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Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old January 28th, 2008, 10:02 AM   #1
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My thoughts on the state of wedding videography

With the proliferation of 35mm lens adapters, cheaper stabilization vests, and HD cameras, technology has really allowed videographers to reach their artistic potentials and create wedding videos of much higher quality and production value. The videos we've seen from over the past couple of years are simply amazing.

Unfortunately, this also translates to the need of a larger crew to operate all of this technology. Gone are the days of the lone run n' gun videographer, and as such, a videographer can't operate a camera with a lens adapter and then drop it to put on a stabilizer vest and then run a few laps around the bride. To compete with the best of what's out there, all videographers operating by him or herself is best served by teaming up with other individuals and only then can they have the potential of utilizing all the tools out there to deliver a product that is industry leading.

I'd be interested to hear your thoughts.
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Old January 28th, 2008, 11:33 AM   #2
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Since you asked...

The thing I see that keeps many of us still operating as a "lone run n' gun videographer", is that most clients (even high-end) aren't willing to pay for the technology and labor you described.

Just my thoughts...

Mark
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Old January 28th, 2008, 11:36 AM   #3
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Mark, that's an interesting point. However, I've noticed that the package price for those studios that offer multiple videographers + steadycam + 35mm lens adapters, aren't that much higher. Maybe that wouldn't be the case if I looked at more studios. I basically made that assertion based on the few studios I've come across on dvinfo.

Also, my original post wasn't meant to focus on the technology or gear. However that being said, the technologies I've mentioned are "enablers" in that it unlocks the full artistic potential of the videographer and thus have a huge impact on the production value and quality of the final video.
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Old January 28th, 2008, 11:47 AM   #4
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Agreed!

It'd just be nice to have clients who appreciate that. I find that many times I have to educate my clients and help them understand exactly what they're paying for. Most of them only see me during the day I spend with them and think I get paid way too much for 5-10 hours of work. I'd like to be able to take more time and educate them more on quality (and, etc.) issues.

Thanks for the thread Yang!
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Old January 28th, 2008, 01:23 PM   #5
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To and extent I agree. I find that I still have to point out what might seem obvious to me but is oblivious to the client. I have to accentuate that my shots are steady with almost no shake as compared to my competitors. I have to point out how my colours are consistent between cameras. Most clients look at a few companies and see the same old thing and make the assumption that we are all offering the same, so let's go with who is the cheapest. We use all of the above tools but it really has no meaning to the client without explanation.
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Old January 28th, 2008, 06:43 PM   #6
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all good thoughts but maybe I'm just old fashioned. I have found 99.9% of brides don't know nor do they care what gear we use OR how we use it. We're the professionals and are supposed to know what we need and how to use it to do a top notch, top quality job from shoot to edit to packaging.
My thoughts (and a closing line I've used for many many years). You either like my work or not and you can either afford it or not.
Unless they ask a specific question about gear or technique I really don't even get into it. They're looking for what THEY perceive to be the quality they want, they style they want and of course the price they want (or can afford). I will almost never bad mouth the competition. You never know what the ymight be saying about you. I'll also not tell them not to use 'uncle Bob'. For all I know uncle Bob is an award winning cinamatographer.
Just my thoughts.
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Old January 28th, 2008, 07:02 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Bloom View Post
I have found 99.9% of brides don't know nor do they care what gear we use OR how we use it. We're the professionals and are supposed to know what we need and how to use it to do a top notch, top quality job from shoot to edit to packaging.
Agreed.

Quote:
You either like my work or not and you can either afford it or not.
I've never actually said that out loud to a bride before, but it's pretty much spot on in expressing how I feel about it.

Quote:
They're looking for what THEY perceive to be the quality they want, they style they want and of course the price they want (or can afford).
Very well said. The brides I'm seeking will see the quality difference and be willing to pay for a more refined product. Not all brides will see that quality though and get stuck on the price and to be honest, some brides probably don't notice the quality difference because good video isn't high on their priority list. I want to book brides because they get what I do, and my style strikes a chord with them. I never want to be booked simply because I was just available or cheap. (although I still am semi-cheap)

Quote:
I will almost never bad mouth the competition. You never know what the competition might be saying about you.
I do sometimes end my emails to potential clients with "friends don't let friends have substandard videography". I don't see this as bad mouthing though.
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Old January 28th, 2008, 09:31 PM   #8
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I don't really badmouth the competition by name but I do point out how I am different from most other videographers in my area. And, sometimes that means putting them down but I don't do it with malice.

In the mainly rural area where I offer my services, most wedding videographers do it as a hobby and treat it that way as opposed to treating it like a business.

They don't have any business license or any insurance. I do have a license to conduct business and I do carry business liability insurance. Does that make me any better of a videographer? NO! But I use the "licensed and insured" angle to demonstrate a personal and professional commitment to delivering quality results. I encourage potential clients to ask other videographers if they are licensed and insured and I suggest it sometimes can be a good indicator of level of service and quality they can expect.

I also maintain a website. It's not great but it does give potential clients a chance to get a short glimpse of my product. Anyone can get a website very easily, but again, for me it adds legitimacy.

Some people still don't have an internet provider and there are still many that only have dial-up service so my website is pretty much useless for them. The video clips are not downloadable (unless you're tech-savvy) so you need to have a high speed connection to view them.

As an alternative, I offer a demo on DVD for those potential clients that I get a good vibe from. Some are just "tire-kickers" and come off more as curious instead of serious. I feel them out before offering to send one. My demo is different fom the other demos I've seen and that is by design. I've gone to some of these bridal shows and picked up the free DVD demos that some other videographers hand out. And seriously, most are kind of amateurish.

In my demo, I point out how "the other guys" use press-on labels and I show how I print directly on the disk so there's no chance of paper coming off and ruining their DVD player. I also highlight the case design and the fact that it's a full size DVD case, not a slim-line case like the others use.

One thing I don't do though is mention anything about gear. For the most part, clients don't care about gear. They care about results. Besides, most of them wouldn't know the difference between a Sony VX2100 and a Fireball XL5.

I have used footage from some of the sample DVD's I've gotten. But I only used the parts where it really came across like an Uncle Bob production. Things like poor audio from using a camera's built in mic, which can't hear the B&G but can hear the videographer (I presume) sniffing up the nasal congestion and runny nose he was experiencing. Or the 15 second close up shot of the Bud bottle in hand and resting on the best man's belly.

I don't trash out these "competitors". I demonstrate what the client can expect from me and what they might get with the other guys. BTW, I don't let them know who the other guys are. That way if they don't go with me, they can't be sure if maybe they're ending up with "the other guys".

I agree with what's been said about perceived value. It ain't about reality... it's all about perception.

Jeff
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Old January 28th, 2008, 11:07 PM   #9
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Jedd,

A FIREBALL XL5!!!!!!!

Man I've been looking for one of those. I gotta git me one! ;-)

We're all gearheads to one degree or another aren't we!?!? :-O

You're right and I think pointing out the differences between yourself and others when you KNOW for a fact what the difference's are isn't trashing or bad mouthing, just pointin' out the differences. Thats called competitive selling and is a time honored tradition.

I know of a few people in my area at least that will go so low as to blatantly lie about what others do or don't do, and what THEY do or don't do to lure the client in and frankly that to me is about as low as you can get because they drag all of us down and that's not good for them because they are taking money from ME and when they do that I get really upset. Another story for another time, but you seem to have a good handle on your market and know the competition well and are staying ahead of them and THAT's how you stay in business and make money in this business.
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Old January 28th, 2008, 11:23 PM   #10
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I think everyone missed my original point. That is, my post was not gear centric. I mentioned those specific pieces of gear because they allow us to elevate the production value of a wedding video. A well shot video with properly utilized shot steadycam moves or shots from a 35mm adapter is simply better than a video consisting of shots from a tripod or handheld. Most customers are savvy enough to notice the "WOW" shots of a flying camera down the aisle or circling around the couple. It's the end result, not the gear that matters. However, in order to utilize those gear, one must work with a crew. A person working alone is quite simply not possible.

Which brings to my point again that is - To compete with the best in the industry today, you almost always have to work with a crew and make use of all the specialized equipment available to us today.
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Old January 29th, 2008, 03:14 AM   #11
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Have to disagree with you there Yang.

The 'wow' factor of clients can be induced by various aspects of a wedding film. Sure, one of them is an appreciation of high-end gear \ techniques used but I feel that when it comes to brides-to-be it's not so far up on the list as to be essential to compete in the industry.

It's very easy to get a distorted view of what people like and appreciate when you're on our side of the fence. I think what's usually most important for most brides is getting the atmospshere right in the edit, making sure she's looking good, showing people having a good time. You dont need all the fancy stuff to do that.

When you take part in a forum like this you expose yourself to the best of the best from all over the world and their standards, quality and style. It's very easy to overwhelmed by it all and convince yourself it's what you have to achieve to be considered to compete in your corner of the globe. I really do doubt that most brides are savvy to what can be achieved these days and even if some are you can still produce a fantastic DVD in the couples eyes without the expensive perks.
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