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


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Old January 8th, 2008, 11:26 PM   #1
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The Videographer.

Was asked on another post what I thought a True Videographer was so going to post what I meant, here on a seperate thread so I dont hijack the other thread.

What I felt was that even though I have learned through the film and slide days of photography when you better have the exposures dead on or miss the shot/event, now days many people can get "Acceptable" shots with their digital SLR's and some basic knowladge of Photoshop. Do they get the results I get, probably not, but they work for almost free. I have well over 20K in just cameras and lenses but with the digital picture frame and what we call "Mom With A Camera" It can be hard to justify our prices.

On the other hand video adds some varriables that I believe the "Uncle Joe" will not master. There is the expense of the camera, then the software to edit, then of coarse now the new pc with added drives. Oh yea did I mention the Huge learning curve and that little thing called A U D I O...

I love all of this, and putting in the art of photography, good lighting and captureing emotions.

I feel if someone can learn this trade, he will set himself apart from the norm and not be threatened by every kid who gets a $700 Digital SLR camera for Christmas.

Just a Photographers point of view.
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Old January 8th, 2008, 11:41 PM   #2
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My wife is a professional photographer, so I know where you're coming from . . but honestly the same applies to video in terms of what people know and understand. You see, while video probably has a higher learning curve than photography, most people don't realize this . . and thus they think their friend or family member can do a decent job.

I don't mean to scare you away from videography, but the bigger challenge with videography is that in most markets it's still not considered a necessity for a wedding. Photography has that advantage.

I should also point out that videography doesn't generally pay what it's worth unless you're lucky enough to be in a market that understands it. My wife works really hard at and after a wedding to produce amazing work, but I have to work twice as hard . . charge less . . . and work a lot harder to get someone to book for video.

Again, I don't mean to scare you off, but that IS the reality of working in video. You better LOVE doing it, lol.
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Old January 9th, 2008, 07:35 AM   #3
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Travis I agree with you about the video, but like photography its one of those things you have to educate your market area. What I get for a wedding now was unheard of a few years ago.

I am not booking any video only weddings, but I am booking many photography and video coverage. My customers know what they are getting, and because I am still in the learning phase probably dont charge enough for the addition of video. However you only get the option to add video when you buy my largest package.

I hope after this year I can slowly start charging more for the video coverage. The customers I have booked love the highlights show mixing video with stills and I am the only one offering this in this area. The sad thing is they love this, and it was shot with just the on camera audio from the XH A1, a single camera set up from the back. I hope to make many improvements now that I have 2 XH A1's and a good shotgun and lav mic and much more editing experience behind me.
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Old January 9th, 2008, 08:43 AM   #4
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IMO it makes a huge difference if the person behind the camera whether that be DSLR or Video cam is creative and has an eye for finding things visually that will help communicate the message. Good photographers and videographers don't just look straight ahead to see what they can shoot, they look for emotion and texture. Professionals know to keep a look out on what is happening not only in front of them but behind them and elsewhere. For me creativity does not start at the beginning of the wedding. We have a wedding this Saturday and I have been piecing together shots that I have not even taken. To me, there is a HUGE difference between those that have not taken the time to learn and study and those that have. Ok...off my soap box.
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Old January 9th, 2008, 09:03 AM   #5
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I did a show recently and on our dvd covers/demo running were images my wife took at weddings. Many visitors to our booth were confused as to what we did, because the images were very nice. I wouldn't put us up there with the best photographers in town, but we're no hacks. hehe. We are constantly being told we should do both photo and video. We did a photo and video wedding, and between the two of us, it was a lot of work. I understand why both talents should get a bunch of money.

As mentioned above, both video and photography have curves of their own.
I think soon we will be able to step out and offer both. There's a couple of people in our market that offer both, and from what I can tell, we could compete easily.

In my opinion; you get much more bang for your buck with a quality motion picture than a still. Although a nice still is pleasant to look at. So it's like apples and oranges. As my clients have said, 'After watching my video, I had forgotten most of what happened at my wedding.' And only video can provide this to a client. Unfortunately, this is something non-video brides and grooms only realize after their wedding.
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Old January 9th, 2008, 11:05 AM   #6
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Hi Denny,

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. As you call it "Mom with a camera" and "Uncle Joe", they will both always have a place in photography and videography. There will always be brides looking for a cheap deal. I feel it is equally easy to do entry level photo or video, but the outcome is not very professional.

HD may change some of that, but only time will tell. I say that based on the current HD cameras. With SD a person can spend $1500 on a used Sony VX2100, put it in auto and get decent footage, especially of the conditions are right. At least with the current HD cameras, you will not get great results in auto.

The biggest challenge I see to professional videography is price. As a whole, photographers charge much more than videographers. Why is that? Well good quality wedding photography has been around much longer than good quality wedding videography. But that is only part of the problem.

This may not be popular to say, but I feel the biggest problem with wedding videography is the low price we are charging our clients, me included. I don't know too many videographers that are getting what they are worth, but I know many photographers who are.

When the videographer shows up to the wedding and the Bride is only paying him $1500 and then the photographer shows up and she is paying him $3000 plus, she is going to have a lot more respect for her photographer and treat them accordingly.

A majority of wedding videographers are part time. Why is that? Because they don't charge enough money to support their families. I'm not knocking part timers. Many have no desire to do this full time and just enjoy the creative outlet. On the other hand, I know many who would really like to go full time, but can't because they are not charging enough.

If we are going to spend 20-40 hours editing a wedding, we can't charge $1500 and make a profit. So what can we do? Either cut way back on the editing time, or if you want to make that masterpiece, then charge accordingly for it.

I am not pointing this post at anyone in particular, but at our industry as a whole.
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Old January 9th, 2008, 11:06 AM   #7
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Let me ante-up with my observations:

Not to hijack this discussion, and I've made these points before in other threads, (some may even appear obvious to photogs and vids), but both stills and video have their place. I wonder how many folks keep in mind that each offers different options and/or restrictions for the client/audience.

This is a generalization, but most times when I've been shown still wedding albums, it's been while sitting on someone's couch or at their kitchen table. I page through the album, while the owner points out/describes who's in the photo, why they were in the photo, and offers what they consider the pertinent points surrounding each photo, i.e. events immediately before or after it was taken. Paging through an album involves some conversation, commentary, and often jokes or memories of how fun the day was. Still photos allow that, and even invite it.

Video is more restrictive and demanding of our senses. It is less portable, i.e. it doesn't easily allow moving from the couch in the living room to the kitchen table for a cup of coffee while regaling someone with anecdotes of the event. It also demands more attention, i.e. if you look away from the screen or blink, some important action might missed. Additionally, because of the sound track, it invites silence (as in a movie-theater setting) and discourages conversation/other interaction among the viewers. (Yes, I know that's one reason they provide remote controls w/FF, REW and SKIP; unfortunately, my experience has been that many people don't make full use of them).

Lastly, no one I know has ever even offered to show me a wedding video.

I don't mean to discourage/disparage wedding shooters or minimize the value of a good video to the B&G or their families; (I've done a few myself). Instead, I want to highlight obstacles to taping weddings, mitzvahs, and other events. (Obstacles which vids must overcome, or at least be aware of, in their marketing). I suspect many of those obstacles are at least unconsciously known or felt by the potential client. Example: many of us own numerous DVDs of movies; I might own as many as 30 to 40, but all of mine were gifts; I've never bought a DVD of a movie. (I'll buy instructional/tutorial DVDs, but not movies). Despite having so many DVDs of movies, I can't recall the last time I watched one of them on DVD. For a movie I don't own, I'll rent a DVD before I buy one. I'm not alone there, either: last week I caught my spouse watching a movie on Pay Per View that we already had the DVD of. Though it was admittedly small, it was $$ out the window. (Considering the forum, am I committing blasphemy or spouting heresy)?

Bottom line, each medium has it's advantages and disadvantages. We need to bear those in mind in our marketing efforts, particularly when facing a potential client who's on the fence or otherwise reluctant to contract for video.

That's my $.02 to the pot.
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Old January 9th, 2008, 11:32 AM   #8
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"Lastly, no one I know has ever even offered to show me a wedding video."

Ok here is an option though, a hightlight video, one that can in the time it takes to listen to a song, see highliths of a wedding.

This is what is selling for me, sure we include a full version DVD, but its these hightlight shows that can be put online, links emailed to friends and family etc.

I have been a full time photographer for a few years and its hard to do that in this area with all the part timers, but I had to quickly seperate myself from the rest. I did this partly with projectiong proofs and showing a slideshow to music showing 20X30 inch images in a very nice presentation room. People love it, and almost always buy a DVD slideshow.

So I feel the mix is here to stay, and until they come out with a video camera that can produce an image as sharp and clear as my Canon 5d or 1D Mark III with a $2000 lens on it I will always get weddings as a photographer. But again with the offering of the highlight show, have got many more upscale weddings, which brings nicer reception halls, churches etc. which makes our job easier to make elegant looking images/video.

I always try and stay on the leading edge of technoligy, and feel it keeps me doing what I love for a living.
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Old January 9th, 2008, 11:39 AM   #9
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I should add the nice thing about offering both is that you keep eachother out of the frame. We work hard to make this happen, and when not possible rely on the other camera angle to be edited in to cover it.

I know many photogs / videographers clash, but usually because they are competing for the shot. I never did, and the only time I worked with a pro, had no problems, we worked well together. Its the cousin laying on the floor right behind the preacher that bugs me. I never use flash during a ceromony and try to be as undetected as possible, and there is Joey laying on the floor with his handy cam, even poping little flashes now and again capturing those stills. :)
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Old January 9th, 2008, 12:01 PM   #10
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Mark,
you nailed exactly what I battle with every day. I am one of those that is only charging 1800 for our full day services and I am full time with this. Looking around in the industry, I do feel that I should be charging more for the quality of work i'm producing and amount of time I put into it, but this market won't support it. Trust me, I wish I could make more. I could raise my prices to 3000 but then I would only book a fraction of the weddings and then I have no money :-) we have videographers ranging from 400-2400 here and that is the problem. If you get to a certain point in your pricing, no matter what the quality, they will just settle with someone cheaper. I've yet to figure out how to combat that. Instead, we're just opening ourselves up a bit for travel and are starting to work in the larger cities a few hours away, des moines, chicago, minneapolis, etc.

I also keep hearing that photographers are starting to add on video because they feel that video is where people are headed. I do see a few booking and wanting to spend more on video than photo, but not enough yet. Unfortunately many businesses doing this are offering less than great quality videos and are just doing it to be a one stop shop. That is hurting too. Not only that they will do both, but when someone is searching for a videographer and the first 4 they look at suck! they figure it's not worth the price. I've seen a bride not get video and horribly regret it later because she looked around at 4-5 places, but never hit the few quality videographers. She just assumed that what she saw was how all videos were and decided it wasn't worth it. That's just sad but it's a fact.
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Old January 9th, 2008, 12:12 PM   #11
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We all agree on one thing, poor quality hurts, and charging too little also does.

I have seen what Matt has too, but the other way. The videographer that thinks he can take stills and sell them. The dont know the difference in broad lighting and short lighting, the masculine or fem. pose etc, gives photography a bad name also.

This part of the business will probably never go away, like automobiles you have the Yugo and you have the Vette both will get you from point a to b but some in better style.

I am not trying to be a one stop shop, I just want to offer a service that is not being offered at all around here. That is decent quality video. I will admit I am by no means good, but already much better than what is available in this area.
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Old January 9th, 2008, 12:21 PM   #12
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Denny,
From what you've already said in your posts, it shows that you do understand the tools and techniques that make a great video and every aspect of it that is the same and different than photography. I'm definitely not saying you're trying to be a one stop shot...just wanted to make sure you didn't take it that way. I was referring to my own experiences with people around here.

:-) Matt
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Old January 9th, 2008, 12:28 PM   #13
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I think the most significant point Denny has made is the fact that while
it is getting much more difficult to impress as a photographer these days,
I feel its getting easier as a videographer.
Not because I am getting better, but because the tools at my disposal are.
Sure the nikon d3 is a fine machine. But I feel it only really becomes worth
the money on a football pitch at dusk with a 2.8 400mm lens attached.
At a wedding, however when the prints are only going to 10x8 max or even
only onto DVD its a lot harder for the layperson to distinguish the difference
between it and the shot done with the coolpix by Mom.
In fact , most of them wouldn't even care. The way they look in the
shot is what matters to them.
The photographers problem lies in the fact that mom didn't painstakingly gather up
the families, arrange the crying children & Make everybody smile and feel
like they are having a good
time. She just clicked the button. People fail to recognise this afterwards.
The pro videographer on the other hand, has the one essential tool the the
amateurs dont- the tripod.
That advantage was always there. To add to this is the new HD quality.
Im expecting the videographers role at a wedding to skyrocket, even overtake
the photographers, once HD becomes the norm. Seriously, my shots with this
xha1 are as well exposed and as sharp (on a hd screen) as the photog's shots.
And mine have movement!
Pull focus is such a beautiful technique that
stills can never emulate. it can be far more subtle now with hd.
My clients are over the moon these days beacuse Im taking the whole photography session out of context.
It's not at all the way it was on the day. I leave the groom complaining about the heat out. I
leave them kissing and cuddling in slowmo in.
Im in danger of waffling now so ill stop.
I think the point im trying to make is that instead of the b&g having to create a story
using the medium of a wedding album, I am creating one for them, one that they
are happy to be told.
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Old January 9th, 2008, 01:04 PM   #14
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I agree in principle to the above poster's sentiments about what he's doing with video; shaping a memory and making the day seem better than it really was. That pretty much the way I look at it also.
But there is something about photographs that is timeless unlike the medium of video. In 10 years, the looks we're using, the formats we're shooting, the styles of music and edit will all be dated. With photography this is less true. Sure the pictures may begin to feel dated due to the clothes people were wearing and the style of the particular photographer, but there is less context to make it feel dated, namely the music and style of shooting and edit.
Look at photos from the 80's and look at video from the 80's and tell me that the photos dont seem more immediate, more in tune, and slightly more warm and reminiscent. I think the reason for this is because a photo doesn't have sound, doesn't have motion, and can easily be removed or distanced from the original context, leaving you to assign your own new meaning to it. This isn't the case with video. If Uncle Charlie was dancing funny and saying something stupid cause he was drunk and acting like a fool, then you will see that unmistakably with video, but take a 1/60th of a second shot of that same moment, look at it 10 years later and will you remember it the same or will it just look like a younger Uncle Charlie with hair smiling and having a good time? With modern editing and storytelling techniques video can overcome this to a degree, but never to the extent that a photo can.
Those are my ramblings, hopefully they make sense to someone other than me.
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Old January 9th, 2008, 02:03 PM   #15
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Yes I agree with those points. I would like to respectfully argue with the point though that the photogrpaher will continue to have priority on the wedding day.
Mainly for the reason that these two mediums are heading towards merging.
The 7x5 prints from HD footage aren't bad at the moment.
The d3 shoots very fast fps.
My point is that if the wedding couple can choose HQ prints from the videos of the future then it's inevitable that video will take over.
Or maybe its just wishful thinking on my part :)
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