that streaming could well be added as an additional incentive to book and paid for as an extra. That is in line with my own thinking with the other possibility of a live streaming service at a similar price to our existing packages, but with a more simplified coverage. I can also see no reason why the full 'normal' package shouldn't be made available for download on completion of the edit as we already supply in MP4 anyway, so the only extra cost would be the hosting.

I can also see live streaming as an opportunity to encourage people to book odd mid week days for a wedding as those that couldn't get there could still see. That sort of package in the UK could well fill some off peak dates as Chris touched on.

It doesn't answer my concerns about small scale school and theatre production recording and sales. I wonder if anyone has found any info on hosting companies that have a pay to view system that is reasonably secure. The other thing that is also not being discussed at the moment is the equipment necessary to input multi cameras into a computer for streaming and the costs involved. I have a datavideo 4 channel video mixer, but it is purely analogue and the Vmix and Livestream mixing software would seem to do everything and more that my mixer does.

Roger
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Old January 7th, 2017, 06:43 AM   #12
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Re: Some thoughts on small company streaming

Thanks Steve

I really appreciate the input and your enthusiasm and yes it is an exciting concept which mainly came about from something you know very well. 39 years ago to do a shoot you needed a huge capital investment so videographers were actually a select bunch and we had a fairly closed niche market which is something I always look for in a business. Then along came the cheap DSLR and the 18 year olds could borrow a few hundred bucks from Dad and voila they were a wedding videographer ...it's even scarier now with 4K mobile phones so I was simply looking for something different that the average wannabe wouldn't tend to copy ..hence the plunge into live work which as you know even 10 years ago was beyond most video guy's reach.

On the non wedding side it's has huge potential too being able to provide something that was previously restricted to National TV networks with obscene amonts of money - exciting times are ahead as we can already do stuff one would never have dreamed of even 5 years ago ...TV style broadcasting and we can even now do a seminar conference and bring in a guest speaker from anywhere in the world and have them in the broadcast as well as on a live screen at the venue. Exciting times ahead!
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Old January 7th, 2017, 07:08 AM   #13
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Re: Some thoughts on small company streaming

Hi Roger

Yes I was treading softly and not thinking at all ...so far the small ceremonies cost out nicely but we are undercosting a full wedding where we could actually charge more as it's unique. Probably time to cut the umbilical cord to traditional wedding video and just push the live broadcast!!

There is a massive market out there that can be tapped!

Now about your pay per view issue? There MUST be a way to work out a payment method that takes you to a secure site and I know that Livestream has a password option on their top package but it's pricey for me at this stage! As already said you are not selling tickets to the latest Star Wars movie so people's interest in hacking or getting a freebie will be tiny ...it's really only the parents who are the watchers and who have to be a Livestream member AND know where to find the event too before you can watch it. If you just want to sell downloads then there are plenty of sites that allow you to sell electronic downloads after you pay for them.
With school events it might STILL be worth doing the edit live and just record to a computer! That would save you heaps of edit time which you could do while you are filming instead.

Admittedly I do like the wifi system using the Broadcaster Pro unit on a camera which connects wirelessly to the mixer software where you can stream it out or just record it ...around $585 at B&H ...You can also get HDMI to USB adapters I believe but that does mean connecting your cams to the computer with cables (and usually extenders too) but they are quite cheap!! I have actually seen a few people run a 3 cam system with a decent camera wireless back to the computer and the other two are just conference webcams on cable and it worked pretty well. Yes it does cost a bit to set up especially if you are running 3 wireless cameras so I guess you need to figure out what they will earn you and what edit time you will save and decide if it's worth it or not!!
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Old January 7th, 2017, 11:33 AM   #14
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Re: Some thoughts on small company streaming

Unfortunately anyone can now stream a single view camera shot. I think multi cams would offer any client that extra something the average Joe can't.
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Old January 7th, 2017, 06:11 PM   #15
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Re: Some thoughts on small company streaming

Rodger,

In the next day or two I will start a new thread on switchers so we don't stuff everything into this one.


Chris, Yes, streaming is offering up new markets for us. But I did my first corporate multi-cam broadcast back in 2007. It was as much an IT gig as it was a broadcast gig. With Facebook and YouTube bringing it to the masses it will be those that can provide a broadcast look that will profit. In my corporate world PowerPoint feeds are as important as the camera feeds. As the cost comes down and technology increases competition the quality curve goes way up with that. It is always the smart and talented that will survive. My clients would laugh if someone tried to stream a 4K phone to FB for them. Yet at weddings you guys are now competing with Uncle Bob doing just that! That is a tough thing to deal with. I think the solution might be to secretly hit Uncle Bob with a Taser if he gets in your way :-) ;-) ;-)

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