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Old March 10th, 2010, 08:29 AM   #1
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Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Berkshire, UK
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How important are appearances?

A recent thread mentioned actor's reactions to crews shooting on HD DSLRs- they find it hard to take the project seriously if it's not a big camera. Obviously, it's different strokes for different folks, but it's amazing how outward appearances matter to some people. And it's not just actors- my friend recently had a similar thing happen on a corporate shoot. He was using a bare-basic EX1 and because the camera was so small and he was handholding it (just like the camcorders they all have at home), the client was less than impressed and has subsequently even tried to re-negotiate rates! It probably didn't help that my friend still dresses like a student... Granted, the quality of his footage has now assuaged them, but it got me thinking.

How many professionals on these boards use the smaller, "prosumer" cameras (a term I hate, but never mind) for corporate work and how many times to clients question your kit and you because they were expecting a full-size camera? How do you go about combating this prejudice? Do you let your work speak for itself, do you try to educate them or do you pimp out your camera with large matte boxes and lens rods to try and negate their preconceptions?

So far, I've not encountered this on my solo work because I tend to play in a lower-cost market (where clients have no real preconceived notions of professionalism and aren't paying the mega-bucks corporate clients usually do), but I'm looking to push into a wider market and upgrade my kit, so perhaps the "professional appearance" needs to be addressed.

Daniel J Brant
Corporate, Fiction and Promotional Video-
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Old March 10th, 2010, 08:38 AM   #2
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Location: San Mateo, CA
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Appearance is VERY important, especially the higher you go on the clientelle market. But I'm not particularly concerned about gear size. (Lots of threads on that topic, and how to dress out your rig to look 'bigger' and more impressive) But I AM talking about professionalism. Unless you're Steven Spielberg, or literally shooting on a ranch - I'd leave the jeans and ballcap at home. I always wear black or grey - My vehicle is clean and waxed, my gear bags and crates clean. The Producers I work with appreciate knowing they won't be embarrased when I show up at a shoot. It puts the client at ease. Of course, I'm older than a student - so people assume I have decads of experience. (Which is true, but not necessarily so in someone else's case.) IF you are a young person (someone in their twenties) I'd say its even more important to show up looking and ACTING professional especially if youre shootin with a small form camera.
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Old March 10th, 2010, 04:33 PM   #3
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Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
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I agree with Richard, appearances are definitely important.

I shoot mostly on an HVX200, but I've never had a client openly say that they thought my camera was too small. Although, if someone did mention it, I would just let them know that professional cameras are getting smaller, and then give them some examples of productions that were shot was the same, or similar camera.

Most clients just want to feel confident, so if you can assure them that the quality will be what they expect or better, they'll usually believe you... after all, you are the expert
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Old March 11th, 2010, 12:36 PM   #4
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Location: McKinney,TX/New Orleans, LA
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I also think appearance is important. A person doesn't want to think that you are using equipment that they could have used. Also, I had a friend who was starting out as a producer that used to drive a beat up raggedy car. She would either borrow a nice car from somebody or park a block away when she had meetings with potential clients. I hate to say it, but first impressions mean a lot.
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