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Taking Care of Business
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Old February 9th, 2008, 09:56 PM   #1
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Better places to advertise my services? Prices?

I'd really like to start filming live bands around my area. I was thinking of charging for gas and a ticket to the show along with a flat rate for shooting, editing and rendering the footage. I'll be using a one camera setup (Sony VX2100 and a RODE NT3) for my shoots and able to author the DVDs with menus if there are multiple shows and it is requested. What would be the normal charge for a service of this nature and where would be a good place to post an ad for my services besides Craigslist?
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Old February 10th, 2008, 08:34 AM   #2
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Who would your prospective clients be ... the bands, the show promoters, the show venue?

Just curious, why would "price of a ticket" be part of your billing? If you're there to shoot the band(s) wouldn't that mean you're there in an official capacity and the people hiring you should arrange for you to receive a "full-access" pass similar to those the musicans themselves and their sound people, roadies, etc. receive? You're no longer audience, you're staff. Was at a PBS concert taping a while back and I'll swear I didn't see the cameramen standing in line at the ticket will-call window <grin>!
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Old February 10th, 2008, 09:11 AM   #3
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Travis, Steve is correct, if you're hired to shoot the event, you don't need a ticket to the show, you're staff. Your pass will be arranged by whomever your working for at the show.

As far as advertising goes, for local bands, you could advertise at local musician stores, (not where you buy cd's) get in touch with club owners, who then could get you in touch with promoters, and then bands themselves.

Keep in mind, there are a ton of legalities with artists who are signed to a label.

As far as local artists, go to shows, talk to the artists themselves or their manager at the show.

The best way for you to get work is to make the effort to introduce yourself at one of their shows, exchange info and go from there.
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Old February 10th, 2008, 09:52 AM   #4
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...

Keep in mind, there are a ton of legalities with artists who are signed to a label.

...
And also potentially with the musician's union as well, where the contract for a stage performance might not cover or allow for video, or even audio, recording. If one was hired by the band itself that's not likely to become an issue (though it could) but it's a very real something to watch out for if one's client is the promoter or the venue.
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Old February 10th, 2008, 10:32 AM   #5
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BTW "normal charge" depends on a bunch of variables and is often region-specific but I would start by deciding what your time is worth and going from there. In my experience most indie bands don't have a lot of $$ to spend on videos so you might have to low-ball the first few to build your reel and with some luck & good word of mouth you'll be able to charge more.

Also for a one-camera concert shoot you should consider an XLR feed from the board to go with your room mic, you'll have much better sound to work with.
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Old February 10th, 2008, 12:07 PM   #6
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Well I'd be targeting indie rock/alternative/heavy metal/hardcore bands. The bands that are performing in local rock clubs/bars...no high end venues so to say. As for them paying for my ticket. Often times clubs will have a guest list or not and if they have already filled the guest list for some reason then I'd need to pay to get in. I have only been to one shoot where I was "staff" and that was a cd release show for a band out of Raleigh that was being filmed for MTV.

I would be getting in contact with the bands themselves as opposed to the venue owners. The venues that I will be more than likely filming do not have any restrictions on filming either audio or video unless its a national act, and in that case I wouldn't be filming them to begin with.

In regards to posting ads in the club, that would be a good idea along with posting ads in local music stores (Guitar Center, Hot Topic, Musician's Friend).

Thanks for the replies!
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Old February 10th, 2008, 12:24 PM   #7
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Well I'd be targeting indie rock/alternative/heavy metal/hardcore bands. The bands that are performing in local rock clubs/bars...no high end venues so to say. As for them paying for my ticket. Often times clubs will have a guest list or not and if they have already filled the guest list for some reason then I'd need to pay to get in. I have only been to one shoot where I was "staff" and that was a cd release show for a band out of Raleigh that was being filmed for MTV.

...!
The band doesn't pay to get in, do they? If you're hired by them to produce a video, you're just as much a part of the band as their drummer or their sound operator, at the venue with them to do a job with them and not just to watch the show.
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Old February 10th, 2008, 02:30 PM   #8
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As for them paying for my ticket. Often times clubs will have a guest list or not and if they have already filled the guest list for some reason then I'd need to pay to get in. I have only been to one shoot where I was "staff" and that was a cd release show for a band out of Raleigh that was being filmed for MTV.
It's absurd, from a business standpoint. You shouldn't have to pay to get into a show you've been hired to film at. Not only does it dilute your profits, it makes it unclear to the band and everyone else whether you are a professional or just another fan (albeit one with a nice camera).
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Old February 11th, 2008, 07:08 PM   #9
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I'm just going by experience that I've had with filming some bands.
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Old February 12th, 2008, 06:22 AM   #10
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I'm just going by experience that I've had with filming some bands.
I don't get it. You're putting yourself in the position of a fan with a camera. The heck with guest lists - you ain't a guest or a fan, you're there working for the band and indirectly for the club. The day before the shoot, you and the band manager go to the promoter/club owner/whoever is in charge with a copy of your signed contract in hand (you DO have a fully detailed signed contract with these people, don't you?) to prove your status and arrange all the necessary clearances. Surely you have some contractual standing with the band and not doing this for free or on spec! "Hey man, why don't you drop to the club tonight and shoot some pitchers?" ain't gonna cut it LOL. The club owners don't just hope a band shows up and pays the cover charge so they can perform or that a FOH sound guy happens to be in the audience with a mixer and mics in his pocket who'll volunteer to mix the show, do they? Why are you any different from them? If you're just another part of the audience, how do you get backstage for shots from the wings, perhaps tie into house sound or house power, arrange for camera positions, go onstage for closeups during the song, perhaps arrange secure storage of your gear on site, do all the other stuff you have to do if you're going to shoot the show professionally that regular audience members wouldn't have access to?
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Old February 13th, 2008, 12:40 PM   #11
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Thanks for the pointers everyone. I'll have to get some contracts made up and get out there and post some ads.
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Old February 21st, 2008, 11:23 PM   #12
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When I have shot band videos in the past I have found that it is often better sounding if you use the shotgun mic in a stationary position (such as on a boom pole). This captures both the speakers and the sounds coming from the stage. But you may want board sound if you are shooting in a larger venue or if the audience is noisy. But since you are shooting with a one-camera set-up, this may not be practical. You may want to consider an HV20/30 as a second camera once you get your business started.
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Old February 22nd, 2008, 06:38 AM   #13
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Travis,
I have a bunch of experience shooting in venues and there are some things that I will suggest.

- Even if the venue doesn't have restrictions get it in writing ( a contract, or even an email) saying that you have full access to the show. If the footage is being sold on dvd/online/to a network it wouldn't hurt to have the venue and promoter sign releases. You don't need it for kids b/c it's a public event and they should expect media to be there. Having the venue and promoter sign off on something guarantees they wont try to scam you out of money when they see their name on tv or a dvd

- have the band sign a release, even if they hired you, doesn't matter. Like I said, if someone will can find a way to scam you, they likely will.

- if you continue working with a select few promoters, which is most likely because most major cities have two or three promoters that book big shows ( one will do the big pop acts, one will do the big indie acts and one will do the rest, it's like this in EVERY city) make sure you take care of them. I've seen promoters throw a fit because film dudes are making money off their shows and not giving credit to the promoter. The absolute last thing you want to do is piss off a promoter because 5mins before a shoot he will have no problem pulling the plug, trust me on that. By taking care of them I mean giving them ad-space on your website, helping promote the show, and every once in awhile saying thank you in some way. Send them a fruit basket or tickets to a local double AA baseball game or something. In my experience I was friends with the promoters (b/c I use to co-promote_) and when I'd tape I'd buy wings for the boys after the show. It's kind gestures like this that keep the world happy.

- the more audio the better. Patch into the sound board, AND have an additional sound recording that is equal quality recording at the same time. I've had times where the sound board died in the middle of a show and I was up the creek.

- the more angles the better. No one wants to see a straight shot. You can get away with two cameras, three is preferred, but I worked with two cameras for about a year and it was fine, a tad more stressful, but it worked.

- have everything that you need on you. extra batteries, tape, etc. Why? b/c at a show, your stuff WILL be stolen if it's out. There's no right of passage or anything, if it's out it will be taken; by the band, by the sound guy, buy ignorant kids, trust me on that. Just go to indie rock news sites and read about dumb kids taking equipment from bands.

- Don't be a fanboy. I've had kids who "say they want to be in film school and want to help" and b/c I'm not a major shop I always welcome cheap help. Then I look over and the camera is pointed at the floor and his arm is in the air singing along. That doesn't help your stress level. After working a bunch of shows you will get tired of shows, trust me. All bands will sound the same after 6 months and you wont be able to tell the difference. If you're taping your favorite band, watch the soundcheck and mark out for that. Be on your 'A' game for the real set because if your favorite band wants to hire you to do something won't that be worth more than singing along to a song and ending up with a sub-par final edit?

- I cant stress enough about protecting your gear, keep it in the trunk, don't make it obvious you're a pro. if things get heated in a venue (and they do, esp at punk/hardcore shows) bail if you have to. No shot is worth your camera getting busted by some tough guy that has something to prove. That being said make sure you talk to head of security and carry a leatherman on you. It's a great tool to have, on so many levels.

- aside from that, enjoy shooting live shows. They're a riot and you never know what happens. I had a band guy propose to his girl on stage once, the crowd ate it up.
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