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Wedding / Event Videography Techniques
Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old December 20th, 2007, 10:25 PM   #1
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Apprenticing for the season...

I've been shooting video for a couple years (corperate documentary style shoots), and I've steered clear of weddings in the past, but now I'm thinking of getting into it now. And I thought the best way would be to apprentice with a local wedding videographer for the up comming season. I know apprenticing for a whole season seems a bit long (at least accordking to the other threads on apprenticeship here) but I really want to have a firm handle on this before I try it on my own.

So here's my question: Would it be too out of line to try to negotiate for a low pay apprenticeship? Not much, just maybe $50 or $100 per wedding. If needed I could provide my own camera (XL2), wireless lavilier, AT897, and some editing on my machine. Am I out of line, or should I just be happy if I find someone willing to mentor me that doesn't charge me for the priviledge?

Thanks for the feedback, and the reality check...

Kevin
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Old December 20th, 2007, 11:37 PM   #2
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Kevin,
Don't do it to yourself man... don't fall into the "will work for free cause I'm young, hungry and don't know any better" trap.
If you want to learn, hunt down the best wedding guys/gals in your area and ask if they need extra hands this coming season. (why do we call it seasons like crab season, or baseball season? seems and odd term to throw around. why can't we just call it "this year")
It's best to learn and get paid to do it. If you're any good, they'll keep asking you back and you can glean some valuable experience from them while making a few bucks. Don't do it for free just cause you're wanting to learn. You're helping them make $$, why shouldn't you be entitled to a small cut of that if you're doing some of their work for them?

I've worked at production companies that used interns and let me put it to you this way:
An unpaid helper is usually an intern. Interns usually are not seen as valuable assets to many businesses and usually get stuck with mundane tasks that people working at a particular business just don't feel like doing. For the most part, the intern is treated fairly but not really trained.
Contrast this with a beginner who is a paid employee. Because of the simple fact that this person is getting paid, they are automatically seen as more of an asset or an investment and the higher ups in the company feel more obligated to help them out and show them a few things cause they may be around for a while and therefore need to know the ropes.

Are these scenarios universal? No. But human nature is what it is, and I'd think you'd be better off (from many angles) being a paid helper as opposed to an unpaid intern.

My $.02
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Old December 21st, 2007, 08:43 AM   #3
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Email sent. I agree your time is worth something.
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Old December 21st, 2007, 09:06 AM   #4
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Here's the thing: when I graduated from school I worked for free. I did so because outside of school, I had no video experience. I just wanted to get some stuff to show potential clients.

You already have a nice amount of experience (judging by your website and your original post) in video already. It makes no sense to me to give away your talents for nothing when you already own equipment, know how to use it, and have a track record of finished work. So what if you don't have the wedding experience? You already know framing, proper exposure, post production workflow, etc. Same stuff applies to weddings. And what you don't know, you'll be able to catch onto quick thanks to your couple years of corporate shooting.

It's tough when you feel unsure. I'm still trying to come to terms with the fact that I have enough experience to stand my ground and demand what I think I'm worth, since I've only been graduated for 1 1/2 years now, but if you want to make a living doing this stuff then you have to make something.

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should I just be happy if I find someone willing to mentor me that doesn't charge me for the privilege?
And don't you dare pay someone to work for them!

Somewhat on topic, has anyone visited this site: www.no-spec.com ?
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Old December 21st, 2007, 09:12 AM   #5
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I'm ok with the idea of spec work cause nobody is making or losing money because of it. Unless you actually give the spot to the spec client for them to use without being paid for it.
I don't see the harm in spec. If you're using your own gear, and just doing it on your free time, then it's good practice. Granted, I'm not motivated enough to run out and shoot a spec spot for the hell of it, but I have no problem with someone who does.
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Old December 24th, 2007, 03:16 PM   #6
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Thank you for the replies. I just wanted to make sure that I wasn't going against the grain of how wedding video was done. Glad to hear the support for getting paid for your work.

Jon, thanks for the email. I replied today and hopefully we'll talk soon.
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Old January 2nd, 2008, 03:55 PM   #7
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Hi Kevin. I basically thought the same way you were thinking. I thought the time to teach me was worth something in and of itself. Fact is, I found someone who actually was in great need of a second videographer, I did two weddings for free (and perhaps I shouldn't have) and just got paid for the third one (which was this past saturday) I got $125, some people told me it was to much, others told me it wasn't enough. Still it has been a valuable experience, although I still don't quite feel ready to do this on my own, mainly because "who would be my second cameraman?" lol.

Just get your foot in the door, and make sure you negotiate to recieve a copy of your footage to use in your own portfolio of the person is willing. It's great to gain experience, but with nothing to show for it, I could tell people I've done 100 weddings, but if I don't have any footage from it, how can they believe me? (of course I am no where close to that many) Good luck!
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Old January 2nd, 2008, 08:10 PM   #8
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jenna,

a handful of weddings is not much experience, you still have a lot to learn as would anyone with such little experience, any argument to that an you are asking for something disasterous to happen. although some folks are naturals....ie, they take to shooting and editing like a fish in water(very few though).
i read your other post reagrding you havent received footage from the guy you've been working with....you shouldn't expect to get any of of the footage you shot while working for another company, it is not a common practice for producers of wedding videos or even photographers to give their crew footage for their own protfolios....there could be an obvious conflict of interest if you were to try to book your own clients with that footage....think about that.
as far as the rate you are or were getting.....i think its very fair for someone with little experience.

...and you will or do have something to show for the work youve done with that company, its the experience you have gained....and if you havent, then yopu might want to work for someone else who you feel that you can gain some of their skills to the craft. just because you dont have something tangible ie. the videos he produced with your footage on it, this doesnt mean you havent gained anything.....and frankly, i think that is a negative way to look at it.

once you go at it on your own, chances are, you will do some weddings for super cheap or even for free to get the demo footage you will need to sell yourself.....this is common.




Quote:
Originally Posted by Jenna Klingensmith View Post
Hi Kevin. I basically thought the same way you were thinking. I thought the time to teach me was worth something in and of itself. Fact is, I found someone who actually was in great need of a second videographer, I did two weddings for free (and perhaps I shouldn't have) and just got paid for the third one (which was this past saturday) I got $125, some people told me it was to much, others told me it wasn't enough. Still it has been a valuable experience, although I still don't quite feel ready to do this on my own, mainly because "who would be my second cameraman?" lol.

Just get your foot in the door, and make sure you negotiate to recieve a copy of your footage to use in your own portfolio of the person is willing. It's great to gain experience, but with nothing to show for it, I could tell people I've done 100 weddings, but if I don't have any footage from it, how can they believe me? (of course I am no where close to that many) Good luck!
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Old January 2nd, 2008, 08:25 PM   #9
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Kevin
put an add in the paper, craiglist.org, get a simple web site, NETWORK. Do not work for free if you have experience. Talk to ministers in your local church about doing some discount weddings for people who do not have allot of money or who just want a basic service.
Look at it this way, even if you offer a 400 dollar BASIC wedding package you are doing better than working for free. Have some confidence in what you can do, take your time, do a professional job and you will be fine
all the best
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Old February 20th, 2008, 02:44 AM   #10
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ok, I am gonna revive an old post. I do drag racing videos, and unrelated to racing instructional videos. I have no experience with wedding videos at all. I recently placed an ad on craigslist that I can do wedding videos, and I have an interested customer. I mentioned in the ad i have minimal wedding experience. If I shoot alone, with two cameras, my first ever wedding, should I charge? My thoughts are, if I do it free, with the stipulation I can use the video for future advertising, it might make them more likely to be understanding if I do not make a video they are happy with. another thought it, if I charge, say a cheap nominal rate, will they pass the rate amount to their friends? My thinking is, tell them they are getting my $600 dollar package for free, rather than saying I will shoot a wedding for a lessor amount. or should I find someone far away for practice? or advertise for a second operator with experience, and hope they can pull me through? My gut feeling is to tell them I will work for free, and they should consider hiring another additional videographer if they really want a good video. I am new to my area, I have no friends getting married, and I haven't met another videographer to work with to learn. Its more my style to sink or swim on my own. I would appreciate thoughts on my situation.
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Old February 20th, 2008, 03:13 AM   #11
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Allen -
What is the "going rate" (if there is one - out of metro areas, it can be interesting figuring rates)? I'd charge SOMETHING, even if just expenses and a low hourly rate. Maybe half whatever the going rate is?

It's not going to reduce your stress any (and weddings can be stressful, not to mention edit intensive) just because you're doing it free... may actually compound the problem if for some reason they or you use it as a crutch?

You'll really just need to brush up on where you need to be (attend rehearsal!) to get "the money shots", and you should do OK, bridesmaids move a little slower than formula dragsters, so you can relax a bit <wink>. I've seen people charging $600 for garbage, so if you compose your shots, get good footage, and do a decent post job, you should be worth THAT, right? I've done "favors" for less, but you tend to burn out on the edit when you realize the time you have to put in...

Just some thoughts, knock 'em around and see what comes out!
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Old February 22nd, 2008, 04:23 PM   #12
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Is there a thread here that is designated help wanted area? Or maybe another web site that has an area for help wanted especially designed for the special event filming business?
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Old February 22nd, 2008, 04:42 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Mary Angelini View Post
Is there a thread here that is designated help wanted area? Or maybe another web site that has an area for help wanted especially designed for the special event filming business?
There is a sub forum called Helping Hands. Try there.
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