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Old January 4th, 2016, 09:40 AM   #1
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I Guess I Just Need a Place to Think

My wife and I started a photography business on the side about 1 year ago. We have been basically focusing on weddings and portraits. We both have full time jobs, but we have been enjoying the little work we have been getting for photography. We are just trying to grow it through time and it seems to be working, slowly but surely.

I got a job about 6 months later as a photographer/videographer at a local university and have been absolutely loving the work I've been doing. It's been a lot of fun and it's very rewarding. Part of the reason I got this job is because I started a video production business the same time as the photography business. I haven't done a lot with it (maybe a video or two, nothing serious). I've learned A TON about video over the course of the last 6 months doing this full-time. I knew enough to get the job before, but I've come a long way since I started.

My dilemma is I have been getting a lot of requests recently to do wedding videography lately and I keep saying no because it's not something that I do. I feel like I could do a wedding really well, but I've just never done that. But because of all these requests, I feel like I am missing out on a potential market for it. I went to a wedding expo with my wife yesterday and there was 1 videographer there and like 13 photographers.

That said, I don't have the equipment for it. I currently shoot on a 6D, which is not a great video camera. I have the high end 70-200, 100 macro L, sigma 35 1.4 and sigma 50 1.4. While that's nice equipment to photograph a wedding, it's not ideal for videography.

I have been looking at the Sony A7rii and seeing the amazing things that it can do, but it's out of my price range (for just the body, let alone the lenses).

The issue is, if I am going to invest in a new camera, I feel like it needs to be able to do both photography and videography at a high level. If I buy one thats more of a videocamera, my wife will be upset that she can't use its not great for stills and if I get one that isn't great for video, then just forget about that side of things. I have a GH4 for work and I love it, but it's lousy for stills.

I guess this is "first world problems" at its finest. I wouldn't normally write something like this on a message board, but I feel like typing it out may help me clear things in my head on what I should do. I could just buy the camera and hope things go well and pay it off, but I don't know if thats realistic.

Ideally, I would just sell everything Canon and just purchase all new Sony gear so that I could do both stills and video with the A7rii, but I know thats a stupid solution to my problem.

If you've read this far, don't judge me haha. Maybe I just need a kick in the pants to do it regardless of my equipment. I always hear that it doesn't matter and I know this to be true, but it sure as heck makes it a lot easier. I'll probably just end up doing nothing and waiting to see if this photography business takes off. If it does well then maybe I will jump into more video work as well.
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Old January 4th, 2016, 12:05 PM   #2
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Re: I Guess I Just Need a Place to Think

I wonder why you'd want a camera to do both video and stills. When I shoot video, its pretty continuous, like, say, the entire ceremony. I'd want a separate camera for photos, so I don't miss anything.

I think it would be helpful if they were complimentary systems, of course. Both Sony, or both Canon, but its not the end of the world.

But then you've also got to invest in audio gear. 2-4 pocket recorders or wireless mic systems. Multiples of your lenses and bodies.
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Old January 4th, 2016, 12:08 PM   #3
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Re: I Guess I Just Need a Place to Think

Does it need to be dslr with switchable lenses? You can ask Chris Harding who is using a Panasonic fz1000 for video and photo and from what I read this camera does both well.
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Old January 4th, 2016, 12:48 PM   #4
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Re: I Guess I Just Need a Place to Think

I guess it wouldn't have to be a camera that can also shoot stills, but it would be beneficial to be able to use it for both. Obviously there isn't 1 camera that does everything perfectly for under $2k. If so, everyone would be in the industry.

I'll probably end up getting a 5DM3 or another 6D and then maybe something else down the line if I start to get into video as well.

I just wish a great aunt would show up from out of no where and give me $20k haha
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Old January 4th, 2016, 01:07 PM   #5
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Re: I Guess I Just Need a Place to Think

Since video requires more of an eco system as compared to still, here is one approach.

1. Existing assets: A known camera, lenses, and various accessories (possibly light stands, umbrellas, etc.?) and a computer system for doing still work and a wife that likes doing what you’re doing. The latter may be, is probably, the best part of this asset list.

2. To do video, if one reads the headings under “The Tools of DV and HD Production”, it becomes obvious that there is a lot of equipment that goes along with supporting a cam. Note that there is no cam mentioned in the list. All this stuff is in addition to the cam so now we’re talking real money. And this doesn’t even include the increased computer and data storage requirements. The point is, the cost of the cam is just the tip of the iceberg.

While some will suggest selling up I’d go the other direction and sell down, so here’s my thought: So as not to alienate your wife and partner, keep the gear you have now and just tip-toe into the video business. Start with an older model and less expensive cam, one with a hot/cold shoe and mic input, that will will reasonably work with the 6D color-or bokeh-wise and use the 6D as a B-roll cam then start investing in the peripheral gear like mics, recorders, monopod, editing software, mic preamp, etc and etc. as things go along.

Do a freebee wedding video and use that as a learning experience and with the agreement that you can show it to prospective clients as an example of what one can expect and point out that at this time it’t a low cost and budget solution because you’re growing your business. In other words, ensure to lower the clients expectations so they aren’t upset that it doesn’t live up to what they might see on the Internet.

It’s been said that mixing video and photography while trying to cover a wedding is difficult. But since there are two of you this may be workable. For the cam, get one with mic input and hopefully a hot/cold shoe. One can dress it out with a Røde stereo video mic so that even a small handycam will look halfway decent on the monopod. If no coldshoe then use a bracket. Add on a JuicedLink pre for cleaner audio, more controls, and XLR capability. For editing, mix in some of the photos using the Ken Burns effect and even with a short bit of video footage there can be something worth looking at, and on a comparatively shoe string budget.

If things work out and the money starts coming in, then step up to a more expensive cam and use the existing one as the B-cam, or go the DSLR route. Another thought is the JVC LS300 camcorder that can use interchangeable prime lenses. Your wife is a huge asset because not only do you work as a team, but because she’ll see things differently than you.

As a disclaimer, I’ve never done a wedding video and only did one wedding as a photographer, and that was years ago, so consider the source.

Geeze, two replies already as I write this. Oh, and +1 for the Great Aunt wish.
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Old January 4th, 2016, 05:45 PM   #6
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Re: I Guess I Just Need a Place to Think

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Originally Posted by Robert Benda View Post
I wonder why you'd want a camera to do both video and stills. When I shoot video, its pretty continuous, like, say, the entire ceremony. I'd want a separate camera for photos, so I don't miss anything.
I was thinking this too, however then I realized 'What if the customer only ordered a Photo package'. Then the video camera sits home unused, whereas if it was a DSLR she could bring it to her wedding & possibly even use 2 cameras/lenses.
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Old January 4th, 2016, 06:57 PM   #7
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Re: I Guess I Just Need a Place to Think

I agree with the above about 'tip toeing'. We started out as a video company and years later went to photos for several reasons. You could say that the video business financed the photo equipment. So that may be worth thinking about. The market will help guide you too, no sense in dropping 20k on video equipment if it takes you 5 years to get the money back on it. It's worked for us, but it's very challenging on the shooting, editing, and business side to offer both. Not for the faint of heart.
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Old January 5th, 2016, 07:29 AM   #8
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Re: I Guess I Just Need a Place to Think

I'll admit I had little interest of shooting videos at first. Just found it hard to break in. So I was a freelance deposition videographer & worked part time as camera guy for a casino horse racing track. The depositions were great when I had them, but they averaged maybe 2 a month, and the cancellation rate was at least 30%, typically with depos court reporters will ask if you have a cancellation fee, if you do they're less likely to use you, but if you don't you'll get burned. Often. Anyway, over the course of the 5 years I swayed from depos to weddings, and maybe halfway thru I found I (almost) love doing weddings!

Working with some great photographers, a few who had a level of passion & excitement about it which was contagious. And I realized, I need to do what they do just with video.

So my advice is to check it out, just don't burn yourself out. The editing & work on the backend is laborious, and marketing & responding to inquiries seems constant at times, with alot you stop hearing from. So charge accordingly, and it's tough when you work Monday-Friday jobs, alot of people think we should charge less because it's not our life, but that's hardly the case.
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Old January 5th, 2016, 07:39 AM   #9
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Re: I Guess I Just Need a Place to Think

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Originally Posted by David Barnett View Post
I

So my advice is to check it out, just don't burn yourself out. The editing & work on the backend is laborious,
David, every one knows that videography is simply putting a video camera on tripod and a week later magically a DVD appears..... :} That's why we get paid so cheaply.
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Old January 5th, 2016, 08:17 AM   #10
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Re: I Guess I Just Need a Place to Think

I'm kind of the opposite.

I started off in video and am this year trying to get more wedding photo work oddly.

For me, I went Nikon since I had Nikon to begin with back to 2007-ish.

As I posted in the Nikon group here, the $899 D7200 is an incredible camera as I'm finding out... and from a photo standpoint it's every bit as good as my $3,000 D750.

Both 24MP, both 14-bit lossless RAW, 2 slots, very respectable shots at high iso (12,800 - 25,600 if required).

The thing is I started out with regular video cameras (Sony NX5U and Canon XA20), and those are very nice for unmanned cams due to no time limit.

I've managed to get them to mostly match up in post and when I remember to take my DSC labs One Shot target, I can get them about 95% looking the same. I see X-rite has new video specific color charts that were not available when I got my system and they're a lot cheaper.

Anyways, the base equipment I'd say for doing video are:

(1) 2-3 Good low light cameras
(2) a couple tripods
(3) a good monopod for bridal prep
(4) a couple LED lights (I use TorchLEDs myself)
(5) a couple wireless lav mics
(6) a couple audio recorders

For me, I'm all about backups and redundancy... so I take 2 or 3 of everything to every wedding. It doesn't all get used , but it's peace of mind for me knowing that if I show up and I have issues during set up with something, I can get another from the box and try it. (lights, mics, recorders)

Personally I film wedding ceremonies with 5-7 cameras.
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Old January 5th, 2016, 08:50 AM   #11
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Re: I Guess I Just Need a Place to Think

For a decent wedding video business, I'd say you'd need in the $20k ballpark worth of gear. Working part time, I'd say you could probably clear $20k in a year or so. That $20k worth of gear has about a 5 year lifespan... at the end of which you will need another $20k worth of stuff. Fortunately, after the initial investment, you can buy $4k worth of stuff a year (a camera here, a slider there) and not have to put up $20k all at once... just a few grand a year.

Once you're going, you can probably clear $100k/yr.

If you spent 2016 working for nothing (i.e. putting a few grand in up front, then working a gig and buying some stuff, and so on), by 2017 I think you could really be ready to do the full court press.

IF that's what you want to do.
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Old January 5th, 2016, 09:43 AM   #12
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Re: I Guess I Just Need a Place to Think

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Originally Posted by Steven Davis View Post
David, every one knows that videography is simply putting a video camera on tripod and a week later magically a DVD appears..... :} That's why we get paid so cheaply.
LOL. I like the penny pinching brides saying "It's ok, we won't need any editing" when asking for a cheaper rate. On one hand, I've often thought of attempting a Shoot Only, 2 Hour Finish No Edit product.... but then on the other hand it hits me that they won't like the product or will say "I missed stuff".
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Old January 5th, 2016, 11:05 AM   #13
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Re: I Guess I Just Need a Place to Think

When I first started doing video as a freelancer I rented most of my gear. I didn't want to spend a ton on equipment until I knew it could pay for itself. Later on, as I grew more confident in my ability to make money, I purchased more of my own stuff. I just made sure that whatever deposit I charged was enough to cover the equipment rental. This way I was able to go out and make money, without having to spend a ton on equipment up front.
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Old January 5th, 2016, 12:40 PM   #14
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Re: I Guess I Just Need a Place to Think

I feel some of you are a bit high on the $20K for a newbie breaking in estimate. Even on a fairly high end I could see a $5K main camera, $2K 2nd cam, 2 tripods ($500), wireless lav ($500), Backup audio ($200), slider &/or stabilizer ($500+).

Under $10K gets you a decent setup, start off with used & eliminate a few items above and maybe save quite a bit. My advice though, is to get matching camera. IMHO the same model, matching up cameras is an added annoyance in the run & gun lifestyle & 'just do it in post' works great, until you get to post.
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Old January 5th, 2016, 01:48 PM   #15
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Re: I Guess I Just Need a Place to Think

Thanks for all the replies guys.

I actually already have a nice Manfrotto monopod, a couple nice tripods, a slider, blackbird stabilizer (which I never use, if you are interested in buying it, let me know haha) a couple recorders and a couple really nice lav miss. I guess I'm more ahead than I realize.

I went to that wedding expo this past weekend and saw the video loop of the one videographer who was there and it just seems a bit overwhelming to start all of that. I feel like I can actually do the shooting on the wedding day. That part wouldn't be an issue for me, but it's just everything leading up to it. All the stuff I would need to by, all the coordination and then the financial aspect of it. At some point I think I just need to take a leap, but I dont know if I'm bold enough to do it yet. My wife and are hoping this year really is our year for photograph. We started advertising last week and have already had a number of inquires based on that, which always makes you feel like you aren't throwing your money in the garbage.

In regards to someone mentioning us doing both photography and videography for a single wedding, I doubt that would happen for a long time. Most of the people that have inquired with me about wedding videography already have a photographer. We are having a tough enough time finding weddings, let alone both video and photos for a single bride haha.

I like the suggestion of doing a free video or two for some brides just to be able to advertise with those and then going strong in 2017. I feel like thats a very realistic possibility.
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